Modafinil and weed.
Who in their right mind came up with such a combination? The two seem to be polar opposites when you first look at them.
Weed is usually associated with lazy stoners who sleep in, eat voraciously, and don't do anything productive. Modafinil, on the other hand, is the ultimate nootropic for anybody who wants to feel like Edward Morra from the movie “Limitless” in real life.
But perhaps we’re being judgmental here…
Is it possible that weed and Modafinil together are an undiscovered dual-threat for enhanced productivity and creativity. Potentially to improve sleep quality too?
That’s why we wanted to craft this guide. To detail all the reasons we personally would — or wouldn’t — take Modafinil and marijuana together.
But before you start reading, please consider:
Despite the massive wave of cannabis legalization that’s sweeping our world, cannabis and THC-containing products are still illegal to possess and consume in a number of jurisdictions, whether for medical or recreational purposes. This article is written on the basis of our experience only, and is intended purely as entertainment. We strongly encourage you to check and follow all the cannabis-related laws of your jurisdiction before attempting to procure or consume marijuana or THC-containing products.
With that outta’ the way, let’s right dive in!
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What is Modafinil?
First, let's get the obvious question out of the way: Why is Modafinil so popular and how exactly does it work?
Modafinil is a prescription drug that is classified as Schedule IV by the Federal Drug Administration. Physicians will often use Modafinil to treat the following conditions:
- Sleep apnea
- Shift worker sleep disorder
We still cannot pinpoint its current mechanism of action after decades of study, which makes Modafinil an incredibly complex drug with much left to discover about its true nature.
But here's what we do know so far :
“It is thought to act primarily through noradrenaline (NE) and dopamine (DA) transporter inhibition. It also acts on serotonin, histamine, gamma-aminobutyric acid and glutamate.”
It is believed that modafinil’s action on orexin also results in increases in the hypothalamic release of histamine and one of the actions of histamine is arousal and wakefulness.”
Modafinil gained its reputation as a cognitive enhancer as people started using the drug for purposes lacking official approval. Namely for improving concentration, attention and focus.
Adderall, perhaps due to its concerning safety profile, has lost its appeal as a study drug in recent years. Having spoken with thousands of our readers, we think it’s pretty clear that Modafinil is now the #1 focus drug for anybody in college or university. And for good reason:
In 2015, prestigious researchers at Harvard and Oxford deemed Modafinil “the world's first safe smart drug” after extensively investigating its properties :
“Modafinil’s effect as a nootropic varied from task to task, but it worked particularly well in improving decision making and planning, and it consistently conferred more benefits during longer and more complex tasks…of the studies that factored in Modafinil’s impact on mood and other side effects, 70 percent didn’t show any consequences.”
So where exactly does weed come into the picture here?
Modafinil and Weed | The Basics
Before we talk about the possibility of combining weed and Modafinil together, we need to understand how weed might work on the human mind. There is a very deep body of research about marijuana, so here are some of the most important things you should know.
In any given cannabis plant, there are hundreds of naturally occurring chemicals called “cannabinoids.” They bind to receptors on our cells and then exert their effect on the body.
The only two you should be concerned about for the time being are THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol).
THC is psychoactive and is primarily responsible for making users “high” after ingesting it. It is also what makes stoners hungrier, and sometimes leads to fits of paranoia and anxiety.
CBD is not psychoactive and is best known for inducing a state of calmness and relaxation. It is commonly associated with a reduction of pain, anxiety, and any kind of physical or mental tension.
Simple enough? Good, because there are two types of cannabis strains you should know about :
“Indica strains are believed to be physically sedating, perfect for relaxing with a movie or as a nightcap before bed.
Sativas are said to provide invigorating, uplifting cerebral effects that pair well with physical activity, social gatherings, and creative projects.
Hybrids are thought to fall somewhere in between, offering a balance of indica and sativa effects.”
In general, Sativas contain a higher concentration of THC than CBD, while Indicas contain a higher concentration of CBD than THC.
This explains why each strain has the effects described above.
By now, it should be obvious how Modafinil and weed can potentially be used in a constructive manner.
The name of the game, as we see it, is to define your desired outcome, pick the correct strain, and time its use appropriately.
For instance, we can hypothesize that a Sativa strain may add a boost of concentration or creativity to your dose of Modafinil. An Indica strain, on the other hand, would offset the wakefulness effects of Modafinil.
But you want to use the right dose. Too much CBD may cancel out Modafinil's focus-boosting effects, and too much THC while using Modafinil may overstimulate the mind and make one unfocused.
The latter effect takes place because THC, like Modafinil, can increase the release of the feel-good hormone known as dopamine .
Of course,all of this is our speculation. What does the science have to say about putting Modafinil and marijuana together?
What Does Science Say About Modafinil and Weed?
