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We Talk Nootropics, Brain Supplements, & Cognitive Enhancers w/ Expert Jesse Lawler

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Greetings, SuperFriends!

If you’re familiar with just about any of my work, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of nootropics, otherwise known as smart drugs or cognitive enhancers. I’ve used them for years, experimented with dozens of them, and I’m cautiously optimistic about the future of this rapidly-growing trend in biohacking.

Well, today, we have a special treat, because my guest is the host of an entire podcast dedicated solely to nootropics – SmartDrugSmarts. Like myself, he lacks a medical degree, but shares my passion for self-experimentation and broad-reaching research. He’s done hundreds of experiments on himself, and has even developed a number of nootropic stacks himself.

In this episode, we talk about tons of nitty gritty details about all of the various nootropics… we talk about diet and nutrition… we talk about self experimentation, polyphasic sleep… and so, so much more. I really enjoyed this episode, and I just know you’re going to enjoy it, too.

I enjoyed the opportunity to dive into the mind of another dilettante neuroscientist like myself, and to demonstrate to the audience that you don’t need a medical degree to safely and effectively tweak your cognitive and physical performance. Big disclaimer here: my guest and I are, as I said, NOT doctors, and we are NOT qualified to give you medical advice – consult your doctor before taking any of this tips home and trying them out, and of course, we take absolutely no responsibility for your results.

This episode is brought to you by the all new SuperLearner Academy!

This episode is brought to you by SuperLearner Academy – home of my exclusive masterclasses. Check out a free trial using the link above today!

In this episode, we discuss:

  • Jesse Lawler's path from being a computer programmer to being a nootropics expert and podcaster
  • Why podcasting is such an incredible network hack, and how it adds to one's life
  • What are the big things that Jesse Lawler learned since he got into this?
  • What's the difference between a “nootropic” and other “cognitive enhancers”
  • Which nootropics and brain supplements has Jesse Lawler tested on himself?
  • Which of these drugs are available, which are restricted, and how hard are they to get?
  • How do you decide which nootropics or brain supplements to use for which day or task?
  • Which substances are known to increase your working memory capacity?
  • What's the relationship between creativity and memory?
  • Where do Adderall, Ritalin, Concerta, and other prescription drugs fit in to the mix?
  • How does ADD medication work?
  • Why Jesse went from being a raw food vegan to the paleo diet
  • What are some of the most ridiculous self-experiments that Jesse Lawler has done?
  • Thoughts on polyphasic sleep, biphasic sleep, and the “uberman” sleep schedule
  • How and where can you safely start experimenting with nootropics?
  • What supplements should EVERYONE be taking, according to Jesse Lawler?
  • Are these supplements compatible, or should you take one at a time?
  • How safe are drugs like piracetam or anaracetam?
  • What books and resources does Jesse recommend?
  • Who is Jesse Lawler's “guru” or role model?
  • Learning about Jesse's own nootropic stacks, how they work, and why he created them
  • What would a $100 “quick start” kit designed by Jesse look like?
  • Thoughts on alcohol and abstaining from it
  • Is horseback riding more dangerous than MDMA usage?

Resources Mentioned in This Episode on Nootropics:

Favorite Quotes from Jesse Lawler:

“ADHD… Attention Deficit HyperActivity Disorder… It's a thing. It's a real, diagnosable thing. But it's a spectrum disorder. You can have a little of it, or you can have a lot of it.”
“The way that these focus enhancing compounds work in the brain of a person that has ADHD… it's having some fundamentally different effects.”
“The effect I got was really, really strong. It kind of felt like I was trying to run too much power through my voltage cables.”
“The standard American diet is about the worst way that you could eat, so any direction that you venture off from that center point is probably a good move.”
“I think building up a skill for napping is just an AMAZING hack.”
“Everything sounds great when it's on a sales page.”
“Get inspired by what really smart people can talk like, and think about… When I hear one of these guys, their brain is just, flowing out of the screen, it makes me want to push my own brain as far as it can go.”
“Stop drinking alcohol. It's a cheap and easy hack… I know everybody likes alcohol, but dude… it is NOT worth the trouble!”


Introduction: Welcome to the Becoming SuperHuman Podcast. Where we interview extraordinary people to bring you the skills and strategies to overcome the impossible. And now here's your host, Jonathan Levi.

Jonathan Levi: This episode is brought to you by the all-new and very exciting SuperLearner Academy. Now SuperLearner Academy is the home of my premium level content and masterclasses from my course on accelerated learning, speed, reading, and memory all the way to my course on productivity. Now in these masterclasses, I go into the gritty detail that I just can't go into on the podcast or in the books, or in the other online courses.

I offer the worksheets and the homework and the types of individualized attention that can only happen in my own platform where I control the learning experience. So if you want to learn faster, if you want to remember more, if you want to read faster and you want to be able to do this all with a cohesive 10-week program, that's going to take you from wherever you are today, all the way to certifiable SuperLearner status. I want you to check out the exclusive discount that we're offering for podcast listeners only at That's

Greeting, SupeFriends and welcome, welcome, welcome to this week's show. If you guys are familiar with really any of my work, you'll already know that I am a huge fan of nootropics, otherwise known as smart drugs or cognitive enhancers.

I love it when people say that cognitive enhancers now I've used them for years. I've experimented with dozens of them. And I'm cautiously optimistic about the future of this rapidly growing trend in biohacking. I think it's something everyone should experiment safely with. I think it's something that's really going to help us reach our potential.

As humans and as learners. And so for that reason, today's treat is a very, very special guest. And he's the host of an entire podcast dedicated solely to nootropics. Now like myself, he lacks a medical degree but does share a passion for self-experimentation and broad-reaching research. I think you're going to be just blown away by how much knowledge he has on the subject on the way the brain works on the different chemicals and compounds.

 Really, he's done hundreds of experiments on himself, and he's even developed a number of nootropic stacks in his own company. Now, in this episode, we talk about a lot of the nitty-gritty details of the various compounds and nootropics and how they work.

We also talk about diet and nutrition. We talk about self-experimentation. We talk about where to get started and where to try these different substances safely and how to do it in a way that you're not going to damage yourself or hurt yourself. We also go into polyphasic sleep and so, so, so much more.

I really, really enjoyed recording this episode guys. And I just know you're going to enjoy it as well. I particularly enjoyed the opportunity to dive into the mind of another dilatory, neuroscientists like myself, and really to demonstrate to the audience that you don't need a medical degree to safely and effectively tweak your cognitive and physical performance.

Now I do want to give a big, big, big disclaimer here with that, which is my guest and I are not, we are not, not, we are not doctors and we're not qualified to give you medical advice. So please consult your doctor before taking any of the tips home and trying them out. And of course, we can't take responsibility for your results.

So yeah, be smart out there, guys be safe. I don't want any of you guys to do something that's going to harm you in any way. Now with that said, I think you're going to be very excited to try some of the things in this episode safely and intelligently.

So ladies and gents, no more further blabbing. Let me present to you, Mr. Jesse Lawler of Smart Drug Smarts.

