Citation: Blattaria. "A Reasonable Supplement to Caffeine: experience with Adrafinil (ID 23199)". Erowid.org. Apr 23, 2003. erowid.org/exp/23199
As someone who craves stimuli and has an ambition that generally outpaces my grasp, drugs that enhance my sensation or focus and have been my definite preference; I've generally avoided those drugs - like benzodiazepines - that would reduce my stimuli. I had an abusive but mercifully brief experience with methamphetamines and, like many, have an ongoing caffeine habit.
I was having difficulty focusing at work and was looking for some assistance in staying alert and focused. I felt like caffeine had reached its limit of usefulness; at the doses I needed to take it to have a notable effect, I was generally nauseous, had the shakes, and a brief period of mania. Plus I find caffeine to have a very short, sharp response curve; I wanted something to last a substantive portion of my work day (9-12 hours). Looking at my options, they included the prescription route with something like Adderall or dexedrine, both of which I had done before, and felt like they had noticeable side effects in terms of shakes and mania; plus I had to go through the whole experience of pathologizing my difficulties at work in order to get a prescription.
I ran across an article on modafinil (provigil) on the internet. The description seemed to be near ideal- being able to stay awake for 20 or 30 hours without shakes, jitters, or mania. I did more research, looking at what was available online and talking to people I knew; it sounded like it would be ideal for long coding binges. When I looked into acquiring some, I discovered that it was scheduled, and from what I've read it is very difficult to get a script. I decided I wasn't interested in experimenting with the importation of scheduled pharmaceuticals; however I noted that the website that a colleague reccomended also had adrafinil available. The price seemed resonable, and the site seemed as legit as these things get. I didn't really comparison shop because it seems like there's a fair amount of uncertainty in purchasing grey market goods.
Since the name sounded similar, I asked what my friends had experienced; they suggested it was a mild stimulant. Looking online, the reports I read suggested that it was extremely mild - to the point of being something you took over a period of days before you noticed an effect. I looked up medical papers on the substance: it was used primarily in treating senescence as a daily treatment to help patients focus. This sounded like a reasonable compromise - something I could take over weeks to be more productive during that period, rather than something that would let me stay up for two days and crank out work. I ordered four packets of 40, which I expected to be about a three month supply (with handouts); it came under the trade name 'olmifon'.
The package also arrived with some propaganda claiming that I (the importer) was exercising my sovereign rights as someone 'not having the status of a Federal Employee, U.S. citizen or willfully residing in any Federal Enclave'; on the obverse it suggested that even if I was one of these things I was importing under the FDA guidelines that suggest I can import non-FDA approved substances as long as they're not for resale and are less than three months supply. While I am familiar with the common law/ sovereign argument in the US it was peculiar to have a foreign firm claim it on my behalf. Not that I think it would've done much good had it been siezed. They continue to send me glossy magazines encouraging me to try other substances they provide; they seem sincere in their attempt to make 'anti-aging' medicines available. If I were to purchase again I would probably be willing to do so from them again.
Each of the packets was a small rectangular package; the pills are circular and have 'Olm' inscribed upon them; the back of the blister pack has red bars at a diagonal angle that state 'respect the prescribed dose' in French. An experience report by someone heavier than me suggested they used two pills a day (600mg); the package insert suggested two to four pills a day. Since I am both relatively light (145lb) and fairly sensitive to psychoactives of any sort, for my first week I did two pills a day. Even at this low dose, I noticed a substantial alertness enhancement, by the end of the week I felt mildly ill, like I had a head cold- my sinuses felt stuffed up. Additionally, after the first day or so, my urine smelled like the substance - a mild amphetamine-like smell.
There were also a bunch of extenuating circumstances; I had recently done a reasonable quantity of entheogens and had also been doing a course of piracetem and hydergine for about three weeks; I was doing the piracetem and hydergine during the entire time I was doing the adrafinil.
I had hoped that the hydergine and piracetem would 'enhance memory formation'. I do indeed remember very vividly my experience during that time, particularly a very memorable party wherein I experienced 2cb for the first time in conjunction with MDMA. It is impossible for me to say whether this is due to the enhancement of hydergine and piracetem or simply because it was a very memorable occasion. All of these things made me decide that I wasn't rationally measuring the effect adrafinil was having on my system. Plus, in a discussion about how an individual can effectively use themselves as an experimental subject, it was suggested that two periods of using a substance separated by time not using it would help you get a clear picture of the effects.
I decided it would be best to lay off it for a while and take it up again when my body was closer to baseline, which for me is a few cups of coffee a day and a beer or so a week. Over a recent one week period I did 300mg - 600mg (each pill is 300mg) a day. I was not extremely precise in my dosage schedule; I took it on a as-needed basis, only taking the second pill if I noticed I was 'down' during the first. My caffeine consumption remained more or less the same; I did 'boost' a little bit less than I otherwise would have. On several days, I did only that amount of caffeine necessary to stave off a headache - about one can of soda.
I would estimate that onset is within 20 minutes. I have recorded a single dose experience in some detail. The come-up is mild, and the high has little edge to it; I do not feel jittery, agitated, or even have a noticeably elevated heart rate. While the high has little edge, it is also not very high; I would estimate the stimulant effect to be roughly equivalent to a cup of coffee with a duration of two to four hours - meaning that it comes up and plateaus for about that long; it doesn't have the sharp peak and dieoff of caffeine.
I did notice that if I did it when I was fatigued I would get a noticeably higher/harder heart rate; about as much as I might get from a double espresso in the same circumstances. At the end of the second week experiment I did not feel any noticeable ill effects, aside from the odour of my urine, which is a definite consequence of the adrafinil. I think it is a reasonable supplement to caffeine, but because of the odour and the first body load experience I will probably avoid doing it continuously without at least another week long pause/experience.
One of the things that happened during this process is that I've decided to make more effort to enhance my abilities to focus without using stimulant drugs. My future experimentation will involve additional exercise, some meditation, and the use of neurotransmitter precursors to provide my brain with what it needs to function at peak efficiency.
I'm still interested in stimulants, but I think my ideal has swung more towards reducing my daily needs to a cup of tea or two a day and using heavier duty stimulants (like an amphetamine) once a month or so for one 'work bender'.
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