Modafinil vs Adrafinil is just like pitting the chicken against the egg. Both are regarded as “real life Limitless pills”. The two are highly effective in enhancing cognition, wakefulness and productivity. Hence, both can be just what you need to keep you going when you feel burned out.
The philosophical question of “which came first, the chicken or the egg?” is quite irrelevant in this context. This article will focus more on the science of the actual “egg”, the author’s own review, as well as other biohackers’ reports.
Adrafinil is a potent wakefulness-promoting agent (a eugeroic). Also, it’s a prodrug to Modafinil. A prodrug is basically an inactive drug that is converted into an active drug.
The body converts Adrafinil into Modafinil. Adrafinil = the inactive drug; Modafinil = the converted active drug.
Pretty easy, right?
Scientists developed Adrafinil as a treatment for sleep-related disorders. Nowadays, it’s widely used all over the world as a nootropic.
Adrafinil modulates key neurotransmitters such as dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin and histamine. Hence, it produces cognitive-enhancing effects that increase alertness, wakefulness, attention and mood.
French chemists from Lafon Laboratories first synthesized Adrafinil in 1974. In fact, they were experimenting in search for analgesics. Instead, they discovered a stimulating psychoactive with wakefulness-enhancing effects when tested on animals.
It was first tested on humans in 1977 and approved in 1994 in France. Later, in 1998, the US approved Adrafinil for the treatment of narcolepsy. [R]
Nowadays, doctors prefer to prescribe Modafinil instead of Adrafinil. It puts less strain on the liver, making it safer for long-term use.
There are sufficient studies and anecdotal reports to prove its effectiveness as wakefulness enhancer. One study over a 30-hour test period proved that Adrafinil increased wakefulness in sleep-deprived individuals. [R]
Personally, I can confirm its effectiveness, both as a wakefulness enhancer and a nootropic. I think that there are few other nootropics as potent as Adrafinil or Modafinil.
It takes around 40 to 60 minutes for Adrafinil to kick in. The onset is a bit longer than Modafinil, mainly due to the extra process through which it goes through. [R]
Once the body metabolizes Adrafinil to Modafinil, the latter also metabolizes to modafinilic acid, followed by modafinil sulfone. Adrafinil also metabolizes to inactive modafinilic acid. Thus, Adrafinil comprises other elements with no psychoactive properties. For this reason, Adrafinil is roughly two times less potent than Modafinil.
Adrafinil increases levels of key excitatory neurotransmitters. Serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, orexin and histamine mostly account for Adrafinil’s stimulating and wakefulness-promoting properties. Why mostly? Because it also increases GABA, the main inhibitory neurotransmitter. Furthermore, Adrafinil increases glutamate, the main excitatory neurotransmitter.
To illustrate, here’s a bit of insight regarding the science behind how Adrafinil works…
Slightly increases serotonin. Adrafinil mildly increases serotonin in certain parts of the brain (amygdala, dorsal raphe and frontal cortex). This further adds to its improvement on mood and cognition.
Dopamine reuptake inhibitor. Adrafinil inhibits the breakdown of dopamine, which explains the improved mood generated by the smart drug. Dopamine is responsible for the brain’s reward center. Low levels of dopamine are linked with low motivation.
Increases norepinephrine. Adrafinil creates a sense of alertness and wakefulness. This is caused by a significant increase in norepinephrine levels. The brain releases norepinephrine during a fight-or-flight response. Hence, it is responsible for the state of alertness that Adrafinil generates. That’s mainly why you should avoid caffeine. Both substances cause norepinephrine levels to increase, which may cause anxiety. [R]
Increases histamine. Histamine levels increase as a consequence of Modafinil’s effect on orexin levels. Scientists believe that this further adds to the wakefulness effect. People who suffer from allergies may experience minor allergic reactions such as a running nose, sneezing or watering eyes.
The physical effects of Adrafinil and Modafinil are similar to Adderall (read about Modafinil vs Adderall). Still, it’s much more gentle and exhibits non-existent addictive potential. Hence the reason why many people are abandoning Adderall for Adrafinil.
Based on studies, user reports and the author’s personal experiences, here are the effects that you can expect from Adrafinil and Modafinil:
Stimulation. The Adrafinil stimulation is encouraged rather than forced. Still, the stimulant-like jaw clenching, teeth grinding and dehydration are definitely present, although much less intense and discomforting.
Appetite suppression. Adrafinil also suppresses appetite, making it quite useful for weight loss. Also, it increases heart rate proportionately to the dose that was ingested.
As you can see, Adrafinil exhibits physical effects that are common in other traditional stimulants (amphetamines). Still, the intensity is nowhere near as uncomfortable. Nonetheless, both Adrafinil and Modafinil exhibit certain distinguishing effects:
Urine odor alteration. Don’t be surprised if your urine has a certain sulfury ooze. After all, Adrafinil is a member of the sulphinyl benzhydryl class.
