Straight out of Russia comes a purported nootropic with supposed cognitive, neuroprotective, and neurogenic effects. Being made in the lab, there is a deal of study and documentation regarding its effects on the body. Primarily, it works to stimulate the central nervous system and grant a boost in mental performance and focus without the downsides of drugs like Adderall, Ritalin, and Ephedrine. Does it live up to the hype? Overall, yes, but there are some considerations to keep in mind.
As mentioned, Semax is a designer drug, produced in Russia during the 1980s with the express intention of improving cognitive function. In addition to stimulating the central nervous system (enhancing energy and metabolism) it works to modulate receptors for various brain chemicals: acetylcholine, dopamine, serotonin, adenosine, histamine, etc. This results in the mental boost associated with the drug and allows users to perform brain tasks with increased vigor, clarity, and efficiency.
Semax may also have some use in reducing symptoms associated with stress and depression. At least one study has shown that (for those suffering from mental illness, at least) Semax had a calming, sedative effect that reduced many of their anxiety related issues. There is limited data suggesting that Semax in combination with some stimulants might increase dopamine production to provide a greater mood enhancement, but this claim requires further study before verification.
In Russia, Semax is classified as a “Vital & Essential Drug.” It is used clinically to help protect against neurodegenerative disorders (strokes and the like) and to provide enhancements of the mental variety. In the United States, it is not approved by the FDA, but is also unscheduled, meaning that you can obtain and use it if you so choose.
Typically, this means acquiring one of the varying strength vials that are available on the internet. These vials allow users to administer Semax as a nasal spray, as ingesting the drug renders it inactive. As such, there are no powders or capsules of Semax for users to try, limiting the delivery options. One thing that is important to keep in mind is that because this is such a new offering in the United States, you might have difficulty obtaining it at a price you might deem reasonable. Expect a significant markup when purchasing from online vendors.
Semax has few alternate names, though is sometimes referred to as Semax Peptide or Pro-Gly-Pro-ACTH.
I’ll admit, I was wary of putting some weird, clear, Russian liquid in my system. I was half expecting to end up in some amphetamine-style rage, reduced to running down the street in various states of undress and shouting at passersby. Thankfully, these fears were grossly overblown. I took the standard nasal dose (about 200 micrograms) and waited. In about thirty minutes, I began feeling the acute effects.
I didn’t feel much in the way of physical stimulation or energy boost (this stuff was nothing like caffeine), but I did feel like I had a sudden increase in mental toughness. It seemed like I was firing on all cylinders, able to zip through my work with little distraction. When it came to physical tasks, it seemed like they were coming to me easier. Working out, for example, I was able to accomplish my entire routine without feeling like I was getting fatigued or worn out in any way. As far as my overall mood, I felt sure of myself, attentive, and generally on top of things in a way that was very much pronounced. This went beyond the general sense of ease that other nootropics provide. This was more like an “I got this” kind of sensation.
Thankfully, I didn’t have any side effects the few times I tried Semax out. That doesn’t mean they don’t exist, though, I’ve read about some interesting experiences (that I’ll be sharing shortly) and they have definitely colored my perception of this powerful brain drug. Overall, though, I feel that in controlled doses this could be a useful tool. I also see a great potential for some people to go overboard with it, which could potentially cause some serious detriments. If you are going to use Semax, make sure you take it easy.
I mentioned it above; there are some freaky side effects that some people have reported when using Semax. Read this and tell me it doesn’t give you pause:
“The first time I took it, it took about 30 minutes for the effects to kick in. I know when it kicks in because it seems to make me feel like I’m in a video game. I’m more into my thoughts and it somehow made me feel out of body as in I don’t feel as much physical sensation. For example, I recall doing some push-ups when I was on Semax and not feeling any body strains. I didn’t know if I was overexerting myself or not. It is hard to explain but think of it as if you were dreaming and you dreamt of working out. You know you are doing them, but you don’t actually feel the pain. This goes with other bodily functions [as well].”
Now, I didn’t experience any sort of depersonalization when trying Semax, but the fact that it could happen does make me feel a bit weird about it. Still, this user and many others have noted that this can be viewed as a positive, and might even be desirable if you understand what’s happening.
Semax’s benefits are mostly cognitive in nature. It has several effects on the mind, and, as mentioned, these effects have some clinical data backing them up.
Semax can reduce anxiety and stress while increasing levels of brain neurotransmitters associated with happiness. The result is a marked mood enhancement that can last throughout the day. This is supported by current research, with at least one study noting the influence that microgram doses of Semax had on depression and anxiety.
Because Semax stimulates the production of so many neurotransmitters, it can boost the brain’s ability to work at heightened capacities. Clarity, speed, and focus are all affected, and the change in memory is also pronounced. One study found that Semax doses increased brain activity and allowed human volunteers in the study to better complete memorization based tests than their placebo counterparts. This lines up with anecdotal reports in which users report that while using Semax, many cognitive tasks become effortless and require much less expenditure of mental energy to complete.
