Buy Nootropics in the USA | The #1 A-Z Guide

Curious about buying nootropics in the USA? You‘ve come to the perfect place!

This A-Z guide will teach you everything you need to know about buying nootropics in the United States. You’ll gain a complete overview of the country’s “smart drugs” scene and discover the best nootropics to buy, the best places to buy them from, and how to buy any nootropics you need hassle-free.

P.S: Here’s my top 100% legal recommendation!

Fortunately, buying nootropics in the USA is pretty straightforward these days. You don’t even need a prescription. The U. S. nootropics industry has grown exponentially over the past decade and is projected to reach $6 billion by 2024.

Besides prescription nootropics, there are many highly effective over-the-counter nootropics on offer. This guide will show you the best ones to try and where to buy them for the best prices.

This is not medical or legal advice. This guide is strictly for entertainment purposes only. Always consult a medical professional before consuming any nootropic and always abide by the laws of your country. Please read my disclaimer page, too.

What Are Nootropics?

The term ‘nootropics’ was coined by a Romanian chemist and psychologist called Dr. Corneliu E. Giurgea. He discovered piracetam, the first synthetic brain enhancer, and wanted to create a word to describe the properties of this mind-altering substance.

‘Noo’ comes from the Greek word for ‘mind’, and ‘trope’ is French for ‘change’. The purpose of all nootropics is to literally ‘change the mind’ by enhancing cognitive functions like memory or attention span.

According to Dr. Giurgea, a nootropic is any substance that fits the following five criteria:

  1. Enhance memory, attention span, concentration, and the ability to learn
  2. Help the brain function under distress
  3. Protect the brain from chemical and physical stress
  4. Increase the efficacy of neuronal firing
  5. Produce virtually zero side effects and be non-toxic

Because of their mind changing abilities, nootropics are commonly referred to as ‘smart drugs’, ‘brain boosters’, or ‘memory enhancers’. They can be natural substances, synthetic compounds, or prescription medications. What they all have in common is that they help improve cognitive functioning like attention span or help to protect neurons from damage caused by aging and toxins.

Some of the most popular natural nootropics include food, Ginkgo biloba, turmeric, red reishi mushrooms, creatine, and caffeine, which has been scientifically proven to improve attention span and information retention [1].

Some of the most popular prescription-only nootropics include Adderall, Ritalin, Concerta, and Modafinil which have been shown to significantly improve attentiveness, concentration, and alertness [2].

To meet the growing demand for safe, effective nootropics, many companies have developed over-the-counter dietary supplement nootropics. These products offer cognitive benefits like improved focus and wakefulness, without side effects or the need for a prescription.

We’ll be discussing some of the best legal nootropics in the USA later in this guide.

Qualia Mind

Nootropics Side Effects and Safety

To understand nootropics side effects and safety, it’s helpful to know that all nootropics can be placed into one of two categories;

  • Dietary supplements
  • Pharmaceutical products

Nootropics that are dietary supplements can be bought over-the-counter without a prescription and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. They have not been approved by the FDA but they contain ingredients such as caffeine that have been scientifically proven to improve cognitive function by potentially providing energy, increasing alertness, and improving concentration.

Dietary supplements generally produce no side-effects in healthy individuals when taken at the advised dosages. However, even natural nootropics like caffeine can cause alarming side effects like anxiety, hallucinations, and dizziness if taken in excessive dosages [3].

Therefore, you shouldn’t take these products if you are pregnant or nursing or if you are at risk of conditions like diabetes, depression, anxiety, or psychiatric disorders.

Nootropics that are pharmaceutical products, like Adderall, Ritalin, Concerta, and Modafinil, require a doctor’s prescription to buy and use legally in the USA. Using these drugs ‘off-label’ as nootropics without a doctor’s supervision can be risky.

For example, Modafinil has been used for more than 20 years to treat patients with narcolepsy and is considered a safe drug. But it can cause many as-yet unresearched side effects such as headaches, nausea, anxiety, insomnia, lumbago, diarrhea, dyspepsia, rhinitis, and vertigo when used in patients incorrectly diagnosed with narcolepsy [4].

Are Nootropics Legal in the USA?

The legal status of any given nootropic depends on whether it is a dietary supplement or a pharmaceutical product.

