By Jonathan Roseland, Applied Neuroscience Strategist
In 2017 alone there were about 30 papers published about Piracetam which is especially impressive because it’s a not a patented drug like Modafinil, there’s not the perverse financial incentive of a pharmaceutical company sponsoring science and trying to get researchers to skew their data.
In the video you can find the piracetam infographic – the summary of this article.
It would be an understatement to say that it’s been thoroughly studied; in total over a thousand pieces of published research on Piracetam can be found on Pubmed, with over 200 human clinical trials.
This article will summarize the science that’s been done on Piracetam in the past 12 months along with some personal insights and knowledge coming out of the Biohacker community online. In 2017 alone there were about 30 papers published about it which is especially impressive because it’s a not a patented drug like Modafinil, there’s not the perverse financial incentive of a pharmaceutical company sponsoring science and trying to get researchers to skew their data.
More often than not science does not always age well. In anything related to neuroscience, which is a pretty innovative domain, you should have some preference for recentness (which is a word!).
Interestingly, in 2017 62 scientists and physicians along with some United States senators called upon the National Library of Medicine & National Institutes of Health to change their rules and make public the funding sources of studies, before 2017 researchers could more or less obfuscate the funding sources of their science. This makes science more honest.
Surprisingly, American politicians every once in a while take a break from their sex scandals, virtue signaling, golfing, cashing lobbyist’s checks and suit shopping to do something good for science! America f**k yeah!
To summarize some of the more interesting published scientific findings about Piracetam in 2017…
Interestingly, SAPIENZA University in Rome collaborated with the Italian state police health department on a public paper evaluating Piracetam as a heroin adulterant. I had to look up what an adulterant is; it means something added to a drug to make it more substantial, effective or profitable for who ever is selling it, think flour added to cocaine so a small time drug dealer can double their money.
Apparently mixing Piracetam and heroin is quite common, to quote the paper
Press and internet reports indicate that the use of [Piracetam], as a
heroin adulterant, has spread rapidly in some countries, especially in Asia and Europe. Its use, as adulterant, is believed to produce more profound desirable effects, while decreasing hangover.
Unsurprisingly, Piracetam mitigates some of the negative symptoms and side effects of heroin use. The study concluded
The results of the study suggest that the combination of heroin–[Piracetam] makes drug addicts feel more comfortable and suffer fewer side effects. There is a danger that heroin addicts might misinterpret this type of drug mixture as ‘good heroin’. In particular, these studies demonstrated that this mixture, even in low doses, improves heroin’s reward properties and reduces its effects on the central nervous system.
That said, it seems to us there is real potential to use the combination to assist people to withdraw from heroin addiction more easily with fewer ill effects.
According to the paper, it’s heroin trafficking organizations themselves that are cutting their heroin with Piracetam, not the drugs users. The paper suggested the traffickers developing a social conscience and are doing this because it makes the heroin less destructive to their customers.
I doubt it! They are probably doing it merely for economical reasons, Piracetam is a lot cheaper than heroin and probably potentiates heroin by increasing blood flow to the brain.
Prenatal Alcohol Abuse
A Chinese study suggests that it may address neurological damage done to babies who’s (idiotic!) mothers drink during pregnancy.
In conclusion, we speculate that [Piracetam] reduces [Excessive ethanol]-induced neuronal damage by regulation of apoptotic action and autophagic action, and our research offers preclinical evidence for the application of [Piracetam] in ethanol toxicity.
No they did not have to get a bunch of Chinese babies (or their mommies) drunk for this study, it was done with rats.
Chimeric Academic Aid
A French paper calls Piracetam a chimeric way to get-a-head. Chemeric means something genetically or categorically alien, a very French way to describe performance enhancers.
The paper indicates that as much as one third of all college students are doing some kind of doping for academic performance.
There appears to be an emerging profile of the student more inclined to doping behavior. Cognitive doping thus raises the question of its regulation, opening a debate opposing, on one hand, individual freedom and supposed collective benefits and, on the other hand, health consequences, educational (in)equality, and the risk of tarnished academic success.
I’m pretty sure that French college students carry around at all times some literature by Karl Marx, a Starbucks soy latte and a small white flag just in case anyone appears that they need to surrender to. Unsurprisingly the French college students saw academic doping as an unfair advantage.
Piracetam on tap?
