Tuesday

2

April 2024

0

COMMENTS

Question: Are Nootropics Actually Legal?

Written by , Posted in Criminal Law

Answer: Yes. In the United States, nootropics are legal to buy over-the-counter as long as they do not contain controlled substances. They are popular supplements, and most of us have some form of nootropics in our medicine cabinet.

All purchasable nootropics and supplements that are to be ingested are governed by some level federal laws and regulations, primarily the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) of 1994. Under DSHEA, dietary supplements, including many nootropics, can be sold and marketed without prior approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), provided they meet certain criteria:

  • The product must be intended to supplement the diet
  • It must contain one or more dietary ingredients (vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids, etc.)
  • It must be labeled as a dietary supplement
  • It must not be represented as a conventional food or sole item of a meal or diet

However, the FDA does have the authority to take action against manufacturers if their products are found to be unsafe or if their claims are false or misleading. In our opinion, the U.S. is relatively lax on nootropic compounds compared to other countries.

Sadly if there is a conflict of interest and a natural supplement has potential to take away market share from new and expensive pharmaceutical drugs, lobbying of government officials is common and the banning of natural substances has been known to happen.

High-performing nootropic compounds with allegedly the strongest brain-boosting and neurorestorative properties such as Semex and Noocube are still legal and available as of March 2, 2024, but the future is not guaranteed.

bottle of green nootropic pills reference illustration

Specific nootropics and their legal status:

  • Racetams (e.g., Piracetam, Aniracetam): Racetams are synthetic compounds that are not approved for medical use in the United States. However, they are generally considered legal to purchase and possess for personal use. We’ve seen the bottles from Nootropics Depot labeled as “for non-clinical research use only” as a way for them to cover their backsides in case of an overdose or in case of future litigation.
  • Natural nootropics (e.g., Bacopa Monnieri, Ginkgo Biloba): Most natural nootropics are legal in the United States when sold as dietary supplements, provided they comply with DSHEA regulations.
  • Prescription nootropics (e.g., Modafinil, Adderall): These substances are only legal when prescribed by a licensed medical professional for treating specific conditions, such as narcolepsy or ADHD. Possessing or using them without a valid prescription is illegal.

It’s essential to note that some states may have stricter laws and regulations regarding nootropics. Always check your local laws to ensure compliance.

Big List of Common but “Edgy” brain vitamins and if they are clearly legal or not:

  • Cyclazodone (legal status unclear, not approved for human consumption)
  • Phenibut (unscheduled but not approved as a dietary supplement by the FDA)
  • IDRA-21 (legal status unclear, not approved for human consumption)
  • NSI-189 (legal status unclear, not approved for human consumption)
  • Adrafinil (unscheduled but not approved as a dietary supplement by the FDA)
  • 9-Me-BC (legal status unclear, not approved for human consumption)
  • Sunifiram (legal status unclear, not approved for human consumption)
  • Picamilon (banned by the FDA, not allowed to be sold as a dietary supplement)
  • Cortexin (not approved for use in the US)
  • PRL-8-53 (legal status unclear, not approved for human consumption)
  • NACET (legal status unclear, not approved for human consumption)
  • Selank (legal status unclear, not approved for human consumption)
  • Semax (legal status unclear, not approved for human consumption)
  • TAK-653 (legal status unclear, not approved for human consumption)
  • Coluracetam (legal status unclear, not approved for human consumption)
  • Fasoracetam (legal status unclear, not approved for human consumption)
  • Hydrafinil (legal status unclear, not approved for human consumption)
  • Armodafinil (Schedule IV controlled substance, requires prescription)
  • Modafinil (Schedule IV controlled substance, requires prescription)
  • J147 (legal status unclear, not approved for human consumption)
  • Bromantane (legal status unclear, not approved for human consumption)
  • Unifiram (legal status unclear, not approved for human consumption)
  • Nefiracetam (legal status unclear, not approved for human consumption)
  • Phenylpiracetam (legal status unclear, not approved for human consumption)
  • Tropisetron (approved for use in the US as an anti-nausea medication, requires prescription)
  • Cerebrolysin (not approved for use in the US)
  • F-Phenibut (legal status unclear, not approved for human consumption)
  • Fladrafinil (legal status unclear, not approved for human consumption)

 

Examples of a Nootropics Company Getting into Legal Trouble

In August 2023, Nootropics Depot and its owner, MisterYouAreSoDumb, were charged by the US Department of Justice with criminal counts related to the sale of tianeptine, adrafinil, phenibut, and racetam drugs between April 2017 and December 2021. The company Centera Bioscience received one count, while the general manager received two counts.

The charges against Nootropics Depot are part of a larger crackdown on supplements and nootropics led by Dr. Pieter D. Cohen, who has been criticized for his aggressive stance against these substances. The case has sparked discussions about the regulation of nootropics, the role of online communities in shaping public opinion, and the potential biases of those involved in the industry.

Legal Status of Nootropics in Europe In Europe

The legal status of nootropics is determined by the European Union (EU) regulations and individual country laws. As a dual-citizen of the US and EU, I would state:

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is responsible for assessing the safety of food supplements, including nootropics. They provide guidelines and opinions on the use of various substances, which member states can use to establish their own regulations.