Mr. Jesse, welcome to the show, my friend, how are you doing today?

Jesse Lawler: Hey, doing well. Thank you so much.

Jonathan Levi: Awesome. It's a pleasure. You know, I just wrapped on my masterclass and we did a little bit of stuff on nootropics and dealing with, you know which ones are good, which ones should you try? So I'm actually excited to expand my own knowledge on nootropics.

Cause I'm a huge enthusiast, something that I use almost every single day and I'm excited to hear what I can learn and I'm sure our audience is as well.

Jesse Lawler: Cool. Well, yeah, it's a super exciting field and obviously, it's something that's getting a lot more public attention in the last couple of years, which is pretty exciting also.

Jonathan Levi: Absolutely. So why don't we backpedal really quickly and just tell me a little bit about how you got into this. I saw, as I was researching your bio, you know, we've bought kind of foregone the traditional medical training and it's something we definitely don't hide. And I think that's a recurring theme.

I think most of our guests, whether they're talking about nutrition or they're talking about exercise, they're not coming from a medical background and they're more end equals one kind of self experimenters. So tell me a bit about, uh, how you're qualified to do what you do and how you got into it.

Jesse Lawler: I am a computer programmer by training. I mean, that's sort of what I've done professionally and probably about like nine years ago. I think I haven't actually gone back and looked at when I was first sort of exposed to the idea of smart drugs, but it became something that I just sort of got interested in professionally as a tool in my own personal toolkit.

And yeah, it kind of started me down this road probably about three years ago when I first started my podcast. I wanted a way of sort of calling up some people and asking questions that is a private citizen. I didn't really have a way of doing, but I was like, wait a minute. If I were to start a podcast, then it kind of gives me a little bit of an excuse to, uh, to get my phone calls returned.

And it actually works is the funny thing.

Jonathan Levi: It totally does. I'm, I'm constantly shocked and a little bit appalled by the people who give me hours and hours of their time. Repeatedly, you know, Hey, want to come back on another episode? Yeah. Heck yeah. It's amazing.

Jesse Lawler: And it's a good hack.

Jonathan Levi: It's a great hack. It's a great hack if you have the time to put into it. So that's really cool. So tell me, where do you went from there?

Jesse Lawler: Well, basically it's been a series of about three years and a little over a hundred episodes now of calling up people and asking them questions. And a lot of the people have been, um, you know, research scientists working at universities, you know, at some of them have been other self experimenters.

We've got, I mean, we've talked with people about everything from. You know, Adderall to lucid dreaming, and so probably I'd say about like 50% of the episodes are sort of on the core topic of smart drugs and actual, you know, things that you put in your mouth that affect your brain. Um, but others are just things that are kind of like, you know, the, what Jesse finds interesting show and you know, anything that's going to affect cognition.

One way or another, even if it's not necessarily a pharmaceutical or a nutraceutical compound, I've sort of considered fair game for the show.

Jonathan Levi: I love it. And, uh, hear a lot of that also in myself. I mean, today I interviewed, I dunno if it's going to come out before or after this episode, but I interviewed a mentalist and this guy actually read my mind on the show.

I was like, you know, this is like the shows about SuperHuman abilities. So it's loosely connected, but I was like, this is totally just because I'm so fascinated by this guy. So in any case.

Jesse Lawler: Did he read your mind effectively?

Jonathan Levi:  He did, I'll send you the episode when it's out. It actually blew my mind.

That's. I was like, there's no way. There's no way. And then he did it and I was like, Oh my God, what just happened?

Jesse Lawler: That's weird.

Jonathan Levi: That was crazy. It was crazy. But in any case, so let me come back a little bit on topic and say that you know, most of our audience, I think is very familiar with the idea of nootropics or smart drugs.

So I guess we'll skip the definitions and, you know, Jumping to what you said, which is the reason I wanted to get you on this call is to ask you questions. I'm curious about selfish enough, right? So I want to know what have you learned about nootropics since you got into this? Which ones have you tried?

Which ones work? I mean, we'll get into all that, but what are some of the big things that you've learned?

Jesse Lawler: I guess probably like my single biggest takeaway has been like the level of variability of what person feels overt, you know, physiological or perceptual effects from that somebody else might not. There really does seem to be a large amount of person-to-person difference, which in retrospect, I shouldn't have found that as surprising as I did because you know, all of us are different.

Uh, you know, everything from different blood types to different diets, too, you know, different. You know, genotypes and things like that. But I think that the brain is probably even a little bit more variable than other parts of our body. It's like, you know, all of our body parts, organs, bones, whatever are defined by our genes.

And then to a certain extent by our environment and our diets and things like that. But our brands are this, we call it a plastic organ, not like a plastic made out of, you know, Barbie doll parts or whatever, but it's an organ that sort of gets defined even in its internal layout, by what we do with it.

You know, w what we learned from the time that we pop out into the world and, you know, basically the brain, I think they say is still really developing pretty actively until, you know, your early twenties. Right. Which is pretty amazing. So one person's brain structures can really wind up quite a bit different.

I mean, even when you get down to like the differences between left-handers and right-handers than another person. And so, I guess in retrospect, it shouldn't have been so much of a  surprise that something that might have a strong perceptual effect for one person doesn't for another. But that's been one of my main takeaways that it really is valuable for people to try a handful of different things and do a little bit of the N equals one experimentation to find out what's going to be effective for them.

Jonathan Levi: Exactly. And, you know, I felt a little bit weird putting that as the, you know, when you do this kind of masterclass lecture and you want to give people the simple prescription, that's why they're there. And ultimately what I came up with after hours and hours of writing this and researching, and was you kinda got to try a lot of different things because for example, Piracetam does zilch for me.

I mean, almost nothing, which is shocking because so many people are raving about Piracetam and  Aniracetam. It does nothing for me. And it's exactly what you said. I bought some of this stuff and I was like, this does nothing. I gave it to one of my buddies. He's like, this is unbelievable. This stuff gives us such clarity. I'm like, are you sure?

I mean, so tell me about that. I mean, which ones have you experimented with? I imagine you're going to say all of them and which ones have worked for you.

Jesse Lawler: Well, actually, no, it, it hasn't been all of them because there's a lot. Yeah. I mean, there's a lot of things that people sort of put under this, you know, cognitive enhancer umbrella, and I guess we might want to take a second and sort of distinguish, I guess, the term nootropic from cognitive enhancers, a somewhat more general term.

Exactly. Yeah. The actual like dictionary definition from the guy who coined the term to Nootropic is pretty restrictive. I mean, there's a lot of things that definitely might make you more focused for a, you know, a handful of hours or whatever, but you wouldn't consider a Nootropic cause they also have some downsides, like they can be physiologically addictive and things like that. Yeah.

Jonathan Levi: Exactly. Yeah. Coffee isn't even a neurotropic as they say.

Jesse Lawler: Right? Yeah. But by that definition, because you build up a tolerance to it which crosses off the nootropic nomenclature right there. And, uh, yeah, it certainly can be addictive as well, but you have to get back to your question of what are some of the things I've tried.