Dietary supplement nootropics that contain natural ingredients such as caffeine are completely legal and can be purchased over-the-counter or online without a doctor’s prescription throughout the USA.

Pharmaceutical products like Adderall and Modafinil are prescription-only and can only be legally bought and used with a doctor’s prescription.

For example, Modafinil is a Schedule IV controlled substances under United States federal law. As such, it is illegal to buy or import them unless you have a prescription or are a DEA-registered importer.

That being said, many online vendors routinely ship prescription-only nootropics like Modafinil to customers in the USA and have a high success rate. Later on, we’ll explain exactly how this works.

This is not legal advice, but you truly have ZERO risk when ordering smart drugs online in the USA — including Modafinil.

Top 2 Legal Nootropics in the USA

For users who want all the benefits of a potent nootropic without a prescription or any side-effect, there are two over-the-counter nootropics that we recommend:

  • Mind Lab Pro

Mind Lab Pro is hands down the most powerful legal nootropics we’ve ever reviewed and is our top pick for Americans looking for an over-the-counter nootropic. Each capsule contains a precise blend of eleven research-backed natural nootropics that have been scientifically proven to boost and optimize a wide array of cognitive functions.

Mind Lab Pro is ideal for:

  • Optimizing memory, processing speed, mood, attention, and motivation.
  • Promoting alertness for creativity, productivity, and learning.
  • Lowering fatigue and supporting mental agility and focus.
  • Repairing, maintaining, and nourishing brain cells for healthy growth.
  • Fighting toxins that degrade brain cells over time while helping oxygenate the brain.

The three most powerful nootropics found in Mind Lab Pro are:

  • Citicoline: Citicoline has been shown to have strong neuroprotective properties and is beneficial in slowing the advance of some neurodegenerative disorders [5].
  • Bacopa monnieri: This has been shown in multiple randomized controlled trials to improve cognition and decrease choice reaction times [6].
  • Lion’s Mane Mushroom (Yamabushitake): One double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial showed that Yamabushitake significantly improve mild cognitive impairment [7].

To amplify the brain-optimizing activities of these nootropics, Mind Lab Pro contains premium forms to maximize their potency, activity, and bioavailability. In our research, this over-the-counter nootropic significantly increases work performance and productivity and makes it easier to focus, multitask, and problem-solve under stress.

  • Qualia Mind

The second legal nootropic we recommend is Qualia Mind by Neurohacker Collective. It’s a complete brain supplement that has gained a strong reputation for boosting focus and clarity while increasing energy levels.

Like Mind Lab Pro, Qualia Mind contains both Bacopa monnieri and Citicoline. But it also contains a unique blend of 19 other powerful nootropics, including:

  • Ginkgo biloba: This has been shown to stabilize and slow the decline in some cognition functions and behaviors, leading to higher mental performance [8].
  • Huperzine A: A review of preclinical research concluded that Huperzine A has strong neuroprotective properties [9].
  • Phosphatidylserine: There is a large body of scientific evidence describing Phosphatidylserine’s benefits to cognitive activity and the retention of cognitive functioning ability [10].

We especially love that Qualia Mind is completely caffeine-free. This means it gives effortless focus without any of the typical caffeine side-effects like headaches, jitteriness, nausea, or sleeplessness.

We’ve concluded that overall Qualia Mind is one of the best over-the-counter nootropics for increasing creativity and maximizing productivity.

The World’s Best Nootropic…

Modafinil is undoubtedly the world’s best known and most widely-used nootropic.

First discovered in 1974 by the French drug company L. Lafon Ltd, Modafinil is an extremely powerful ‘wakefulness’ agent that has been widely prescribed to narcolepsy sufferers since the early 90s.

After receiving FDA approval in 1998, Modafinil was introduced to the US under the brand name Provigil and quickly gained a reputation for its ‘off-label’ benefits such as improving attention span, learning, and memory [11].

As has been widely reported, Modafinil gained a strong following among Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and college students during the 2000s who used it off-prescription for cognitive enhancement to work late through the night and gain a competitive edge.

So, what does Modafinil feel like when you take it?

Modafinil’s effect is very gradual like the early stages of a come up until everything suddenly becomes very clear and your focus becomes laser-sharp. You gain the ability to work non-stop without feeling fatigued and any urges to procrastinate are greatly suppressed, effectively preventing your mind from wandering.