Country-specific laws and regulations:

  • United Kingdom: In the UK, most nootropics are legal to purchase and possess, provided they are not sold as medicines or make medicinal claims. However, some nootropics, such as Modafinil, require a prescription.
  • Germany: Germany has stricter regulations on nootropics compared to many other EU countries. Some racetams, like Piracetam, are only available with a prescription.

Legal Status of Nootropics in Other Regions

Asia:

  • China has a complex regulatory system for nootropics, with some substances being legal and others requiring a prescription or being banned altogether.
  • Japan has a more lenient approach to nootropics, with many substances available over-the-counter or online.

Australia and New Zealand:

  • The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) regulates nootropics in Australia. Many natural nootropics are legal, while synthetic substances may require a prescription or be prohibited.

South America:

  • Brazil has a growing nootropics market, with many substances legal to purchase and consume.
  • Argentina has a legal framework similar to the United States, with most nootropics falling under dietary supplement regulations.

Legality of Purchasing and Possession of Nootropics

When buying nootropics online, it’s crucial to understand the legality of your purchase. Domestic purchases are generally safer, as they are subject to your country’s laws and regulations. International purchases may be riskier, as substances legal in one country may be illegal in another.

Always purchase nootropics from verified, reputable sources to ensure quality and safety. Buying from unverified sources may expose you to counterfeit or contaminated products, which can be harmful to your health.

Possessing illegal nootropics can lead to serious legal consequences, including fines and imprisonment. Always research the legal status of a substance before purchasing or using it.

Future Developments in Nootropic Legislation

As research on nootropics continues to expand, governments worldwide may update their regulations to address new findings and emerging trends. Some countries may choose to tighten their control over these substances, while others may opt for a more relaxed approach.

Staying informed about the latest developments in nootropic legislation is essential for anyone interested in using these cognitive enhancers. Regularly check your local laws and consult with legal experts if you have any doubts or concerns.

FAQs

  1. Q: Are all nootropics legal in the United States? A: No, not all nootropics are legal in the U.S. Some, like prescription drugs (e.g., Modafinil, Adderall), are only legal with a valid prescription. Others, such as many natural nootropics, are legal when sold as dietary supplements.
  2. Q: Can I buy nootropics online legally? A: It depends on the specific nootropic and your location. Some nootropics are legal to purchase online, while others may require a prescription or be prohibited altogether. Always research your country’s laws before making an online purchase.
  3. Q: What happens if I possess an illegal nootropic? A: Possessing an illegal nootropic can lead to serious legal consequences, such as fines and imprisonment. The severity of the punishment depends on the substance, quantity, and your location.
  4. Q: Are nootropics regulated by the FDA? A: The FDA does not regulate most nootropics, as they are classified as dietary supplements under DSHEA. However, the FDA can take action against manufacturers if their products are unsafe or their claims are false or misleading.
  5. Q: Can I travel internationally with nootropics? A: It depends on the laws of the countries you are traveling to and from. Some nootropics may be legal in one country but illegal in another. Always research the laws of your destination country and consult with customs officials before traveling with nootropics.
  6. Q: Are natural nootropics safer than synthetic ones? A: Not necessarily. While many natural nootropics have a history of safe use, they can still cause side effects or interact with other medications. Synthetic nootropics may be more potent but also have a higher risk of adverse effects. Always consult with a healthcare professional before using any nootropic.
  7. Q: Can I get a prescription for nootropics? A: Some nootropics, like Modafinil and Adderall, are prescription drugs in many countries. To get a prescription, you must have a diagnosed condition that the drug is approved to treat, such as narcolepsy or ADHD. Doctors do not typically prescribe nootropics for cognitive enhancement in healthy individuals.
  8. Q: Are there age restrictions for buying nootropics? A: Age restrictions for purchasing nootropics vary by country and the specific substance. In the United States, you must be at least 18 years old to purchase dietary supplements, which include many nootropics. Prescription nootropics may have different age requirements.
  9. Q: How can I ensure I’m buying nootropics from a reputable source? A: To ensure you’re buying from a reputable source, look for companies that:
    • Provide third-party lab testing results for their products
    • Have a good reputation and customer reviews
    • Clearly list ingredients and dosages
    • Offer transparency about their manufacturing processes
    • Have a physical address and contact information
  10. Q: Can I legally sell nootropics? A: The legality of selling nootropics depends on the specific substance and your location. In the United States, you can legally sell most nootropics as dietary supplements if you comply with DSHEA regulations and do not make false or misleading claims. Always research your local laws and consult with legal experts before selling any nootropics.

In Summary

The legal status of nootropics varies globally, with regulations differing between countries and even states within a country. In the United States, many nootropics are legal when sold as dietary supplements, while Europe has a more complex regulatory framework governed by the EFSA and country-specific laws.

As a prospective nootropic user, it is your responsibility to stay informed about the legal status of these substances in your region, especially if they are a controlled substance.

[CONTACT THE ATTORNEY WHO ANSWERED THIS QUESTION]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *