It’s that time of year again. College students are returning to campus for the start of the fall semester. Well, some are. Many students are learning from home this year. And now more than ever, they’re using nootropics to help them study for exams, write papers, and keep up with the demands of academia.
If you’re a college student and you’re interested in nootropics, this article is for you. We’re going to discuss whether it’s a good idea or not to take nootropics in college and then look at the best nootropics for college students. But first, let’s see why nootropics are so popular with college students.
Why do college students use nootropics?
For anyone who has experience with nootropics, the answer to this question is obvious. People who have been using nootropics for a while know that they can improve memory and mood, increase focus and motivation, and decrease anxiety.
But for anyone who is new to the wonderful world of nootropics, they might be unsure of what smart drugs have to offer. People are often skeptical when they hear that there are drugs that can improve cognitive performance without any serious side effects.
I’ll be honest: I was skeptical at first, too. When I first learned about nootropics several years ago, I found it hard to believe that there were substances that could have a noticeable effect on cognition without any side effects. But, once I started to experiment with different nootropics, all my doubts were removed.
To learn more about the reasons people use nootropics, check out this post: Why Use Nootropics?
Here are some of the reasons why college students use nootropics:
- Improved memory
- Increased focus
- Improved mood
- Reduced anxiety
- Increased motivation
- More effective studying
- Pulling all-nighters/Staying up late to do schoolwork
- Increased sociability
- Improved overall cognitive performance
Nootropics can do all of these things and more. Whether you’re cramming for an exam or pulling an all-nighter to finish a research paper, there are nootropics that can help.
But, is it a good idea for college students to take nootropics? Let’s explore that question now.
Should college students use nootropics?
For some reason, performance enhancement is usually frowned upon in American society. Many Americans think that it’s fine to use drugs to treat medical conditions but not to improve performance.
For example, it’s okay to take testosterone if you have a deficiency, but not okay to use it to improve sports performance. Or, it’s okay to take drugs if you’re depressed and want to feel better (antidepressants), but it’s not okay for healthy people to take drugs to feel better than normal (weed, mushrooms, LSD, etc).
Yet, in spite of popular opinion, millions of Americans (and others around the world) use performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). It should come as no surprise that almost all the leaders in business, government, sports, and other industries use PEDs.
Whether or not you feel it’s right or wrong is up to you. But, if you here reading this, you’re obviously at least considering taking nootropics. So the real question is, should you use nootropics?
Only you can answer that. There is no reason to believe that nootropics would have any kind of negative effect on college students that it wouldn’t have on older adults. While I wouldn’t recommend taking them if you’re under the age of eighteen, I don’t see any special risk for taking nootropics in college.
If you decide that nootropics are right for you, there are several that can help you succeed in college. Let’s take a look at some of the most-popular smart drugs now.
Nootropics for college students
One of the most-popular and most-effective nootropics available today is modafinil. It’s used by college students all over the country (and world) for its ability to improve cognitive functioning.
Modafinil is classified as a eugeroic – a wakefulness-promoting agent. In several countries, it’s a prescription drug used to treat narcolepsy (excessive daytime sleepiness), sleep apnea, shift work sleep disorder, and other conditions.
Nootropic users have been using modafinil for years for not only its ability to increase wakefulness but also for its focus and motivation-enhancing effects. Users often report being more productive, being able to work longer hours, and have more focus and energy.
College students especially like using modafinil to help them pull all-nighters. Because it is a wakefulness-promoting substance, modafinil can help you keep your eyes open and your mind sharp all night long.
A very-similar drug, armodafinil, has also been getting popular with college students. It works just like modafinil but the effects last longer and, milligram for milligram, armodafinil is a little bit stronger.
Common dosages for modafinil range from 100 mg to up to 400 mg. Most users experience its benefits with between 1-200 mg. Armodafinil, on the other hand, is usually taken in a dosage ranging from 150 mg to 300 mg.
Caffeine & L-Theanine
It’s no secret that college students love caffeine. It’s no secret that people in general love caffeine. Millions of Americans use caffeine every day to help them stay awake, be productive, and fulfill all their responsibilities.
Caffeine and l-theanine together is a simple yet effective nootropic stack that is popular with college students. It provides all the benefits of caffeine but without the jitters, crash, and other side effects that often come with caffeine use.
The nootropic benefits of caffeine are well known: increased wakefulness, improved mood, more energy, better focus, etc. That’s why so many people drink coffee, energy drinks, and other caffeine-infused beverages. But what does l-theanine add to the mix?
L-theanine is a non-essential amino acid that is naturally found in green tea. When taken in high-enough doses, it can decrease anxiety and promote a sense of calmness. And when taken with caffeine, it can reduce or even eliminate many of caffeine’s side effects.
People who use caffeine and l-theanine report a calm sense of focus with no jitters or crash a few hours later. It is commonly used at a 2:1 ratio of l-theanine to caffeine. So, a typical starting dose would be 200 mg of l-theanine and 100 mg of caffeine. For me, I find that 400 mg of l-theanine and 200 mg of caffeine is the perfect dose.
This isn’t a single substance but an entire class of smart drugs. The racetams are all chemically similar but have different effects. Here are some of the more-common racetams being used by college students:
Aniracetam – This racetam is popular with people who suffer from anxiety. Aniracetam is known to increase focus and memory while decreasing anxiety.
Oxiracetam – This racetam is popular for the exact opposite reason as aniracetam. Oxiracetam is known to improve memory and increase focus without having any effect on mood or anxiety levels.
Phenylpiracetam – This one is very popular with college students. Some people even find phenylpiracetam to be as effective as the prescription drug Adderall.
Fasoracetam – Like aniracetam, this one has both focus-enhancing and anxiety-reducing effects. Many users find that fasoracetam reduces anxiety even better than aniracetam.
These are five of the most popular racetams, but there are others.
Rhodiola (and other adaptogens)
The last nootropic for college students we’re going to mention is rhodiola rosea. It’s in a class of nootropics called adaptogens. These are substances that help the body to normalize, correcting any imbalances it may have.
Rhodiola and other adaptogens can have a wide variety of benefits. Some common effects that people report include improved mood, decreased anxiety, increased focus, improved memory, and enhanced learning.
Unlike modafinil, caffeine and l-theanine, and the racetams, rhodiola and other adaptogens generally don’t start working right away. While some of their effects may be felt after the first dose, most won’t become noticeable until after a couple weeks of taking them.
For this reason, rhodiola and other adaptogens aren’t used for all-nighters or studying marathons. They’re used to improve cognitive performance over a longer period of time.
Other popular nootropic adaptogens include ashwagandha, bacopa monnieri, and mucuna pruriens. They are all plants that grow naturally in different parts of the world. Each of them provides different nootropic benefits.
Rhodiola is usually taken in a dosage of anywhere from 300-800 mg a day. Studies show that it’s safe to take over a gram (1,000 mg) a day for long periods of time. You can learn more about rhodiola here: The Benefits of Rhodiola Rosea.