The Best Nootropics and Smart Drugs That Actually Work

Tomas Thorne

Last Updated: February 18, 2023

Best Nootropics

Curious where to find the best nootropics and smart drugs on planet Earth?

Then you’re in the perfect place. In this detailed guide, we’ll reveal our own list of the absolute best smart drugs for anyone and everyone in 2023.

We use nootropics when we want to boost cognition, memory, and productivity — or maybe crush social anxiety and/or depression. Below you’ll find out exactly how we get the ‘edge’ we need to succeed.

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Recently, nootropics and smart drugs have become all the rage. Everyone from Tennessee to Timbuktu is talking about “biohacking” and how to improve your life by simply popping a pill — or three.

It’s damn near impossible to find an entrepreneur, CEO, grad student, or startup founder who hasn’t tested the murky waters of mental performance enhancement.

And don’t even get us started with the nootropic use and abuse on Wall Street!

However, there’s a small issue that’s popped up…

Namely, the average individual is clueless about which nootropics and smart drugs actually work — and which products are a waste of money.

Luckily, you’ll find everything you need to succeed about the best nootropics below.

Disclaimer: The contents of are for informational and educational purposes only. We do not provide legal advice. Likewise, we do not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult your physician prior to consuming Modafinil or related nootropics. Your access to is subject to our full Disclaimer and Terms of Use.

What Are Nootropics?

Before we dive deep into our review of the absolute best nootropics in 2022, we need to talk a little bit about what smart drugs are, and why they’ve gained so much popularity.

So… what are nootropics?

Well, nootropics and/or smart drugs are basically pills or powders used to enhance cognition for a brief amount of time. Think of them as ‘steroids for the mind’ in many ways.

But for a more technical definition of what a nootropic is, let’s take a look at what Wikipedia has to say:

Nootropics, also known as smart drugs and cognitive enhancers, are drugs, supplements, and other substances that may improve cognitive function, particularly executive functions, memory, creativity, or motivation, in healthy individuals [1].

While that might be a bit technical for some, let’s think about nootropics in layman’s terms. As such, when we’re talking about why people take smart drugs, it’s generally because of the impressive cognitive benefits like:

  • Increased focus for 5-15+ hours
  • Improved memory retention and recall
  • Enhanced overall motivation
  • Increased sense of mood, well-being, and positivity
  • Inability to feel fatigue
  • Enhanced creative output
  • Overall increased productivity

That’s just the tip of the iceberg, folks! There’s a myriad of uses and benefits to taking nootropics to improve mental performance in one way or another.

Essentially, you take a nootropic to increase your “intelligence” for a short time. This allows you to become more productive, get more things done, and think with a clarity rarely found on “normal” days.

The most common smart drug users are either students looking to get better grades, or professionals looking to make more money in some way, shape, or form.

Nootropics Best

Choosing the Best Nootropic For You…

While most of the best nootropics found below offer similar benefits, there are important differences between, say, Modafinil and Alpha Brain.

Likewise, most individuals would probably take Phenibut for different reasons than they’d take Vyvamind.

Before testing and using any of the nootropics listed below, we had clear goals and objectives in mind.

You’ll find our favorite smart drugs below — reviewed across a multitude of categories. Here’s a quick primer:

  • Top 2 Nootropics in 2023
  • Other Potent and Powerful Smart Drugs
  • Dirt-Cheap Nootropics That Work
  • Best “Social” Smart Drugs
  • More Over-the-Counter Nootropics
  • Beginner’s Nootropics and Smart Drugs

By breaking down our favorite and best nootropics in the world into these categories, we aim to show you how we go about finding the perfect product based on our goals.

Some people are looking for a little cognitive enhancement on the cheap. Maybe others just want the strongest smart drug on the market. Or hell, we know there are those who want to get rid of the social anxiety that’s crippling them in everyday situations.

Whatever it is…

We review the world’s best nootropic and smart drugs below.

The 11 Best Nootropics in 2023

1. Modafinil

Nootropics Best

There’s a reason we’ve listed Modafinil as our #1 RECOMMENDATION for those looking to learn about nootropics in 2023.


Because this is probably the most powerful smart drug on the market. The prevailing wisdom is that for any student, CEO, or online entrepreneur looking to achieve more — Modafinil is sure to help.

See, Modafinil offers cognitive and performance-enhancing benefits similar to those of Adderall, but without its potentially nasty side effects. This makes it a great alternative to Adderall.

While Modafinil is a prescription drug in certain countries, it’s generally fairly easy to get your hands on. Just order it online.

Without a doubt, Modafinil is the world’s most popular smart drug these days. That’s because the nootropic simply works, and offers insane cognitive benefits, including [2]:

  • 12-15+ hours of hyper-focus
  • Overall heightened cognition
  • Improved sense of well-being and mood
  • Enhanced memory recall and retention
  • Increased drive
  • High energy levels

There’s a reason everybody and they mama love this stuff…

Because Modafinil just works, y’all.

If you’re looking for the strongest nootropic in the world, this is the only smart drug you need to know about. It’s our in-house favorite.

Can’t say enough good stuff about this bad boy.

We’ll simply take one 200 mg Modafinil pill in the morning, and less than an hour later we’re focused and dialed in for the entire workday and more.

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2. Vyvamind

Nootropics Best

If you’re looking for the best natural over-the-counter nootropic, then start with Vyvamind.

This stuff is as potent and as powerful as any over-the-counter product on the market. No other pre-made natural nootropic stacks even come close.

Many, including pilots and surgeons, have been pleasantly surprised by the insane cognitive boost they get when taking this stuff. Oh, and it doesn’t require a prescription everywhere in the world.

While taking Vyvamind during our testing period, we experienced enhanced cognition and intense focus for 6-8+ hours straight – without any side effects.

In fact, most people find their mind is exceptionally enhanced when taking this smart drug.

It’s not Adderall or Modafinil. You won’t find 12-15+ hours of insanely enhanced cognition here, or a jittery buzz. So you can rest assured that there’s no risks with VyvaMind that come with other pre-made nootropic supplements.

With this over-the-counter nootropic, you can expect to feel “locked in” when you need it most, resulting in heightened cognitive output, and virtually zero side effects. This is thanks to the brain boosting Vyvamind ingredients that work synergistically to:

  • Increase memory recall and retention
  • Improve drive and motivation
  • Enhance your mood
  • Increase energy levels
  • Sharpen focus
  • Extra neuroprotection benefits

These impressive benefits have been proven in numerous research studies, like these [3, 4].

The truth is there’s even more to love about Vyvamind. In fact, there’s another specific reason we’ve included this smart drug as one of our top nootropics in 2022.


The impressive CREATIVE benefits.

Vyvamind offers traditional nootropic benefits like improved focus and heightened memory retention, but the smart drug does even more than just that.

It’s the ideal nootropic when you want to tap that creative side of yours and come up with new projects and ideas – whether it’s at work during the day, or when burning the midnight oil.

Vyvamind is certainly recommended.

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3. Armodafinil

Nootropics Best

Another exceptionally potent and powerful nootropic? Armodafinil.

Armodafinil is more than similar to Modafinil.

We look at it as something like Modafinil’s little cousin. Most users find that Armodafinil offers striking similarities to Modafinil. However, the effects of these two “smart drugs” are slightly different from each other.

First, we’ll take Armodafinil over Modafinil when we want to get a full night’s sleep. In other words, the nootropic is ideal as a potent smart drug that still allows us to maintain a normal sleep schedule.

While Adderall and Modafinil often have half-lives that last for 12-16+ hours, Armodafinil’s effects often wear off in 10-11+ hours (based on our experience and the latest clinical trials) [5]. Effectively, this allows us to take the smart drug in the early afternoon and still fall asleep before the next morning.

We also experience very few side effects with the product — which is a huge benefit.

Just insane focus, increased memory retention, improved mood, and so much more! We’ll sometimes even get two full days’ work done in one day when taking Armodafinil.

Again, definitely worth considering!

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4. Flmodafinil

Nootropics Best

This is a fun one…

Flmodafinil is one of the newer nootropics on the scene. Commonly known as Flmodafinil, Laudflumide, and/or CRL-40,940 — this research chemical is a derivative of Modafinil [6].

Being a Modafinil derivative, this means the compound is “derived” from the parent compound, yet there is some adaptation to improve the original.

Flmodafinil is essentially Modafinil with two fluoro-groups attached [7]. By attaching these fluoro-groups, Flmodafinil potentially has better bioavailability than Modafinil. Potentially…

Studies thus far have proven inconsistent.

After trying out Flmodafinil multiple times, we’ve found the nootropic to be exceptionally effective.