This state of extreme focus lasts for over 12+ hours, during which time your appetite will remain suppressed, greatly enhancing your productivity. Modafinil is the best nootropic for pulling all-nighters as it significantly improves functions in several cognitive domains including working memory and episodic memory [12].

In short, Modafinil is the world’s best nootropic for cognitive neuroenhancement and lets you accomplish far more than you would otherwise be able to.

Is Modafinil Legal in the USA?

Modafinil is classified as a Schedule IV controlled substance in the USA, meaning that you need a doctor’s prescription to buy and use it legally.

Learn more about Modafinil in the USA.

Fortunately, it is possible to buy generic Modafinil from an online pharmacy without much hassle, even without a prescription, and have it shipped to your address in the US. While ordering Modafinil online without a prescription is technically illegal unless you are a DEA-registered importer, we’ve yet to hear about anyone having any legitimate legal issues importing Modafinil into the USA for personal use.

You see if you buy Modafinil from one of our recommended vendors you shouldn’t have any problems, especially if you use a mail forwarding service.

This is where you pay a company to receive your order and then forward the package to you. As the shipment isn’t being sent directly to your address, this method lowers your risk.

This method is so effective that the vendors on our list offer a 100-percent money-back guarantee on all shipments to the USA. Either you get your nootropic delivered or you get your money back or a free reshipment. It’s your choice.

Basically, you have no risk.

But again, this isn’t legal advice and we always encourage you to abide by US laws.

The Top “Social” Nootropic

The top ‘social’ nootropic in the USA right now is Phenibut.

It was first synthesized in Russia during the 1960s and is approved for use in Russia, Ukraine, and Latvia to treat anxiety, insomnia, depression, and similar conditions [13].

Phenibut is an analog of Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter chemical that blocks impulses sent to the brain through nerve cells. It mimics GABA functionality and helps people cope with emotional states such as social anxiety.

Although Phenibut is not approved for clinical use in the United States, it is widely available online where it is sold as a nutritional supplement.

It is also known as fenibut, phenigam, PhGaba, Phenigamma, Phenygam, and 4-Amino-3-phenylbutanoic acid. While Phenibut has been marketed for uses such as a sleep aid, it has become extremely popular as a social nootropic. Phenibut helps create a calming effect on the mind, earning it the nickname ‘the happy pill’.

So what does Phenibut feel like when you take it?

Phenibut gives you a warm ‘buzz’ similar to alcohol and makes you more socially confident by lowering your inhibitions. You become much more willing to interact with others, making it the perfect nootropic for combating social anxiety.

Phenibut is perfect for teetotallers or anyone who wants to avoid alcohol for health or religious reasons, yet still wants to let their hair down and have a great time. It’s become extremely popular with bodybuilders who want to go out socially without the harmful side-effects for drinking.

Phenibut also offers a range of cognitive benefits including improved memory, enhanced problem-solving ability, and better verbal fluency [14]. It helps combat tiredness and can increase productivity by boosting alertness and attention span. Phenibut is a great nootropic for relieving stress, and this can improve critical thinking skills by letting the mind focus on the task at hand.

An added benefit of Phenibut is that it can dramatically increase libido, especially when people’s natural sex drive is being suppressed by stress and anxiety. By helping to remove the blocks, Phenibut helps people reclaim their natural sex drive.

Some of Phenibut’s documented side effects include fatigue, nausea, dizziness, and stomach cramps. There are reports of dependence in patients that misuse Phenibut and withdrawal symptoms when ceasing use, suggesting that users should monitor their dosages and tolerance levels carefully [15].

These side effects can easily be avoided once you learn how to take Phenibut properly.

Is Phenibut Legal in the USA?

At the time of writing, Phenibut is not approved for medical use in the USA, meaning that a doctor cannot prescribe it. However, it is 100% legal to buy and own Phenibut and there are no restrictions on its sale or use.

Learn more about Phenibut legalities.

The FDA has issued warning letters to companies for marketing products containing Phenibut as ‘dietary supplement’.

Under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act), dietary ingredients are defined as substances that are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

As Phenibut is approved in other countries to medical use, it does not meet this definition.

Phenibut HCL powder

Nootropics USA | Verdict

If you were curious about nootropics in the USA, hopefully, this guide answered all your questions.

From the benefits to the side-effects to the legalities, we’ve covered it all in this entertaining guide.