Both drugs have been heavily studied in isolation for the past few decades.
There isn't much we don't already know about Modafinil and weed taken as independent substances, which is why we generally have a clear picture of how they affect the body and mind.
But let's just quickly recap the scientifically proven health benefits of each…
Modafinil May be Used to Treat Addiction
Modafinil has been examined in recent times for its potential use as a tool for recovery from drug addiction.
The research is still mixed to this day, but preliminary studies have been done to examine how Modafinil may help those who are hooked on cocaine, meth or other amphetamines.
The therapeutic outcome depends on the drug being examined :
- Reduced lethargy and sleepiness
- Helps users deal with withdrawal symptoms
- Lower cravings, which can help decrease the number of relapses
Whether Modafinil can be used to treat a possible addiction to marijuana has yet to be determined. We would think that either Modafinil cancels out the brain fog associated with smoking weed, or the weed cancels out any extra drive that arises as a result of using Modafinil.
Modafinil Improves Your Mental Capacity to Work on Tasks
What we’re about to show you is one of the few studies done in healthy volunteers using a practical dose of Modafinil.
Sixty young adult males were instructed to take a placebo, 100mg, or 200mg of Modafinil, before performing a series of tasks related to attention span and memory.
These were the key findings of the study :
“Modafinil significantly enhanced performance on tests of digit span, visual pattern recognition memory, spatial planning and stop-signal reaction time.
These performance improvements were complemented by a slowing in latency on three tests: delayed matching to sample, a decision-making task and the spatial planning task.
Subjects reported feeling more alert, attentive and energetic on the drug.“
In our experience, this is by far the most common observation of anybody who uses Modafinil…especially for the very first time!
Modafinil Reduces Fatigue And Tiredness
One of our favorite effects of Modafinil is being able to work for hours on end without needing to recharge or take a break.
This is not an “n=1” effect. Multiple studies consistently confirm Modafilnil's ability to significantly reduce fatigue :
“Fatigue is notably reduced with modafinil supplementation, particularly during instances of sleep deprivation or hypersomnia.”
So when we have an impossible deadline to meet but we’re struggling to find the energy to meet it, we look no further than good ole' Modafinil.
Weed May Relieve Chronic Pain
While some of the supposed medical benefits of weed are up for debate, one of the most consistent findings has been pain relief.
This was confirmed after The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine examined over 10,000 studies :
“In adults with chronic pain, patients who were treated with cannabis or cannabinoids are more likely to experience a clinically significant reduction in pain symptoms.”
Whether you're coping with a minor physical injury or a disease that inflicts a great amount of pain, weed appears to help soothe the pain and ease the recovery process.
Weed May Improve Creativity
It's one thing to be laser-focused, but sometimes we need to relax and allow ideas to freely float around in our minds.
This is why you’ll so often hear about weed being used by musicians and artists who need an extra jolt of creativity.
One interesting study conducted in 2011 found that acute use of cannabis increased divergent thinking in both highly creative and uncreative individuals. Divergent thinking refers to the ability to generate multiple ideas about a topic in a short period of time.
Here's a potential explanation for why this may happen :
“…cannabis produces psychotomimetic symptoms, which in turn might lead to connecting seemingly unrelated concepts, an aspect of divergent thinking considered primary to creative thinking.
A drug-induced altered state of mind may indeed lead to breaking free from ordinary thinking and associations, thereby, increasing the likelihood of generating novel ideas or associations.”
Of course, don't take this as gospel. Weed may have no effect on creativity at all — or even a negative effect — depending on the individual who uses it.
Weed Shows Potential as a Treatment for Inflammation
While we don't know if getting high will take care of chronic inflammation, but we certainly know the cannabinoids within weed may be helpful :
“…several studies showed that cannabinoids downregulate cytokine and chemokine production and, in some models, upregulate T-regulatory cells (Tregs) as a mechanism to suppress inflammatory responses”
The authors of the quoted study suggested that the cannabinoids may be useful for treating conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, colitis, and many other kinds of inflammatory diseases.
Benefits of Weed and Modafinil…When Combined!
If you take a deep dive into the medical literature, you will not find any studies examining the concurrent use of Modafinil and weed — at least not in the English language!
We can only take an educated guess as to how they would work when taken together.
We can also synthesize the collective input of our contributors and readers who have experimented with Modafinil and marijuana.
Modafinil and Weed May Lead to an Good Balance Between Productivity and Creativity
As awesome as Modafinil may be as a cognitive enhancer, some users find that their thinking can be a bit too rigid. Being laser-focused 24/7 means you may not as easily think unconventionally or look at solutions outside of the box.
But we don't want to be so creative and open-minded to the point where we lose our sense of practicality. So how can we get the best of both worlds?