It's probably, I mean, the first thing that I ever heard of and tried was Modafinil. I've subsequently tried the other things in the afternoon family. Armodafinil, Ardrofinil, which are very similar as far as perceptual effects, Sulbutiamine, which is a, um, Synthetic compound of vitamin B1, tried that. Fish oil, I wouldn't consider that a Nootropic, but it's such a, it definitely is a cognitive enhancer, fish oil, krill oil. Yeah. Those Omega 3's are essential building blocks of your physical brand structure. Yeah. So it's a good idea to make sure that you're fully loaded up on those. Uh, one of the things that always surprises people when I started list.

This one is nicotine. I've never smoked a cigarette in my life or to chewing tobacco or any of that stuff, but I've actually applied a nicotine patch to get nicotine into my system. Nicotine has some interesting cognitive-enhancing effects that a lot of people would never even think to try, but, um, Yeah, well, one of my favorite episodes actually was Dr. Neil Grunberg, uh, pretty early episode. And I think in the twenties and just talking all about the things that you probably haven't heard about nicotine, but that is an interesting one. And, uh, yeah, I'll every now and then I'll just put on a half a nicotine patch. One whole patch is a little bit too much for me, but kind of makes that into my rounds.

Jonathan Levi: That's really interesting. I do want to come back to that. I want to come back to how you decide, you know, you wake up in the morning and how you decide which Nootropic, but really quickly. Let me ask, can you break it down for us? Modafinil is kind of in this gray area. As far as I understand, it's not a scheduled, prohibited, controlled substance, like Adderall or methylphenidate or something like that, isn't it?

Jesse Lawler: Yeah, it is. And actually, I hope I don't have the terminology wrong, but like Adderall and methylphenidate are not scheduled drugs. Schedule drugs are things like cocaine and heroin and stuff like that. Like drugs that you will truly be arrested if you have, then there are other drugs that are and again, we're talking about US laws here. It varies from country to country, but that are prescription drugs that you're supposed to have a doctor's prescription to have. And I think that you know, you'll get some sort of wrist slap if you're caught without it, but it's not like police, aren't going door to door, looking for people that have their neighbor's Modafinil.

Sure. Northern neighbors, Adderall, but yeah. Modafinil or armodafinil, you know, Adderall, Ritalin. Those are probably the main ones that are considered within the cognitive enhancer overall umbrella, but that are prescription-only drugs that you really should have a prescription if you're using them within the US.

Jonathan Levi: Right. My question though was more that I understand that people can just order Modafinil from India, whereas Adderall or Ritalin. That's not making it through customs kind of situation. And you really do need to go see a doctor, or is it the case that I can go down to my doctor and he may prescribe me, but Daffodil, as opposed to Adderall.

Jesse Lawler: I think that most doctors, you probably wouldn't have to do a huge amount of arm wrestling with them to get you a Modafinil prescription. If you wanted one. I mean, they prescribe it pretty easily for things like shift work disorder. If you're like, Hey, you know what? I have a job where I work until midnight and I have a hard time staying up late at night. I mean, technically Modafinil is something that's supposed to be prescribed for narcolepsy, for people that are falling asleep in the middle of conversations.

But I've spoken with doctors that say that probably only about 20 to 25% of the actual prescriptions that are written are written for that purpose. It exists prescribed for all kinds of things. Right?

Jonathan Levi: Exactly. I mean the original name or the kind of trade name of it is Provigil, which kind of gives you the indication that is really meant for keeping people awake.  Whereas Adderall or Ritalin, that's something that's meant more for focus and attention. Yeah.

Jesse Lawler: Yeah. I'd say that's definitely true.

Jonathan Levi: Interesting. Okay. So let's jump back real quick. You were saying some days you may try a nicotine patch. Some days you may do this. I also tend to, you know, there's certain kinds of work that.

I may choose Yerba Mate over black tea. There's certain kinds of work that I may choose Huperzine-A over another drug. How do you differentiate? You know, say you have like, I do a drawer of nootropics and you wake up in the morning and you say, okay, you kind of move your hands together and say, what are they going to look like?

What kind of work am I going to do today? How do you make that distinction in which Nootropic do you find for you personally is suited to which kinds of work?

Jesse Lawler: Yeah, that's a great question. Um, I find that I like the Modafinil or Armodafinil compounds for when I want to do like a deep focus. Like if it's a computer programming day for me, when I just kind of know that I want to put on some music, put on the blinders, not be doing emails, not be really communicating with people, but just kind of go into like a deep focus mode for a long time.

And, you know, maybe I get up to pee if I'm lucky, but that's sort of the extent of where I'm varying my activities for a while, for something like that. I find that. Yeah, 100 milligrams of Modafinil or like, you know, something like 35 milligrams of Armodafinil is about right for that sort of behavior for me, for the day. If I'm doing something that I do want to be more creative and, you know, maybe shifting between tasks, but feeling engaged in sort of more fluid there. Aniracetam was really the one that I came around to.

And, and one of the reasons that I built a stack that we sell our stack Nexus is sort of focused around Aniracetam is because I found that to be a good compound that sort of wakes me up, but also makes me kind of feel creatively engaged. And, um, one of the things that interest him he's known to do is sort of increase your working memory, which essentially means you can hold more ideas in your head at one time.

And I think that some of the reasons I was getting like this perceptual feeling of being more creative is probably just because I had more ideas that I was able to hold my head at once and sort of juxtapose up against one another, which is sort of the essence of creativity.

Jonathan Levi: Bingo. You nailed it right on the head.

I that's another thing that we kind of covered in our masterclasses, like. Actually, you know, people don't understand, but so much of creativity revolves around memory and modern academia has tried to say no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. We're not teaching memorization. We're teaching creativity. Well, what the hell do you think creativity comes from?

Jesse Lawler: Yeah. I mean, you need to have like a bunch of puzzle pieces on the table before you can be creative and like build your own puzzle. I mean, maybe the puzzle is not. Yeah. Right analogy, but it's like that, that's one of the things that, you know, I like reading books and stuff so much, you just get like lots of different ideas that you can then, you know, juxtapose up against one another and hopefully come up with something new.

Jonathan Levi: I love that. That's such a brilliant metaphor. You know, I want to come back also a little bit about the Adderall and the Ritalin and stuff like that. Cause that kind of recently went public on the TEDx stage and talked a little bit about how I spent most of my adolescents and young adulthood on Ritalin.

And it sounds as though you are an advocate of, you know, the kind of Modafinil the prescription route, which I have nothing against, obviously. Given my background, but I wanted to ask, I mean, for people who are, or out there, and they're not sure, you know, should I be going the Aniracetam over the counter route?

Is this something that I should be talking with my doctor? I mean, what do you think all the pieces fit together and where do you stop saying, look, I'm going to try these kinds of the Onnit or the Nexus Mitogen product, or go to my doctor and say, look, I have a serious problem.

Jesse Lawler: I guess there's. The major distinction to be drawn is that like ADHD, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. I mean, it's a thing it's a real diagnosable thing. And it's a spectrum disorder. Something that where you can have a little of it, or you can have a lot of it, but the way that these focus enhancing compounds like Adderall and methylphenidate known as Ritalin, that they work in the brain of a person that has ADHD, it's having some fundamentally different effects.