We found Modafinil-like effects, even at low doses. The side effects are minimal. The focus is intense.

If you’re looking to learn about a new alternative to Modafinil, we highly suggest you look into Flmodafinil. The stuff 100% works!

Just understand…

Flmodafinil is a research chemical, so it is intended for “test subjects” only. There have not been anywhere near the number of studies on Flmodafinil as there have been on Modafinil. So, proceed with due caution.

Get your hands on a great Flmodafinil now!

5. Qualia Mind

Nootropics Best

When talking about a potent and powerful over-the-counter nootropic, Qualia Mind more than fits the bill.

This stuff is incredibly powerful and just gets the job done. You can expect impressive cognitive benefits when taking this product, including:

  • Enhanced focus
  • Laser-like drive
  • No distractions, tunnel vision
  • Improved memory recall

The effects are impressive. In fact, it’s one of the best over-the-counter smart drugs we’ve tried. With 28 ingredients, the nootropic is comprehensive and powerful as can be [8].

Qualia Mind would be higher on this list just based on effect, but there’s an issue…

Qualia Mind is expensive.

The nootropic retails for $139 for a 30-servings bottle. That’s not cheap. You’re talking over $4.50 per serving, whereas we’re typically able to obtain Modafinil online for under a $1 buck per pill.

If money is no issue, this product is highly recommended. If you don’t want to spend that much cash, there are better options on this list.

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6. Gorilla Mind Rush

If we had to describe Gorilla Mind Rush in one word, it’d be…


Outside of Vyvamind, this is the only 100% legal smart drug in the world that can compete with Modafinil and Armodafinil head-to-head.

However, you might feel a little jittery with this product, too.

If you’re new to the wide world of smart drugs, it’s not a good idea to start with this one.

But if you’re looking for intense cognitive enhancement and insane focus, then Gorilla Mind Rush is worth a try. Just be prepared for intense mental clarity like you’d only feel on Modafinil.

Oh, and Gorilla Mind Rush is cheap too!

Some people absolutely love this nootropic. Others feel it’s overkill and prefer something like Gorilla Mind Smooth.

The name truly says it all here. This smart drug offers a rush of energy and focus. You can expect 8-9+ hours of focus and increased production with this bad boy.

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7. Neuro-Peak

Neuro-Peak is on this list for one reason, and one reason only:

It’s cheap.

Oh, and this smart drug actually works. We were surprised to sustain 6+ hours with great focus on Neuro-Peak.

We also found little to no side effects when taking this stuff.

If you’re looking for a cheap, beginner smart drug, then starting with Neuro-Peak is a great idea. It’s a great way to see how you respond to a beginner-friendly nootropics product, without breaking the bank.

This nootropic isn’t potent and powerful as some of the others on our list (like Modafinil). However, you can expect to feel more in-tuned and focused using Neuro-Peak, rather than simply drinking a cup of coffee.

Plus, Neuro-Peak is only $20 bucks!

That’s why we recommend this product for beginners to nootropics and smart drugs who are on a tight budget, but want to start exploring the limits of their cognitive potential…

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8. Phenibut

Nootropics Best

If you’re looking for a nootropic that’s absolutely ideal for social situations, then look no further! Phenibut is what you want and need to succeed.

Developed by Russian chemists for lord knows what reason, Phenibut is a different type of nootropic. Not designed to strictly help you focus and be more productive, Phenibut actually is an anti-anxiety nootropic that allows you to relax while in social situations.

Which means it also helps relax you in “social” money-making situations, like sales calls and business meetings.

When taking this social smart drug, you can expect benefits like [9]:

  • Decreased anxiety
  • Ability to relax, while still being alert
  • Overall improved sense of well-being and mood
  • Improved motor control and overall thinking ability
  • Insanely deep sleep at night

Oh, and Phenibut doesn’t make you tired. You’ll feel incredible energy when taking this stuff, but once you’re ready to fall asleep, it’ll be some of the best sleep of your life — that’s what happened to us, at least.

Phenibut is also known to aid individuals afflicted with PTSD.

But here’s how we like to look at this supplement as a nootropic; let’s say you’re:

  • Going on a date with a real cute girl and you’re nervous you won’t know what to say…Phenibut can help.
  • Having trouble closing sales calls because you’re so stressed out with your boss looking over your shoulder…Phenibut can help.
  • Need to crush a big business meeting that you’ve worked months for, but you’re feeling a lot of anxiety…Phenibut can help.
  • Looking to go party one night, but don’t want to drink a bunch of booze and have a hangover…Phenibut can help.

