General Information about Sunifiram
Sunifiram is a cognition-enhancing drug that is available over the counter. It is one of the “newer” nootropics (drugs used to enhance memory or cognitive functions). According to wikipedia:
“Sunifiram (DM-235) is a piperazine derived ampakine-like drug which has nootropic effects in animal studies with significantly higher potency than piracetam.”
Also according to wikipedia, it has the following mechanisms of action:
- Sunifiram activates AMPA-mediated neurotransmission.
- It enhances LTP in a bell-shaped dose–response relationship. This enhancement by sunifiram is associated with an increase in phosphorylation of AMPAR through activation of protein kinase II (CaMKII) and an increase in phosphorylation of NMDAR through activation of protein kinase C α (PKCα). More specifically, sunifiram stimulates the glycine-binding site of NMDAR with concomitant PKCα activation through Src kinase. Enhancement of PKCα activity triggers hippocampal LTP through CaMKII activation.
- Sunifiram improves cognitive deficits via CaM kinase II and protein kinase C activation. PKC activation may be a common mechanism amongst cognition stimulating drugs from different chemical classes.
- Sunifiram aids in the release of acetylcholine in the cerebral cortex.
Typical dosage is between 4 and 11 milligrams per 150 lbs.
You can find detailed information about the drug at http://examine.com/supplements/Sunifiram/
Most importantly, the safety information found on examine.com about sunifiram states: “A study noting efficacy of sunifiram (0.001mg/kg denoted minimum effective dose) failed to find any overt toxic symptoms with a 1000-fold higher dose injected (1mg/kg).”
I have heard people describe LSD (at a low dosage) as a drug that increases awareness. Colors become more vivd. You see more clearly. Sounds have greater depth and clarity. The world becomes more alive and fascinating. It seems as if the filters that prevent sensory information from reaching the brain are somehow disabled or changed in a manner that lets more information through. The downside of this is sensory overload. Sunifiram had a similar kind of effect on me, however the world did not become entrancing, and there were no sensory distortions. I was never out of it, fixated by something, or hallucinating. To the contrary, I found my overall attention and sobriety increased. My visual and audio acuity increased. I experienced more of what was around me.
I found things, at times, to be a little overwhelming and experienced some anxiety. What I found most challenging were shifts in my attention caused by changes in my environment. The attention shifted easily, but the influx of new information at a greater intensity than normal was somewhat jarring and made me anxious. I simply was not used to it. I had no problem controlling my attention, but whatever I attended to came in more fully, providing more information about the world around me than usual. This taxed my mind/body and produced anxiety. I believe this is something I can adapt to and is probably related to the strength of the dose I took (which was close to the recommended dose for my body weight).
I am a little skeptical about my first experiences with substances because I am well aware of the placebo effect and how suggestible I can be at times.
That said, I will just give an account of my experiences as they occurred without speculating too much as to whether they were the products of sunifiram or not. Details from subsequent experiences should create a more accurate picture.
I was very excited when the nootropics arrived (I ordered noopept, phenylpiracetam, and sunifiram), and I wanted to try sunifiram first. It is considered a non-piracetam type drug, and I have tried various kinds of “racetams.” I was eager for a new experience.
I was shocked to see just how little a pile of 7 milligrams of powder looks. My scale is accurate to ~3 milligrams, so I was unsure as to exactly how much I was getting. The amount, however, was very tiny. It could easily fit on the tip of my pinky without falling off.
I may have taken anywhere between 4 and 10 milligrams. I am around 160 lbs.
I wet my finger and rubbed the powder off of the small, metal weighing dish, and then rubbed along the inside of my mouth underneath my tongue to saturate the tissues with it.
I think I could start to feel the effects within 5 to 10 minutes. It started to peak at around 15-20 minutes.
It increases awareness and stimulates. I became very, very aware of myself and my surroundings, mostly of sounds. They were very clear. When I locked the door to my apartment, the sound of my keys clinking together was exceptionally clear, almost hypnotic. I was amazed at the clarity. I experienced a heightened awareness of the ambient sounds of my apartment complex as I walked through the halls.
My visual field was slightly different than usual. I cannot quite say how. At times it was almost as if I had tunnel vision, but not really. I was just very focused on whatever caught my attention, but not necessarily to the exclusion of other things, not like being transfixed. Just very attentive.
I did not notice more efficiency in thinking or improvements in memory. The increase of sensory awareness regarding sound and vision was very distracting. It’s not like I couldn’t contemplate. I just didn’t want to. I was too involved in the world around me.
I did not experience changes in body heat or increased sweating as some individuals reported on reddit.
I played a game of pathfinder with friends, and I found it a little strange. There was a new person, and I am sometimes nervous around new people, unless there is something about the person that is very comforting or disarming. Perhaps the sunifiram was agitating social anxiety. I cannot comment upon that accurately. I can only speculate. It was my only social experience while on it.
The drug created a kind of schism between my normal sense of self and what was going on in the world around me. I could experience my surroundings acutely, but not necessarily process the information adequately. I suppose I could liken it to when I was learning saber fencing. When I got comfortable, the instructor would increase the speed and complexity of things, and this would not allow me to think or orient myself. I had to react.
Sunifiram seemed to be increasing my overall sensory awareness, and the increased input was just too much to handle in my normal mode of being.
It put me off-balance in a number of ways. Socially, I handled it by being somewhat reserved and focusing mostly on the interactions which made me feel most comfortable. There are a few very friendly, humorous people in our gaming group, and I tried to focus as much as I could on interacting with them and ignoring what I didn’t like.
