The term nootropic derived from two Greek words: “noos”, meaning “mind”, and “tropein”, meaning “towards”. Dr. Corneliu E. Giurgrea was the first person to coin the term “nootropic” and he later started to describe their function. Nootropics, also referred to as “smart drugs”, are compounds that have a positive effect on cognition.
For example, studies demonstrate that nootropics are particularly popular among students who take them to improve academic performance and become better learners. Similarly, by improving memory, focus and problem solving skills nootropics could make workers more productive.
Although Nootropics are growing in popularity in the UK and around the world, there are still people who could potentially benefit from using these supplements but they decide not to buy nootropics as they are uncertain of their legal status in the UK.
Also, because of a large number of effective cognitive enhancers on the market, UK residents might be confused what is, and is not, permitted to buy, use, and import into the UK. A wide spectrum of cognitive enhancing supplements makes it very difficult for any country to classify them under the same “nootropics” category.
As a result, currently Nootropics cover a vast range of nutrients, herbal supplements, vitamins as well as prescription and non-prescription drugs. In total there are over 150 compounds in this category. The UK and most other countries do not recognize these supplements collectively, which consequently leaves Nootropics in a grey area which is not regulated. This is mainly because nootropics have not been formally approved in the UK.
This article will explore the legal status, use and purchase of nootropics.
Are Nootropics Legal in the UK?
Most nootropic mineral and vitamin supplements can be readily purchased in the UK. You can do this at either online food stores or health food shops. Users should be aware that, like with any supplement, an overdose of nootropics could have mild and serious health consequences.
“However, in general, most Nootropics are safe and non-toxic if taken within the advised dosages.”
If fact, if there are serious side effects that supplement cannot be classified as nootropic. A number of minerals and vitamins commonly found in nootropic stacks include B- and D-vitamins, fish oil and choline. If you do a bit of research and prices comparison online, you can purchase them relatively cheap either locally or from other countries.
Herbal Nootropic Supplements in the UK:
You can buy herbal supplements and extracts, such as ginseng, ginkgo biloba and other compounds derived from non-Western substances, in the United Kingdom without a prescription. Like nootropic mineral and vitamin supplements, they are readily available to be purchased in health food shops or online.
Reports show that some of the herbal supplements can take two to six weeks before they have a positive effect. Herbal supplements that are commonly used in stacks are Bacopa monnieri, Vinpocetine, Huperzine A, and the above mentioned Ginkgo Biloba. All of these nootropic herbs are non-prescription and can be easily purchased in the UK.
Nootropics in the UK:
The most popular group of nootropics is “racetams”. Dr. Giurgrea synthesized the first ever racetam called Piracetam back in 1964. Piracetam is therefore the forefather of all Racetams. You do need a prescription for Piracetam in the UK. While Piracetam may be imported for personal use, regulations do require a prescription for it.
“It is important to note that the derivatives of Piracetam, such as Pramiracetam, Oxiracetam, Aniracetam, and Noopept do not require a prescription.”
This means that they are allowed to be imported for personal use without prescription. Although, some users have reported that they had no problems importing Piracetam in small amounts, it is advised that you buy one of the other legal racetams.
In terms of cost-effectiveness, it is cheapest to buy racetams in bulk powder form. This works out to be around 3-4 times cheaper in comparison to buying capsules. However, many users do not like the taste of powder and prefer to use capsules.
A list of other prescription drugs and nootropics in the UK includes Adderall, Ritalin, Citalopram, DHEA, Donepezil, Losartan, Guanfacine and Modafinil. These drugs not only require a prescription but have a number of side effects (some of them can adverse). Therefore, it is very important that users of these prescription drugs are monitored by a medical professional to ensure the user’s safety.
Some people prefer a supplement called Adrafinil to Modafinil because it does not require a prescription. Adrafinil is a legal alternative of Modafinil, which is eventually converted into Modafinil by the liver. However, a long-term use it is not advised as there are risks of having elevated liver enzymes.
UK residents are able to purchase, possess, and use a number of nootropic supplements without any trouble. If you are importing nootropics from abroad you should only do so for what is known as “personal use”. Generally, this means that a supply of up to 3 months is allowed. Finally, if you want to import a nootropic that requires a prescription, you may be able to do so as long as you have the necessary prescription readily available.