It sort of allows those people to focus. To the level, and I'm going to sort of use the word normal person with my curly quote fingers in the air, but it kind of lets them focus to the amount that a normal person would already be able to. And it can really be a life-changer for those people. If they're unable to kind of, you know, control their own attention, to the extent that a normal person might be able to.

Now, if you're not on that spectrum like I'm not an ADHD person. I think probably any more than any other person is. And I've tried methylphenidate on two occasions. Now, basically, a friend gave me two pills. I tried one of them for an episode of my show, and then I took another one a month later just cause I had it.

And the effect that I got was really, really strong. I mean, it kind of felt like I was trying to, um, you know, run too much power through my, you know, voltage cables or whatever.

Jonathan Levi: How much did you take out of curiosity?

Jesse Lawler: I think it was a 26-milligram extended-release capsule if I remember correctly.

Jonathan Levi: Okay. So like an AUSA, something like that.

Jesse Lawler: Yeah. That was what it was, it was my friend's prescription. My friend just prescribed and had it. And, uh, basically it was, he gave me two single-day doses of what his prescribed amount is.

Jonathan Levi: Right that was a pretty good dose. I mean, that's a dose, uh, you know, for someone who's developed a bit of a tolerance.

Jesse Lawler: Yeah, it felt like too much for me. I mean, if I were to do it again on purpose, I would definitely, probably maybe, you know, cut that in half, but I sort of wanted to see what it was like, because it's something that we'd done a couple of episodes on and people would ask me a lot of questions about it. And I just kind of felt like I needed to test the bathwater so I could have more of an opinion.

Anyway, so long story short is that when somebody who is not an ADHD person takes one of these, you know, dopamine enhancing drugs or drugs, that basically makes more dopamine be circulating within your brain. It has a really strong effect that is not analogous to what a person is getting, who actually has a prescription.

Right. I don't think I could go to a doctor and say, Hey, doctor prescribed me Adderall without just lying through my teeth, get them to do it.

Jonathan Levi: Right. Adderall is a pretty serious drug. As you said, it's not a scheduled drug, but you know, I always tell people, look, it helped me very much, but the doctor who prescribed it to me when I was 15, knew me since I was eight days old, you know, this doctor knew me, knew my family history knew that my family doesn't have a history of a drug addiction.

I mean, I was very fortunate. And made sure by the way, every month I had to go and check-in and, and kind of demonstrate how many pills I had left, which I think these drugs are single-handedly the most abused drug among people under the age of 30 right now. Forget about marijuana like you want to talk about people having.

It really a drug addiction. Let's talk about Adderall and it goes under the table because the side effects are really good grades and kids that behave themselves. Right. But it's a very abused drug. So it definitely for anyone in our audience, if you're thinking about that drug proceed with caution and just be smart about it, please.

Jesse Lawler: Yeah, and I mean, it is an amphetamine compound, so it's inherently quite addictive.

Jonathan Levi: Exactly. Although I do have to say, my mother used to quote after about six months of me finally going on medication, I think it was maybe about eight years too late, but my mother was afraid to kind of medicate her baby.

She started telling people, you know, I was so against it, but now I think they should put it in the water. Oh no, it's unbelievable. I don't recognize my own son. So yeah, if you do need it. It can make a world of difference.

Jesse Lawler: It's funny how much stuff really is in the water too now, because you probably read about this, how there's so many trace pharmaceuticals that are literally in the water supply because the molecules are smaller than gets cleaned out by the water filtration systems and water cleanup plants.

Jonathan Levi: Right. I'm so, so, so thankful that I live in Israel because we kind of lead the world in desalination. So a large part of my water has not been drunk for hundreds of years and is not full of pharmaceuticals. Thank God.

Jesse Lawler: It's raining outside where I am right now. And I'm thinking I should probably put a rain barrel out just to get some rain, water, and stuff to prevent.

Jonathan Levi: Yeah, absolutely. So I also saw that you experimented with a raw food veganism, and I want to touch on that because you did say that your show is about so much more than just the things that you kind of pop-under your tongue if you will. And I noticed that you ended up switching to paleo man, true to my own heart.

So I didn't know about that experience and what happened. Cause you know, we had Wolf tell his story about how he was sick and feeling like death and had stomach pains. But I think you're going to come at it. If I predict correctly from a little bit of a more here's how I felt upstairs in between the ears perspective. So what happened with the raw food veganism?

Jesse Lawler: Yeah. So this was interesting. I mean, I'm basically, I got to plead guilty. Like I like doing self-experiments. I've always just sort of been a fan of like, Hey, what happens if I tweak this part of my life? And you want me to see where it goes? So I'm a fan of like evolutionary history and all that stuff too.

And I came across the argument, which is, it's not a terribly strong argument that we have. All of these genes in common with, you know, monkeys and stuff like that. And of course, humans are the only animal that cooks their food. Humans tend to have pretty rotten physiologies compared to most things in the animal kingdom.

Nowadays, it's something like, you know, 30% of the US is obese and 60% is overweight. And. You know, we have all these nasty things that happen to us that seem to make us sort of unhealthy outliers in the animal kingdom. And one of the other things that make us unique in the animal kingdom is that we cook our food and, you know, so the argument goes among people that profess to, uh, to follow raw foodstuff that, you know, what everybody agrees, regardless of where you are on the nutrition spectrum that, you know, fresh vegetables are healthy, that fresh fruit is healthy and yada, yada, yada.

So what if you just only ate that stuff? And so I kind of figured that. I would just experiment with that for a while. I went for a month or two and went completely raw and felt a lot of good benefits from it. Well, I should say I felt a lot of good benefits from the diet that I probably miss attributed to the rawness.

In retrospect, I think it was probably because I was cutting out things like processed flour and processed sugar and things like that, which are not raw, but. You know, I think getting those things out of my diet is probably where I was getting the majority of the benefits after a while, though, when I went for a few months doing it, then it became kind of a personal challenge.

Like, can I actually pull this off for a full year? And would the physiological benefits that I felt in the first couple of months, continue to accrue over the course of that year? Would I be, you know, jumping over billings in a single bound, 12 months in, as it turns out I wasn't timing yet. The benefits sort of plateaued after a while, but I did kind of want to get my one-year badge. And I wound up, I think, going for something like 13 and a half months. And then my girlfriend at the time convinced me to, uh, to have a burrito. And so I had a burrito after that period, but I'd crossed the threshold. And at that point, I started downshifted into merely being a vegan.

So I was still a vegan, but I was no longer a raw vegan. Being a raw vegan by the way, basically means you're a fruitarian in order to get enough calories. You're just eating a huge amount of fruit. So, you know, if you have like the people in the audience that are used to eating a lot of fat or people on ketogenic diets, this is the complete opposite of that.

