One highly searched question among biohackers is “How long does Modafinil last?”. Indeed, timing is important when it comes to Modafinil. While it’s one of the longest-acting nootropics in use, the upper limit of its effects is also important. We’ll be discussing the reasons in detail further on.
The reasons why people use Modafinil vary greatly from individual to individual. Healthy people use it for productivity and increased study times. Those suffering from sleep disorders, depression or ADHD use it to lower symptoms and lead a fulfilling life.
The duration of Modafinil can be viewed from two points of view: the active period and the half-life. The active period can further be split in the onset, peak and offset. The half-life corresponds with the time in which one can no longer feel the effects.
Modafinil is an effective smart drug, no doubt about that. In fact, it can be too effective. One of the main downsides is its ability to keep one awake at night. Fortunately, there are ways to get around this side effect. (We’ll be discussing the reasons further on).
Last but not least, improper estimation regarding the duration of its effects can hinder the productivity of the experience.
There are a few variables that influence how long Modafinil lasts.
Taking it on an empty stomach will definitely make it kick in faster. I wouldn’t recommend it, though, as it may cause cramps and nausea.
Ideally, you should wait a while after eating before taking it. The longer the wait, the faster the kick-in.
Also, another key variable is the method of ingestion. There are two main ways to use Modafinil: orally and sublingually.
Obviously, a pill is usually swallowed. However, keeping it under your tongue is just as safe. It can hasten absorption which will potentiate its effects.
As a result, the onset and offset are considerably shorter. This makes going to sleep at night a lot easier.
When taken orally, it usually takes between 20 to 50 minutes to start feeling the effects.
When taken sublingually, you’ll start feeling the effects in as little as 2 to 10 minutes.
One can hasten the onset by increasing the metabolism of Modafinil. More on that at the end of the article.
When taken orally, the peak effects last between 4 to 6 hours. This also depends on the dose you’re taking. Lower doses tend to last less time.
When taking Modafinil sublingually, the peak effects are somewhere between 2 and 3 hours. Although the peak effects are shorter, the dose can also be lower to feel the full effects. Read more about Modafinil dosage here
The offset of Modafinil is the period that stars when its effects start waning. Depending on the method of ingestion, it can last anywhere between 2-4 hours.
One major plus of Modafinil is its prolonged offset. Traditional stimulants generally have a fast offset which is referred to as a “crash”. Hence, users can still be productive during the offset of Modafinil.
One can feel the after effects when the effects become sub-perceptual.
Unlike most stimulants, Modafinil doesn’t cause users to crash. Given the gradual decrease of stimulatory effects, its after effects are an afterglow rather than a comedown.
The after effects of Modafinil typically last between 5 to 6 hours.
To put it simply, the half-life of a substance is the time during which the effects of Modafinil can be felt.
“But why is it called half-life?”, you may ask.
Well, it’s the time it takes for half of the substance to leave the body. This usually marks the time when the effects are completely gone.
The half-life of Modafinil is between 14 and 16 hours long.
Modafinil takes around 3-4 days to totally disappear from your body. On the 3rd day, there’s usually about 1mg left in your body.
Regardless, don’t worry about drug tests from the police, y. Modafinil isn’t in the list of substances for government drug screens. Also, it won’t cause false positives for other drugs.
Adrafinil is the “cocooned” version of Modafinil. Basically, it’s the Modafinil that’s producing the psychoactive effects. But how long does it last when you’re taking Adrafinil?
Well… Adrafinil needs to go through one extra process in the liver before it’s metabolized into Modafinil. That extra process prolongs onset by about one hour.
Experienced biohackers are very careful with timing. If Modafinil’s effects kick in at the wrong time, it may hinder the whole experience useless.
Taking it late in the day will make it difficult to fall asleep early in the night. Also, you’ll want to know when it kicks in so that you’re already on “work mode” when it kicks in.
