Nicotine for cognitive enhancement

I've been reading a lot about nicotine, and its cognitive enhancing effects.

“To my knowledge, nicotine is the most reliable cognitive enhancer that we currently have, bizarrely,” said Jennifer Rusted, professor of experimental psychology at Sussex University in Britain when we spoke. “The cognitive-enhancing effects of nicotine in a normal population are more robust than you get with any other agent. With Provigil, for instance, the evidence for cognitive benefits is nowhere near as strong as it is for nicotine.” -

Obviously, I'm not going to take up cigarettes for this reason. But I was wondering if anyone has tried a product like this:

Or even nicorette / nicotine patch. 

What are your thoughts? 


  • That sounds pretty interesting. But from what it looks like in that article is that it mainly deals with helping fix already developed problems. Such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, ADHD etc... But maybe that's because i'm a bit skeptical due to nicotine's relationship with smoking.

    I'd be interested in seeing some more results on human test subjects.

  • It might be worth a shot. I've ordered from that website before, but only once (when they had nsi 189).

    I'd be curious if any testing has been done with human subjects in an academic setting. And I say that because a few of my computer engineering classmates smoke. A lot.
  • There's a few, especially from the lady in the article.
    (which is just an article by the way, it presents no research or citations)
    The studies are... mediocre that I saw. The one I read because it seemed the most evolved just had smokers doing cognitive tests with one group smoking as normal and the other abstaining for "a self-defined period of not less than 2 hours" which doesn't seem pretty rigorous to me.

    Go buy some patches and plasters and run your own.
  • While not exactly scientific, I do have 2 cents to throw in.

    I have been vaping for a little over a year now. I originally used e-liquids that contained no nicotine, but during exam season found that if I used liquids with a small level of nicotine it changed the way I was able to able to focus and made hours long sessions of intense focus easier. Nicotine makes me fail to see the big picture and instead zero in on the details of the smaller elements that make it up. 

    To put an analogy to it, it decreases my ability to look at the starry sky and instead drives me to analyze the brightness and color of individual stars.

    Again, I have no numbers or tests to back any of this up, this is just my experience with nicotine.
  • @trybalwolf
    What lead you to test that? To me it sounds like a placebo effect.... I would need to see MRI/EEG/any other established neural examination report and a double blind study in order to be led to believe there is a grain of truth to anything in that article.
  • Nah. Eeg/mri are worthless here. Just cognitive tests and a lot of subjects. Perhaps we should test this with nicotine patches on non smokers at the next grindfest?
  • Actually I think vaping would be the best method of testing this. Have a few identical vape pens with identical fluids with and without nicotine and run a double blind trial.
  • If the drug is doing something in the brain why would it not show up on instrument like EEG/MRI?
  • Because it's focus-based. EEGs show brain activity and aren't granular enough to determine if the brain is being stimulated because of the compound, or if you're thinking harder or individually have stronger brain activity patterns.

    Nicotine shouldn't make your brain work harder, it should make it work better.
    Assuming it does either.
  • These devices show changes. Changes don't mean cognitive benefit.
  • @JohnDoe It wasn't so much a drive to test it for myself as much as chance. I was offered a piece of nicotine gum by a coworker one day and that is when I first noticed the changes in focus and direction of attention that it gave me. (I had not been informed at all as to what effects the nicotine might induce prior to taking it and thus anything I noticed was devoid of outside input.) Once I realized the way it affected me, I decided to try it as a study aid and found that it worked well for me.

    I did find an article related to nicotine and attention, heres a pubmed page for it although I have been unable to find the full article. 

    @ElectricFeel from my experience, unless the participants in a test like you propose had any nicotine tolerance, they would know very quickly whether or not they were ingesting nicotine or not (thought the placebo effect would probably mess with some of the results...).

    Also I feel it is worth noting that my body does react in strange ways to certain things so I most likely am not a good indicator of how something will affect others. For example, I have tested cannabis a few times and have had hallucinations every single time. I actually made the mistake of trying concentrates once... Ended up hallucinating for over 24 hours with a distortion in my perception of time and reality that left me in an alternate torture universe for what I perceived as nearly a year and a half. I learned my lesson...

    That just to show, I am not the typical specimen.
  • So I figure I'll toss in my experience.

    1)not a smoker(of any kind)

    2)does not chew

    When I was in college I gave pouches a try and the best way that I could describe the experience, when I was using it, was its effect was extremely similar to drinking. By that I mean the lightheadedness. I did notice a little bit of energy and focus on one subject...a female in the room...generally I would not have done such approach as I did with the pouch. FYI it failed.

    I would say there was definitely a focus but there was also a wicked downside which was to describe it would be lack of inhibitions or you could say that would be part of the focus doing whatever possible to get the outcome.

    3) I no longer use chew

    4) I drink

    5) caffeine in the early morning or winter only

    Hope that info might assist.
  • edited February 2016
    Vaping is definitely a good way to test this, because you can have liquid without nicotine. The nicotine solution OP linked is basically e-liquid without flavorings and propylene glycol.