Photophobia. Another distinguishing effect of Adrafinil or Modafinil is a certain visual intolerance to light. This mostly manifests itself as a certain sensitivity to sunlight.
People regard Modafinil as “the closest thing to the Limitless pill”. Obviously, it won’t give you superpowers or make you a genius. So snap out of any superhero fantasy!
Nonetheless, the boost in certain aspects of human cognition can certainly be qualified as “making one smarter”:
Increased motivation. Adrafinil increases drive and the will to get things done. You feel an immediate urge to be productive, as well as a sense of purpose regarding the things that matter to you. Difficult tasks become easier to accomplish and boring ones become more bearable.
Increased focus. Adrafinil increases focus, as well as the ability to concentrate. One can get a feeling of being “glued to the chair”, as well as a “tunnel-like” vision in which only the task at hand matters. Furthermore, switching from one task to the other also becomes much easier.
Wakefulness. Some compare this effect to larger amounts of caffeine. Far from the truth, actually. Adrafinil makes you feel wide awake without the jitteriness specific of large amounts of caffeine.
Improved memory. There is sufficient scientific and anecdotal evidence to suggest that Adrafinil enhances memory retention and recall. This is why students and teachers alike regard it as an effective study aid.
Thought acceleration. Given its stimulant-like effects, Adrafinil improves thought speed in a similar way to any other stimulant. Furthermore, people believe Adrafinil also increases creativity. Still, many attribute this to the accelerated thought pattern that it generates.
Improved mood. Adrafinil and Modafinil have both been proven to elevate mood and treat depression. [R]
The conversion within the liver means that much of the substance is lost in the process.
Adrafinil doses for narcolepsy range between 300 – 900 mg, while Modafinil doses for those suffering from narcolepsy or other sleep-related disorders lie between the 100 – 300 mg.
One of the defining features of Adrafinil, Modafinil and nootropics, in general, is that high doses are relatively safe in comparison to other drugs such as amphetamines. Unfortunately, these present a serious risk of overdose when taken in high doses. Also, higher doses have been found to actually be counterproductive and amplify the side effects.
You may be surprised to find that lower doses will actually work better for you. In fact, 150mg of Adrafinil or 50mg of Modafinil get the job done for many people. Obviously, you won’t feel the powerful effects of a full dose. Still, sometimes the subtle focus and motivation enhancement is all you need.
Experimentation is key. After all, our brain chemistry is unique and everyone reacts differently. You’ll have to test and find the optimal dose for your purposes.
The onset of Adrafinil usually ranges between 40 to 60 minutes. In rare cases, it can take as much as three hours. That’s considerably longer than the onset of Modafinil. Specifically, half an hour and you’re “in the zone”.
The half-life of a drug is often misunderstood. In a nutshell, it’s how long it takes for half of the substance to be eliminated from the body.
Be careful, though. Don’t confuse half-life with duration of action or the time it takes for the substance to be eliminated entirely.
Why is the half-life of a substance important to know of? The answer is simple. Generally, when half of how much you’ve taken has been eliminated, you’ll stop feeling most of the drug’s effects.
The half-life of Adrafinil is quite long (12-15 hours). Hence, it’s enough to take Adrafinil once and feel the effects for a whole day. Similarly, the half-life of Modafinil lies in the 10-12 hour range.
Adrafinil is best taken in the morning to ease falling asleep in the night. Obviously, the worst time to take it is in the night (if you plan on sleeping, that is). Personally, I enjoy a productive all-nighter from time to time.
Choosing the right dosage is largely a subjective matter. Still, it’s always best to try a lower dose at first to test the waters.
There are several web reports stating that Adrafinil works best on an empty stomach. Still, I don’t think that’s a good idea. Taking it on an empty stomach has actually caused me nausea once. I think that it’s best taken an hour after eating. In this case, your body won’t need any food the following 6-8 hours.
By the way, eating will decrease the effectiveness of Adrafinil. You want to focus your body’s energy on the brain, not the gut.
The side effects of Adrafinil are mild, especially when compared to other stimulants. Still, some may prove to be uncomfortable. However, with the right harm reduction practices, most side effects can be prevented. [R]
Many users have reported difficulty going to sleep for up to 12 hours after the last dose. That’s because GABA levels are low. The solution? One could use a GABA-enhancing supplement such as Phenibut. Still, there are other natural ways to tackle this issue. You can eat a heavy meal in the evening so that your brain “slows” down. Also, running or any other form of physical exercise can do the trick. Tiring your body boosts its need for sleep.
One side effect that is quite common for stimulating substances. Coffee drinkers, in particular, have reported experiencing anxiety while on Adrafinil. Indeed, I’m guilty of drinking caffeine when taking the smart drug. There’s a fine line between the right dose of caffeine and going over the top when combining it with Adrafinil. Both substances boost norepinephrine levels and the combination is notorious for creating anxiety.
