Modafinil vs Adderall—the nootropics match up of the century. For YEARS college students and entrepreneurs alike have been using Adderall to stay alert and focused for hours on end.
But with the emergence of modafinil, a previously unknown drug prescribed for narcolepsy, it seems that the reigning champion may have to give up its title…for good.
I’ve personally had a prescription for both modafinil and Adderall, and just so you know where I stand, I have to say that I’m pretty biased in favor of modafinil.
That’s not to say that Adderall doesn’t have its cognitive benefits, because it does—but in my experience, modafinil is the overall best choice for focus, energy, and improved cognitive performance. Here’s why.
If you want the tl;dr of which drug wins this smart pill showdown, then modafinil is by far the better nootropic for a lot of reasons.
The cognitive boost from modafinil is better compared to adderall, although both drugs will boost your productivity and overall performance.
Both drugs are good at treating ADHD, but overall I find that modafinil tends to work better for this, without a high addiction potential.
Modafinil also has far less side effects than Adderall, even though it will still improve your cognitive performance by more than Adderall.
Overall, modafinil, sometimes known as armodafinil, modalert, or waklert, wins the title of best cognitive boosting smart drug, hands down.
It’s important to note that although modafinil and Adderall are often lumped into the category of smart drugs, they’re different in terms of how they affect the brain.
Modafinil blocks neurotransmitters associated with sleep and fatigue, whereas Adderall actively stimulates the central nervous system.
It’s suspected that modafinil inhibits GABA, a neurotransmitter associated with relaxation, from binding to receptors—this is what leads to its cognitive benefits, such as enhanced productivity.
In other words, when you take modafinil, you’re basically in 100% awake mode, which is why it’s one of the best nootropics for focus out there.
This may sound strange, but you’re usually never 100% awake—there isn’t an “on/off” switch in your brain, which is why it often takes a few hours for you to wake up fully.
It’s why you’re groggy for the first hour or so in the morning.
Modafinil gets rid of this—there’s no grogginess, no fatigue, no possibility of sleeping. Just pure, unadulterated focus.
You’re running at 100% capacity, and you literally feel like Scarlett Johannson in Lucy, where she activates 100% of her brain power (okay maybe not THAT much, but you get what I’m saying).
Adderall, which is basically legal methamphetamine, actually mimics neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain.
This is why Adderall is so habit forming—you get addicted to it, and need it to function. You’re WIRED and jittery for 4-5 hours, but then you crash like a motherfucker.
Sure, your productivity is enhanced for 4-5 hours, and your work performance is way better, but it isn’t worth the side effects.
If you can find a good modafinil dosage for your own neurochemistry though, not only will you be able to avoid dependency, but you’ll feel 10x better than when you’re on Adderall (in my opinion).
Ultimately you’ll just have to test it for yourself, but here are my thoughts on the Modafinil vs. Adderall debate.
Cognition, or cognitive performance, is basically how well your brain operates—it includes things like focus, memory, and complex decision-making skills.
The more cognition, the better you’re able to succeed and accomplish your goals. This is why I love .
Adderall hasn’t been shown to effect cognitive performance, but what it does improve is your ability to focus (if you have ADHD).
It does this by mimicking dopamine, a chemical associated with motivation, which makes it easier to concentrate without getting distracted.
For some people, especially those prone to anxiety, Adderall will actually decrease their cognition, not improve it.
This is because a common side effect is nervousness and shakiness, which obviously make it more difficult to think clearly.
While Adderall is still one of the most powerful drugs for treating ADHD, the effects it has on dopamine and on the brain are terrible.
on the other hand, has actually been shown to enhance IQ. It improves complex decision making processes, executive function, memory, creativity, and learning speed.
I notice all of these when I take modafinil first thing in the morning. It’s like a fog has been lifted, and I can think clearly for the first time in years.
The difference is like trying to drive with a dirty windshield, as opposed to with a crystal clear windshield—this stuff is a wonder drug.
In fact, according to a meta-study conducted by neuroscientists at Oxford University, modafinil has been proven to “consistently engender enhancement of attention, executive functions, and learning.”
It’s no wonder that silicon valley executives and entrepreneurs alike are taking modafinil to function at 100% peak cognitive capacity.
No drug that I’m aware of is as powerful as modafinil, ESPECIALLY when it comes to complex thinking and other cognitive effects.
Modafinil is literally like the real life NZT 48 from Limitless. Seriously, when it comes to smart drugs, smart pills, and potions, modafinil is the only one you’ll want to try.
When it comes to duration, modafinil is a clear-cut winner. Just 100 mg of modafinil will last most people all day. It will boost your productivity, increase work performance, and pump your brain up all day long.
In fact, not only does modafinil last longer, but it’s also far more stable—you don’t get the huge spike and then huge crash like you do with Adderall.
Adderall typically lasts 4 to 6 hours, maybe a little bit longer if you’re an inexperienced user. About 30 minutes after you pop the pill, you feel a surge in euphoria, as well as enhanced focus.
But, in a few hours, it starts to dwindle, and often times leads to a dopamine crash, which actually causes decreased cognitive abilities (and can often lead to addiction).