One contributor has had success with taking Modafinil in the very early morning and pounding out as much technical work as possible. Afterwards, when he had a few hours available for freeform thinking, he would take a few hits of marijuanato stoke the creative fire.
Combining Modafinil and Weed For Different Outcomes?
While we haven’t tried this, some people have suggested that Modafinil and weed can be used at roughly the same time. However, we personally wouldn't use marijuana until we’ve taken advantage of the 3-4 hours of peak productivity gained when using Modafinil.
Perhaps a small amount of a Sativa strain may be used alongside Modafinil to enhance dopamine release and sharpen work ethic.
Likewise, a few tokes of an Indica strain may help offset some of the minor side effects of Modafinil side such as anxiety and irritability.
If we wanted to really mellow at night, we would allow ourselves far more of the Indica strain after a productive morning/afternoon using Modafinil. This would, in our estimation, offset Modafinil's long-lasting effects and lead towards a peaceful sleep.
Modafinil and Weed For Potential Parkinson's Relief?
An experimental study done on marmosets inflicted with Parkinson's disease involved the use of THC and modafinil separately to assess if they can be used as alternative treatments.
The finding was really interesting :
“Δ9-THC improved activity and hand-eye co-ordination, but induced compound-related side-effects.
Modafinil improved activity and observed parkinsonian symptoms but not hand-eye coordination.
It can be concluded that both compounds have therapeutic values and could supplement existing therapies for [Parkinson's Disease].”
For what it's worth, a separate study also demonstrated that 400 mg of Modafinil can be safely used alongside 15 mg of THC .
Something to think about!
The Biggest Benefit?
Now, we've discussed a plethora of potential benefits when combining Modafinil and weed. Yet we didn't cover what we think may be the biggest benefit from mixing these two substances.
In our experience, one of the worst side effects of Modafinil is insomnia. Due to Modafinil's long-half life, it can be difficult for many users to fall asleep at a normal hour after using Modafinil during the day.
By using the right type of marijuana after a long day on Modafinil, you may very well be able to fall asleep quicker and get more quality sleep.
Our team members who have tried the two in tandem confidently say that improved sleep quality is the biggest benefit when combining weed and Modafinil.
They will typically take Modafinil in the morning, and then consume marijuana 1-2 hours before bed.
Oh, and if you don't have weed on hand, or are legally prohibited from buying or using it, never fear.
So what negative outcomes could possibly arise when weed and Modafinil are taken together?
Again these have not been medically documented, but here are some of the most common observations amongst the brave few who dared to try this unorthodox combination…
Dehydration / Dry Mouth
One of the most common side effects of Modafinil is dehydration, usually in the form of a dry mouth or dry eyes.
It turns out that marijuana also has the same side effect, and at the same frequency. Except we know precisely why it happens.
The cannabinoids in weed interact with the receptors in your submandibular gland, which is responsible for producing saliva. When this happens, less saliva is produced and you get a dry mouth.
You'll definitely want to up your water intake if you use Modafinil and marijuana at the same time while carrying a full water bottle with you at all times.
A meta-analysis of 267 studies involving 110,000 patients across 10 countries found that cannabis use was positively associated with anxiety — the more you smoke, the more likely you are to get anxious .
While Modafinil doesn't always make you anxious, we have seen it occasionally happen in some people. But these individuals were already prone to anxiety before they ever took Modafinil.
When using weed and Modafinil together, we think it critical for anxious people to avoid using any strain with high THC content. If anything, these individuals may find that an Indica strain high in CBD can bring them down towards a level of focus they can sustain for several hours.
Unwanted Long-Lasting Effects
Modafinil and weed — on their own — can have effects that last for several hours. Modafinil has a half-life of about 12-15 hours, while the half-life of THC will be anywhere from a day to a week, depending on one’s usage.
Please remember that the former is a central nervous stimulant and the latter is frequently classed as a depressant. Depending on your individual biochemistry, combining the stimulants and depressants may be risky :
“The dangers of combining the two are that the stimulant can mask the effects of the depressant (most commonly alcohol).
This can lead to a false sense of sobriety and alertness, which could lead to increased and dangerous levels of [depressant] consumption, and/or a false sense of security and engaging in dangerous activities such as driving or operating heavy machinery.”
Smart drug users who really want to play it safe should thus consider taking their Modafinil and weed on separate days.
Is It Worth the Risk? | Verdict
Based on our experience, Modafinil and weed can be one of those combinations which can either work really well, do nothing for you, or lead to unwanted outcomes.
Overall, it's a combination that experienced smart drug users may want to consider.
Our contributors have had to experiment with numerous variables to find an ideal combination…
- The strain of marijuana to smoke and when to take it.
- The dose of Modafinil to use, and when to take it.
Four different factors that can change the final outcome, and a lot of tweaking to find what works best for each individual.
But if it ends up being beneficial, it may very well be a match made in heaven.
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