• Season 22, Ep 16

sneak peek: I'm on Smart Drugs

Imagine a drug that could make you smarter - except it's untested and unregulated, and nobody knows the long-term effects. Would you take it?

03/14/2016 · 2:47

[dramatic electronic music]

female narrator: Imagine a drug

that could make you smarter,

more creative,

give you better memory,

greater concentration,

and help you think faster.

But it's untested

and unregulated.

And nobody knows the long-term effects.

Would you take it?

For the thousands of Americans

who take so-called "smart drugs,"

the answer is "yes."

- Having a perfect memory?

I think that's worthtaking a chance for.

narrator: They take a substance called nootropics,

a huge category of drugs,

popular in Silicon Valley and elite colleges,

that range from over-the-counter supplements

to prescription stimulants,

all of which are designed to give your memory,

your concentration, and your IQ

a big boost.

- So, I mean, in addition tothe health side of things,

like, there's also this--this, like,

"pursuit of genius."

narrator: Topher considers himself

one of the smartest people in the world,

but he worries that his family sees him as a slacker

because he hasn't achieved much with his intelligence.

- I still feel likehe doesn't really respect me.

narrator: Now, Topher has set his sights

on a lofty goal: he wants to pass an exam

that will show that he's smarter

than 99.9% of all people.

- You're good enough the way you are.

You don't have to keep trying to be better.

narrator: He's taking boatloads of nootropics

to get him over the top.

Can Topher pass the test and prove

he can achieve greatness with his brain?

- I want to do a higher dose.

- Interesting.

- [chuckles]

narrator:Cassox is an amateur scientist

who's experimented with nootropics.

Now, he's working on his very own smart drug,

one he hopes will give him super-human memory.

- 1,900, and...dose.

narrator: Cassox is going to test the drug

on himself, despite his family's worries.

- You're messing with somethingpretty serious.

You're messing with your brain.

narrator: Will Cassox unlock the secret

to total recall,

or damage his brain

in the process?

- The loss of blood pressure,

you go into anoxic brain injurypretty quick.

narrator: They're using chemicals

to boost their intelligence.

Can they get to the top of their class...

- Pretty much.- You're in.

- Assuming I get a lucky test.- You're in.

- Assuming I get a lucky test.We'll see.

We'll see, we'll see.

narrator: Or will they flunk out?

- I really would much ratherbe brain-dead

than have you be brain-dead.

narrator: Find out next, on

"True Life: I'm on Smart Drugs."

[dramatic electronic music]

- I'm going to become one of

the smartest people in the world.