Many users report feeling depressed and drained after they take Adderall, which makes sense, because it has meth-like properties (like my best pre workouts of all time, for example).
Modafinil, on the other hand, lasts for up to 14 hours and is far more stable. There’s no sharp crash like there is with Adderall, and you can even use it to stay awake for days on end.
I personally take one of my modafinil pills every morning at 6, and can feel the drug effects start to work on my brain within just 30 minutes.
It’s like a gradual amping up of your brain—with the crescendo, or peak, lasting for around 5 hours. Yes, that’s right. The peak lasts 5 hours.
By 8, just 2 hours after taking modafinil, I’m in the fucking zone. I can then crank work out until around 8pm, a full 12 hours, at which point I usually decide to go do something else.
It’s hard to beat Adderall’s euphoric effects. When it comes to smart pills, Adderall wins in the euphoria category—however, that’s exactly why many people develop an addiction to this drug.
While modafinil does have a slight euphoric effect, in my opinion, it isn’t even close to what you feel on Adderall.
What else would you expect from something so closely related to meth? Adderall binds to dopamine and norepinephrine receptors, which leads to an enhanced mood, and more sociability.
That’s why college students snort Adderall at parties to talk to girls more easily. The drug makes you more euphoric and sociable.
That being said, I don’t really care about socializing when I’m trying to focus on a project and get shit done. I care about cognitive enhancing effects, for more productivity and better performance.
Not that the euphoria you get from Adderall is bad or anything. Hell, it’s pretty good—it’s just that when I’m taking nootropics to enhance my productivity, mood doesn’t really play a big role for me.
It’s pretty clear that modafinil has far less side effects than Adderall does, both in the long run and the short term.
In the short term, Adderall can lead to a wide range of negative side effects, like anxiety and irregular heart beat. Not good.
In fact, dopamine addiction is one of the main reasons why people become dependent on Adderall to function—even people without ADHD can find it hard to get work done with withdrawal symptoms.
Here are some common side effects of taking Adderall:
When I used to take Adderall, I would get EXTREMELY nauseous—I even threw up a few times. With modafinil, this isn’t a problem. I don’t get nauseous at all, and the side effects are minimal.
Modafinil still has its side effects, but they’re pretty minor. Compared to other smart pills, the side effects to benefits ratio is pretty good.
The only side effect I really get is just excessive thirst—when I take modafinil I drink a lot more water than usual, but that’s about it. I don’t get any nausea, vomiting, dizziness, or anything else.
Not only is modafinil safer in the short term, but it’s also safer in the long term. Long term Adderall use has a MASSIVE potential for abuse, because users develop a tolerance after just a few doses.
With modafinil, however, it takes far longer to develop a tolerance, and you can quickly get rid of it with a 2 week break. That’s one of the biggest reasons I learned for myself.
Adderall is known for causing heart problems, as well—many people end up overdosing and get a rapid heartbeat, often times going to the emergency room, or to addiction treatment centers.
…and while modafinil isn’t 100% perfect, why would you risk it with other ADHD drugs like Adderall, that mess up your dopamine levels?
Overall, modafinil is the best choice for people trying to enhance their productivity, get laser focus, and increase their intelligence.
I’ve personally been using it for almost 5 years now, and can personally vouch for its life-changing effects.
With modafinil, you’ll feel like your brain is a fucking jet engine—it’s running on all cylinders, at 100% capacity, and there’s no stopping.
The feeling is absolutely incredible, and once you experience it, you’ll never view your brain in the same way.
If you do want to , I recommend you read the guide I wrote first. I only recommend you get it through high quality sources, such as the two I recommend in that guide (ModafinilXL and Buy Moda).
In fact, Buy Moda is currently running a special where they’re practically giving pharmaceutical grade, fully dosed modafinil pills away for free.
It’s literally just $0.96 per pill , which is less than a dollar. On top of that they have free shipping, AND offer a 10% discount when you use the code “MD10”. What more could you want?
Alternatively, you can also get a prescription for modafinil from your doctor, which I’ve written about before.
Either way, ALWAYS consult with a medical professional, and understand that NONE of the content on this blog should be viewed as medical advice.
If you guys have any questions or concerns, feel free to let me know down in the comments section—and as always, I’ll see you next time.
Both Adderall and modafinil are drugs which will enhance focus, but most users agree that modafinil is generally better. Adderall is great for focus and euphoria, but it lacks the smart drug properties that modafinil has, and it also has a terrible crash.
With modafinil, there's very little crash. It also enhances cognitive function, which means it helps you learn things faster, assimilate information more effectively, and it "opens your mind" so to speak. Clinical research shows it can be considered a smart drug.
In some ways yes, but in many ways, no. Modafinil doesn't give you the crackhead side effects that Adderall does, and it also doesn't give you a crash like Adderall does. Instead, modafinil is known for enhancing your cognitive function. In other words, it's a smart drug.
Absolutely. Modafinil is not only better for improving focus and intelligence, but it also has very few side effects compared to Adderall. Modafinil is a smart drug taken by Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, and although it isn't very well known, many people are catching onto its powerful brain-enhancing effects.