Modafinil Vs. Adderall: Smart Drug Showdown, Comparison, & Side Effects
Curious about Modafinil vs. Adderall? Let’s break it down.
The two wildly popular nootropics have found mainstream acceptance. Both of these “Limitless” kind of drugs are used on college campuses, in board rooms, offices, and coffee shops around the world.
For many digital nomads, CEOs, young hustlers, and students – smart drugs have become all the rage. Many people looking to get better grades, make more money, or increase productivity have turned to nootropics.
Why? Because Modafinil and Adderall both work. In the right situations, these smart drugs can:
Improve productivity and workflow
Promote a sense of wakefulness
Offer long-lasting energy
But which one is better for you? Which nootropic is healthier, longer-lasting, and has fewer side effects? Let’s dive into this Modafinil vs. Adderall comparison.
P.S.: This is not medical advice. I am not a doctor or medical professional. Always consult a doctor before taking any prescription drugs. And make sure to read our terms and condition page.
What is Modafinil?
I’m a pretty big fan of this smart drug. I wrote a whole piece on what Modafinil is awhile back. Here’s the gist of what Modafinil is:
It’s a drug. A nootropic. A smart drug to be exact.
From a medical definition standpoint, Modafinil is an oral drug created to promote wakefulness in patients with excessive sleepiness or shift work sleep disorder. Modafinil increases focus by stimulating the brain. Exactly how Modafinil stimulates the brain is unknown.
For all intents and purposes of this article, Modafinil is a smart drug used to increase productivity and focus. Classified as a nootropic, Internet marketers have been raving about the pill for years now.
The one interesting thing about Modafinil: it’s not a stimulant. While Modafinil seemingly acts like a stimulant in certain ways, there’s no jittery feeling and the pill doesn’t act on the brain how stims do.
Doctors are still uncertain how the nootropic actually works on the brain, but one thing is sure – it definitely works.
Originally created to treat shift sleep disorder and narcolepsy (source), Modafinil has become a favorite of hustlers worldwide.
On the other hand, Adderall is a stimulant. The pharmaceutical drug was originally created to combat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD (source).
Adderall works by changing how your brain regulates certain natural substances. The smart drug is made out of Amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, which allows the drug to stimulate different areas of the brain that control hyperactivity, focus, and impulse control.
While Modafinil is relatively new on the scene, Adderall has been popular with college students for 2-3 decades at this point. Many consider it to be the “study drug” of choice for finals week or when that big paper is due.
Modafinil Vs. Adderall: How the Smart Drugs Work & Feel
I’ve taken Modafinil and Adderall on and off since my college days. I rarely used the drugs more than twice a week. These days I typically take Modafinil 1-3 times a month. Back in college, I used to take Adderall 2-4 times a semester.
While the results of both these nootropics are similar, the way they work and feel is not.
You feel the smart drug kick in around an hour after ingestion. The typical dose is between 100-300 mg.
Once kicking, Modafinil offers a clean focus and heightened cognition. Tasks that usually are tedious become relaxing and enjoyable. You feel like everything just breezes by. Nothing is too difficult.
For example, you might be able to focus on coding or a spreadsheet for 3-5 hours on a typical day. With Modafinil, you’ll probably work on those tasks for -7-12 hours straight.
Modafinil offers a clean energy that’s tough to find anywhere else.
Adderall is a little different. After you take this pharmaceutical drug, you’ll start to feel a sense of happiness around the one-hour mark. Personally, Adderall gives me a “high” feeling. Much more than Modafinil.
You’ll start to feel energized. Your body will feel a bit jittery. You may feel more social or happy when using Adderall.
Your mind will enjoy every single task at hand. You could be writing a 10,000-word book report, studying for an accounting final, doing taxes for your business, or invoicing clients for the month…
On Adderall, it’ll all be enjoyable. Everything will be.
Overall, I find Adderall is “stronger” than Modafinil in many ways. Although, this strength comes with quite a few side effects.
Modafinil Vs. Adderall Benefits
While Modafinil and Adderall are often used for similar tasks, they have some of the same benefits and a few different ones. Let’s dive in.
Heightened Focus: After taking Modafinil, most users report a heightened sense of focus. This results in increased productivity. Many users enjoy the increased focus and production with the jitters that come from stimulants, like caffeine and Adderall.
Staying Awake: Modafinil promotes wakefulness in users for 10-15 hours. This is ideal for students or hustlers looking to meet deadlines. Just make sure to take this smart drug in the morning.
Better Mood: Many users report being “happier” while the active ingredients of Modafinil are in their system. The drug does interact with dopamine, but doctors are still unsure exactly how it works.
Fewer Side Effects: While this will be discussed more so further down the page, the majority of smart drug users find fewer side effects when using Modafinil vs. Adderall. Other than the occasional sleepless night, many don’t report any side effects after taking this nootropic.
Stronger High: Adderall is often stronger than Modafinil for most users. The smart drug is a stimulant and offers a strong sense of focus, productivity, and overall happiness.
Energy & Vigor: Due to the stimulant effects of Adderall, most report insane energy levels and intense vigor while the active ingredients are working in the body. Adderall can offer minor changes to one’s personality, in this regard.
Intense Focus: Due to the stimulants found in Adderall, many experience a level of focus they’ve never felt before after taking a proper Adderall dosage. Tasks that normally take a couple hours may only take one hour on this nootropic.
Modafinil Vs. Adderall Side Effects
As you can see, the benefits of Modafinil and Adderal are somewhat similar. The side effects can be quite different.
Overall, most users report Adderall having more side effects than Modafinil. Typically, the side effects of Adderall are more serious, too.
Modafinil Side Effects:
Most consider taking Modafinil in a proper dosage to be safe and effective. Side effects are usually mild and can include:
Shaking, skin rashes, and uncontrolled movements are quite rare – but a few users have experienced these side effects, too.
There doesn’t seem to be any real risk of addiction with Modafinil. For occasional users like myself, this is a huge benefit. I never find myself craving a Modafinil day. I only use the smart drug when I want to crush 10-12 hours of work in a day.
If you’re on other medications or have a previous health condition, it’s important to contact a doctor before taking this smart drug.
Adderall Side Effects:
While many individuals don’t have any issues taking Adderall, there’s no denying this nootropic offers more side effects than Modafinil.
Adderall may be stronger than Modafinil, but you definitely need to be careful with the smart drug. Common side effects of Adderall include:
Habit forming & addictive: As Adderall is a stimulant, many users start to become addicted to the drug. It is habit forming and some people find themselves want to use the drug more and more.
Fast, uneven heartbeats
Tremors or twitching muscles
Exceptionally high blood pressure
Pain when urinating
Modafinil Vs. Adderall – Overall
While the Modafinil vs. Adderall debate may rage on, you need to find a nootropic that works for you.
Personally, I prefer Modafinil. The “Limitless” pill works well for me, offers no side effects, and I’m crazy productive on days I take it.
While I’ve taken Adderall in the past, I no longer use it. The drug was too harsh for me and offered some side effects. I didn’t like the fact that I felt hungover the day after using Adderall.
When getting better grades or making more money is on your mind, Modafinil is the go-to nootropic. There just isn’t anything better on the market right now.
Travel junkie turned blogger. Location independent. From the Midwest, but often based in Latin America. Big on beaches, rumba, and rum. Addicted to the gym. Committed to showing a different style of travel - one that involves actually interacting with locals and exploring different cultures.