The most notable example of this is Piracetam. Paradoxically, one of the most proven smart drugs ever (+200 human clinical trials) falls into a nonsensical legal category.
Piracetam[Title/Abstract] - PubMed - NCBI
PubMed comprises more than 27 million citationsfor biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and…
Legally, it is basically in the same category as a candle.
If you really wanted to you could consume a candle. It would taste pretty terrible, but a cop would not come along and charge you with a crime for doing so. Candles are legal to posses and own. You can have as many candles as you want. You can give candles to your friends and family. You can start your own store selling candles. You can transport as many candles as you want in your car without fear of being arrested. You could even cross international borders with your candles, if you have a bunch of them it may raise a little suspicion but it is not illegal.
But if you ate a candle and then got very sick and sued the store or company that sold the candle they would shrug their shoulders and say:
Hey a candle is NOT for human consumption.
And hopefully the judge would scold you for being foolish, wasting everyone’s time and send you home with not one dime.
I’ll often find myself describing the benefits of Piracetam to someone who’s never heard of smart drugs before…
- It’s effect on verbal intelligence.
- It’s antidepressant and pro-social properties.
- It’s 10–14 day effect on long term memory.
- The 20 year long term population study done on it.
- It’s mild tolerance curve.
- It’s cognitive enhancement and mitochondrial performance enhancement functions.
- It’s virtual lack of side effects.
- It’s affordability ($40 for a 3 month supply)
…and they will say
It sounds amazing! Why haven’t I ever heard of Piracetam before? How is it not a household name?
Why is this?
Simply, because it’s been around and been used for a long enough time that it’s patents have expired. That’s why it’s so affordable. No big corporations have an incentive to sell or aggressively market it.
Less simply, to get philosophical, it’s because Western Civilization and the United States in particular has implemented half of libertarianism.
Probably a lot of you consider yourselves libertarians, for those who maybe unacquainted with libertarianism; basically it means that you believe in extreme freedom coupled with extreme personal responsibility. In a true libertarian society…
- You can marry or have sex whoever you want.
- You have free speech to say whatever the hell you want.
- You can pay your taxes (or not).
- You are not forced to associate with anyone.
- You can consume whatever you want (including drugs).
Sounds pretty sweet, right?
The flip side of this model for society is that government services are almost none-existent…
- There’s no socialized health care. If you get sick you’re on your own.
- The government doesn’t give you any money for education or guarantee a loan for you to go to college.
- The government doesn’t provide a police force or fire department to respond if your house catches on fire or your car is stolen. You would need to pay monthly for private fire and police companies to keep you safe.
- The government is not out fixing potholes in the streets or making sure bridges don’t collapse. You would have to pay a private company to do that stuff.
- There’s certainly no welfare or pensions. If you get fired from your job and you don’t have savings. You’ll be out on the street.
- You don’t have celebrity politicians making millions of dollars or a huge federal government employing many thousands of people. The government would mostly consist of city councils of unpaid yet concerned citizens to who devoted their time to debating whether your city should allow AirBNB or Uber or let those teenagers play their music loudly at night.
At least in the United States, we’ve gotten about half of libertarianism right. Interestingly, it’s the fun, hedonistic half that we’ve gotten.
- It’s legal (and certainly culturally acceptable) to have sex with any consenting adult you want anytime and almost anywhere.
- In a growing number of states it is legal to consume marijuana and it’s certainly culturally acceptable to spend a weekend doing LSD, Ketamine or MDMA at a music festival. In another 5–10 years I would not be surprised if we saw a number of these kinds of drugs also being legalized.
- And even though Facebook or Twitter practice political censorship, legally you have free speech to say almost anything. A comedian can get up in a comedy club and make fun of religion, politics, race or really anything. You can have a holocaust denial meet up at Starbucks. You could crap on the floor, sprinkle glitter on it and display it in an art gallery (in Los Angeles).
We really have inherited almost all the fun parts of libertarianism.
Before the libertarian movement of 50’s and 60’s life was a whole lot less free. I remember my mom telling me about how in the little town in the mountains of Colorado that she grew up in there was quiet a scandal because it was suspected that two teenagers in her high school were having sex outside of marriage. The principal of the school actually called the policy to investigate the matter.
Not very libertarian, right?
Yet interestingly, we have really failed to implement the small government half of libertarianism. The government is a titanic metastasizing bureaucracy demanding infinite growth and resources.
The government acts like a 22 year CEO of a Silicon Valley start up company who is drunk on champagne and buzzed on Adderall and has just received a $100 million in funding; searching frantically for opportunities to capitalize on, inventing services that people might want and envisioning PR campaigns to broadcast their awesomeness to the world yet utterly unconcerned with rendering quality services.
If you get fired from your job you can go to giant government building where hundreds of government employees work. There a very bored case worker will pretend to listen to your story and then give you cash and food stamps so you don’t go hungry. They’ll nicely demand that you to come back to the giant building, where you will go to a very boring free class about how to get a job.
Not very libertarian, right?
Cultural we are like free lovin’ hippies yet bureaucratically we are like the fascist evil empire from Star Wars. This is why we have these impotent laws and arbitrary legal categorization of smart drugs like Piracetam.
Check out this recent videoblog I made explaining what this means practically
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Smart drugs NOT for human consumption?
I discuss the practical implications of the strange legal classification of some smart drugs.
Tools of Titans Review
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Loving Kindness Meditation
Charles Poliquin’s Testosterone Biohacks
Tim’s Top 3 Sleephacks
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