Phenibut does NOT replace other smart drugs on this list as our go-to nootropic when we want to dial in and get incredibly focused. We use Phenibut for different reasons.

But there’s no denying we consider it the best social smart drug on the planet!

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9. Performance Lab Mind + Stim

This nootropic stack is something new we’ve been testing out…

And the results have been solid!

Performance Lab Mind + Performance Lab Stim is an incredible pre-made daily nootropic stack. Here’s why:

Performance Mind Lab is a modern, yet basic premade nootropic designed for daily use. The product only contains four ingredients — offering a simple, yet potent product.

This caffeine-free smart drug contains:

  • Citicoline, 250 mg
  • Phosphatidylserine, 100 mg
  • L-Tyrosine, 250 mg
  • Maritime Pine Bark Extract, 75 mg

Most individuals find around 5-7+ hours of smooth focus and improved mood when taking this product alone. It’s a damn good nootropic by itself. However, the real benefits come when you stack Performance Lab Mind with:

Performance Lab Stim

Stim is a simple product. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that “stim” stands for stimulant. In other words, this nootropic is going to have some caffeine in it.

As such, Performance Lab Stim features:

  • Natural Caffeine, 50 mg
  • L-Theanine, 100 mg
  • L-Tyrosine, 250 mg

Again, a simple product designed to help you get the absolute most out of your caffeine intake each and every single day.

Yet the magic happens when you combine Mind + Stim. The products work synergistically to offer insane nootropic benefits. You’ll find energized, sharp cognitive enhancement designed for daily use.

If you’re looking for a nootropic stack that’s ideal for taking Monday through Friday, we find this to be the healthiest option that’s also insanely potent.

Overall, one of our new favorite nootropic stacks!

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10. Alpha Brain

Alpha Brain doesn’t get a lot of love from some nootropics experts. Many claim it’s overhyped. Some even claim it doesn’t work.

That’s simply not true.

Alpha Brain does work. And it works pretty damn well if you’re looking to enhance the mind for 3-6+ hours during the workday.

Is it as powerful as Modafinil? Hell no. Or even as strong as Vyvamind? Not even close.

But you can expect improved focus, energy, and increased productivity. Alpha Brain does work. It is one of the best nootropics for beginners in 2023.

The nootropic carries very few side effects — which is a huge benefit. Meaning you can take it in the morning, get your work done, and then enjoy the rest of your day without any issues.

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11. Adrafinil

Nootropics Best

While Vyvamind is our absolute favorite over-the-counter nootropic recommendation, there’s no denying Adrafinil gets the job done too!

Oh, and Adrafinil is a cheap smart drug too!

The nootropic is 100% fine to buy over-the-counter, yet you cannot find it on Amazon or at a local supplement shop. You’ll have to order it online.

The interesting thing about Adrafinil? The smart drug offers Modafinil-like effects because it actually converts to Modafinil once inside the body [10].

While the product offers impressive cognitive benefits, Adrafinil’s effects cannot compare to those of Modafinil because of the conversion process. Many will call Adrafinil a “light” version of Modafinil. You can generally expect 6-9+ hours of cognitive enhancement, improved focus, and more here.

It’s simply not as potent as Modafinil due to how the product is ingested and converted once in the body. You are likely to lose some of the cognitive enhancing powers during the conversion.


The nootropic still works damn well and is a great low-cost alternative to many other smart drugs these days.


Adrafinil is 100% legal and a solid Modafinil alternative

Smart Drugs for Beginners

Black Coffee

The world’s original “smart drug” is coffee. We’ve all tried it. Most of us love it. Caffeine is one hell of a drug. We won’t go too far into the cognitive benefits of coffee, but the stuff has been scientifically proven to enhance the mind [11].

If you need a little cognitive enhancement, just drink an extra cup of coffee or three today.

It’s legit that simple.

Coffee is a nootropic, and you already know it works. Is it the strongest smart drug on this list? Hell no! However, it’s easier to get your hands on than anything else, since you can find it anywhere on earth.

Even if a cup of coffee alone isn’t enough to get the job done for you, the good news is you can combine coffee with damn near any other nootropic on the planet for enhanced effects.