You're getting like 96% of your calories from fruit sugars when you're on this diet. So I was a vegan for probably six or seven years. And literally, I got turned off of that slowly by having read a book a couple of days, times that I found really compelling a book on human evolutionary history called Catching Fire: How Cooking Made us Human. And this is a book by a, um, He's a professor at Harvard named Dr. Richard Wrangham and he makes a really very, I found it compelling and persuasive argument that it's was the introduction of cooking into sort of the human lifestyle about between two and 1.5 million years ago. They don't have the pegged exactly when we made that transition, but that, that sort of started the dominoes falling from us, you know, being astral, pit the scenes with a brain, a third, the size of what we have now, you know, being current homo-sapiens.

And when I read that and kind of, you know, bought into his theory of how those dominoes fell thinking, okay, well, we've been eating cooked food for the last 2 million years, give or take, and a large percentage of that cooked food has in fact been cooked meat, then how am I really justifying eating a diet that does not include any meat at all? And, you know, I wasn't a vegan for any sort of, you know, animal rights reasons or anything like that. So basically I just started thinking, well, maybe I should do like a 90-day experiment and see how I feel eating, um, you know, a paleo diet, which sort of is what is implied by the logic in this guy's book.

It's not a diet book at all. It's just kind of thinking, okay, if this guy is right, then what should I be eating? Paleo seemed like the closest match. And so, um, yeah, probably about three years ago, maybe four years ago, I gave myself a 90-day experiment into paleo and basically just decided to keep with it after the experiment.

Jonathan Levi: Awesome. So did you notice any kind of cognitive or kind of psychological learning benefits?

Jesse Lawler: No. I mean, cognitively, I really didn't notice a big difference. Although I guess the one thing is, you know, eating less meals that were essentially car bombs, like when I was eating 'em yeah. As a vegan, but not as a raw vegan.

And I was having a lot of things like, you know, vegetarian spaghetti and stuff like that, where you're getting, you know, high-glycemic-index stuff just dumped into all at once. And of course, that makes you want to curl up on the couch and take a big snooze for a couple of hours to digest afterward. When you're eating more paleo stuff, you don't tend to have those.

You'll massive glycaemic index bombs. So sort of you maintain a, more of an even state, I guess, to your cognition, but I didn't find it to be like a massive shift in how I thought or a moment.

Jonathan Levi: Yeah. I think probably nailed it on the head that you had this benefit in how much energy you had and how you felt when you just cut out all the crap. And so switching to paleo was probably not that huge of a shift for you.

Jesse Lawler: It's funny. It's like the standard American diet is probably about the worst way that a person could eat. And so any direction that you vector off from that center point is probably a good move.

Jonathan Levi: That's awesome. Jesse, you said that you're an avid self-experimenter like myself. I want to know a little bit about the crazy experiments you've done and how they turned out. I'm looking for some, some exciting stuff to try in 2016.

Jesse Lawler: Okay, well, let me give you a cautionary tale then. Have you heard of, um, I'm sure you know about sleep hacking and you've probably heard of polyphasic sleeping. Are you familiar with the Uber men's sleep schedule?

Jonathan Levi: Oh God. Don't tell me you tried.

Jesse Lawler: I tried it. I mean, I read some stuff about this. I thought it just sounded like it sounds a little too good to be. It just sounds way too good to be true. It's like, wow. I can be cognitively sharp and only sleep. Whatever it is like three hours and 20 minutes a day is what it comes down to.

And so for people who haven't heard about this, basically the idea is that the most cognitively important part of your sleep is your REM sleep, where you're dreaming and your brain kind of resets itself and blah-blah-blah, and normally we don't get into REM sleep. Until about like 90 minutes into our first sleep cycle and the REM becomes more common throughout the night.

But according to the people that preach the Uber man sleep schedule, if you sort of sleep starve your brain, your sleep adjusts. So you go very, very quickly into REM sleep. Right. And you can sleep for basically 20-minute blocks throughout the day, every three or four hours. And you'll just go straight into like 20 minutes of REM you pop back awake and you do that again.

So you never really have a night. You never really have a day. You just have these four-hour blocks that you need to sleep 20 minutes of them. Right. Which it sounds preposterous, but there are people on the internet that claim they've done it. They claim they've lived this way for years and, and that, uh, Yeah, but the funny thing is you can't find them.

I like, I've tried to get him on my podcast to interview them, say like, okay, tell me about this.

Jonathan Levi: Yeah. They don't seem to have, despite the fact that they only sleep an hour and 20 minutes a day, right? Yeah.

Jesse Lawler: Pretty suspicious.

Jonathan Levi: So I'm never heard of it. Anyone beating three weeks, three weeks seems to be like the max.

Jesse Lawler: I made a really solid run at it. There's a guy named Steve Pavlina, he's a big blogger. And he's one of the people that is talked about having done it successfully for a while. And, you know, I read his long descriptive blog posts on how he went about it. Now we prepared for it and got into the system. You know, I read it like 15 times got on the exact diet.

He was eating good by the book and canceled all my appointments and stuff for like two weeks just thinking I was going to be a zombie and probably wouldn't be able to get anything done. It was literally by like five or six nights in, in order to stay awake. I was standing on one foot just like rocking from one foot to another.

Cause even if I stood still upright on both feet, I would have fell asleep on my feet. I needed to like a rock from one side to another, just like a zombie in order to not fall asleep. It was totally ridiculous. Anyway.

Jonathan Levi:  That's terrible. You know? Used to believe in the concept, but the more I learn about the brain and also just the body, I mean, we've had so many guests on our show who talk about hormones, who talk about muscle repair.

You know, it's like super simple stuff. We're advocating in a lot of shows, you know, high-intensity workouts, and you're not going to do that kind of hypertrophic repair in 20 minutes.

Jesse Lawler: It was false gold. I was totally chasing fool's gold, totally.

Jonathan Levi: But I will say I am a biphasic sleeper.

Jesse Lawler: Yeah, biphasic is a different story. I think biphasic it can be very, very long-term sustainable and actually might be something that really lends itself to human physiology because. It was kind of, you know, when we were sleeping in caves, somebody needed to get up and tend to fire and things like that. It was kind of useful that during the long winter nights, when people would go to bed, when the sun went down and wake up when the sun came up, because if you've got 12 hours of darkness because you're in like the, you know, far from the equator, somebody does need to get up during that time.

Jonathan Levi: Right. And from a learning perspective, I mean, if you're breaking down the migration from short-term memory to long-term memory into two chunks, you know, I always tell my students, they're like, yeah, I can read a book in an afternoon, but I immediately need a nap after that because that's so much to go into your short-term memory.

And so I just pass out and actually, we had Dr. Cook Parsley on the show who said, you know, one of my tricks for accelerated learning. And he was talking specifically about Jujitsu. He's like after I have a really hard training session, I go to sleep. And then people are shocked at how quickly I learned things.

Cause I'm just moving it into long-term memory very, very quickly. Yeah.

Jesse Lawler: I think building up the skill for napping is just an amazing hack. Oh yeah. It's like if you can drop into a nap and you know, five or 10 minutes, pick up some 20-minute naps throughout your day, you know, if you have a workplace that allows that or just, you know, go out to your car, duck into a broom closet, whatever it is, that can be a giant hack.

