Can you snort modafinil? Nootropics researchers may be curious about this, because snorting as a method of administration generally offers a quicker onset of effects.
However, the answer is a resounding NO.
This article will review why modafinil should not be snorted.
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What Is Modafinil?
Modafinil is a wakefulness agent first developed in France and owned by Cephalon Labs. It is FDA-approved to promote alertness in people with sleep apnea, narcolepsy and shift work sleep disorder .
This is because modafinil also provides a number of other cognition-enhancing effects, in addition to promoting alertness and wakefulness. It may improve focus, attentiveness, decision-making skills, and task performance [4, 5].
For this reason, modafinil is also widely considered one of the best nootropic “smart drugs.”
Modafinil Side Effects and Safety?
The most commonly reported side effects of modafinil from nootropics researchers include insomnia, loss of appetite and headache.
To alleviate insomnia, it’s important to take modafinil early in the day. This will provide the lasting alertness and wakefulness needed to be productive, and — with modafinil’s 12-15 hour half-life, most of the effects of the agent will have worn off when it’s time to go to sleep .
Additionally, many subjects report that the cause of the appetite loss seemed to stem from focus enhancements that kept them so wrapped up in the task at hand that they forgot to eat.
Finally, many researchers say that drinking plenty of water helped alleviate headaches associated with modafinil.
Here is a more comprehensive list of potential side effects from the U.S. National Library of Medicine :
- difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- loss of appetite
- unusual tastes
- dry mouth
- excessive thirst
- tight muscles or difficulty moving
- back pain
- uncontrollable shaking of a part of your body
- burning, tingling, or numbness of the skin
- difficulty seeing or eye pain”
Additionally, they list the following severe side effects that warrant medical attention:
- peeling skin
- mouth sores
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
- swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
- chest pain
fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat
- frenzied, abnormally excited mood
- hallucinating (seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist)
- thinking about killing or harming yourself”
Modafinil may also interact with certain drugs, so it should be used with caution and physician approval in people with existing medical conditions or who are taking prescription medications.
Additionally, minors under the age of 18 and pregnant or breastfeeding women shouldn’t use modafinil unless it’s prescribed.
Finally, modafinil shouldn’t be mixed with other stimulants, depressants, alcohol, illicit drugs, or high doses of caffeine.
Drugs that are commonly snorted, like the illicit drug cocaine, are taken this way because it provides almost immediate effects — which, in general, is the singular benefit of this method of administration.
Here are several reasons why we don’t recommend snorting modafinil, even though it means subjects will need to wait longer to feel the effects.
Not developed for snorting
Modafinil is available in pill or sublingual tablet form (which is dissolved under the tongue), but mostly as a pill you swallow.
For this reason, it contains some fillers necessary to stabilize the drug in pill form. For this reason it shouldn’t be snorted.
Additionally, it would need to be crushed to a very fine powder before snorting — which would also reduce the convenience of such a method of administration.
Powder form unavailable
A powder form of modafinil used to be available from Sun Pharmaceuticals, but it’s no longer offered. In fact, none of the modafinil manufacturers that we’re aware of produce modafinil powder.
If it were meant to be snorted, a powder form would likely be available. However, this lack of availability for powder should speak volumes — considering the high demand for modafinil as a prescription drug and nootropic.
It’s also difficult to measure and administer a dose for snorting.
First, it requires a way to crush the pills into a consistently fine powder. It also requires a milligram scale for precise measurements. Finally, the subject must be able to snort the full dose.
There is a lot of room for error in these steps, which is why it’s much better to simply take a 100mg or 200mg pill. For smaller doses, a pill splitter can easily and precisely divide pills in two.
Modafinil is not soluble in water, meaning it won’t dissolve in water. This may make it extremely painful and uncomfortable to snort .
Powder forms of modafinil, if sourced, may not arrive. While small amounts of pills may discreetly make their way through customs and shipping, powders (particularly bulk purchases) will be under much more intense scrutiny and are more likely to be seized.
Finally, because no reputable manufacturers that we know of produce powder modafinil, subjects shouldn’t trust modafinil powder available online. It’s likely to be inauthentic or adulterated, and could potentially be unsafe.
All this is to say that no, modafinil should under no circumstances be snorted. For subjects who are concerned about the timing of effect onset, sublingual tablets are a better alternative. Otherwise, the safest and best option is to take modafinil pills as early in the day as possible to account for the waiting period before they take effect. This will provide the benefit of making it easier to go to sleep at night, since it’s more likely the drug will be out of the system by bedtime.
Can You Snort Modafinil? | Verdict
Modafinil is a potent wakefulness agent that also provides nootropic benefits.
However, it should not be snorted. This is because it was not developed for snorting, it’s not water soluble and there is no powder form available. However, even if a subject finds a so-called powder form of modafinil to purchase, there are shipping concerns, problems with attaining the proper dosage and the product is likely adulterated and potentially unsafe.
- Billiard M, Broughton R. Modafinil: its discovery, the early European and North American experience in the treatment of narcolepsy and idiopathic hypersomnia, and its subsequent use in other medical conditions. Sleep Med. 2018;49:69-72. doi:10.1016/j.sleep.2018.05.027
- Peñaloza RA, Sarkar U, Claman DM, Omachi TA. Trends in on-label and off-label modafinil use in a nationally representative sample. JAMA Intern Med. 2013;173(8):704-706. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.2807
- Anderson AL, Reid MS, Li SH, et al. Modafinil for the treatment of cocaine dependence. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2009;104(1-2):133-139. doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2009.04.015
- Minzenberg MJ, Carter CS. Modafinil: a review of neurochemical actions and effects on cognition. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2008;33(7):1477-1502.
- Battleday RM, Brem AK. Modafinil for cognitive neuroenhancement in healthy non-sleep-deprived subjects: A systematic review. Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2015;25(11):1865-1881. doi:10.1016/j.euroneuro.2015.07.028
- Robertson P Jr, Hellriegel ET. Clinical pharmacokinetic profile of modafinil. Clin Pharmacokinet. 2003;42(2):123-137. doi:10.2165/00003088-200342020-00002
- U.S. National Library of Medicine. Modafinil. MedLine Plus website. Updated February 2, 2016. https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a602016.html
- National Center for Biotechnology Information. PubChem Compound Summary for CID 4236, Modafinil. https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Modafinil. Accessed Nov. 12, 2021.