Modafinil in Japan: Easier Said Than Done
You’ve heard about Modafinil, right? It’s hard to imagine that there was ever a point where this so-called smart drug was a relative unknown, as the surge in popularity and interest it has enjoyed gives the impression that it was always on top in terms of wakefulness-promoting, stimulant-like drugs.
Thanks to its unique properties, which allow it to stave off the urge to sleep while simultaneously promoting alertness, focus, the desire to accomplish various tasks, and other cognitive factors, it’s no wonder so many seek Modafinil out in an attempt to boost their own performance and gain the critical edge they need in whatever field they are competing in.
Let’s take a step back, though. There’s little question that Modafinil works effectively. The real question most people are asking is how do they get their hands on it?
This is a curious one indeed, as different countries have all taken different stances on the drug, with some welcoming it into the fold as a useful clinical tool, and others banning it the same they would with cocaine or opiates.
Where does the land of the rising sun fall? Can you buy Modafinil in Japan? Let’s investigate what the deal is.
In this article:
First, some information about the drug itself. If you’ve read any of the hype-pieces on the internet about Modafinil, you might not be sure about what it is and what it does. There’s some exaggeration out there, to be sure, hailing Modafinil as the “#1 smart pill ever, bar none.”
While it certainly has some potent effects, you shouldn’t go in thinking that it’s going to turn you into a proverbial “4D Chessmaster” or any such equivalent.
What Modafinil is good for is promoting wakefulness. Individuals who suffer from sleeping disorders that cause them to become abnormally tired during the wrong times, things like narcolepsy and shift work sleep disorder, use it to correct their sleep cycle and live a more balanced lifestyle.
The eugeroic effects of the drug aren’t limited to individuals with sleep disorders, though. Normal individuals who are experiencing fatigue or sleep deprivation can use it to snap themselves awake and maintain alertness during critical periods.
What’s more, Modafinil has secondary benefits that have attributed to its status as a nootropic favorite. It can help to enhance working memory, motivation, reaction times, and other cognitive functions, leading to the supposed “smart drug” status.
Does the Drug Work?
Short answer, yes. Long answer, also yes, but you have to couch it with specifics. For its clinical uses, there’s no doubt that Modafinil can help. Physicians in many countries prescribe Modafinil to patients to control the symptoms associated with their sleeping conditions, often to great effect.
The great thing about Modafinil, for many of these people, is that it doesn’t come with the side effects and baggage that using stimulants like amphetamines would. There’s no excess jitteriness, no rebound hypersomnia post-use, and little (if any) chance for the drug to become habit-forming and lead to abuse.
This isn’t to say that there are no possible side effects. On the contrary, Modafinil can cause headaches, nausea, a loss of appetite, and a range of other minor side effects. The more serious ones, though, are less common, which makes Modafinil a superior option for many people.
As for those secondary benefits, there is plenty of research, along with anecdotal reports from loyal users, that Modafinil functions as intended. Temper your expectations, though, Modafinil users report that the feeling you get is one of heightened focus and alertness, not a superhuman level of consciousness.
The Studies Support Modafinil’s Off-Label Benefits
As we’ve mentioned, there’s a number of secondary benefits associated with Modafinil. While scientists are still just beginning to understand the full scope of the drug and what it’s capable of, there has been some credible research to suggest that there’s something more to Modafinil, besides its application as a eurogic.
The European Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology recently conducted a full review of several of the most prominent studies on Modafinil and it’s potential off label benefits. This review was conducted by some of the most prestigious medical researchers in the world, including faculty members of Harvard and Oxford universities.
Their findings seem to mirror what many Modafinil users have been saying for years: There are significant cognitive benefits to the drug. Professor Guy Goodwin concluded that “This overview suggests that, on current evidence, modafinil enhances cognition independent of its known effects in sleep disordered populations. Thus, the authors say that ‘modafinil may well deserve the title of the first well-validated pharmaceutical nootropic agent.’ “
The review also unearthed some other positive conclusions when it comes to Modafinil. When it comes to side effects related to mood, or disposition, the studies found that Modafinil had no tangible effect. That’s a claim that can’t be made by similar drugs, such as amphetamines.