Jonathan Levi: Yeah, exactly. I always love to tell people that. And so many people fight me. They're like, Oh, well, you're an entrepreneur you can afford to do that. I'm like, you know, So can you, I develop this habit when I was in business school. It's not exactly professional to like go into the library and dip off, but I did it every single day.

Jesse Lawler: If you've got a car out in the parking lot, just sneak out there and, you know, throw the window, shades up and grab a nap.

Jonathan Levi: Exactly, exactly. Jesse, I wanted to ask you on the nootropic topic. I mean, we did cover, you know, that everyone needs to kind of experiment with this stuff safely, disclaimer, safely, but where should people begin besides, of course, the visit to the doctor, make sure they're healthy.

Get the thumbs up, but how would you go about starting? What are maybe some of the substances you would start experimenting with and how would you go about doing it in a way that's safe and kind of intelligent?

Jesse Lawler: Yeah. Great question. I think there are some things that probably. You know, almost anybody should probably start supplementing way if they're not already in Omega 3 fatty acids or something that are, are not well-represented in most people's diets and are really useful for your brain, but that's not necessarily something people are going to count as like a Nootropic or they're not going to feel a perceptual effect from having that in their system.

You're not going to be able to say whether you had those in the morning or not. Well, okay. So you mentioned Piracetam and I think Racetam family of compounds is probably a really great place to start for a lot of people. For some people, there are strong perceptual effects for some, there are strong perceptual effects for Racetams, but not for others.

I think for most people they'll be able to find something within the Racetam family that does work for them. And there are several, there are, you know, Piracetam is the oldest one, Aniracetam, Oxiracetam, I think there's numbers two and three, and then there's a great variety of those compounds now. The newer ones have not been nearly as well tested, and I probably wouldn't really recommend people or, um, you know, going into those ones early.

Yeah, sure. NooPept is another one, which has been pretty well studied. It's a Russian compound, but it's been well studied over in Russia. And, um, I think it's pretty well tolerated. The Racetams are found to be well tolerated by humans. You can't really, you know, hurt yourself, overdosing on them.

Right. Oftentimes they'll have, what's called a loading period. So you need to have them for a few weeks in your system before you'll really start feeling anything perceptual.

Jonathan Levi: I was going to say, because, you know, I definitely experimented with the process and I felt nothing. And that people have since told me, you know, there is a loading period that you really need to take it every day for a month even to get the benefit.

Jesse Lawler: Piracetam is one at that the loading period for pressed him involves like a lot of Piracetam too. There's some compounds that we mentioned a methylphenidate that like 26 milligrams is a big deal for one day, but Piracetam people take like 2.4 grams per day.

Jonathan Levi: Wow.

Jesse Lawler: During their loading periods, the normal size pills that people take multiples of per day are 800 milligrams.

So it's kind of a horse pill. It's sort of a big thing. Yeah. Anyway, the Racetams are probably a good, safe place to start. They're sort of in this weird, like legal, gray zone within the US in the European Union. They're like prescription medication and in the US they're kind of nothing. You can buy them.

They're not considered food because there's synthetic compounds that have been invented by humans. They've never gone through the FDA just because nobody's paid the, you know, 50 bazillion dollars to put them through FDA testing. And at this point for the older ones, nobody ever will because they're already old enough that they would instantly be generics and be available as generic compounds, the moment that they got FDA approval.

So it doesn't really make any sense for any of these big companies that would normally be financing, putting a compound through the FDA to do it because there's no money to be made. So they'll probably sort of always be in this weird nebulous, gray area within the U S sure. But you can easily get them. I mean, they're not hard to buy.

Jonathan Levi: No, not at all. Let me ask, are these compatible or are these, you know, either or if someone is taking a prescription, like a Modafinil or an Adderall or Ritalin.

Jesse Lawler: That's a great question. I'm thinking about the answer there. I know that I'm trying to think of the counter-indications for the Racetams.

If somebody is on a blood thinner, I know that that's something that they probably shouldn't do Racetam with. Certainly not without consulting with their doctor first. I don't think that there's any counter-indications with methylphenidate. Or Adderall that I know of, but again, before mixing with any of those prescription compounds, I would really check with a doctor first.

Cause I mean, they're powerful things. I mean, the most important thing that people want to remember in this kind of goes back to what you learned in high school is, you know, don't mix stimulants with sedatives ever. It's like, then you're kind of pulling your body into opposite directions at once.

Not a from a pulp fiction.

Yeah, exactly. But most people are going to find the Racetams to be somewhat. Physiologically, mentally stimulating it. And certainly the, um, you know, the dopaminergics of something like Adderall would be the same thing. So you're not going to have that physiological seesaw, but I think like you said, it really makes sense to check with your doctor before using any of these powerful compounds in concert with one another.

Jonathan Levi: Totally, totally. Jesse, what are some books or the sources that you've found particularly useful along the way?

Jesse Lawler: Oh gosh. We're episodes of your show that have been really self-promotion a lot by all means. You know, my podcast is probably a really useful way to start for people curious about a certain compound, just, you know, go to the website. In the search box type in the chemical that you're interested in and see if we've done an episode on it yet.

And of course, if you find something that you want an episode on that I haven't done yet, drop me an email and say, Hey, Jesse, we really want to hear about X and I'll see what I can do. But yeah, that's been one of the reasons I actually I've sort of done the podcast, my own self-serving. The purposes of being curious about these things and wanting to kind of go to the horse's mouth, the people that are studying these, because a lot of the information that's available on different nootropic compounds on the web is, you know, sales sites from people that are selling stuff, which isn't to say that it's not accurate, but you know, you always want to take that with a grain of salt because, you know, everything sounds great when it's on a sales page.

Jonathan Levi: Right, right. That's a nice quotable to share.

Jesse Lawler: Yeah. As far as books and things, there's a book called, um, I think it's just called Smart Drugs. Actually, our very first interview guests on like episode one of our show is a guy named Dr. Ward Dean who wrote the book, I think smart drugs and compounds or something like that back in the eighties.

And I think they've updated that once or twice, but yeah, there's a ton of information on pub med that public medical information directory online. If somebody wants to like read the actual scientific journal entries and things like that, that's not typically very accessible for most people. I think, you know, many people's eyes are going to glaze over when they read that.

So yeah, the looking around on the web and, you know, my podcast is probably not a bad place to start is probably a good way of sort of getting a, you know, somewhat like a science-y, but Non-like lay-person is accessible. Sure. No breakdown of some of these compounds. They do.

Jonathan Levi:  My first step after we get off the phone, I'm going to download your episode on Piracetam. Cause I feel like maybe I need to give it another chance. So I think that's actually where I'll start.

Jesse Lawler: We actually just did an episode number 105 was an episode about the Racetams. So, uh, yeah, we just literally came out last week. It might not be last week by the time this episode publishes, but yeah, check that one out. We talk about Piracetam, Aniracetam, and Oxiracetam in that episode.