While Semax might not have stimulant effect of its own, researchers believe that it can potentiate the activity of amphetamines. In other words, it increases their strength in a short-term fashion, kind of like a stimulant booster. In the case of one particular stimulant, D-amphetamine, researchers have found that Semax increased dopamine production along with this drug when taken simultaneously. So, while not a stimulant in and of itself, it will make this specific amphetamine much more potent.
In addition to these core benefits, some evidence exists that suggests Semax might be useful in controlling ADHD, reducing migraine symptoms, and, on account of its neuroprotective effects, prevent some forms of brain aging that result in cognitive decline as we grow older. Furthermore, Semax is administered to stroke and head trauma victims to help lessen the negative mental conditions that can arise as a result of either malady.
Though not all the mechanisms of action are understood, researchers still know plenty about how Semax works. The simplified version goes as such:
- Semax modulates receptors for neurotransmitters (most notably dopamine and serotonin)
- Semax activates NMDA receptors for glutamate
- Semax increases the production of neurotrophins and brain proteins
- Semax also affects melanocortin receptors
This combination of factors gives it a wide role in mental functioning, resulting in the various reductions in mental strain, stress, and anxiety, while simultaneously increasing memory, learning, alertness, and other cognitive factors.
Semax goes to work in about a half hour to an hour after being administered. The effects last for several hours thereafter. As previously mentioned, ingestion of Semax results in reduced effect, therefore, administration via nasal spray is currently the best option for enjoying the benefits associated with Semax use.
Because Semax is so potent, only small doses are needed to achieve the desired results. In most cases, 0.5-1.0 milligrams per day are all the average users will need. In most cases, this is equivalent to one or two sprays from the nasal applicator. Semax does not need to be taken with food, nor do you need to adjust the dosage to account for sex or size differences. What one will have to make note of, however, are the different variants of Semax concentration. The 0.1% concentrations are less powerful than the 1% solutions (which are normally reserved for stroke victims or individuals with serious medical conditions). For cognitive enhancement, the lowered concentrations should work adequately.
Officially, there are no major side effects associated with Semax. There are no documented interactions with other drugs and no kinds of withdrawal symptoms associated with its use. As noted earlier, though, anecdotal reports show that it can produce a sense of disassociation from one’s actions, which could either be a benefit or detriment, depending on your point of view.
It is also important to note that the long-term effects of Semax use have not been studied in great detail. It’s certainly possible that there are no issues associated with continued Semax use, but that possibility is not a certainty. Exercise caution, and take note of how Semax affects you individually before deciding on long-term use.
On its own, Semax is regarded as a very powerful nootropic. Because of this, it is largely unnecessary to combine it with other compounds for achieving cognitive benefits. For simultaneous physical enhancements like increased energy, though, there are few pairings that are possible.
We’ve already covered the potentiation effect that goes along with D-amphetamine. Some users have also tried combining Semax with Kratom to achieve either a boost in stimulation or sedation. As you might already know, Kratom can induce either state, depending on the dosage that you use. Higher doses will cause you to feel calmer, while lower doses will give you an increase in energy.
To combat some of the energy crash that might occur while using Semax, some users will supplement with Phenylpiracetam. This helps them maintain a more even level of energy throughout the day while bolstering the cognitive effects that come from the Semax. Normal doses of both compounds will work for this purpose.
You might also try Semax paired with Tianeptine, which is a mood booster with similar properties. It has a synergistic effect that further increases the good feelings that come with taking either compound.
Semax is primarily used for its cognitive and focus enhancing properties. Other options that could provide similar benefit include:
The combination drug Adderall is used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy, and a has something of an off-label reputation for inducing euphoria, increasing libido, and allowing one to work and focus to a heightened degree. Unfortunately, Adderall has a long list of side-effects that make it a less than ideal candidate for continued use.
Ritalin, also known as Methylphenidate, is an another ADHD counterdrug that is possibly linked to dopamine and norepinephrine responses in the brain. It can enhance cognitive performance but also has physical effects that keep it from being a primary choice for long-term supplementation.
Another Russian-born psychostimulant, Bromante is not a swell understood as the other options on the list. It does have mood enhancing properties, though, and is reported to improve both physical and mental performance. More research is needed on its long-term effects, however.
Using Semax wasn’t the experience that I was expecting, and that’s a good thing in this case. It had a very noticeable effect on my ability to work, and, as advertised, helped me enter something akin to a flow state where everything was coming to me with ease. I recommend trying it out to see how it might work for you and if you’ll be able to count it among your arsenal of nootropic cognitive enhancers. Just remember