Metabolism mostly occurs through a process called amide hydrolysis, as well as via cytochrome P450 (CYP450) enzymes in the liver. (Source)
This may seem irrelevant if you’re not a doctor or a researcher. In fact, understanding the pharmacokinetics of Modafinil can help you influence its mechanism of action.
Certain supplements can increase the activity of CYP450 enzymes. This will cause a faster metabolism of Modafinil, thus shortening its effects.
Conversely, there are supplements or foods that decrease the activity of CYP450. They can be used to increase the duration of Modafinil.
The user can employ several techniques to decrease the duration of Modafinil:
-Take a lower dose
-Eat a heavy meal at the end of the day
Some users prefer extending the absorption of Modafinil instead of redosing. That’s actually a good idea if you want a prolonged experience without “restarting” an onset.
One straightforward way to make Modafinil last longer is to take it on a full stomach. This makes for a 2-hour long gradual onset.
CYP450 inhibitors (substances that inhibit CYP450 enzymes) help slow the metabolism of the smart drug. This leads to an increase in overall duration.
Modafinil is also a CYP450 inhibitor. When other such inhibitors are present, they “compete” with each other. Enzymes have multiple substances to target, thus prolonging the “lifespan” of the smart drug.
Modafinil provides a wakeful, focused and slightly energetic mental state. More than often, biohackers combine one or more substances in what is known as stacking.
Two or more nootropics can influence each other’s effects in three ways. The relationship between two substances can be additive, synergistic, potentiating or antagonistic.
For example, green tea contains L-theanine and caffeine, the two main psychoactive compounds. L-Theanine and caffeine are synergistic, as the combination alters and adds more to the experience without interfering with each other’s mechanism of action.
On the other hand, additive effects are the sum of the effects of each substance. This is quite common among substances that are part of the same category (stimulants, caffeine combined with other stimulants such as Adderall or Ritalin produce additive effects.
Potentiation and synergy are quite similar. In both cases, the sum of the effects is greater than each individual chemical.
However, there is a key difference between the two substance relationships. A potentiator makes the effects of another compound stronger.
For instance, modafinil has a potentiating effect on stimulating substances. Anecdotal reports suggest that the smart drug “makes one coffee seem like three”.
Caffeine and alcohol are antagonistic, meaning that they cancel out each other’s effects. Venom and anti-venom share the same relationship.
It’s quite common for users to drink coffee when taking Modafinil. Its popularity among work or study places is at least several centuries old. Coffee is incredibly effective when combined with Modafinil. Given that both boost norepinephrine levels, dosing is very important. Too much norepinephrine in the brain can trigger anxiety, agitation, irritability and restlessness.
The best way to consume coffee when on Modafinil is by drinking it over a long period of time. Small sips over a 2-hour period help in maintaining effects without the popular caffeine jitters.
The main downside about the long half-life of Modafinil is the difficulty of falling asleep. Fortunately, certain techniques allow people to make it easier in that aspect.
The duration of Modafinil is perhaps the longest of all smart drugs. Its long half-life and lack of comedown allow the user to experience its benefits over the course of a whole day.
Onset: 20-60 minutes (orally), 2-10 minutes (sublingually);
Peak: 4-6 hours (orally), 2-3 hours (sublingually);
Offset: 3-4 hours (orally), 1-2 hours (sublingually);
After effects: 5-6 hours;
Half-life: 14-16 hours.
Its peak period is the best time to be productive. Those who use it for work or study may find that two half-doses split several hours apart can be better than a full one taken in a day.
Nootropics are subjective, and Modafinil is no exception. Less is more when it comes to dosage, as the optimum dose may not necessarily be the regular one.
As a rule of thumb, it’s always good to start with as little as you can. You can always add more if you feel that you need more. The worst thing you can do is start off with a high dose that may yield counterproductive results.
The incredibly low price of Modafinil has sparked interest among productivity hackers and ambitious students in recent years. Those suffering from depression or ADHD can also benefit from off-label use.
Regardless of your purposes, it’s good to be aware of the timeline of Modafinil. It’ll help you make the most out of the experience.
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