Can you recall a time where Modafinil wasn’t the super-popular, universally lauded smart drug it is today?
It’s hard to imagine, as the drug has certainly made its waves and enjoys something akin to superstar status among nootropic enthusiasts for its many supposed benefits and relative lack of serious side effects, addiction, and benefits.
Regular users are in love with Modafinil, likening its effects to a burst of super-focused energy that allows them to hone in on even difficult tasks without mental wear and continue to work for hours on end, uninterrupted, and with high levels of productivity.
Sounds great, doesn’t it?
To the average nootropics fan, certainly. To various national governments across the globe, maybe.
While many countries recognize the clinical applications of Modafinil and allow citizens to obtain it with a prescription, there are some parts of the world where Modafinil is frowned upon, categorized no differently than cocaine.
In these places, the sale of Modafinil is severely limited, nigh-impossible to come by, and possessing even small amounts can lead to hefty jail sentences.
Where does China fall on this spectrum? Is it even possible to buy Modafinil in China?
Let’s take a look at some of the information across the web and see if we can reach a reasonable conclusion.
What is Modafinil, Anyway?
We should probably take some time to separate fact from fiction in this regard. Modafinil’s reputation has lead to what some might charitably term, “exaggerated claims” about its efficacy.
For starters, you should know that Modafinil is what is known as a eugeroic drug, meaning that it promotes wakefulness in the people who take it.
As such, the drug is commonly prescribed to individuals with various sleep conditions, like narcolepsy, since they can stay awake during the hours that they need to, then fall asleep naturally at night and maintain a somewhat normal sleep schedule.
Modafinil is also prescribed to those suffering from certain forms of sleep apnea as well as shift work disorder.
The nootropic interest comes in the form of Modafinil’s secondary effects. It helps boost memory, improve reaction times, and generally make it easier to focus on and accomplish work that requires intense levels of dedication.
While Modafinil has not been approved for use for these reasons, nearly all modafinil users have plenty to say about the increase in focus, effectiveness, drive and mental acuity they experience when taking the drug.
In fact, Modafinil’s secondary effects have been so notable, that the drug is used by fighter pilots and astronauts so that they can maintain a high level of operation, even when operating on little or no sleep.
In fact, a double-blind placebo-based study found that “the effects of Modafinil in six helicopter pilots kept awake for two 40-hour periods; in one period they received three 200-mg doses of Modafinil, and in the other they received placebo.
Modafinil treatment kept flight simulation performance near the baseline, while flight simulation performance in the placebo condition was decreased by roughly 10%–20%.”
In other words, you become sleepy or sluggish, take some Modafinil, and the feelings of fatigue and tiredness are washed away, replaced with alertness and a willingness to work. A second wind, if you will.
This is without the complication of rebound hypersomnia, a phenomenon that commonly occurs when using stimulants like amphetamines, meaning that one could take Modafinil when experiencing sleepiness.
When the drug wears off, they can fall asleep normally without an abnormally high level of tiredness that would occur from the earlier period of missed sleep.
Got It. So How Does It Work?
There’s no single answer, as researchers have noted that Modafinil interacts with a great many functions within the human body.
For instance, it has some effect on the dopaminergic system, the same one that controls dopamine production and distribution.
This, researchers surmise, might be part of its alertness boosting capabilities.
The reactions it has with dopamine and other brain chemicals could have something to do with its propensity to motivate and stave off the urge to sleep.
There may yet be other ways in which Modafinil works that aren’t even known, as researchers continue to explore the drug’s various properties.
The main takeaways are that Modafinil is effective and reasonably predictable in how it works, and comes with fewer drawbacks than most other options, amphetamines in particular.
In spite of concerns from some agencies and regulatory bodies that the drug shouldn’t be used outside of its stated purposes, the off-label effects are also potent enough that an occasional supplementation is an option taken by many for the purposes of enhancing their performance.
As a result of these off-label effects, researchers are looking into the potential Modafinil has as a treatment for other issues.
In addition to the purported benefits of Modafinil as a “smart drug” it’s also being looked into as a treatment for cocaine and methamphetamine addiction.
The fact that there are trials that have used Modafinil to treat addiction speaks to its very limited potential to become an addictive substance itself.
Great, But Is It Legal?