A Swiss study mentioned that Piracetam has apparently been detected in drinking water there. Which I found a little funny, it’s confirmatory of the stereotype of Switzerland as the world’s most perfect country, in other countries the drinking water contains things like Flouride and lead, yet in Switzerland it’s Piracetam.
Piracetam has potential to aid those suffering from Neuroinflammation (which is as terrible as it sounds) resulting from Lipopolysaccharides.
An Indian animal study concluded
the present study indicates preclinical evidence for the use of piracetam in the treatment of neuroinflammatory disorders.
You’ve may have heard before that Alzheimer’s is type 3 diabetes, so if you’ve had to much cake and now you don’t remember your grand children’s names Piracetam will help!
Diabetic markers were significantly decreased in diabetic Alzheimer’s patients treated with anti-Alzheimer’s drugs (especially piracetam)…
Furthermore, the ameloriating effect of anti-Alzheimer’s drugs on diabetes mellitus confirms this association.
According the study Piracetam was more effective than Memantine.[photos]
A Czech study out of Prague’s Charles University further evaluated it’s mitochondrial mechanism
The direct effect of cognitives and nootropics used in the treatment of [Alzheimer’s] on mitochondrial respiration is relatively small. The safest drugs in terms of disturbing mitochondrial function appear to be piracetam… The MAO-A inhibition by cognitives and nootropics may also participate in mitochondrial neuroprotection. The results support the future research aimed at measuring the effects of currently used drugs or newly synthesized drugs on mitochondrial functioning…
A Tunisian study of epilepsy which is a symptom of MERRF syndrome; a rare syndromic mitochondrial disorder, recommended Piracetam as an antiepileptic drug.
Check out my book review of Head Strong, Dave Asprey’s manifesto on Mitochondria.[video]
An Indian animal study expanded on it’s helpful effect treating Ischemic stroke
There was no change in the pharmacokinetic parameters of piracetam in the ischemic stroke model except for brain penetration. This indicates that variables influencing brain penetration may not be limiting factors for use of piracetam in ischemic stroke.
There are over 70 scientific publications linking Piracetam’s helpful effect in stroke recovery and prevention.
A study out of the University of Pennsylvania identified it as a promising treatment for tardive dyskinesia but it was not real specific. This is an unfortunate disease that causes odd involuntary, repetitive body movements. So perhaps I’ll bring some Piracetam to hand out to those in need next time I go to an electronic music festival!
An thorough paper Indiana University School of Medicine, Precision medicine for suicidality, mentioned it as being helpful.[PDF]
Unfortunately it doesn’t give any specific protocol and use recommendations for suicidality.
Piracetam is seriously under rated as an antidepressant, I’ve heard numerous accounts of people who found that it was transformationally helpful.
Another Indian animal study found it aided the Anti-Amnesic effect of Metformin, a drug used primarily to treat type 2 diabetes.
Thus, piracetam could be used as an adjuvant to metformin in the management of dementia in T2DM-induced encephalopathy.
Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis
A genetics study of two siblings with this genetic disorder caused by excessive accumulation of lipofuscin.
…ataxia and seizures were dramatically ameliorated following high-dose piracetam.
Piracetam is effective for both seizures and ataxia.
An Italian study was done on the Piracetam-like compound Sunifiram, which I am not a fan of, but these Italians seem to think that these Piperazines have a lot of potential as nootropic agents.
Piracetam as a Study Control
Piracetam is such a reliable enhancer of memory and cognition that a handful of studies in 2017 used it as the control in a studies evaluating the Nootropic effects of other supplements (like Quercetin and piperine or Portulaca Oleracea the longevity vegetable).
Some interesting findings from the Biohacker community…
Post-Piracetam Intelligence Deficit
Researching this article I perused hundreds of users reports and came across a statistically significant number of anecdotal reports of people who used Piracetam for a while and experienced some transformational benefits to their…
- Verbal intelligence
- Long term memory
- Working memory
- Mood and mental health
- Energy and motivation
BUT when they discontinued use of Piracetam there was an unmistakable deficit of their cognitive abilities, below what their baseline was BEFORE using Piracetam, this is clearly not desirable.
10% – 15% of anecdotal reports mention this Post-Piracetam Intelligence Deficit, so it occurs in a minority of Piracetam users.
I have a couple of explanations for this…
- In many of the cases, people reporting this used Piracetam at excessive dosages for extended periods of time without breaks or cycling.
