NZT & Lucy CPH4: The Reality of Nootropics (Smart Drugs)

Smart drugs have created a lot of buzz lately. Awareness of the smart drugs, or Nootropics, spiked thanks to the drug NZT in “Limitless” and also the CPH4 in “Lucy.” These fictional drugs rely on the same myth that humans use only 10% of their brains.

However, the truth is far from it. If humans used only 10% of their brains, then the damage to the other 90% wouldn’t cause mental deficits. That, of course, isn’t true. As explained by Barry Gordon, a neurologist, humans use practically every part of their brains. Not only that, but the brain is active almost all the time. Thus, the myth of smart drugs that improve your cognition and mental ability is deceiving.

Furthermore, the alleged unused parts of the brain would have degenerated long ago, because the brain has a “use it or lose it” policy. But, what is the reality of smart drugs? Do drugs that improve your cognitive ability actually exist?

The reality of nootropics (NZT & CPH4)

Well, yes. Some drugs can have enhancing effects when it comes to cognition. However, don’t expect god-like abilities Scarlett Johansson exhibited in Lucy. You’ll be rather disappointed. However, scientists have been researching and developing drugs that can improve cognitive skills for years. Yet, it seems like none have the fantastic and otherworldly effects like NZT and CPH4.

Nootropics can have noticeable, albeit, minimal effects on brain functions. Therefore, by targeting neural metabolism and the oxygen within the brain, nootropics can affect:

  • reaction time
  • memory
  • mood
  • motivation
  • attention
  • alertness
  • focus

However, the full effects, positive and negative, are yet to be determined. Brains aren’t fully formed before the age of 25. So, it’s likely that the nootropics can cause harm to people under that age limit. Most of all, children in formative years are primarily under the risk of damage.

Therefore, if you decide to try out some nootropics, do your research beforehand. Decide what cognitive ability you want to improve. Only use nootropics that can affect those functions. Furthermore, make sure that nootropics you take are authentic and pure. A certificate of analysis (COA) is a firm guarantee, thus ensuring that nootropics you chose to take don’t have any toxins like mycotoxin in them.

Furthermore, avoid using several nootropics at the same time. That can cause anxiety, mania, depression, and withdrawal.

Here is a list of nootropics to consider.


The most popular of the nootropics. Caffeine can affect alertness, focus, attention, and energy. However, beware of the downsides. You’re probably already familiar with them. Caffeine can cause:

  • increased blood pressure
  • anxiety
  • mania
  • headaches
  • nausea


L-Theanine can be found in tea. It enhances and relaxes attention. For best performance, you should consume it along with caffeine. However, you might experience side effects such as headaches.


The term “nootropics” was coined to describe the ability of Piracetam. It can enhance focus, mood, motivation, and energy. Piracetam is the most thoroughly researched drug among the nootropics.


The brain uses the creatine to keep the energy levels high. That is why bodybuilders and fitness fans use it. If you are sleep-deprived, this is the nootropic for you. However, there are some side effects:

  • nausea
  • stomach pains
  • diarrhea


Extracted from turmeric, curcumin has many benefits. It increases alertness and memory. It even has antidepressant effects. However, it also has some side effects:

  • headaches
  • swelling
  • chest tightness

Bacopa Monnieri

It enhances memory, especially in older people. But it can also cause:

  • cramps
  • fatigue
  • lethargy
  • drowsiness


It will increase your norepinephrine and dopamine levels, thus boosting your memory skills. However, it has some addictive qualities. Side effects include:

  • insomnia
  • anxiety
  • irritability

Mixed Amphetamine Salts (Adderall)

Adderall is one of the most commonly known nootropics. It enhances cognition. However, it has an impairing effect on those who already have high-functioning skills. Adderall also has significant side effects:

  • euphoria
  • mania
  • paranoia
  • increased blood pressure


It increases dopamine and phenylethylamine levels. That can significantly improve learning skills and elevate your mood. It also has some mild antidepressant properties. One of the ingredients is tyramine that can increase your blood pressure. Furthermore, other side effects include:

  • dry mouth
  • increased libido
  • insomnia
  • negative effects when mixed with oral contraceptives


CDP-choline increases dopamine and energy levels. Thus, similar to Adderall, it can improve attention in low performers. However, high performing people will experience impairment of abilities. It has neuroprotective properties.


If you’re sleep deprived or can’t wake up quick enough, these are the nootropics for you. Modafinil can also improve reaction time.


It will enhance executive functions. Dementia patients mostly use this nootropic. However, side effects include:

  • unusual dreams
  • nausea
  • depression


Noopept enhances your learning capacity, memory, and attention. It increases alpha and beta brain waves.


This nootropic has long-term effects on mood and memory. However, you may also experience:

  • stomach pains
  • heartburn
  • insomnia


Mostly used to treat depression, Tianeptine has addictive qualities. However, it has significant side effects like:

  • liver toxicity
  • abdominal pain
  • anorexia


Enhances cognitive function and also acts as an antidepressant. It’s used to treat hippocampal atrophy.

Alpha Brain

Use it to improve your verbal learning and also to enhance your memory. It’s a relatively safe nootropic. However, there are some mild side effects like irritability and anxiety.