True Life Update: Is Cassox Still Experimenting With Smart Drugs?

Plus, find out if Topher made it into the Triple Nine Society.

MTV's "True Life: I'm On Smart Drugs" followed two people who are taking substances in an effort to boost their brain power. We had an opportunity to check in with Cassox and Topher to see how their lives have changed since filming wrapped. Take a look at our follow-up Q&A below:


Cassox

What was it like having a camera crew follow you around?

Well, it can be pretty nerve-wracking. The idea, of course, was to act naturally and just do what we would have anyways; however, because of the amount of terminology and such involved, it's difficult to talk about our project naturally without the interaction being a bunch of incomprehensible jargon for those not already involved in projects like ours. We couldn't actually name the substance, so we were walking around talking about "the thing." It's harder to do than it sounds.

It sounds like you have conducted a lot of experiments. What are some of them? Has anything ever gone wrong?

I designed two projects pertaining to biological night vision with mixed results. It's something I'm still interested in and working on. While working on this project, I lost the ability to tell green from blue. I did a project at one point trying to use conductive rod implants in order to stimulate muscle with electricity. I didn't get any significant muscle growth, but I do have a nice array of 10 burned-in scars. Of course, nearly anyone who seriously experiments with nootropics ends up with fun stories. There is a type of antidepressant I was trialing for its supposed cognitive enhancement effects and ended up with a very strong urge toward suicide. I knew it was chemically induced, but it was still overwhelming and terrible.

Your lab seems to be pretty tricked out. What would you have in your dream lab?

The next steps for my lab are to complete the cell lab section. This requires a few big-ticket items like a good flow hood and a liquid nitrogen setup, as well as purchasing the cell lines themselves. This will open up a whole new area for the community in that we'll be able to play around with making designer tissues and organs from our own stem lines. This negates all the anti-rejection drug stuff, as we can make things with our own cells. I'm very excited about this. Why take something like steroids when you can grow a third testicle?

Have you spoken to your sister since filming?

I've spoken to my sister since filming. We get along fine, but we just have very different visions of the world. She's a great nurse, and she wants to help humanity by treating the symptoms she sees. I'm not interested in keeping this corpse society we live in on life support any longer and am far more interested in nurturing the birth, growth and development of something new.

Are you still planning to conduct experiments with the memory-enhancing drug?

I definitely have future plans to try out other potential memory-enhancing substances. We'll first be doing a second stage with a variant of the chemical we used in this test. It showed potential and seems pretty safe, so we're going to up the dose and see what happens. We'll also be bringing in a number of other people who have expressed interest and definitely improving the experimental design and mean of gathering information. As it stands, we've really only shown that the substance is something that really deserves a good trial. Our experimental design was definitely impacted by a lack of funding, and the next go-around we hope to change that so that we can gather more worthwhile data.

What's the message you want everyone to take away from this episode?

I'd like people to realize that the future is being made by those who do things. It seems oddly obvious and yet I find that many are simply waiting to have it handed to them by some corporation. Few corporations are involved in projects like ours despite the potential. It's a high-risk endeavor and one which isn't monetarily lucrative; however, significant increases to intelligence may provide us solutions to all the problems baseline humans have never been able to solve.


Topher

What was it like having a camera crew follow you around?

I’ve been a musician and actor my whole life, so I’m used to the attention and don’t really get stage fright anymore, but cameras feel a lot different than live audiences. It was stressful at first knowing that anything I said, especially any times I mispronounced a word or said something I didn’t mean, could live on in video forever. Over time though, I got used to it, and it became really fun.

It seemed like your family had no idea about your nootropic use. What was it like sharing this part of your life with your brother and mom?

Showing them the full “stack” was a bit stressful, since I knew it would raise a ton of questions. The problem is, my choice of supplementation is based on 5+ years of research. There’s just no way in a single conversation to explain everything -- realistically, I don’t add a single supplement until I’ve done a few days/weeks and sometimes even months of research, so explaining just ONE of the pills would take more than a day, let alone the whole stack. So I knew it would become a very oversimplified thing and they would have more questions than I could possibly answer. But I’m glad I did it because now I don’t have to keep my pills and powders hidden in a duffel bag when I visit, I can just lay them out and not worry at all.

Do you think your smart drug use has been worth it?

My nootropic use is definitely worth it, as the investment has been more time than money. I’ve had fun learning and researching compounds and for every substance I’ve tried, there are 100 I’ve researched and decided to stay away from. I learn a little more about the brain and chemistry every time I research a new substance, and I love learning. I haven’t had any negative side effects from using nootropics, but you should always check with a doctor.

Have you ever considered taking the qualifying tests without being on nootropics?

I’ve taken similar tests while not on nootropics -- my high school SAT scores were in the 99.9% range, and prior IQ exams and other standardized tests have been in that range -- and I really don’t believe the nootropics improve my scores. If anything, they allow me an edge in my ability to focus and study, so on a test like the MATs that requires such broad knowledge, I’m able to study more effectively.

Are you still trying to get into the Triple Nine Society?

I took the ACTs on February 6 and scored a 35/36, a near-perfect score that qualifies me for Triple Nine. I was accepted and they are mailing my certificate now. It feels good to accomplish my goal, but I definitely grew from the process of trying my hardest and failing. The ACTs were an easier exam for me because math comes so easily (in fact, they allow graphing calculators and I didn’t use one but still passed).

What's your next goal?

[I'm] finishing my Master's degree in education so I can start teaching at the college level. I’m also focusing a lot on finishing my first book and publishing it through my new publishing company. I’ll be starting a podcast in the near future as well.

What's the message you want everyone to take away from this episode?

I don’t know that there is a message -- it’s just a reflection of a period of a month or so in my life. I’m always trying new things and changing, so it probably won’t be too accurate a picture of me even by the time the show airs. It definitely won’t be “my true life” a year or more from now.