Modafinil: Part of a balanced breakfast

by Frost on July 22, 2013

I’m so, so excited to tell you guys about Modafinil. How excited? This excited:

jesse

Honestly Jesse Spano, chill out and have another wake-up. As a former teen star who hasn’t worked in over a decade, I doubt caffeine is the worst of your drug problems right out. But enough about you, we’re here to talk about Modafinil.

Modafinil is a eugeroic drug that promotes alertness and improved focus. Depending on who you ask, it may turn you into jedi genius, or it may make your skin burst into flames. I’ve been experimenting with it for a month now and I’m ready to pronounce my verdict:

Modafinil is not as magical as some have written, but it is still pretty fucking fantastic.

In my experience, one 200 mg dose gives me twelve straight hours of phenomenal state, focus and mental clarity. Think of how you feel when you’ve had a great night’s sleep, you’ve been eating clean and training hard, juicing regularly, and you’re invested in your work. Modafinil is a pill that unlocks that productive potential for a full day. It’s quite similar to a high dose of Theanine + Caffeine except it lasts six times as long.

So in case I’m not being clear: Modafinil is awesome. I love it. Schedule an appointment with your doctor today, to find out if Modafinil is right for you, etc.

But all that said I think some people have overhyped Modafinil just a bit. My experience certainly doesn’t match that of Dave Asprey and his friends, for example:

The next week, as I expected, I had some excited phone calls.

  • In one night, the TV producer finished a proposal for the Dalai Lama Foundation that had been evading completion for months, and believes the proposal is far better than it would have otherwise been.

  • The AI expert said he was able to make new connections he hadn’t made before and suggested Modafinil should be widely available.

  • The author powered through his writer’s block and made more progress on his current book than he had in months.

  • My hypnotherapist friend felt she had huge breakthroughs in cognitive performance and made new connections in her mind on a new hypnotherapy technique she is perfecting.

Sorry Dave, I’m still not buying your magic coffee.

But Victor Pride and Sebastien Marshall also report results that feel a bit stronger than what I experienced, so maybe I just suck and my body doesn’t react as extremely to Modafinil as others. I’ve also read a few accounts of users who experienced nothing. My conclusion is that there’s significant variability of individual responses to Modafinil.

For what it’s worth, I’ll break down the pros and cons of my reaction:

Positives

Better focus and concentration

Hours of productive work go by without the slightest urge to text girls, dick around on the internet, or talk to coworkers. On a Modafinil day, there’s just no such thing as “wasted time.”

Clarity of Purpose

Whatever I’m working on, the next action is always clear and in the fore of my mind. It’s not that I’m better at figuring out what the next step is. Modafinil is like a little troll that sits on your shoulder and whispers in your ear, “OK, now what? at regular intervals. This is a good thing.

Cuts the need for sleep

My favourite effect. On a good day with a proper night’s sleep, Modafinil is a nice boost that puts a little spring in my step. It cranks me up from a 10 to an 11.

But Modafinil really shines when I’m hung over and sleep deprived. As I’ve cruised up into my late twenties, it has broken my heart that I can no longer function on a sleep debt. Once upon a time, I could drink and fuck until 7am, pop on over to the campus gym for a workout, spend the next ten hours grinding through problem sets, and then do it all over again. These days, not so much.

With Modafinil, I can stay up as late as I want partying and/or punching through last-minute resistance, then wake up and have a productive day. My 21-year old self would be proud.

Loss of appetite

Possibly a negative if you’re struggling to put on weight, but Modafinil is a powerful appetite suppressant. It’s not that you can’t eat – you just don’t need to. I always line up my weekly Intermittent Fasting Day with a Modafinil.

Better workouts

It’s not a huge and dramatic effect, but Modafinil workouts tend to be a bit longer and more intense. I’m currently on Stronglifts + a bunch of flexibility/posterior chain strengthening, and Modafinil keeps me focused and pushing through a lot more mobility work at the end of my sessions.

Negatives

Little or no increase in IQ or creativity

Life isn’t a movie and Modafinil is not NZT. I am more focused and more productive on Modafinil, but I don’t feel truly smarter or more creative.

Jitters

I tried two pills one day, for science. Conclusion: 200 mg (one pill) is a great dose for a solid day’s work. 400 mg turned me into a tweaking mess. Jitters, shortness of breath, mild paranoia, and worst of all – barely any quality work done in a full day’s effort. It’s not something I’ll do again.

Even with a regular dose, I occasionally feel a little more ‘on edge’ than usual. Fortunately relaxation is never more than a Theanine capsule away.

Impatience

I wouldn’t call this a totally negative effect, but Modafinil reduces my already-limited tolerance for useless conversations. I try to avoid Modafinil on days when I’m spending significant time in meetings.

Addiction

Modafinil is not addictive. However, Modafinil is pretty fucking awesome. Is it a negative side effect when something is great and that makes it hard to stop using it? Some say yes. And I suppose it will suck to go back to normal (periodically) after getting used to life with Modafinil, but by this logic you should also avoid eating good food, banging hot girls, etc.

It’s a free lunch

Modafinil appears to offer major benefits with zero negative side effects.

But I’m always skeptical of free lunches so I’m sticking to a cautious protocol: No more than 600mg/week, and a full month off after a maximum of three months on. Modafinil appears to be perfectly safe, but at the end of the day we don’t even fully understand how it works, let alone what its long-term effects at high and consistent doses might be.

I’ve done my research and concluded that the risks are worth the rewards. But hey, I’m just some ass with a blog. This Gwern fella has put together a compendium of everything there is to know about the stuff. Do your own research, make your own choice. If that’s too much to ask, you’re probably not smart enough for medication to make much of a difference in your life anyway. Pouring high-octane gas on a tricycle doesn’t make it go faster.

* * *

So where can you get this stuff?

Modafinil is not hard to obtain. Many doctors who are not prissy close-minded fairies will prescribe it to you without much trouble. It’s usually prescribed for narcolepsy and shift-work sleep disorder. Do you occasionally work late and then feel tired the next day? Sounds like a case of SWSD to me.

Once you have a prescription, there are a variety of online pharmacies where you can get generic Modafinil for quite a bit cheaper than what you’ll find in your neighbourhood pharmacy. I am not affiliated with www.medsforbitcoin.com, but it seems to be the best option out there, especially for Canadians.

* * *

So there you have it, friends: The latest chapter in my mission to optimize my cognitive function by any non-lethal means necessary. The Racetam family, as seen On Chaos and Pain and Nexxt Level Up, will be coming up next.

Until then, dear reader: Have you tried Modafinil? How do your experiences compare to mine? What other cool and dangerous drugs should I be carelessly experimenting with?

  • http://yousowould.wordpress.com YouSoWould

    Interesting – you seem to generally get a lot more out of nootropics than I do. The theanine just made me zone out into a weird socially detached state, which wasn’t entirely pleasant.

    I had a run on Modafinil about 9 months ago, and got my colleague at work into it at the same time. A whole tablet gave me an amphetamine-like rush – I literally felt like I was coming up off pills. Slight shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, eupohoria, and the concentration span of a magpie with alzheimers. It was fun, but wasn’t exactly conducive to getting any work done.

    Half a tablet produced slightly more manageable effects. I definitely got the impatience – I would routinely fire off responses to emails within a nanosecond of them arriving, and then realise I hadn’t read them properly and had said something completely incorrect. We could tell when each other had taken it, since we both talked twice as quickly and got the “modafinil eyes” – very wide open and staring. We ended up calling them daffodils, since Modafinil is a mouthful to pronounce.

    The effects levelled off after a few days, and in the end just started making me feel sketchy and broke up my sleep. I’ve found that a really good night’s rest is just as effective for helping me concentrate. Sleep is the ultimate nootropic for me, hence my obsession with optimising it.

    I messed around with taking them whilst I was getting drunk too – it was quite a fun combo. Nuvigil are also available, which are double the strength of the daffodils.

    Have you been following that Nootropics Hacks blog? There’s been some really interesting stuff on there.

    • Frost

      Theanine is best paired with a stimulant, i.e caffeine or Modafinil

      Sounds like your experience with Mod was a bit more intense than mine, but maybe not as positive. I also find it has the potential to interfere with sleep, which is why I never take it past 8am. Taking it that early usually leads to a long productive day, then a great sleep.

      Funny you mention sleep as the ultimate nootropic, I had an epiphany just last week. I was walking to work, feeling incredible, and suddenly I realized: Here I am fucking around with all sorts of supps, drugs and habits to improve my cognition, but I’m still only getting 2-3 proper night’s sleep per week. My next Noot post will be on sleep optimization, blue light, melatonin, white noise, and any other sleep hacks I come across between now and next week. Any suggestions?