Jonathan Levi: Awesome. Okay, cool. I'm going to definitely do that. Jessie, I want to ask a similar question, which is, you know, we had Gretchen Rubin on the show and she said something that I really loved, which is every successful person has at least one guru.

So hers was, you know, this woman who lived 250 years ago in a monastery, mine is probably Tim Ferris. I wanted to ask you, who's your guru or who are your gurus?

Jesse Lawler: Well, it's Tim Ferriss has done so many things. I wouldn't be surprised if he's lived in a monastery too, but, um, yeah, I'm happy that I'm allowed to living or dead because, uh, yeah, one of the things I, I think about historical figures is even though there's so many awesome people that are alive doing awesome things right now, when you can kind of look back into history, you can see the full span of people's lives and it's not necessarily about what blog posts did this person published last week, but you know, over the course of their, you know, 75 year life.

What were the most important high points that I can draw the most information from? Personally, I got to go with Churchill. I'm just, I'm a giant Winston Churchill fan because. Yeah. This combination of features that I like so much, which was that he was a tremendous fan of like history and species and sort of the, like the majesty of what people are capable of.

And then he took that information that he was like a passionate lover of, and actually participated in, you know, the history of his own time and being able to like, be inspired by his own past and then participate so thoroughly in his own present. I just think is a really inspiring life for a person to have.

Jonathan Levi: That's a really solid guru. He even has the Buddha's belly. So that's.

Jesse Lawler: He certainly does.

Jonathan Levi: That's fantastic. The next question I wanted to ask you, Jesse, is about, I saw that you guys now have Nexus and Mitogen, which are two different Nootropic stacks that you guys offer. And I wanted to ask what makes them special?

What did you not see in the marketplace that kind of cause you to say let's make our own and why are there actually two different ones? I thought that was really interesting.

Jesse Lawler: Yeah. Well, they're really sort of aiming at two different things. So Nexus is our cognitive stack. It's aimed specifically at the brain. Yeah. My favorite of the Racetam, compounds is Aniracetam. And so we kind of thought, okay, if we want to build something around and Aniracetam, what might it be? And so we wound up being a four chemical stack. It's got an Aniracetam, something called CDP choline. It's oftentimes smart to stack a choline supplement along with a Racetam because Racetams make your brain use up choline faster.

Jonathan Levi: Yeah. Piece of the data there that's, that's new to me.

Jesse Lawler: I believe choline might be in, well, it's a precursor to Acetylcholine, which is a major neurotransmitter within the brain, right. Acetylcholine. Yeah. Making sure that you've got enough of that too, uh, be flooding the pipes when you need to is pretty important.

Right? Um, and then, uh, phosphatidylserine, which is something that's naturally occurring within the brain, but you can kind of top up your supply of do some good benefits and finally, a compound called pycnogenol, which is a really powerful antioxidant among other things is a plant-derived compound. We put those four things together in Nexus.

Like I said, I wanted something that was sort of a super version of Aniracetam. That had some complimentary compounds in it and essentially could combine several different things that I had in my medicine cabinet into one pill that I could take a couple of times a day. So that's where Nexus came from.

That one was again based solely around cognitive stuff. Uh, Mitogen, the Mito in mitogen, it comes from mitochondria right in that stack is based around. You know, basically promoting mitochondria within your body, both making you build more mitochondria and helping them to do what they do. So mitochondria quick, you know, cellular biology lesson within every cell in your body, you've got these, you know, cellular subunits called mitochondria, which make a substance called ATP or adenosine triphosphate.

Yep. And that's sort of the. Like, you know, gasoline for yourselves is what's your cells use internally to power. Their operations is generally glucose within your bloodstream, but then intracellular cellular level it's ATP that gets used. So, um, yeah, Mitogen is basically six different things. Five of which are chemical precursors to the ATP that your mitochondria produce. And then there's something also called a bio PQQ within there, which promotes the growth of new mitochondria within your body. So this is, it's more of an overall physiological stack, but with a big asterisk there because there's one thing that's very true of the brain is that your brain pound for pound uses more physiological energy than any other part of your body.

It's something like 2% of your body mass, but 20 to 25% of your energy requirements. Exactly. Because it's such an energy-intensive organ giving your brain, you know, more access to this little energy, power plants. Is a really powerful thing. And then also one of the compounds is something called Sulbutiamine, which yeah, I mentioned earlier, it's a synthetic, a dimer.

So basically double-bonded a vitamin B1 bonded onto itself. It passes through the blood-brain barrier easy because it, uh, it is double bonded, and therefore it's passed us through like, a non-polar compound. Yeah. Basically, some people take Sulbutiamine by itself as a cognitive enhancer. It also happens to be, um, Yeah, beneficial for the mitochondria, but you kind of get too further and one of the primary components of mitogen is a nootropic on its own.


Jonathan Levi: Right. And are you taking both of these every day? Are you taking them together or you take them separately?

Jesse Lawler: Um, I take Mitogen every day. I don't take Nexus every day, because like I said, I sort of, I switch between things I like to, well, generally one day a week, I will do a full, fast and not have anything.

No vitamins, no calories. Just nothing, just a full-body reset. Yep. Yep. And the other six days when I am eating food and vitamins and all that stuff, I'll have Mitogen every day. It's just sort of an overall physiological thing. And then on the days that I'm not doing any, uh, Modafinil or Armodafinil, I will almost certainly take Nexus, but I generally don't mix those two, not for any particular reason, but just because I kind of like to feel the difference.

And I'm afraid that if I take the exact same stack every day, that I kind of lose that sense of variety.

Jonathan Levi: Sure. Have you played around with a Huperzine-A at all?

Jesse Lawler: I think I've taken it on a few occasions. I've never really felt it, which isn't to say that it's not doing anything, it's just not doing anything that is sort of crossed a perceptual threshold for me.

Jonathan Levi: Sure. Yeah. For me, it, I don't feel it during the day, but when I go to bed, like, wow. Vivid lucid, insane dreaming. Yeah. That's cool. It's was just really super fun. Yeah. Uh, sorry. I know we're running a little bit long here, Jesse. I did want to ask you one more question, which is, and I think we might've just answered it a little bit with Nexus and Mitogen, but if you were to create a $100 brain optimization, quick-start kit, and you could put anything in it from books to prescription medications, you know, you could include blog posts in there.

You could include podcasts even in legal substances. What do you think you would put in?

Jesse Lawler: I thank you for mentioning nexus and mitogen there, but if I only had a hundred dollars to spend, there's just so much awesome free stuff that you could put in a brain optimization, quick-start kit, and things that, um, you know, dollar for a dollar are going to be less than any particular supplement.

So I was thinking, you know, probably number one quick, easy, cheap is a sleep mask. You know, buy yourself a sleep mask, keep it in your pocket, keep it in your backpack, whatever, uh, take these naps that we talked about. I think. There's an old book called the Doors Of Perception by Aldous Huxley. It's actually about a, um, uh, what was it?

