Is Modafinil the Most Effective Smart Drug in the World?

A new meta-study certifies the drug to be effective nootropic. But the last word has not been spoken yet.

Smart drugs, also known as nootropics, are already available here and there on the net , but there is still little consensus on how effectively substances such as modafilnil improve cognitive ability in people who are perfectly healthy but have their minds like to tune a bit.

A scientific study from last week comes to promising conclusions about the properties of one of the most famous smart drugs: Modafinil. Modafinil is usually prescribed for sleep disorders like narcolepsy. But even students, managers and hackers use the remedy occasionally, even though they sleep wonderfully – because they allegedly have perceived an increased brain power through consumption.

The paper underpins this popular assertion by Modafinil fans. Ruairidh Battleday and Anna-Katharine Brem of the University of Oxford and Harvard Medical School conducted a metastatic study on the effect of modafinil on healthy people and concluded: “It may well be that Modafinil is the first well-validated ‘nootropic’ pharmaceutical Active ingredient is. ”

Is it alright to swallow a pill that makes you smarter?

And not only that: the authors report that Modafinil “has almost no side effects or mood swings.” If noticeable at all, Modafinil “positively affects mood”. The meta-study on modafinil came in the first place, because scientists are so far disagreeing about the effect of the substance. Battleday and Brem compared a total of 24 studies on the cognitive effects of Mondafinil between 1990 and 2014, the results and methodologies of which differed significantly.

In most studies, the same tasks were performed once by people who had taken modafinil and then again by people given a placebo. However, the difficulty of these tasks varied greatly from study to study. Some subjects were faced with difficult, others with rather light tests.

The metastudy found that studies with more complex cognitive tests were more likely to see modalert as a beneficial effect on brain performance than simple tests. The positive effect of modafinil seems more likely to be felt in more complex mental processes.
Here is the full video about modafinil:

So we need a better method to check the cognitive effect of nootropics, concluded Battleday and Brem. For simple cognitive tasks are usually resorted to when examining people with cognitive deficits. However, they seem inappropriate to detect the effect of drugs to improve thinking beyond normal levels. So how do you measure individual brain performance beyond the ordinary?

How should we evaluate a drug that enhances the performance of healthy people?

Thanks to the meta-study, we have come a long way closer to the effects of Modafinil. However, many ethical questions remain unanswered: is it okay to take a pill that makes you smarter? (Apart from the fact that Modafinil is of course by no means officially approved.) Is it also okay to treat yourself before a test a small brain doping?

In any case, the results of the study show how important this debate is, said Guy Goodwin, President of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology : “Previous discussions on such remedies have always been based on exaggerated positive effects, even though they were not confirmed at all. The new data mean that this ethical debate has arrived in reality: how should we evaluate a means that enhances the human performance of even those who have no mental limitations? ”

Also on Reddit , people who have tried several such substances have until now disagreed as to whether these putative “smart” remedies work at all and point out, among other things, a study that does not appear in the meta- study , concluding: “Modafinil does not improve the overall cognitive performance of healthy, non-sleepy students, except in modest activities.” Modafinil is easily available on

It seems that the last word in modafinil is far from being spoken. Only one thing is certain: nootropics are already among us.