    My experience with nicotine is weird, because I'm not sure it does much to enhance my cognitive ability. I've been vaping for about a year now as well, and have tried cigarettes and those pouch things. I honestly just feel really lightheaded and somewhat relaxed after ingesting it.
  • I'm an on again off again smoker, my last stint off was 2 years. During this time I was trying to learn to code arduino (without much success). I've been back on for about a month now I'll try coding again if I have any luck I'll let you know . Either way I'll be off again soon.
  • Not going to really be able to draw conclusions without baseline and double blind trials to really see if there's an impact.

  • Vaping is not the best way to test this. Patches are.

    Lung capacity, the deepness of your breath from hour to hour (let alone between people), the inherent customization that will have people fucking around (and a drop is a pretty crummy measure), plus a bunch of things I'm probably not thinking of will all mess with your numbers.

    also, you have the ease of accessibility to a patch. mas marketed and available at your local drug store. Controlled manufacture, so everyone gets the same amount.

  • For a distributed study I agree that patches are better; but for a controlled study at an event, vaping is viable.
  • some forms of vaping can and may damage your lungs just as much as smoking, if you do go with vaping don't use anything at all thats flavoured or with to many additives  

  • Oh boy, do I have experience with nicotine. I first started using nicotine gum for cognitive enhancement back in 2011 when I read that it worked synergistically with Modafinil/Provigil. I found its effects on verbal fluency to be immediate and pronounced, along with its alertness enhancing effects. As an electrician in the Air Force, I would frequently work long hours without be able to take a break and eat, and I found nicotine particularly useful for staying focused while hypoglycemic and frequently sleep-deprived.

    HOWEVER, I have also used virtually every other nicotine-containing product on the market, and I find that the cognitive benefits of other forms, with the exception of patches, are generally outweighed by one factor or another. Chewing tobacco, for example, contains MOAIs and much higher doses of nicotine than are necessary for cognitive improvement, and as such the quasi-intoxicant effect can actually cause impairment. Even the MAOIs contained in cigarettes can cause enough of a "head shift" as to be distracting and possibly counter-productive. Patches, on the other hand, are time released and so subtle as to not provide any perceptible shift in cognitive ability (read: a waste of money).

    Alsooo... There is definitely research indicating that nicotine is not beneficial for STM:

    Personally, I still like using nicotine gum while studying, doing homework, or writing painfully long posts on the internet.
  • I've used patches for years. I'll have to try gum. Interesting.
  • Anyone had any experience with Coca Leaves? I know the Incans would use it to be able to work the full hours of daylight without feeling hungry. I do believe that Coca tea (which is way easier to get) may be a way to test some of its effects.
  • I chewed coca leave in Bolivia for three years. Yes you can go all day without eating but it does catch up with you real fast. I also used it for altitude sickness and never had any problems in La Paz or Potosi even at altitudes of over 13,000 feet. Another way to use it is to boil the leaves and distill it off. They call this coca wine. You can chew 6-8 leaves for about four hours. If you make the coca wine two or three drops is all that is needed. 

    Do not waste your money with the tea that is sold here. The good stuff has been removed. Buy seeds online and grow your own. Be careful I think coca plants are illegal in all states.
  • Of course they're illegal, they're the source for cocaine.
  • edited March 2016
  • just wanna through this out there. If your noticed as getting a shipment of it you very well can get in deep shit as a drug smuggler and same with the sender.
  • In this case because of the way it is getting sent it we wouldn't be charged as a drug smuggler but simply as people bringing crops over (it is still "frowned upon" but not quite as bad). We decided to stop a while back though; just in case.
  • I've used nicotine as a primary stimulant in my stimulant cycle with exactly that nicotine solution from BBB. I love it and will be very sad when I run out.

    My experience with patches is the same as upthread; it's so subtle that you don't really notice. I started using a full patch instead of a half to try to get more at a time, and jump-starting with sublingual nicotine solution, but that still wasn't as good as just redosing with the solution every few hours.

    I would say I notice minimal cognitive benefits from nicotine, but on the other hand I do like it very much as a stimulant, and it's possible that it just helps my ADHD enough to make me feel "productive" without actually stimulating me.

    Before I had the solution, I had some lozenges (like gum, but you keep them in your cheeks and just let them dissolve). They were pretty nice, you could dose-regulate with a pill cutter and the delivery was efficient. The downside was that you would swallow the nicotine solution and it would nauseate the crap out of me. The solution won't do this; I can put two drops in my lower lip or under my tongue and immediately feel the same nicotine effect letting a whole lozenge dissolve would, minus the nausea.

    (Sorry if it's bad ettiquette to bump a thread this old, but it seems like this board moves pretty slowly and I thought I'd chime in since I'm one of probably very few people to have the exact thing linked in the OP...)
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