After an hour or two of gaming, the new member started lightening up, smiling, and being more participatory. She also smiled at me a few times and laughed at a few thing I said (intending to be funny). As she started to unwind, so did I.
I normally would not feel as much social anxiety when meeting a new person in a similar scenario. I think having a new person in our group along with a heightened level of sensory sensitivity created a feeling of imbalance and overwhelm which resulted in anxiety.
I listened to some music while driving as I decided the effect of the drug would not impair my driving ability. The experience of the music was akin to what some people have described under the effects of marijuana, but not entrancing. The increased musical awareness was not distracting or irritating, rather, it was pleasant. I had no desire to turn the music off, and when driving needed my absolute full attention, I was completely unaware of the music, as is normal for me when driving. I could tell that if I were in another situation, I could really relax and enjoy the music more fully than usual. I would like to spend some comfortable time alone listening to music while under the effects of sunifiram. I think that would be very enjoyable. It may also assist in language acquisition in that you may hear inflections and other vocal variations better, so I may try it while listening to a pimsleur recording.
I noticed that I was very aware of the situations on the highway and the various vehicles around me. I became somewhat anxious, as I began to worry that the drug might affect my attention in some kind of dangerous way, putting other drivers and me at risk. In the end, there was nothing to worry about. I probably drove better than usual, as I was more aware. Again, I did not find myself attending to one thing at the expense of other important sensory input, such as focusing on one car while unconsciously and dangerously filtering out what is going on with other cars around me as in a trance-like or super-focused way. I did, however, find, at times, the experience of shifting attention from one thing to another as is necessary when driving to have a kind of jarring effect. Not super bad, but disconcerting. This was when I started to worry that the drug might impair my driving ability. It is hard to describe. It wasn’t as though it was hard to move from one thing to another, to be brought from one thing to another. That was easy. What was hard was the intensity of the new incoming information. When I needed to be aware of something, such as a car moving into an adjacent lane or something like that, I was *very* aware of it when it happened, and then, once I saw the car had moved in to the adjacent lane, I was *very* aware of the road in front of me and where I needed to go. I think the attentional shifts were creating some anxiety.
In retrospect, I think that what is going on with the anxiety I experienced was a matter of familiarity and adaptation. I normally have a bit of brain fog, there are certain things that remain dull and certain things that are clear and in focus. What happened was the sunifiram suddenly brought a hell of a lot more into clarity and focus and my brain was just like, WTF? What am I going to do with all this information? My attention, I think, was being over-taxed.
When I try another dose, I will either take less or take the same amount but choose to remain indoors in an environment with stable, controlled input. Not something as dynamic as driving or socially interacting with a group and an unfamiliar person.
Right now I cannot say with confidence that I could recommend or advise against the use of sunifiram. I do not have enough experiences with it.
What I can say is that it is a powerful substance and that you should be careful regarding the dosage and setting when first taking it. I had some anxiety in my experience. I could imagine what it could have been like had I taken too large of a dose or had been in a very stressful situation. It could have been a nightmare.
I can see the benefits of using it to enhance various aesthetic experiences. I can say with some certainty that watching nature, going to an art museum, listening to music, etc., would be enhanced by sunifiram.
I imagine that it may help a person remain aware and sharp when fatigued. However, since I have not used it when mentally or physically fatigued, I cannot recommend its use in that scenario. Will it make you feel mentally refreshed? Or will you feel like an exhausted horse being relentlessly whipped? Some stimulants taken during exhaustion can have that effect.
I also imagine that it may be helpful for study or problem solving, but, again, I will need to test it in those activities before I can make a useful comment in that regard.
Second Sunifiram Experience
Dose: 5 milligrams or less
I made sure to decrease the dose, and I also took some phosphatidylcholine, which is generally recommended when taking nootropics. Many nootropics increase or otherwise affect acetylcholine in the brain. The theory is that more choline is used up when you take nootropics that increase acetylcholine levels. Some negative effects from nootropics (such as crashes after using them) are attributed to not taking a choline supplement.
I could feel the stimulant effect, but not as heavily as before. I experienced a slight increase in ease of concentration during mental tasks during my work day. The concentration felt very satisfying. I felt as if I could apply myself just that little bit more fully to what I was doing. This could, however, be due to the placebo effect.
Because I had a poor night’s sleep before, I had a lingering feeling of tiredness and also some general mental fog. The sunifiram did not cut through that, and may have somehow contributed to it. I’m not sure.
I experienced a strange sensation of separateness like before but not as pronounced. I just felt vaguely not there, as if some part of me was separated from my experience, adrift. I could, however, easily attend to what was going on around me, what people were saying, and the like. I think that my experimentation with stimulating nootropics is affecting sleep. It took me a while to get into deep sleep last night, and I did a lot of tossing and turning.
At the end of my work day I felt tired, but a little stimulated. When I got home, I did not feel the need to take a nap or otherwise crash, but I did feel somewhat exhausted.
I experienced an increased enjoyment of music again, but this time it was not as pronounced as before.
I think today’s experience was a bit lackluster. I want to find out just what exactly this stuff is good for. I am already convinced that it is generally stimulating and does certainly affect attention and focus. I am uncertain about the cons it might have in terms of affecting sleep and also possibly creating a crash. More time and experience with it will yield more information.
I suspect that taking it on a day in which I am relaxed, have eaten well, am well rested, and am able to comfortably engage in a variety of tasks with no feeling of hurry or rush will show me most clearly what I want to know.
I plan to use it and read some fiction, listen to some music, meditate, write, and get some thinking done, all in a relaxed way. It may be best to record my experiences right after they have occurred, wait a while, and the reflect and comment upon them later.