My mouth was dry and eyes were wide. If anyone had tried talking to me, they would have received a look of annoyance. My mouth was dry but my fingers kept moving. I was in the zone, man.
I was using Provigil, Adderall, or “bulletproof coffee.” I instead had a piece of nicotine gum in my mouth.
With nicotine gum, you chew it until you can feel a little buzz. Then you hold it into your cheek until you need another buzz. After 30 or so minutes, you spit it out.
The cognitive effects of nicotine as startling, as any cigarette smoker will attest to. Nicotine makes your senses more acute. You become more focused and intense. It puts coffee to shame.
The anecdotal experience of millions of smokers is supported by science. A meta-analysis in science is what happens when researchers pour of hundreds of studies looking for a patter. Here’s what a meta-analysis of nicotine research revealed:
Empirical studies indicate that nicotine enhances some aspects of attention and cognition, suggesting a role in the maintenance of tobacco dependence. The purpose of this review was to update the literature since our previous review (Heishman et al. Exp Clin Psychopharmacol 2:345-395, 1994) and to determine which aspects of human performance were most sensitive to the effects of nicotine and smoking.
There were sufficient effect size data to conduct meta-analyses on nine performance domains, including motor abilities, alerting and orienting attention, and episodic and working memory. We found significant positive effects of nicotine or smoking on six domains: fine motor, alerting attention-accuracy and response time (RT), orienting attention-RT, short-term episodic memory-accuracy, and working memory-RT (effect size range = 0.16 to 0.44).
See, “Meta-analysis of the acute effects of nicotine and smoking on human performance.” Nicotine also protects the brain against Parkinson’s disease. Michael J. Fox should have been a smoker:
Preliminary analysis shows improvements after acute nicotine in several areas of cognitive performance, particularly measures such as reaction time, central processing speed, and decreased tracking error. Improvements in attention and semantic retrieval were not seen. After chronic nicotine, improvements were seen in several motor measures suggesting improved extrapyramidal functioning. This appeared to be sustained for up to 1 month after drug. The treatment was well tolerated. Nicotinic stimulation may have promise for improving both cognitive and motor aspects of Parkinson’s disease.
See, “The effects of nicotine on Parkinson’s disease.”
Smoking is a filthy habit that causes wrinkles and premature aging. It’s not the nicotine – or even the tobacco, really – that makes smoking filthy. Smoking is horrible because of the additives and other junk tobacco companies put into cigs. There’s a way to get the benefits of smoking without the detriments.
It’s possible to boost brain performance without ever lighting up. Some guys using the patch, since it gives a transdermal, slow-release of nicotine. Others use gum and still others rock an e-cig.
I’ve used nicotine gum. It’s potent stuff. Start off slowly or you might throw up.
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