7 Best Synthetic Nootropics 2023 (Tested & Reviewed)

Updated on September 15, 2023
 by — reviewed by Jason Williams, PhD (Contributor: George Collins / Editor: Yoko Hill)
best synthetic nootropics

What are the best synthetic nootropics?

If you are looking for the best way to boost your brain power, you may have heard of nootropics. Nootropics are substances that enhance cognitive functions, such as memory, focus, creativity, and mood.

They can be natural or synthetic, and each one has its own benefits and drawbacks. Synthetic nootropics are man-made chemicals that are designed to mimic or enhance the effects of natural substances. They are generally more potent and effective than natural nootropics.

In this article, we will provide a guide to the best synthetic nootropics that can improve your cognitive performance and brain health. We will cover their benefits, risks, dosages, and how to use them safely and effectively. Whether you are a student, a professional, or just someone who wants to optimize their mental abilities, you will find a suitable option among these popular nootropics.

Best Synthetic Nootropics

  • Noopept — Best synthetic nootropic for enhancing brain cell health
  • Phenylpiracetam — Best for alleviating brain fog and fatigue
  • 9-Me-BC — Great for promoting healthy brain function
  • PRL-8-53 — Best known to boost brain function
  • Semax — Great for regulating brain chemicals
  • Piracetam — Good nootropic compound to boost brain power
  • P21 — Great for removing brain fog and enhancing sleep quality

1. Noopept

Noopept is one of the best nootropics on the market and has gained popularity for its ability to boost cognitive function, memory, and learning capabilities. Developed in Russia in the 1990s, Noopept is a peptide-derived compound that is known for its powerful neuroprotective properties.

One of the most appealing aspects of Noopept is its high bioavailability, which means that it gets absorbed quickly and efficiently into the bloodstream. This results in a rapid onset of effects, often within just 15-30 minutes of consumption. Furthermore, Noopept has been shown to have a significantly longer-lasting impact on cognitive function compared to other nootropics, providing benefits that can last up to several hours. This makes it the best nootropic in this regard.

Numerous clinical studies support the efficacy of Noopept in enhancing cognitive performance. For instance, research has demonstrated that Noopept can improve memory consolidation, recall, and overall cognitive function in both healthy adults and those with cognitive impairments.(1) Additionally, Noopept has been found to have neuroprotective properties, which may help prevent age-related cognitive decline and protect against neurodegenerative diseases.


  • Enhances memory and learning
  • Has neuroprotective properties
  • Improves mood and motivation
  • Increases focus and concentration


  • The dosage needs to be carefully monitored
  • Not recommended for pregnant or nursing women
  • May cause headaches or irritability in some users

The recommended dosage of Noopept typically ranges from 10-30 mg per day, taken in divided doses. It is worth noting that, due to its potency, lower doses of Noopept are often sufficient to achieve noticeable cognitive benefits. As with any supplement, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional before beginning a Noopept regimen to ensure its safe and appropriate use for your individual needs.

2. Phenylpiracetam

Phenylpiracetam is a powerful synthetic nootropic that has gained popularity for its ability to enhance cognitive function, boost mood, and increase physical performance. Developed in Russia in the 1980s, this racetam compound is renowned for its high potency and efficacy. In comparison to traditional nootropics like Piracetam, Phenylpiracetam is several times more potent, yielding noticeable results even at relatively low doses.

Factual data supports the use of Phenylpiracetam for enhancing memory and learning, improving attention and focus, and promoting faster information processing. Research has shown its effectiveness in reducing mental fatigue, which can be especially beneficial for individuals grappling with demanding cognitive tasks or high-stress situations.(2) Furthermore, Phenylpiracetam acts as a stimulant, increasing motivation, alertness, and physical endurance. Its neuroprotective properties have also been cited in studies, indicating its potential for long-term brain health and function.


  • Increases cognitive function and attention
  • Improves physical performance and endurance
  • Enhances memory and learning
  • Alleviates anxiety and depression


  • Tolerance may build up with prolonged use
  • Can disrupt sleep patterns if taken later in the day
  • May cause headaches or irritability in some users
  • Not recommended for individuals with heart conditions or high blood pressure

The recommended dosage for Phenylpiracetam ranges from 100-200 mg per day, typically taken in two separate doses. It is important to note that, due to its potency, some individuals may experience side effects at higher doses, underscoring the importance of adjusting the dosage to suit individual tolerance levels. All in all, Phenylpiracetam stands as a highly regarded synthetic nootropic with a considerable track record among cognitive enhancement enthusiasts.

