Piracetam Review: Benefits, Dosing and Side Effects
Ah Piracetam, the aging old granddaddy of nootropics, smart drugs and cognitive enhancers.
Many a burning, enduring passion for the pursuit of the perfect Nootropic stack has started with a little bit of self-experimenting with Piracetam.
It’s been the subject of many detailed online reviews. Often seen as the beginner’s choice when it comes to nootropics, Piracetam is a safe and easy way to start improving your brain through nootropic supplementation.
It’s been favored by students cramming for exams, accountants rushing to meet year end deadlines, and entrepreneurs struggling to grow fledgling businesses. So what’s all the fuss about, and is it worth the hype? Let’s have a look in our Piracetam Review…
What Is Piracetam?
Although the concept of nootropics and smart drugs seem so modern and new, they’ve actually been around since 1964, when a Belgian scientist by the name of Dr Corneliu E. Giurgea first synthesized Piracetam. This makes Piracetam the first, original and oldest nootropic available, and indeed many of the more advanced nootropic compounds are heavily based on the daddy of all nootropics – Piracetam.
Dr Giurgea at the time was working for a company called UCB in Belgium that specializes in pharmaceuticals. He was the one who invented the word ‘nootropic’, based on the Greek words ‘noos’ (mind) and tropē (turn).
Following the initial synthesis of Piracetam in 1964 and its submission to clinical trials in 1965, it was soon found that the drug could improve certain mental faculties in test animal subjects. In the years that followed, the number of studies conducted on the drug went through the roof, its efficacy was tested on a wide range of ailments such as motion sickness, vertigo, epilepsy, spinal cord problems, amnesia and more. By 1971, the drug was used for the first time officially in medical practice.
Since its birth in 1964, Piracetam has been studied extensively, featuring in hundreds of different scientific studies over the years. Studies have been conducted on various animals and humans of various different ages, states and ailments.
Piracetam has been shown to have cognitive enhancement capabilities in a wide range of animals including mice, rabbits, felines, marmosets, canines, fish, cockroaches and rats. Oh, and let’s not forget plain old people too.
Animals have been noted to perform better on tasks such as choice reaction, delayed comparison tasks, object recognition and avoidance. It’s also been observed that piracetam has affected animal models of stress, anxiety and exploratory behavior.
When it comes to human studies of Piracetam, most of the work has been on individuals suffering from various disorders or ailments such as alcoholism, head injury, learning disorders, Alzheimer’s, Raynaud’s, Parkinson’s, vertigo, coma… the list goes on. For all the aforementioned problems, Piracetam is a prescribed drug who’s efficacy has been tested and approved.
But what about the effects of Piracetam in healthy individuals who are simply looking for a mental edge? This, unfortunately, has not been widely tested. We can only go with conclusions drawn from the tests in unhealthy humans and healthy animals, plus the mounting volumes of self-experimental and anecdotal evidence that is available online.
While studies on healthy human subjects have been scant over the years, a few of them have been done. One such study found piracetam significantly improved verbal learning skills at the two week point, but not at the one week point. In a study of patients in hypoxic conditions, Piracetam was found to lower the number of errors made in simple tests, but did not affect the subjects’ ability to concentrate. A meta analysis that summarised the findings of 19 studies involving 1,488 patients concluded that there was “compelling evidence for the global efficacy of Piracetam in a diverse group of older people.”
How it Works
Despite the hundreds of studies, the number of mental disorders it is prescribed for, and the data supporting its efficacy, nevertheless studies into how piracetam actually works have been inconclusive. Translation: no one’s that sure how it works its magic.
It is generally thought that it provides a helpful boost to the central nervous system, and that it stimulates the corpus callosum. The corpus callosum is the connection between the left and right hemispheres of the brain. By increasing the communication between the two hemispheres, you can improve the overall function of your brain and levels of creativity.
So, why take piracetam? What are the benefits? If you’re on this website then it’s safe to assume you’re interested in some of the cognitive enhancing capabilities of the drug, so let’s have a look at the reported benefits of piracetam.
One of the main reasons that Piracetam is favoured by students studying for exams as well as productivity junkies looking for that extra edge is thanks to its positive effects on your ability to focus. By allowing you to focus effortlessly for longer periods of time, Piracetam allows you to plough through more work or studies than you could hope to accomplish without it.
Piracetam has also been shown to have a positive effect on long term memory. This is why it’s often prescribed to patients suffering from attention deficit disorder. It’s also been shown to be effective in the treatment of head injuries and rehabilitation.
Piracetam can improve blood flow in the brain and is linked to increased creativity thanks to it’s positive effect on left-right brain communication. It can help repair and rejuvenate damaged neurons, plus it has a beneficial effect on alertness and attention span.
The fact that Piracetam is non-habit forming and has extremely low toxicity is a massive plus. It has very few common side effects as well, of the racetam family of compounds it is by far the safest choice and thus it’s often the ‘”ootropic beginner’s” drug of choice when getting started out.
Piracetam Side Effects
Piracetam has very few serious side effects – one of the main benefits of using it as your nootropic of choice. However, some users do report experiencing one or two minor side effects. Generally speaking, the side effects are not huge and can vary greatly from person to person. For example, some users may experience some dry mouth, whereas others will experience some form of anxiety.
When it comes to sleeping patterns, most users experience no effects but some experience restlessness while others experience the total opposite and become drowsy. To truly know if you’re going to experience any side effects, it would seem the only way to find out for sure is to try out the cognitive enhancer for yourself. For a more detailed round up of the side effects, you might like to check out our [Piracetam Side Effects] article.
If you’ve done your research, weighed up the pros and cons, and come to the conclusion that you’d like to try out a regimen of piracetam, then the next thing you’ll need to figure out is what dosage you should employ.
Firstly, it should be noted that Piracetam can cause some ‘brain fog’ if your choline levels are low. This doesn’t happen to everyone but if it happens to you, it can be counteracted by supplementing with a good source of choline such as Alpha GPC. We’d recommend that for a beginner, start with Piracetam on its own and document the effects.
Increase your choline levels from your diet by eating either three eggs or 150 grams of beef each day. If you still suffer from some brain fog after taking Piracetam, start taking Alpha GPC at a dose of 500 mg per day. Modify that dose up or down depending on whether or not the brain fog still occurs.
As for the actual dose of Piracetam to take, we cover in detail the many different strategies from different users. Our recommended strategy for beginners is as follows:
- Start by taking 1600mg per day.
- 2x daily dosings of 1x 800mg tablet each.
- One dose in the morning, one in the afternoon.
- Maintain the exact dose for 3 weeks straight.
- After 3 weeks, record the effect felt.
- Increase / decrease the dosing only after 3 weeks, dependent on the strength of effects felt and the desired outcome from consumption.
There’s a ton of different logs and online reviews where users have recounted their experiences with Piracetam. There’s no way to catalogue them all and come up with a cohesive look at the whole lot, but failing that let’s have a look at a few examples and summarise their experience, to give you an idea of the personal experience that people go through on the drug:
This log on the Anabolic Minds forum shows Piracetam to have had a positive effect on the user’s ability to think clearly and read books. They also reported that it improved their ability to relax.
This user on the Soxial Anxiety Support forum reported some irritation and ‘mental tiredness’ when they overdosed on Piracetam, but otherwise reported a lift in mood and a lessening of the depression they had been experiencing. Here’s the users eventual summary:
Piracetam has been making me a ton less depressed (additive effect each day I’ve been on it), brain feels like it has more energy, anxiety is less of a drain. Makes colors/imagery more vivid. Causes irritability/mental fatigue if taking too much.
This user on Hip Forums reported that Piracetam did not potentiate the effects of caffeine, however it did potentiate the effects of MDMA. This is a common theme amongst Piracetam users, the concept that it can make the effects felt by various stimulant drugs more noticeable.
These are just a few of the many logs of Piracetam usage that have been published online by some of Piracetam’s many self experimenters. Don’t take them as gospel, a massive pinch of salt is always required, however it should help you to understand what other people are reporting about the drug before getting started on it yourself.
For beginners looking to start on their first regimen of Nootropics, there really is no safer, easier and better way to start than with a simple stack of Piracetam and Choline (if required due to brain fog). The reported benefits of Piracetam are numerous, and while some of Piracetam’s younger siblings such as Aniracetam.
More on Piracetam
- How long does it take Piracetam to work?
- Hard Review: Tinospora cordifolia and Phyllanthus emblica For Memory
- Discover the World of Lucid Dreaming with Piracetam
- Piracetam Review and Beginner’s Guide
- Piracetam Review: Benefits, Dosing and Side Effects
- Piracetam and Choline: Dosages, Ratios & Benefits