Since Modafinil does appear to present itself as a safer option compared to other drugs, there’s also been a wide range of research conducted on Modafinil as a potential alternative treatment for other issues, such as ADHD and even cocaine dependency.
The Legality of Modafinil
That depends on who you ask and where in the world you’re asking about. If you’re talking about much of the “western world” Modafinil is legal, but regulated. In Canada, to pose an example, Modafinil requires a prescription from a doctor to obtain.
You can’t import it freely, as you need authorization or a medical need to do so. Customs agents may check packages and confiscate the drug if they find out that you don’t have your paperwork in order.
Other areas in the world, like Mexico, don’t take nearly as harsh a stance. Though technically you need a prescription for the drug, it isn’t closely regulated, and you can possess it without fear of reprisal.
You can obtain the drug in the country, and even order it from vendors online and have it imported with relative ease.
In Japan, though, the laws are much more strict. Modafinil is considered a Schedule I Psychotropic Drug, meaning it is quite illegal if you don’t have a prescription.
The authorities will investigate attempts to import the drug to Japan aggressively, and possession of Modafinil without authorization can lead to arrest and imprisonment.
One might be tempted to say that you don’t. As explained, Modafinil is highly restricted in Japan. If you have a prescription, you can purchase the drug under the brand name Modiodal. Japan has one of the strictest policies regarding importing the drug. If they catch you, they will track you down, question you, and might even arrest you. It’s serious stuff. Take a closer look at Japan’s approved drug policies.
You can read any number of forum and blog posts detailing people’s negative experiences attempting import, and, to put it mildly, the process was not fun.
Now, you might say that these are only the people that got caught and that there are times where a shipment of Modafinil might slip through. Point well taken, but you still have to find a vendor willing to ship to Japan and hope for the best.
Many prominent dealers won’t even attempt to send a package to the island nation because they know it will probably get picked up before even entering the country.
Long story short: you can try, but the risk is high, and you might be better off searching for an alternative.
See this page for a list of companies that sell Modafinil online.
That’s Where Adrafinil Comes In
What luck! An alternative! Adrafinil could be considered a precursor to Modafinil. It was developed in the 1970s by French researchers and went to market under the brand name Olimfon in the 1980s. It has many of the same effects.
It can promote wakefulness in a similar manner, provides a boost during periods of sleep deprivation in much the same way, and even has many of the same supposed cognitive benefits (if user reports are anything to go by).
Individuals report using Adrafinil to supplement their cognitive function, alertness, and motivation to work with similar doses to Modafinil.
What’s the difference, then?
Nearly all differences are related to how the drug is processed by our bodies. Unlike Modafinil, Adrafinil must first be processed by the liver before entering the bloodstream. This process is known as metabolization. As such, there’s a slightly higher chance of liver related problems when using Adrafinil. Since it’s processed by the liver, this also means that much of the drug is lost through the metabolization process. As a result, Adrafinil users typically take a dose that’s about three times larger than a dose of Modafinil. Finally, since the drug is first processed by the liver, it takes about three times longer to kick in than Modafinil. Where Modafinil takes about twenty minutes, Adrafinil can take close to an hour.
Still, it is less regulated in many parts of the world than Modafinil, even though it is officially discontinued.
Does this apply to Japan? Information about the precise laws governing Adrafinil is hard to come by, but there are plenty of reports of users importing the drug without incident that you can read up on, and they lend credence to the supposition that Adrafinil is the safer option, at least as far as the law is concerned.
So, here are our takeaways. Modafinil is a great drug for people suffering from different sleep disruptions like narcolepsy and shift-work sleep disorder. It is processed quickly by the body, then goes to work fighting off fatigue, the urge to sleep, and boosting feelings of vigor, motivation, alertness, etc.
It has value as a performance enhancer and can be used safely without great risk for abuse or dependence.
Laws vary around the world, with some countries allowing for relatively free use, and others enforcing varying levels of regulation. In Japan, individuals with prescriptions can purchase limited amounts of Modafinil, but imports of Modafinil are frequently checked and subject to confiscation.
The Japanese authorities might even pay you a visit if they feel the need to investigate.
As such, you might want to try Adrafinil; individuals seem to have an easier go of getting it into the country.
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