3. 9-Me-BC (9-Methyl-β-Carboline)

9-Methyl-β-Carboline (9-Me-BC) is one of the best nootropic compounds that has gained attention for its potential cognitive-enhancing properties and neuroprotective effects. As an analog of the naturally occurring beta-carboline alkaloids, 9-Me-BC exhibits its positive effects on the brain by targeting the dopaminergic system, which plays a crucial role in cognitive functions such as memory, attention, and mood regulation.(3)

According to preliminary research, 9-Me-BC may help promote the growth of new neurons, improve the overall health of existing neurons, and increase the release of dopamine, all of which contribute to enhanced cognitive function. Moreover, studies have also suggested that this nootropic possesses neuroprotective qualities, potentially aiding in the prevention of neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinson's disease.(4)


  • Enhances memory and learning
  • Improves mood and motivation
  • Has neuroprotective properties
  • Enhances focus and attention


  • Limited research on long-term effects
  • Not recommended for pregnant or nursing women
  • May cause some minor side effects in some users

Although research surrounding the exact mechanisms and long-term effects of 9-Me-BC is still relatively limited, initial findings appear promising for those seeking to improve cognitive performance and protect against neuronal damage. Individuals interested in using this compound are advised to proceed with caution and consult a healthcare professional before incorporating it into their daily regimen.

4. PRL-8-53

PRL-8-53, or methyl 3-(2-(benzyl(methyl)amino)ethyl)benzoate, is a dietary supplement known for its potential to improve short-term memory. Created in a laboratory, this nootropic has shown promise in studies involving both animal and human subjects. A human double-blind crossover study found that participants experienced significant memory improvement, particularly those over 30 years of age or with poor short-term memory.(5) Some individuals even doubled their scores on a word recall test after consuming PRL-8-53.


  • Improves short-term memory and recall
  • Enhances dopaminergic activity
  • Improves motivation and drive


  • Limited research on long-term effects
  • Potential for abuse or misuse

The ideal dosage remains uncertain, as the human study only used a single 5 mg dose, and the patent suggests a range of 0.01-4 mg/kg. Despite the limited research, PRL-8-53 stands as an intriguing synthetic nootropic with memory-enhancing benefits, awaiting further investigation from the scientific community.

5. Semax

Semax is a nootropic peptide that has gained popularity due to its potential effects on cognitive function, memory, and focus. Developed in Russia during the 1980s, Semax has been extensively studied for its potential benefits in various cognitive and neurological conditions such as stroke, Alzheimer's disease, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).(6) As a third-generation nootropic, Semax is considered to be highly potent and effective in supporting mental performance.

The primary mechanism of action of Semax involves its ability to bind to receptors in the brain responsible for the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and nerve growth factor (NGF).(7) These proteins play crucial roles in the growth, development, and survival of neurons, leading to improved brain health and cognitive performance. By promoting the release of these growth factors, Semax may help improve learning capabilities, memory retention, and overall cognitive function.

Another significant advantage of Semax is its low toxicity and absence of severe side effects, making it a safe option for individuals seeking cognitive enhancement.


  • Enhances memory and learning
  • Enhances focus, motivation, and attention


  • May not be effective for everyone

In conclusion, Semax is a promising synthetic nootropic with a strong scientific basis for its potential cognitive benefits. Its ability to enhance neuroplasticity and support neuron health makes it a popular choice among biohackers and individuals looking to improve their mental performance. Despite its limited availability, Semax remains an intriguing option for those interested in exploring the world of synthetic nootropics.

6. Piracetam

Piracetam, a popular synthetic nootropic, has been used for decades to enhance cognitive performance. This compound belongs to the racetam family of drugs, and it is known for its ability to improve memory, learning, and concentration. It is often used by students and professionals seeking heightened mental focus and clarity in their everyday tasks.

Regarded as the pioneer of synthetic nootropics, Piracetam was created in the 1960s and has since garnered substantial scientific research supporting its effectiveness. Studies have shown that Piracetam can help increase communication between the left and right hemispheres of the brain, leading to improved overall cognitive function.(8) Furthermore, it has been observed to have neuroprotective properties, shielding the brain from oxidative stress and damage that can occur due to aging and other factors.


  • Improves memory and learning
  • Enhances cognition and focus
  • Can alleviate anxiety and depression


  • Not recommended for individuals with kidney or liver problems

Takes a relatively long time to show significant effects

It is essential to note that Piracetam functions slowly, so its effects may not be immediately noticeable. Regular and consistent use over an extended period may yield the best results. To conclude, Piracetam's longstanding popularity, supported by scientific research, makes it a sought-after top nootropic for those looking to enhance their cognitive capabilities.

7. P21

P21 is a synthetic smart drug that has gained popularity among individuals seeking to enhance their cognitive abilities. As one of the top brain supplements and smart drugs, P21 offers numerous benefits for those looking to boost their memory, focus, and overall mental performance.

Developed through peptide research, P21 has shown promising results in improving memory formation and retention, as well as increasing alertness and concentration. Its primary function is to promote neuronal growth within the hippocampus, which plays a key role in learning and memory. By doing so, this synthetic nootropic helps to optimize cognitive functioning and improve the overall health of the brain.

In addition to its cognitive benefits, P21 also exhibits neuroprotective properties. It is believed to help prevent neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, by defending against oxidative stress and inflammation.(9) This makes it an attractive option for individuals looking to maintain their cognitive health as they age.


  • Enhances focus, learning, memory, and attention
  • Improves mood and motivation


  • Limited research on long-term effects

P21 is a potent and highly effective option for those seeking to enhance their cognitive abilities. However, as with any nootropic, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before using P21 to ensure it is suitable for your individual needs. Overall, P21 is an exciting and promising addition to the world of synthetic nootropics, offering a range of cognitive benefits to help individuals achieve their best mental performance.