There’s no one answer to this question, as the laws on Modafinil vary the world over. If we’re talking about someplace like the United States, the answer is yes, with some limits.
It’s a Schedule IV drug, meaning there are recognized medical uses and a low likelihood of abuse. Modafinil is available via prescription under the brand name Provigil.
Individuals with a prescription can buy the drug within the U.S., import certain quantities from abroad, or enter the States with limited amounts, provided they can show their medical need.
Without a prescription, obtaining the drug is more difficult, and imports could be seized as they don’t have the correct authorization.
In many countries in Central and South America, Modafinil is less restricted, not listed as a controlled substance, and can be purchased locally or imported from online dealers with relative ease.
In China, Modafinil is treated like stimulant-class drugs—amphetamines, methylphenidate, and the like.
The drug is tightly controlled, though there are reports of individuals with valid prescriptions being able to obtain it from physicians (only at hospitals, not local pharmacies) and from abroad.
Buying Modafinil in China
Obtaining Modafinil in China seems like an exceedingly difficult procedure.
Though some have claimed to be able to skirt the rules, forging authorizations to import the drug, or smuggling it from border regions where enforcement is somewhat lax, the consensus seems to be that Modafinil is under tight control and not readily sold at pharmacies in major Chinese cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzen.
You might be able to take a chance at importing it but would need to find an online retailer that is willing to ship to China.
Modafinil Star doesn’t ship to China (this vendor is not recommended anyway), and many other well-known online dealers follow a similar policy of avoiding sending their wares to countries where Modafinil is restricted.
According to some Reddit users, ModaDropship might be a viable option, and the prices and payment options seem fair to most.
There’s also the option of using a mail forwarding company in an attempt to bypass the restrictions on the drug in China. Again, that’s a risky proposition that should probably be avoided.
The other alternative is to look for substitutes for Modafinil. There are various Chinese equivalents that doctors might prescribe if you can show a medical need for them, or you might try searching out a compound that is nearly identical to Modafinil, barring some slight differences.
Could You Use Adrafinil as a Substitute?
Adrafinil is not regulated the same as Modafinil in many regions, leading to the belief that it might be an adequate alternative in places where Modafinil is tightly controlled.
There are a few Chinese suppliers of Adrafinil online, like Alibaba, so you might want to look there.
Adrafinil was created in the 1970s as a substitute for amphetamines and has many of the same qualities as Modafinil.
Like Modafinil, it can fight off the feelings of sleepiness, boost energy and motivation, and provide cognitive benefits along the lines of increased mental acuity and focus.
It went on sale in the 1980s under the brand name Olmifon and saw steady use until its discontinuation in 2011. It is still available from some sources, though one should note a few of the minor differences between this and Modafinil.
The main thing to remember is that Adrafinil doesn’t work as quickly as Modafinil since it has to be processed by the liver first.
Some experts have voiced concerns about potential liver damage, but others have stated this concern is overblown, and Adrafinil is about as safe as Tylenol in that regard (in other words, don’t overdo it and you should be alright).
Besides Adrafinil, there are several other options that are prescribed more liberally by doctors in China. If you’re looking for a drug similar to Modafinil that you’ll be able to obtain and take legally in China, your best bet is to speak with a qualified physician and ask for their recommendation.
That was, not only will you receive facts from a medical professional, but you can also ensure that you’ll be on the up and up when it comes to the regulations of China.
As for natural/nootropic alternatives to Modafinil, I’ve had some success with Pitosolant and Fluorenol (as well as Adrafinil). Stacks like Qualia are also amazing, and quite healthy in the long term.
Here’s what we know. Modafinil is a potent wakefulness promoting drug that is used by narcoleptics and individuals with other conditions that cause excessive sleepiness to help stay awake.
It’s secondary effects, things like memory enhancement and increased alertness, have made it a drug of choice among nootropics users looking for brain supplementation.
The drug is highly effective as a stimulant, and for many users beats out options like amphetamines because of the lower possibility for addiction and abuse, and the decreased level of reported side effects.
It is available in many countries across the globe, but in places like China, it is tightly regulated and, for some, almost impossible to obtain.
Because of this, you might want to look at alternatives to Modafinil, of which Adrafinil is a promising option.
Consider your choices and continue to do your reading. We wish you the best of luck no matter which route you decide to take.