What is Modafinil? The Truth Behind “The CEO Drug”

Estimated Read Time: 8-9 Minutes

Modafinil – The Truth Behind The CEO Drug

The Facts

Modafinil, a drug marketed almost as a “safe” alternative to Adderall, may have a series of side effects that greatly outweigh the benefits it describes. The drug has a mechanism of action similar to a CNS stimulant, and has even been claimed to have neuroprotective effects. Although it is less addictive than similar stimulant medications in that it targets a different area of the brain, and doesn’t carry with it the almost godlike euphoria amphetamines do,  it still can have terrifying side effects, enough to stray any casual user away from the drug.  What Modafinil does do however, is keep one awake, alert, and focused throughout the day without actually feeling stimulated, and unlike a true CNS stimulant, one usually won’t feel the effects of Modafinil until a mentally strenuous task is worked on. Modafinil, sometimes also labeled by its other names Provigil, Modalert, Modavigil and Vigicer, can cause  headache, dry mouth, nausea, anxiety and insomnia. The CEO Drug

More about Modafinil

Because of the high level of controversy over this performance enhancing drug, and of its significant cognitive enhancing effects, my position on the drug’s use for recreational and academic purposes is strictly neutral, and that it is an extremely beneficial alternative to using amphetamine like medications, without the rebound or withdrawal effects afterwards. Modafinil uses the same mechanism of action as Ritalin, but to a much lesser extent, thus not producing a type of euphoria. It blocks the dopamine reuptake transporter (the one that gets rid of excess dopamine, and allows it to circulate properly in a general sense), and allows more dopamine to build up, causing its main effects.

Increased wakefulness
Increased concentration
Temporarily increased working memory
Not as harsh of a rebound or withdrawal effect like in amphetamine
Low potential for abuse
Beneficial in all nighters
Beneficial in helping cognitive impairment from chemotherapy
Some evidence of being neuroprotective in rats

Insomnia, nausea, DA receptor downregulation in a long term use.
Inhibits natural circadian rhythm.
Possibility of Psychosis from lack of sleep

As you can see the pros greatly outweigh the cons while using Modafinil. I am not advocating the use of the drug for cognitive enhancement purposes, however if you’re going to use Adderall anyways, Modafinil poses a significantly safer alternative. Like with any drug or supplement however, if used, do so sparingly, as tolerance tends to build especially fast with any kind of stimulant drug.

Use in the Military

Commonly called “Go Pills” in the military. What used to be dextroamphetamine (dexedrine), has now
been replaced with the much less addictive, and much more effective over the long term, Modafinil. Used to keep pilots awake on long missions, and to aid in all nighters, Modafinil poses a significant alternative, and helps push the military to their furthest potential.

Use for treatment of Cocaine/Methamphetamine Addiction

Modafinil has an interesting effect, and has actually been used to help with the treatment of cocaine and methamphetamine addiction. Because it acts on the same receptors as cocaine and methamphetamine, it greatly reduced cravings and withdrawal symptoms, and is effective for use in PAWS, to help aid the recovery process along. Using one drug to overcome addiction to another is not the most effective way to recover, but it is an alternative worth looking into.

Safer and more effective (long term and short term) alternatives

Although Modafinil carries with it significant benefits, more effective, as well as safer alternatives are in existence. For short term, Phenylpiracetam provides a small amount of euphoria, and does not come with the insomnia and possible psychosis that heavy usage of modafinil can bring on. As a nootropic, it is a much safer, more effective, and less risky alternative. (See home page for further details.)
Final thoughts
As the number of people on cognitive enhancers increases, Modafinil comes in as one of the safer drugs in comparison to the usual ADHD stimulant medication abuse. While there are other alternatives out there, and nootropics can pose significantly better effects in the long run, I give Modafinil props for its less than addictive nature. So (although I strongly advise against this accept on rare occasions) if you’re using Adderall to study for tests currently, why not give Modafinil a shot!

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