How Do Synthetic Nootropics Work?

Synthetic nootropics, also known as smart drugs, are man-made compounds designed to improve cognitive function, memory, and focus. These substances work by targeting specific neurotransmitters and processes in the brain, thereby enhancing mental performance.

One way synthetic nootropics work is by increasing the levels of certain neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, acetylcholine, and norepinephrine, that are responsible for regulating attention, motivation, and learning. By boosting these chemical messengers, synthetic nootropics can improve concentration, memory retention, and overall cognitive performance.

Another mechanism of action for synthetic nootropics is to promote the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the brain. Good blood circulation is vital for optimal brain function, and some nootropics improve brain function by dilating blood vessels and improving blood flow to the brain. This enhanced nutrient supply can result in increased energy levels, mental clarity, and focus.

Additionally, some synthetic supplements also help protect the brain against damage from oxidative stress and inflammation. These substances possess antioxidant properties that can reduce damage caused by free radicals and support overall brain health.

In conclusion, synthetic nootropics work through various mechanisms to enhance cognitive function, improve memory, and increase focus. However, it is essential to use these substances responsibly and consult with a healthcare professional before starting any nootropic regimen.

How We Picked the Best Synthetic Nootropics

Our selection process for the best brain supplements involved a thorough multi-factor review. We examined the effectiveness, ingredient type, brand reputation, transparency, manufacturing process, user feedback, price, and value. By following this rigorous and objective evaluation process, we were able to compile a list of the best nootropics and smart drugs that offer an excellent balance of cognitive enhancement, safety, and practicality for a wide range of users.


We delved into clinical studies and user experiences to assess cognitive improvements, with an emphasis on focus, memory, and mental clarity.

Compound Type

We concentrated on synthetic nootropics, giving preference to compounds with proven efficacy and safety profiles for cognitive enhancement.

Scientific Evidence

We cross-referenced peer-reviewed studies and meta-analyses to confirm the effectiveness of key synthetic compounds in boosting cognitive abilities.


We evaluated optimal dosages and ingredient ratios, ensuring they were in line with established research for the highest level of efficacy.


We assessed the safety profile of each synthetic compound, considering possible side effects and interactions while adhering to regulatory guidelines and prioritizing FDA-approved ingredients.

Brand Reputation

We analyzed brands' credibility and trustworthiness by examining customer reviews, expert opinions, and the company's track record.

Product Transparency

We placed importance on full ingredient disclosure, which includes sources and concentrations, allowing consumers to make informed decisions.

Manufacturing Process

We evaluated manufacturing standards, giving preference to products made in certified facilities and in compliance with Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP).

User Reviews

We took into account real customer feedback, emphasizing testimonials detailing cognitive enhancement and noticeable positive changes.


We compared product prices, ensuring they were competitive and reflective of the quality and efficacy of the synthetic nootropic.


We examined the overall value, considering the balance of price, quality, and effectiveness to guarantee the best return on investment for users.


In recent years, the demand for nootropics, also known as smart drugs or cognitive enhancers, has significantly increased. These substances aim to improve mental performance, focus, and memory, making them popular among students, professionals, and older adults concerned about cognitive decline. While some nootropics are prescription medications with potential side effects and legal issues, there are also natural and synthetic alternatives available on the market.

Among the top nootropics are Noopept, Phenylpiracetam, 9-Me-BC, PRL-8-53, Semax, Piracetam, and P21. All of which have unique formulations designed to enhance overall cognitive function. These supplements work to improve focus, memory, and problem-solving skills. Some of them are fast-acting supplements that provide smoother energy boosts and promote mental processing speeds and overall brain health. Different brain supplements cater to different needs and deliver impressive cognitive benefits.

However, it's essential to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any nootropic regimen, as individual needs and responses may vary. By carefully considering the available options, users can find the best nootropic supplement to enhance their mental performance and support overall brain health.


Are synthetic nootropics legal and safe?

The legality and safety of synthetic nootropics vary depending on the substance and the jurisdiction in which they are used. Some synthetic nootropics, such as prescription medications used to treat ADHD, are legal but require a prescription and can have potential side effects. Other synthetic nootropics may be available for purchase without a prescription but remain unregulated and can have varying degrees of safety and efficacy.

Do synthetic nootropics have lasting side effects?

As with any supplement, synthetic nootropics can potentially cause side effects in some individuals. The severity and likelihood of these side effects depend on the specific substance and the user's tolerance and sensitivity to the nootropic. Common side effects may include headaches, dizziness, and gastrointestinal issues. It is essential to research each nootropic carefully and consult a physician before starting any new supplement regimen.

How do synthetic nootropics differ from natural nootropics?

Synthetic nootropics are created by chemical synthesis, while natural nootropics supplements and natural nootropics stacks are derived from sources like herbs and plants.

Can synthetic nootropics be used in combination with prescription drugs?

Many nootropics can be combined with prescription drugs, but it's important to consult with a healthcare professional before using any supplement in combination with prescription medication.