      • http://yousowould.wordpress.com YouSoWould

        Sleep is the single biggest determining factor in my mood, confidence and concentration levels for the day. I wrote up a couple of posts a while back about how I try to optimise it:

        http://yousowould.wordpress.com/2013/03/27/sleep-and-mood-an-update/

        There are a few more things I could add to that list that I’ve since discovered, I could do with updating it again. A couple that you’ve mentioned – white noise in the form of a fan, and eliminating blue light sources before bed time with programs like f.lux

        I also have found that being properly hydrated makes my sleep much better – if I don’t drink enough during the day, my sleep is light and broken. I’ve recently started drinking 1-2 gallons of water a day, and I sleep like a log.

  • http://www.pillscout.com Pill Scout

    Haven’t tried modafinil yet, but if this guy’s claims at selfhacked.com on curcumin (from turmeric) as a natural “modafinil substitute” are true, I’d rather have that.

    http://selfhacked.com/2013/06/14/how-to-get-the-benefits-of-modafinil-without-taking-it/

    The risk for SJS from modafinil is supposed to be very rare but that sliver of a chance that it could happen is always lingering in the back of my mind.

    • http://yousowould.wordpress.com YouSoWould

      That reminds me – it’s unwise to take yohimbine or rauwscoline (fat burners) at the same time as modafinil. They both raise blood pressure, and can combine in an unpleasant fashion.

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  • http://nexxtlevelup.com Nate

    Nice write up, very informative.

    On a side note, I’m surprised you’re doing Strong Lifts. That shits for newbs, and you’re no newb. I recommend checking out 5x3x1, West Side, or even Berkhan’s Reverse Pyramid. All of those are vastly superior, especially for someone who is past beginner level and knows what they’re doing.

    • Frost

      Agree that SL is not a good program for a serious trainer who knows their way around a gym but it’s ideal for me right now:

      1) I’m recovering from a few injuries and don’t want to get close to maxing anything out. Even with stronglifts I’m doing 5×8 rather than 5×5.

      2) Related to #1, more than half of my gym time is spent on mobility work and posterior chain isolation.

      3) I’m playing a few intense sports 3-4 nights a week.

      4) I’m drinking and staying out past my bed time 3-4 nights a week.

      So overall no time and energy for an intense, high-volume lifting program. SL is my attempt to avoid losing too much muscle while focusing on other stuff.

  • wargasm

    Did you notice any sexual side effects while using Modafinil? From what you wrote, it seems as though Modafinil has very similar effects to amphetamines, which had negative sexual side effects for me.

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  • Jason

    I have done the modafinil thing, and would only recommend it for short periods…. It started to screw with my ability to sleep, to the point of terrible insomnia. On consulting a doctor with experience with the drug I found out that this is normal… and going cold turkey off of it is not a good idea when you get to that point. He helped me to taper off of it over a months period.
    Got great results at first… just beware of the long term consequences… I would only recommend it for occasional use to work on a big project. The problem is, it ois just so damn tempting to use all the time like a cup of coffee…

  • Jeff

    I got a prescription last week, and I have to say it is very close to what youb experienced. I do get a lot more done, but at the end of the day, I am so freaking tired..! I will still need a good night of sleep, but next morning will feel great!

    For medsforbitcoin.. I asked him, and he actually does not shit to Canada.. He suggested to go through a reshipping company, but none of them allow for drugs to be shipped back.. I called.

    And please, do NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, BUY FROM EDANDMORE.

    Sorry for the caps.. But they shamelessly stole 220$ from me with bullshit excuses, crappy customer service and procedures, and they are still asking me to wire them my money (because my US money order was not good enough….?)

    So.. For canadians, is there anywhere online that we can get modafinil that is reliable?
    Thanks

    And good job for the post!

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  • PizzaSlut

    I had tried Modanifil yesterday, too 200mg at 9am and it kept me alert and awake all the way through to 3am. Was on top form in terms of focus, but found myself getting easily distracted. I did have the day off, so will be interesting to see how it affects me when I’m back in the office. Good post, look forward to hearing about your Racetam experience.

  • Buddy Orion

    I ordered some Modafinil a couple days ago, I had to have it shipped to a freight forwarding company in the UK which will send it to me here in Canada. If this shit is the bomb, I’m definitely going to try to get a prescription and avoid all this hassle.

  • http://modafinilorder.com Howard White

    For adults, the usual dose of Provigil is 200 milligrams, taken as a single dose in the morning.

    Modafinil is not to be taken by any individual who is under the age of 16.

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