The 5 Best Study Supplements & How To Stay Safe

What are the top 5 best study drugs on the market?

When it comes to nootropic supplements, or “smart drugs,” there are so many on the market that it can be overwhelming. While different people will have different preferences, here’s a breakdown of some of the best, what makes them popular and how to stay safe.


Adrafinil (Olmifon), is one of the best “smart drugs” for enhancing cognitive ability and staying motivated. It’s a top pick for students because it keeps you alert through long study sessions without the jittery feeling of caffeine or other stimulants.

“It doesn’t give me that ‘bionic’ sort of hyperfocus that the amphetamines do, but it does give me a boost in focus and awakeness that is more effective than caffeine, which is often all I need.” (Erowid Experience Vaults

Adrafinil users report a wide array of “feel-good” moods and other benefits like increased energy for social engagement (“chattiness”) and improved sleep.

In most countries today, adrafinil is not a prescription drug nor is its manufacture restricted. It has not been officially recognized by regulatory bodies like the UK FDA, the US FDA and Health Canada. In such countries, the general guideline is that it’s legal for people to purchase a 3-month supply for personal or research purposes.

Take 100 mg with ice or water, then move to 200 mg, but no more than 300 mg, in the morning. Don’t take more than 3x / wk.


If you’ve ever taken ADHD drugs like Ritalin or Adderall, you probably would have a good idea of the type of feeling that phenylpiracetam offers. The drug was originally developed about 30 years ago in Russia to help soldiers stay focused during long periods of mental and physical stress—and it worked.

This really is the preferred choice for students and business people who work long hours.

If you’re trying this one for the first time, you really want to take it easy, as it reportedly can be one of the more intense nootropics out there. It will give you more focus and energy, as well as an effective productivity hack—basically if you take it in the right doses, you’ll get shit done.

Note that, fairly recently, racetams were banned on Amazon, and it remains a bit of a grey area supplement in North America, the UK and Australia. You can find it on Nootropics websites.

mg with food twice a day. Try upping your dose by 100mg at a time and do not exceed 700 mg.


When it comes to memory retention and mental clarity, Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALCLAR) has been known as a top performer for almost 20 years. It’s also an antioxidant, which means it fights cell death by clearing out free radicals.

ALCAR is legal in most western countries but restricted in Canada. To order it online, visit Peak Nootropics or Canadian Protein.

Start with the low end of the recommended dosage of 500 mg – 1000 mg and take it with food 1-3 times daily. Take up to 500 mg 2-3 times per day on an empty stomach. Take only occasionally.

L-THEANINE (+ caffeine)

The combination of L-Theanine and caffeine is a classic nootropics “stack” long known as a solid performer for reducing anxiety and boosting mental performance.

It turns out that L-Theanine, a natural ingredient in tea, does this really cool thing to your brain: it stimulates alpha brainwaves. If you have ever meditated, you probably know that feeling of calm alertness that you have at the end when it’s done—that’s the alpha brainwaves.

People who use this stack report a smooth and lucid high, where the calming element of Theanine complements that of caffeine—you are focused and alert, but without the jitters or crash of coffee.

(For more, check out some reports on this Reddit thread.)

Recommended dose: 90 mg caffeine and 200 mg of L-Theanine.


Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine dimesylate), is a prescription drug used to treat ADHD in children and adults. It is known to be less addictive and longer lasting than its counterpart, the popular ADHD drug Adderall. Vyvanse lasts for up to 14 hours, and is more of a stretched out, gradual “high” than Adderall, so it’s a great occasional option for focusing during all-night study sessions.

study on Vyvanse showed that it was effective for 14 hours “In a work-place-like setting,” suggesting that it could be useful in preventing fatigue for those who need to prevent fatigue.

report long-lasting focus and productivity. One Reddit user says they get “2-3 times the amount of work” done after using Vyvanse than they would in a normal day.

Vyvanse is prescription only. It’s important to note that, while it’s made up of D-amphetamine salts, it’s generally less addictive than other amphetamines.

Sometimes people taking a lot of phenylpiracetam have a fast tolerance buildup. This is one of the nootropics that you should not be taking daily.

Recommended dose: Vyvanse pills come in 30g, 50g, and 70g doses and should be taken only once a day in the morning.

What about side effects?

Most of these drugs are safe when taken in recommended doses. However, any nootropic has the potential to be addictive or have other unexpected side effects. Do not take any nootropics if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or have other ongoing health problems such as liver, heart or circulatory problems, high blood pressure or mood disorders. Check with your doctor before taking this if you are on antidepressants or other prescription medications.

10 Tips for first Time Users of Study Drugs: Stay safe, be smart!

Even though these products have been studied and are mainly safe, some of them are still relatively new, and more research is needed about longer-term effects. When you take them, always go slow and stay low! It doesn’t matter if it’s and natural supplement, a different type of stack, or something that’s prescription-based…everyone’s body has the potential to react differently to different substances.

Here’s how to stay safe and get the most bang for your buck:

1. Start with the minimum recommended amount, and wait for it to wear off before you take more. Make note of the onset time and the time it wears off. Do it when you’re not doing anything (e.g.: studying for a big test) but maybe while you are doing something mellow but productive (like housework) to test and see if it helps your focus or not. Different drugs effect people in different ways, so no matter what the reviews say, it’s important to see how they react with your personal chemistry.

2. Nootropics (“smart drugs”) specifically work on your brain, so many of them can interfere with prescription drugs like SSRIs or other prescription medications that are meant to manage psychological problems. Don’t combine anything like this before running it by a doctor. If you are trying out nootropics stacks, stick to the dosage range of the stack recommendation, not the individual recommended dosage of each supplement.

3. Observe what is happening in your body during the time that it is supposed to be affecting you. Do not take another dose if you feel any unpleasant effects (this may seem obvious, but sometimes people push it in the hopes of “chasing” a better high, even if they aren’t feeling too much or that good at first).

4. If you are trying a new drug of any kind, find a friend that you trust exactly what you are doing and when you are doing it. If they are not with you, get them to check in with you a few hours later.

5. Set out a plan according to your natural energy levels in advance. For instance, if you are settling in for a long study session, ensure that you are well-rested and focused. If you take these study drugs when you are already tired and stressed out, they can just make it worse.

6. Notice if you are building a tolerance and take a break. Understand how to enjoy the high as a temporary thing, rather than chasing more.

7. Drink lots of water!

8. Stay positive. You want to be productive while staying in a clear mood. If you take too much you can crash, which can lead to major depression.

9. Set out a specific dose ahead of time and commit yourself to sticking with that dose only.

10. If you take too much of anything, the benefits of the drug can work in reverse, if not worse. So even if you take more than you should of something and you don’t feel horrible, you might still end up having your focus impaired—which could be awful if you are trying to study for a test. This is why you should always do a trial run of your preferred study drug before pulling an all-nighter for that big test or assignment!

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