- No Choline, ALCAR or Potassium. Piracetam does exhaust your ACh system over time, which is why in the Piracetam Protocol I recommend supplementing these three cofactors to nourish the delicate ACh system that Piracetam stimulates.
- Histories of drug abuse and psychological instability seem to be correlated to those who report a deficiency of intelligence when they go off their Piracetam.
- Poor self knowledge or lack of mindfulness is probably somewhat to blame for some of these cases. People go on Piracetam and for several weeks or months feel much better and are more productive, then they go off it and their new normal subjectively feels worse then their old normal because of the new heights of brain power they reached thanks to the Piracetam.
- There are a few edge-cases where it sounds like the Biohackers used Piracetam responsibly and yet experienced Post-Piracetam Intelligence Deficit.
So you might be asking…
So if I’ve never used Piracetam before then I probably should NOT use it because it might leave me stupider than I was when I eventually have to go off it?
The vast majority of Piracetam users find that it’s a quintessential smart drug that improves productivity in the short term and their memory in the long term.
In my case, I’ve gone on Piracetam and off Piracetam numerous times over the years. I can say confidently that my smart drug usage has improved my baseline intelligence in every domain, even when I’m off smart drugs.
Most people that I talk to report something similar, in fact I surveyed several Nootropics facebook groups and about half the Racetam users reported
I’m smarter than I was before I used Racetams. Racetams have permanently changed my mind for the better!
And about 1/3 of users reported that after going off Racetams for weeks or months
I return to my baseline of intelligence, mood, memory, etc. Unenhanced me is back!
What I suggest is that you use Piracetam responsibly and that you channel some of that extra brain power it imbues into other activities that exercise your mind like
- Dual N-Back brain training
- Mindfulness practice
- Reading books
- Language learning
These things will improve your mind alongside the Piracetam and will more than make up for any perceived or actual Post-Piracetam Intelligence Deficit.
If you assume that Piracetam is done for you wonder drug for personal development and you use it alone, in extreme dosages, you may end up complaining about an intelligence deficit like some of these people on the Biohacker forums.
The FDA released a Pharma Briefing with a verdict on Piracetam, it was back in 2015 but contains some interesting material.
Regarding Piracetam’s safety
The available nonclinical data on piracetam have not identified any safety concerns. The lack of toxicity, mutagenicity, and clastogenicity supports the inclusion of piracetam…
The FDA disallows the inclusion of Piracetam in nutritional supplements
Piracetam has been available for approximately 40 years and was recommended for inclusion on the 1999 503A List of Bulk Drug Substances That May Be Used To Compound Drug Products. As discussed above, FDA has taken enforcement action when piracetam has been sold as a nutritional supplement.
The FDA verdict was generally skeptical of Piracetam’s benefits, which is unsurprising because Piracetam is a none-patented drug that competes with branded drugs that pharmaceutical companies pay the FDA many millions of dollars to approve.
An anonymous user of Piracetam on steroids, Pramiracetam, reported
I’m taking Pramiracetam everyday and it’s better than amphetamines and all the other nootropocs I’ve tried so far, and I’ve tried nearly all of them.
I had problems with speech and social fluency, parmiracetam dials those abilities up all the way to 11. On top of this, I am also able to focus on whatever I want in a way that’s much more natural and side-effect free than that provided by amphetamines.
If Piracetam is effective for you and you’ve used it for sometime, have a penchant for experimentation and don’t mind dropping a little coin it’s worth trying Pramiracetam or Phenylpiracetam.
Interestingly, some Biohackers are calling the Nootropic herb Clausenamide a viable alternative to Piracetam. I’ll try it and let you know if the two are comparable.
A Longecity user spoke in glowing terms of a combination of
Galantamine, piracetam, creatine, and lions mane, and it is making me feel amazing. Why would this be? My focus is much better. I may be imagining things but smells are more emotionally significant. I am feeling a sort of childhood nostalgia kind of feeling.
Piracetam: 6 grams
Creatine: 5 grams
Lion’s mane: [1 gram]
A long term sufferer of brain fog recommended a Brain fog buster stack of
- Schisandra extract
- Holy Basil
- B Vitamin Complex
- Vitamin D3
Taken intermittently with Piracetam and a choline source
[I] feel more conscious about everything. It even enhances my meditational practice. My vision is more alive, edges look sharper…colours more intense. I can simply enjoy being in the moment….and my verbal fluency is way up aswell. Less anxiety and less depression.
…[I] feel more conscious about everything. It even enhances my meditational practice. My vision is more alive, edges look sharper…colours more intense. I can simply enjoy being in the moment….and my verbal fluency is way up aswell. Less anxiety and less depression.
Verbal Intelligence Enhancer
One of the most noticeable and conspicuous effects of Piracetam is enhanced verbal intelligence, one user reported
In particular I liked the ability it gave me to have multiple trains of thought going simultaneously, it made multi-tasking really easy, and I remember a very funny moment from one of my earliest times with Piracetam. I was at a friend’s house, and there were a whole bunch of people there. I started a conversation with my friend, then another friend asked me something, and a third person said something to me shortly after. From that moment on, I started having simultaneous conversations with all three people, and it didn’t get confusing at all. Normally if someone so much as interrupts me in a conversation I can completely lose my train of thought, but here I was able to juggle three entirely different subjects and converse about them all at once with three different people.
Chasing Piracetam with Coffee
Powdered Piracetam has an infamously bad taste, I would always wash my Piracetam down with chilled green tea and grimace at the taste. Some Biohackers have suggested that coffee covers it’s taste effectively. Worth trying if you like coffee!
A number of forum threads are about combining Piracetam with various psychedelics and narcotics like LSD and MDMA. Apparently this results in some pretty awesome trips and rolls, I found almost no reports of this causing overdoses or bad experiences. So if you use those kinds of recreational drugs it’s worth trying, please just use a low dose of both drugs.
I did Ayahuasca years ago, I had been using Piracetam at the time and wondered if there would be an interesting interaction but unfortunately it was a totally underwhelming experience.[video]
Underwhelmed by Piracetam?
A handful of Biohackers reminded us that Piracetam’s really awesome effects can sometimes take weeks or months to become apparent and a lot of times it’s a good idea to decrease dosage after a while.
I’ve been taking [Piracetam] for months and it has greatly reduced the amount of sleep I need. I’m down to a little over 5 hrs which is actually concerning. However I feel well rested and no signs of fatigue either mental or physical. I haven’t gained the verbal fluency that I achieved when I took it years ago though. But I do agree that Piracetam should be taken for months to realize it’s effects.
A long term self tinkerer reported that Ketamine use unlocked Piracetam for them
Ketamine (which I have found no correlation to “reversing” Piracetam tolerance online) seems to have brought back, for the first time, some of the magic of Piracetam that I experienced nearly five years ago. It has been working again for the past ten days now. My pupils no longer fluctuate under the pupil dilation light test.
I don’t know enough about Ketamine to recommend this to anyone but I thought this was an interesting case. I’d venture that Ketamine effects the adenosine hormonal mechanism that can can block Piracetam’s effect, which I discuss in the Piracetam protocol.
Negative Side Effects
Perusing the forums I came across a few negative reports of users that found Piracetam really helpful for an initial period and then had problems with it. Consistently these users did not combine it with a choline source, sufficient potassium or ALCAR. If you want to use Piracetam right guys, follow the Piracetam Protocol[video]
Piracetam Changes your Personality
Veteran Biohackers (or those close to them) will admit that long term Piracetam usage does change your personality. Amongst the anecdotal reports, a lot of people report that it makes them more cocky and egocentric. If you’re long been been the nice guy (or gal) that people disregarded Piracetam may inject a quantum of psychopathy into your personality that makes you a bit more functional in a cynical, unfair world.
The poetic words of a Biohacker who did 24 grams captures just this…
I’ve upped my dose to 24g per day since last night. The level of power is almost too much to bear…It is time to change the world. I will grip it with my own hands and squeeze it, tear it, turn it, pound it until it becomes my image. The eternities within the creation cycle will hear my voice. Death is coming soon but not just yet. I want more power until there is no end, and then I will turn it to use…It is almost time for me to become the tool of the silent voice and the hand of god. Being so close to the edge is frustrating. I must count the heartbeats. Timing, the timing is everything. A new game of chess, one that I will win no matter how the opponent moves. But for now I must wait. Patience…
The shine behind my eyes continues to grow. I am becoming something else: a mirror of the active side of infinity. A very dangerous thing indeed.
Last night I was smashing the skulls of cats. They didn’t put up much of a fight either. The night before I killed dozens of people and other creatures. For the first time they all lost to me. There was no fear, only the joy of reaping.