The Working Man's Guide to Microdosing

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The Brain Booster: Modafinil
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The Brain Booster: Modafinil

Created as a treatment for narcolepsy, this drug has since been embraced by biohackers for its cognitive-enhancing side effects.

The Dose

Pills come in 100 to 200 milligram doses. You want only 50, so start chopping. Modafinil can be obtained legally with a prescription, but sites like Afinil Express are reliable (I got my pills there), and allow you to buy anonymously.

What to Know

Modafinil is proved to keep the sleep-deprived alert, and a broad University of Oxford review found it helped boost cognitive performance for nondrowsy folks, too. Exactly how it works, however, is something of a mystery, says Anna-Katharine Brem, co-author of the Oxford study and head of neuropsychology at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry. The drug doesn't appear to be risky, though some users report mild headaches and nausea. Because it has a long half-life, take it first thing — or prepare to be up watching M*A*S*H reruns at 3 a.m.

What It Feels Like

Ninety minutes after my first dose, man, I was motivated. I didn't eat my egg sandwich, I completed it. It wasn't like I'd taken a bump; it was more like being highly caffeinated, sans jitters. Multitasking came easier, too. I did feel an ever-present tinge of impatience, and by day two, a subtle headache.

Verdict

I'll happily suffer mild side effects to bulldoze through a hard workday.

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