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Nootropics and Psychedelics: Benefits and side effects

Nootropics and Psychedelics are substances that have been shown to improve cognitive function and mental performance. These substances are often referred to as brain boosters, memory enhancers, focus enhancers, and concentration enhancers. Nootropics and psychedelia are both commonly known as nootropics, however they differ slightly in their usage. Psychedelics are drugs that produce hallucinations, while nootropics do not.

Psychedelics are classified as illegal drugs under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and Schedule I of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). However, some psychedelic compounds are currently being studied in clinical trials for use as prescription medications. As of 2019, psychedelic drugs are still largely considered illegal due to their association with drug abuse and addiction. Many people who take psychedelics report feeling positive emotions, increased empathy, and improved mood. In addition, many people experience a sense of euphoria and altered perception after taking these drugs.

Most psychedelics are synthetic derivatives of naturally occurring chemical compounds. LSD was first synthesized in 1938 by Albert Hofmann at Sandoz Laboratories. LSD is produced by treating lysergic acid diethylamide (LAD), a compound extracted from ergot fungi, with hydrochloric acid. LSD is a potent hallucinogen that produces visual and auditory distortions. Other psychedelic drugs include mescaline, psilocybin, MDMA, ketamine, DMT, and ayahuasca.

The term “psychedelic” comes from the Greek words psyche (mind) and delphyne (to reveal). Psychedelics alter the user's state of mind, causing them to perceive the world differently. Psychedelics are often associated with spiritual experiences and transcendence. Psychedelics are sometimes used recreationally to alter one's consciousness. Psychedelics may also be used therapeutically to treat certain psychiatric disorders, including depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

There are several types of nootropics, each with its own unique set of benefits. Each nootropic has different mechanisms of action, and each provides a different type of benefit. Nootropics are generally divided into two categories: cognition enhancers and neuroenhancers. Cognition enhancers boost specific aspects of cognitive function, such as attention, learning, and memory. Neuroenhancers enhance general cognitive function, such as motivation, executive functioning, and intelligence.

Cognition Enhancers

Cognitive enhancers primarily target the brain and nervous system, rather than the body. There are three primary classes of cognition enhancers: Amino Acids, Cholinergics, and Brain Stimulants. Amino Acids are the building blocks of protein and are necessary for proper neurological development. Cholinergics increase the activity of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that is involved in higher cognitive processes, such as learning, memory, and attention. Brain Stimulants cause an increase in dopamine levels, which is responsible for reward processing and motivation.


Neuroenhancers are substances that stimulate the central nervous system. Neuroenhancers are most commonly classified as either stimulants or antidepressants. Most stimulants are derived from caffeine, nicotine, or amphetamine. Stimulants increase the release of dopamine and norepinephrine, which causes feelings of alertness and increases arousal. Antidepressants work by inhibiting monoamine oxidase A, an enzyme that breaks down serotonin and norepinephrine.

Side Effects

While some nootropics are completely safe to consume, others can lead to serious side effects. Common side effects of nootropics include headaches, dizziness, nausea, insomnia, and diarrhea. Some nootropics can even trigger seizures or psychosis. Individuals should always consult with their physician before consuming any nootropic.

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