It was a, I forget what psychedelic he's even it, but it's an amazing book about the mind and how malleable it is and how our consciousness can be altered. And you know, whether you're a psychedelic drugs fan or not. Uh, but probably particularly if you're not, it's just, it's an amazing read by a really, really gifted author that kind of makes you think big questions about just what is possible to do with your mind.

I kind of feel like it's literally a mind-expanding book that is sort of, um, I think for many people will make them want to be more curious about what the possibilities with their own mind are. I think there's also some great scientific thinkers, you know, Carl Sagan, Neil deGrasse, Tyson, you know, watch some YouTube videos of these guys, you know, get inspired by what you know, really smart people can talk like and think about.

 And like, when I hear one of these guys that just their brain is, you know, flowing out of the screen, right. It makes me want to push my own brain as far as it can go. Absolutely. Another really cheap and easy one on my list. I actually thought about this, like, what can I fit into a hundred dollars is a cork.

The next time you're thinking about, you know, drinking some alcohol, put a cork in your wine bottle, stopped drinking alcohol. It's a cheap and easy hack. Yes. I know everybody likes alcohol, but dude, it is not worth the trouble.

Jonathan Levi: Bad for you. It's so bad for you also your endocrine system. Like you want to have success at least, get a glass of wine.

Jesse Lawler: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. It's amazing to me that like reading some of these articles, like kids are taking, you know, methylphenidate on college campuses. I'm like, kids are binge drinking and puking their guts out every Friday night on college campuses. And they've been doing it forever. And it's because it's a common part of the culture.

We act like it's not hurting them. It's like this stuff is a known dangerous neurotoxin and people shouldn't be so blunt.

Jonathan Levi: Exactly. It's like, you know, this article came out about processed meats. Being a carcinogen and it's like the list of things that are known carcinogens in the same level will blow your mind.

And I'm pretty sure alcohol is one of them. Alcohol is actually group one carcinogen. Right? I forget. I think it was the processed meats were also group one, but it's like. It's up there and it is a neurotoxin. So yeah, I don't either drink alcohol or, uh, obviously, you know, smoke or any of that kind of stuff, so.

Jesse Lawler: Good call. One of the more interesting interviews that I've done was a professor from the UK named David Nutt. A really interesting guy. We were talking about just sort of the insanity of drug laws there and here, and what's illegal versus what isn't. And he's a guy who got in a lot of trouble. And got kicked out of a position that he had as sort of the drugs are of the UK for saying that horseback riding is more dangerous than MTMA is, which is statistically it's true.

It's like you're far more likely to have an injury that will ruin your life from riding horseback, from using MTMA just statistically. I mean, that's a true statement, but anyway, it was a very unpopular thing for him to say at the time, but he made the great point that during the big push. It went on in the UK a few years ago, where there were billboards and things like that.

The financier's for that or the local alcohol companies, it wasn't like, you know, the government was putting up these billboards. It was the alcohol companies and that they wanted to maintain a legal monopoly on intoxication. Yeah. There's a natural human drive, I think, to alter your brain chemistry every now and then intoxication is something that everybody's curious about and there's obviously there's money to be made there.

And right now, alcohol companies, for the most part, have a legal monopoly on it and they're willing to bend the science however they want to, to maintain that monopoly.

Jonathan Levi: Exactly. I thought it was really interesting. You know, I recently watched Narcos and I was researching, you know, you get into one of these Wikipedia offs and you're researching, you know, who are the wealthiest drug dealers of all time?

Well, it turns out Al Capone was right up there. And if you adjust for the time value of money and inflation, He was really high up there. I mean, many, many billions of dollars. It just goes to show you, I mean, uh, you know, alcohol just happens to benefit from legality, but it's not very different from cocaine in terms of danger.

In fact, I would argue there are more deaths because of it, you know?

Jesse Lawler: If you want to go back to historical drug dealers, you can talk about like the Dutch East India company and read about the Chinese Opium Wars and things like that. It gets really crazy.

Jonathan Levi: It's pretty interesting. And I think you touched on something very basic and innate in our human nature, which is everybody wants to alter their state of consciousness.

That's why kids spin around in circles and that's why they love sugar. It's human and it's really, I think my biggest takeaway from this episode is it's about choosing which states of mind you want to be in and when and how, and to what extent that differentiates smart drug use. And I mean that you know, pun intended smart, intelligent drug use from stupid drug use.

Jesse Lawler: Yeah. And making sure that it's something that your brain can bounce back from. I thought your point about Hooper's DNA and enhancing your dreams. I mean, that's a great one, but I mean, you come back from that and the next day you wake up and you'll feel fine. It's anything that's leaving you with with a hangover, whether it's an alcohol hangover or, you know, some other physiological equivalent of a hangover, you should really be wondering if, you know the temporary up spike is worth the, uh, you know, the the down spike in reverse.

Jonathan Levi: Exactly. Yeah, absolutely. So Jesse, if people want to learn more, I imagine you'll have us send them to Is that correct?

Jesse Lawler: I'll do you one better. I was going to set up a landing page for you at And we'll put some links there for like, maybe like our top five episodes or things that your audience might find interesting.

Jonathan Levi: I would love that because it'll help me having to sort through, because I definitely want to listen to some of these episodes myself. So yeah, ladies and gents, SuperHuman nation check out And we'll put that in the show notes for you guys, save you a little bit of typing as well.

Jesse has been such a pleasure, my friend. You know, such a pleasure when I find someone who shares such a passion and such an interest in so many of the same things as I do.

Jesse Lawler: Hey, thank you so much. It's been real fun.

Jonathan Levi: All right. Well, take care and let's keep in touch.

Jesse Lawler:  Okie-Dokie, thanks, Jonathan.

Jonathan Levi: Bye-bye. Bye.

All right, SuperFriends. That's it for this week's episode, we hope you really, really enjoyed it and learn a ton of applicable stuff that can help you go out there and overcome the impossible. If so, please do us a favor and leave us a review on iTunes or Stitcher, or however you found this podcast. In addition to that, we are always looking for great guest posts on the blog or awesome guests right here on the podcast. So if you know somebody or you are somebody, or you have thought of somebody who would be a great fit for the show or for our blog, please reach out to us either on Twitter or by email or email is

 Thanks so much.

Closing: Thanks for tuning in to the Becoming SuperHuman Podcast for more great skills and strategies or for links to any of the resources mentioned in this episode, visit We'll see you next time.



  1. Luiz
    at — Reply

    Thanks, I learned a lot of interesting things in past episodes.

  2. Shivaditya Purohit
    at — Reply

    loved th heart and the depth of the conversation. The way that Dr. Metivier shared from his enormous experience and insights was just amazing. Thank you Jonathan for doing this podcast!! 🙂

  3. Rob
    at — Reply

    Great interview with Dr. Greg Wells! He mentioned a doctor from Colorado around the 42:30 point of the podcast, discussing turmeric and black pepper. I couldn’t make out the doctor’s name. Can you provide me with his full name and maybe his website or contact info. Interested in his products.



  4. Muhammed Sani Ibrahim
    at — Reply

    I am new here, and learning really fast.
    Thank you.

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The Basics of Total Personal Transformation W/ Stephan Spencer