Legal status of nootropics in the UK

09/02/2015 Tags: all

Please note: This article is for entertainment purposes only. It is not legal advice, nootropics are not entended or recommended for human consumption.


Nootropics is a term used for supplements, nutraceuticals, and herbal drugs (either prescribed or over the counter) used to boost memory, learning and other brain activities. The term was first used by Dr. Cornelius Gieurgia. Gieurgia derived it from two Greek words “nuos” and “trepein” which means to bend or turn the mind. These supplements are widely used for a variety of purposes. Many individuals in the UK and across the globe are taking these supplements. Nonetheless, some people are doubtful whether or not to use these brain enhancing agents because the legal status of nootropics are vague.

As mentioned above, nootropics is an umbrella term for a wide array of nutrients that fits its purpose. More than 100 substances falls under the nootropic drug class and it can be perplexing for UK residents to know what compound is permissible to possess, import, use, or buy. Considering this situation, it would be near impossible for one country to organize and categorize the entire gamut of nootropic agents that are available nowadays.  More importantly, United Kingdom, along with many countries, does not recognize or approve nootropics as a formal drug classification leaving many nootropic agents widely unregulated.

Legality of racetams in UK

Nootropic drugs under the racetam class as well as other nootropic brain stimulants are considered as medications that require prescription. In short, you need to get a doctor’s prescription before you are able to buy any racetam drugs (aniracetam, oxiracetam, piracetam, pramiracetam, and noopept). It is interesting to know however that this restriction is only applicable on actual drugstores in the United Kingdom. You can easily buy racetams online and have it imported in UK so long as it is for personal use. You can buy a supply for 3 months or less. An exception is given to piracetam wherein you would still need to obtain a prescription before you are allowed to import it from outside UK. Piracetam is a prescribed medication for treating a form of myoclonal spasms. The best and most cost-efficient way of purchasing racetams online is ordering in bulk and powdered form as buying encapsulated ones can increase its price.

Legality of herbal nootropic agents

Herbal supplements with potential nootropic capabilities can be sold over the counter in the UK. However, it is important that these herbs are accurately labeled and not misrepresented. These herbal nootropics can be bought from online health stores or actual food stores. Note that these particular drugs needs to accumulate in your body taking its time (approximately 2 to 6 weeks) before you will be able to see your desired results. Most herbal supplements are safe to use. Some have been studied plentifully, hence, their benefits are already established.

Some common herbal drugs with cognitive enhancing effects are best stacked with other synthetic nootropics include vinpocetine, Bacopa Monnieri, ginkgo biloba and Huperzine A – all of which can be bought over the counter. UkK residents can easily obtain these supplements without a prescription.

Vitamins and mineral supplements

Most vitamins and minerals with nootropic capabilities can be bought by UK residents without a prescription. These drugs are easily obtainable from online or actual health stores. Although these supplements have low toxicity and are fairly safe to use, you should be aware that it can cause mild to serious health problems if you consume too much than what was recommended. Therefore, it is advisable that you take vitamins and minerals on its recommended dosage.

Most common vitamins and minerals helpful in potentiating the effects of other nootropic supplements include choline, krill oil, fish oil, vitamin D and B vitamins. Many of these supplements are inexpensive. You may opt to import vitamins and minerals from online sources if you wish to save money.

Prescription nootropics in the UK

Other than piracetam, some prescription nootropics in the UK include ones that are classified under “smart drugs.” Some of these smart drugs include modafinil, armodafinil, Adderall, Ritalin, donepezil, DHEA and citalopram. These drugs are very potent, nonetheless, it has moderate to serious side effects that makes it somewhat undesirable for use. You can import these drugs however, there is a high possibility that you will be asked to provide a prescription (even if you buy it online). There is a chance that customs may seize it as well. Hence, it is advisable that you steer away from these prescribed drugs.

You can opt to use adrafinil as an alternative for modafinil, however, some studies have shown that this modafinil precursor can cause liver problems. Hence, it is not recommended that you use adrafinil consistently or for a prolonged period.

Difference between prescribed drugs and scheduled drugs

Prescribed drugs are those that need prescription in the UK. However, you may be able to import them from other countries. Scheduled drugs on the other hand are “regulated/controlled” substances that need prescription. Note that controlled substances are illegal to import and to use for nootropic purposes. Importing controlled drugs such as methylphenidate may lead to jail time or costly fines.

Bottom line: Is it legal to use nootropics in the UK?

In most ways, the answer is a YES. It is legal to use and possess nootropics in the UK so long as you know where and how to purchase it.

Again, we reiterate that you AVOID scheduled substances to avoid jail time and fines. More importantly, ensure that you always look for updates regarding the legality of nootropics in your state.