Everything you need to know about the best nootropics available to citizens and expats living in the USA. The #1 country when it comes to nootropic users…aka millions of Americans use these smart drugs to get an advantage.

You should too!

Oh, and don’t forget to click here to buy Modafinil from our favorite online vendors for Americans!


  1. Nehlig A, Daval JL, Debry G. Caffeine and the central nervous system: mechanisms of action, biochemical, metabolic and psychostimulant effects. Brain Res Brain Res Rev. 1992;17(2):139-170. doi:10.1016/0165-0173(92)90012-b
  2. Iglseder B. Doping für das Gehirn [Doping for the brain]. Z Gerontol Geriatr. 2018;51(2):143-148. doi:10.1007/s00391-017-1351-y
  3. Wikoff D, Welsh BT, Henderson R, et al. Systematic review of the potential adverse effects of caffeine consumption in healthy adults, pregnant women, adolescents, and children. Food Chem Toxicol. 2017;109(Pt 1):585-648. doi:10.1016/j.fct.2017.04.002
  4. Lopes E, Pereira D, da Silva Behrens NS, et al. Cataplexy as a side effect of modafinil in a patient without narcolepsy. Sleep Sci. 2014;7(1):47-49. doi:10.1016/j.slsci.2014.07.015
  5. Grieb P. Neuroprotective properties of citicoline: facts, doubts and unresolved issues. CNS Drugs. 2014;28(3):185-193. doi:10.1007/s40263-014-0144-8
  6. Kongkeaw C, Dilokthornsakul P, Thanarangsarit P, Limpeanchob N, Norman Scholfield C. Meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials on cognitive effects of Bacopa monnieri extract. J Ethnopharmacol. 2014;151(1):528-535. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2013.11.008
  7. Mori K, Inatomi S, Ouchi K, Azumi Y, Tuchida T. Improving effects of the mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) on mild cognitive impairment: a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Phytother Res. 2009;23(3):367-372. doi:10.1002/ptr.2634
  8. Tan MS, Yu JT, Tan CC, et al. Efficacy and adverse effects of ginkgo biloba for cognitive impairment and dementia: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Alzheimers Dis. 2015;43(2):589-603. doi:10.3233/JAD-140837
  9. Damar U, Gersner R, Johnstone JT, Schachter S, Rotenberg A. Huperzine A as a neuroprotective and antiepileptic drug: a review of preclinical research. Expert Rev Neurother. 2016;16(6):671-680. doi:10.1080/14737175.2016.1175303
  10. Glade MJ, Smith K. Phosphatidylserine and the human brain. Nutrition. 2015;31(6):781-786. doi:10.1016/j.nut.2014.10.014
  11. Battleday RM, Brem AK. Modafinil for cognitive neuroenhancement in healthy non-sleep-deprived subjects: A systematic review. Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2015;25(11):1865-1881. doi:10.1016/j.euroneuro.2015.07.028
  12. Minzenberg MJ, Carter CS. Modafinil: a review of neurochemical actions and effects on cognition. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2008;33(7):1477-1502. doi:10.1038/sj.npp.1301534
  13. Lapin I. Phenibut (beta-phenyl-GABA): a tranquilizer and nootropic drug. CNS Drug Rev. 2001;7(4):471-481. doi:10.1111/j.1527-3458.2001.tb00211.x
  14. Owen DR, Wood DM, Archer JR, Dargan PI. Phenibut (4-amino-3-phenyl-butyric acid): Availability, prevalence of use, desired effects and acute toxicity. Drug Alcohol Rev. 2016;35(5):591-596. doi:10.1111/dar.12356
  15. Ahuja T, Mgbako O, Katzman C, Grossman A. Phenibut (β-Phenyl-γ-aminobutyric Acid) Dependence and Management of Withdrawal: Emerging Nootropics of Abuse. Case Rep Psychiatry. 2018;2018:9864285. Published 2018 Apr 30. doi:10.1155/2018/9864285


After utilizing nootropics for the better part of a decade, I realized the potent results these products produce -- with regards to productivity and cognitive enhancement. Soon thereafter, I became obsessed with finding the premier smart drugs on the market. Then using them to improve my life. When I'm not devouring everything I can about nootropics and the science behind why they work, you'll find me traveling around the world or in the gym.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Leave a Reply: