Nicotine: The Most Misunderstood Nootropic in the World

Nicotine: The Most Misunderstood Nootropic in the World

Nov 2, 2021 | Written by Scott Sherr, MD | Reviewed by Marion Hall

Let’s go back to the future... to a time when nicotine is cool (when you don’t vape it or smoke it) and, as we say at Troscriptions, to a time when Blue is the New Smart.

But before we get there... nicotine is bad for you, right?

If you ask a random person on the street whether nicotine is good or bad for your health, overwhelmingly they will answer that it’s worse than bad... it’s terrible! It has earned this reputation because it’s one of the main reasons why people get addicted to tobacco-containing products (there’s more to the story though... see below).

However, did you know that nicotine, in small quantities, when not vaped or smoked especially, can enhance focus, concentration, and even protect your brain?

We’d venture to say that nicotine is, in fact, the most misunderstood nootropic on the planet. Read on to learn more!

The History of Nicotine

Tobacco was first introduced into Europe in 1559 from North America where it was mainly used by Native Americans for ceremonial and medicinal purposes. In Europe, it was used for smoking as well as an insecticide.

Nicotine was first isolated from tobacco in 1828 by chemists Wilhelm Heinrich Posselt and Karl Ludwig Reimann. Its chemical formula was derived in 1843, and it was first synthesized in 1904. It was named after the tobacco plant Nicotiana tabacum, which was named after French ambassador Jean Nicot de Villemain.

How Nicotine Works

Once nicotine gets to your brain, it binds to nAChRs. These are nicotinic receptors that control the release of neurotransmitters, including dopamine, acetylcholine, norepinephrine, serotonin, GABA, glutamate, and endorphins [1].

Dopamine is our main “reward” neurotransmitter, released when we feel pleasure. It’s the release of dopamine that is thought to be the reason for nicotine addiction in tobacco users, especially those who vape or smoke (more on this below), but there’s more to the story and they are called additives.

Nicotine + Additives = Badness!

Nicotine has a bad reputation from its association with tobacco products. However, much of its addictive potential comes from it being consumed with the number of other chemicals and additives found in tobacco or vaping products.

Chemicals such as formaldehyde, lead, arsenic, carbon monoxide, and more all contribute to the addictive and dangerous potential of tobacco smoking. In addition, when smoked, the potential of addiction also increases dramatically because nicotine plus additives gets into the bloodstream immediately. Other nicotine products like gums, troches, and sprays take longer to exert an effect and have less addictive potential.

Nicotine can be derived from tobacco or be made synthetically in a lab. Tobacco-derived nicotine comes from the tobacco plant. Synthetic nicotine is made in a lab without any potential impurities, additives, or other chemical compounds that may contaminate or be added to tobacco-derived nicotine.

Key Benefits

Nicotine has a number of cognitive benefits including:

  • Focus [3]
  • Concentration [3]
  • Memory and learning [3]
  • Protecting your brain (neuroprotective) [2]
  • Creativity [3]
Many campaigns against tobacco use have painted it as a destroyer of brain and nerve cells. Contrary to this popular belief, studies have found potential for it as a treatment for neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s [2].

Nicotine Dosage

A typical cigarette has a dose of nicotine between 6-28 mg, while a cigar can astonishingly have between 100-200 mg. Wow! 

In contrast, nicotine dosing as a nootropic is low, with recommended starting doses between 1-2 mg per day. At this dosage you get the cognitive benefits, while decreasing the possibility for any negative effects. 

Nicotine’s half-life is about 2 hours [4]. This means that if you ingest 5 mg, in 2 hours your body will have 2.5 mg left (and so on) so it’s pretty short-acting compared to caffeine. 

Nicotine Safety

Nicotine should be used with caution or not taken by individuals who have:
  • Cardiovascular or peripheral vascular diseases 
  • Accelerated hypertension
  • Uncontrolled hypertension
  • Peptic ulcer disease
  • Hyperthyroidism, pheochromocytoma, or insulin-dependent diabetes
  • Fetal/infant harm may occur if taken by pregnant/nursing adults

Always ask your doctor before starting a nicotine product to make sure it’s safe for you to do so. Obviously if you ask them if you can smoke cigarettes, they’ll say f*ck no... that is, unless you’ve somehow commandeered a Dolorian and went back in time with Marty McFly to 1955 when doctors were on TV telling everyone to smoke the ones they do. It was the new health trend for babies and doctors alike back then!

Nicotine: One Key Ingredient in Blue Cannatine

Blue Cannatine, Troscriptions' signature nootropic, contains 1 mg of nicotine in a full buccal troche (pronounced troh-key), which is a small lozenge that allow the ingredients to be gradually absorbed into the bloodstream through the cheek mucosa. This is in contrast to cigarettes which contain anywhere from 6 to 28 mg of nicotine (as mentioned above!) and give you an instant hit.

Buccal troches are a slow-release delivery system. As a result, the risk of addiction is very low as long as you follow the directions on the box. Plus, the nicotine is pharmaceutical grade and synthetically made in a lab so it does not contain any impurities or additives. 

In addition to nicotine, Blue Cannatine contains methylene blue, caffeine, and hemp extract. These four ingredients, all low dose, synergize to give you massive productivity, focus, verbal fluidity, and more for 3 to 5 hours.

All ingredients in Blue Cannatine and all our products at Troscriptions are precision dosed, physician formulated, and pharmaceutical grade. 

So are you ready to go back to the future when nicotine is cool again but only in troche form where Blue is the New Smart? If yes, then join us!



  1. Benowitz N. L. (2009). Pharmacology of nicotine: addiction, smoking-induced disease, and therapeutics. Annual review of pharmacology and toxicology, 49, 57–71.
  2. Lu, J., Su, P., Barber, J., Nash, J. E., Le, A. D., Liu, F., & Wong, A. (2017). The neuroprotective effect of nicotine in Parkinson's disease models is associated with inhibiting PARP-1 and caspase-3 cleavage. PeerJ, 5, e3933. 
  3. Valentine, G., & Sofuoglu, M. (2018). Cognitive Effects of Nicotine: Recent Progress. Current neuropharmacology, 16(4), 403–414.
  5. Juliano, L. M., Fucito, L. M., & Harrell, P. T. (2011). The influence of nicotine dose and nicotine dose expectancy on the cognitive and subjective effects of cigarette smoking. Experimental and clinical psychopharmacology, 19(2), 105–115.

More articles

Comments (1)

  • Hi Jess! In some people, Blue Cannatine may help. But in others, it may not as we use low-dose USP nicotine—just 1mg per buccal troche.

    Dr. Scott

Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published