The terms “nootropic” and “cognitive enhancer” are often used interchangeably, but “nootropic” actually has a much more restrictive definition. (All nootropics are cognitive enhancers, but the opposite is not true.) Cognitive enhancers include any substance that enhance cognitive function, including concentration, learning, memory, and mood. Nootropics must also be neuroprotective and relatively non-toxic.
For example, while Adderall is a cognitive enhancer, it is not a nootropic due to its stimulatory qualities and negative side effects.
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In this FAQ, we will use “smart drugs” to refer to both nootropics and cognitive enhancers, and will make the distinction where necessary.