Low levels of GABA also account for states of uneasiness. Again, avoid using other norepinephrine-boosting stimulants with Adrafinil. There are other substances that stack better with this smart drug. In fact, many biohackers stack Adrafinil with other adaptogens to take the edge off.
People have also reported feeling irritable, which may occur for a number of reasons. Increased norepinephrine production may lead to a state of edginess. Also, since people generally use Adrafinil to increase productivity, interrupting from work or study may be met with anger
Dehydration is common, though less severe than Adderall or Ritalin. It is very important to continuously hydrate during the experience. Failure to do so will also result in mild headaches.
Headaches may occur for several reasons. Either due to tiredness, dehydration, or insufficient choline in the brain. Hence, it’s always a good idea to have a choline supplement ready in case you feel a headache “creeping in”.
Adrafinil boosts psychomotor arousal, thus leading to increased blood pressure. This isn’t a problem, although it can be if one already has circulatory and heart problems.
Frequent long-term adrafinil use can lead to hepatotoxicity. Adrafinil raises levels of certain liver enzymes (GGPT, SGOT, SGPT and hepatic alkaline phosphatase). Hence, cycling (taking breaks over a longer period of time) is a must.
Adrafinil is unscheduled and widely available both online and offline to purchase without a prescription. The irony is that Adrafinil is basically an unpurified, riskier, yet legal version of Modafinil, which is classified as a schedule IV drug. [R]
It converts into Modafinil in the liver. This leads to more enzymes that need to be secreted when taking Adrafinil. Hence, the liver is way better off with Modafinil.
Interesting, really. Adrafinil is readily available as a supplement, while Modafinil is a schedule IV substance. Still, even though Modafinil is a schedule IV drug, the police do little to reinforce Modafinil purchases across the web.
Nobody has ever reported a case of trouble with the police in this sense. The reasons? Maybe because of low potential for abuse and widely regarded beneficial off-label use. [R]
People are using it in documentaries, Youtube clips, blogs and other mediums openly. Seems like the authorities don’t really regard it as a threat.
Adrafinil is safe when compared to other narcolepsy medication. Still, daily use is far from being safe. Constant daily use can result in liver damage. It’s not the actual substance that damages the liver, but rather the action on enzyme production.
Adrafinil must first convert to Modafinil before it converts into the metabolites that generate its effects. It elevates certain liver enzymes in both phases of conversion.
Adrafinil is unregulated in most parts of the world and sold as a non-prescription version of Modafinil. After researching multiple sources where you can order Adrafinil, just browse and you’ll find lots of reliable sources to order from online.
Afinil Express is the most popular online Modafinil vendor. It’s also the one with the highest prices, though. 2020 update: The vendor is no more.
BuyXArmodafinil.org is an American-run Modafinil vendor with lower prices and faster shipping times.
Adrafinil works well on its own. Still, stacking is a good idea. It can provide a better experience and minimize health risks. It’s up to you to determine what you want to get out of the experience. Regardless, we can all agree that health is of the utmost importance.
Milk thistle won’t alter the psychoactive effects in any way. However, milk thistle can help prevent liver damage.
Stacking Adrafinil with caffeine is quite common, as long as you’re careful with doses. Also, not everyone responds well to caffeine. The Adrafinil and caffeine combo is a mistery among biohackers. There are many reports of people experiencing anxiety and uncomfortably increased heart rate as a result of this combination.
These two go well with each other and work best for study, work and social time. Phenibut makes the Adrafinil experience smoother. Furthermore, focusing on tasks seems to be a lot easier. Phenibut basically muffles out the “mental noise” caused by anxiety or overthinking.
Phenibut is also good for social situations. Both supplements make you more talkative and Phenibut lowers your inhibitions. A 300 – 500 mg dose of Phenibut combined with 1/2 dose of Adrafinil is a good starting point.
Read more about Phenibut
Noopept and Adrafinil also stack well. The two are useful for extended periods of work or study. Noopept enhances short-term memory, which allows one to maintain focus longer. Add 10 – 20 mg of Noopept to your usual Adrafinil dose.
Using cognitive enhancers is seen by many as cheating. My opinion? I think it’s ignorant to say so.
Adrafinil and Modafinil are two of the most popular cognitive enhancers in use today. Coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world. Some may not know it, but caffeine is a psychoactive compound.
Joao Fabiano, a researcher at the University of Oxford, argues in favor of smart drugs. He states that using cognitive enhancers like Adrafinil or Modafinil isn’t any different than drinking caffeine. Rightfully so, especially considering that people use them for more or less the same reasons. The only noticeable difference is that caffeine is a naturally-occurring substance while Adrafinil is synthesized.
A word of caution, though. As with any new substance, you should always consult a physician before using it.