Nicotine Gum

While we certainly don’t recommend smoking cigarettes for the cognitive benefits, or at all, there’s no denying that nicotine is a potent nootropic and smart drug.

Chewing nicotine gum can provide unique cognitive benefits like [12]:

  • Improved attention span and focus
  • Enhanced working memory
  • Elevated fine motor skills
  • Overall better episodic memory functions

Nicotine is proven to enhance cognition overall. There’s a reason we see just about every newspaper journalist crushing cigarettes as a deadline fast approaches. The nicotine found in the cigarettes makes their jobs easier.

Luckily, these days we don’t have to smoke anything to get the potent cognitive benefits nicotine provides. Instead, nicotine gum offers all that — without the vast majority of health risks caused by smoking.

Individuals generally chew nicotine gum on days when they’re just drinking a couple coffees — not when taking something like Modafinil or Vyvamind. That’d be overkill.

Are Nootropics Safe?

Now that we’ve discussed everything you need to know about the premier nootropics and smart drugs available, let’s take a look at one more thing…

Are nootropics safe?

Many have questions about safety and side effects before jumping into the wide world of nootropics. That’s more than reasonable.

So, here’s the deal:

Every product listed above is perfectly safe, provided you’re using it responsibly.

We can honestly say that we tested each product on this list and have incorporated many of them in our smart drug stack.


Because we know these products offer insanely beneficial cognitive enhancement. More importantly, they’re products we can trust. Smart drugs with little to no side effects.

However, it’s important to note that every single one of us has different chemistry. We will all react differently to certain products.

So, if you start, it’s important to start small. Take a half dose of any nootropic you’re not familiar with to ensure you don’t see any negative side effects.

This should minimize the negative side effects found in any nootropic, which tend to be pretty rare these days.

Still, there are a few nootropic side effects to pay attention to, including [13]:

  • Headaches
  • Digestive issues and diarrhea
  • High blood pressure
  • Fast heart rate
  • Insomnia and sleep issues
  • Blurry vision
  • Addiction

Some of those may sound pretty bad, but fear not! Most nootropics users experience zero side effects. Blurry vision and addiction are certainly rare.

The most common side effects that nootropics users experience are headaches and stomach issues.

While rare, certain users do struggle with both of these minor side effects. However, these both can typically be avoided by staying hydrated when taking smart drugs.

Make sure to drink plenty of water or even Gatorade when taking smart drugs — not just coffee!

Oh, and if you’re having issues with headaches when taking nootropics, the absolute best thing you can do is supplement with Choline in the afternoon.

The Bottom Line

Whew! That was a whole lot of info about…

The best nootropics and smart drugs in 2023. Legit everything you need to know about which smart drugs work and how to use them responsibly to achieve your goals.

Hopefully this article did just that.

Cognitive enhancement awaits…

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  2. Gerrard, P., & Malcolm, R. (2007, June). Mechanisms of modafinil: A review of current research. Retrieved from
  3. Mori, K., Inatomi, S., Ouchi, K., Azumi, Y., & Tuchida, T. (2009, March). Improving effects of the mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) on mild cognitive impairment: a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Retrieved from
  4. Bryan, J. (2008, February). Psychological effects of dietary components of tea: caffeine and L-theanine. Retrieved from
  5. An Eight Week, Double-Blind Efficacy Study of Armodafinil Augmentation to Alleviate Fibromyalgia Fatigue – Full Text View. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  6. CRL-40,940. (2020, April 23). Retrieved from,940
  7. Cao, J., Prisinzano, T. E., Okunola, O. M., Kopajtic, T., Shook, M., Katz, J. L., & Newman, A. H. (2010, October 10). Structure-Activity Relationships at the Monoamine Transporters for a Novel Series of Modafinil (2-[(diphenylmethyl)sulfinyl]acetamide) Analogues. Retrieved from
  8. Qualia Mind. (2018, February 9). Retrieved from
  9. Phenibut: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Dosage, and Warning. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  10. (2019, September 18). Adrafinil Supplement – Health Benefits, Dosage, Side Effects. Retrieved from
  11. Shmerling, R. H. (2017, September 25). The latest scoop on the health benefits of coffee. Retrieved from
  12. Valentine, G., & Sofuoglu, M. (2018). Cognitive Effects of Nicotine: Recent Progress. Retrieved from
  13. Berry, Jennifer. “Nootropics: Types, Safety, and Risks of Smart Drugs.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, 18 Sept. 2019,

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