Do Nootropics Show Up On Drug Tests?

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Nootropics are classified as “smart drugs” that offer various benefits for enhancing performance. Whether a professional athlete or a competitive player, drug tests are mandatory for fair play during the game. 

Drug screenings can be done at any point in time to ensure that performance-enhancing substances do not affect the game’s trajectory. This poses an important question: Do nootropics show up on drug tests or not? Read on to learn more. 

Do Nootropics Show Up On Drug Tests? 

Since nootropics are slowly gaining traction for their performance–enhancing abilities, it’s normal to worry about whether they can give a false positive on a drug screening test. 

If you frequently use nootropics for cognitive functions and somehow need to take a drug test, there’s no need to panic. Nootropics generally do not appear on a drug test. Some drugs can trigger a false positive result after they break down in the body. Below are some drugs that can get a false positive result on a screening test. 

Do Nootropics Show Up On Drug Tests? 

Substances That Can Make You Fail A Drug Test?

Drug screening uses different detection methods for finding illegal substances or steroids. Depending on the administering entity, some substances can trigger a positive result in a drug test. 

Some legal substances like alcohol can make you fail drug screening if the governing entity does not approve it. Here are some of the most common substances that cause a false positive result. 

Prescription Drugs 

Some prescription drugs contain banned substances that will appear in a standard drug test. According to the Boston Medical Center, drug tests produce false positive tests in 5-10% of cases. 

Prescription Drugs 

It will likely appear on a drug test if you are consuming prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, or non-prescription drugs frequently. False positives usually appear if your nootropics contain amphetamines like Adderall, Ritalin, and Modafinil. Adderall and Modafinil are clinically used to treat neurological disorders like narcolepsy and sleep apnea.

If you’re using prescription medications without a valid prescription, you may not be able to pass a drug test. These prescription drugs do not have a precise regulations in the United States and can, thus, show up on a drug test as a false positive. However, these drugs are also being misused by individuals that do not necessarily suffer from medical problems. 


THC, commonly known as cannabis, also causes a failed drug test. The FDA has not approved the pure form of cannabis to treat any disease or condition. However, they have approved one cannabis-derived drug product for treating seizures. 


Nootropics do not contain any form of cannabis and thus cannot dictate drug results. Most drug screening tests look for THC as federal law classifies it under Schedule 1 controlled substances in the US. Since THC stays in the body for up to 28 days, it’s probably wise to forego drug testing till it is cleared out of the system. Check the ingredients before purchasing any nootropics from the manufacturer, as “stacking” is a common practice that mixes two potent ingredients to maximize benefits. 


Opioids are a type of analgesic agent which means that they change the way the brain perceives pain. Opioids will appear on drug tests even if the individual is taking prescribed drugs containing opioids or through illegal consumption. 


Anyone taking opioids often develops drug dependencies and can misuse illegal substances to supplement their habit. Nootropics are not painkillers, but some herbs like Rhodiola Rosea and I-theanine can have a calming effect. It is highly unlikely that these supplements will lead to a positive result. 

Which Nootropics Show Up On A Drug Test? 

Nootropics are brain-boosting substances that augment cognitive performance. While natural nootropics are generally safe, synthetic nootropics or prescription stimulants have a higher chance of showing up on drug tests. So, if you take a drug test, make sure that you at least check for these substances. 


Amphetamine is a stimulant drug that abnormally speeds up the body’s normal functions. Adderall belongs to the class of amphetamine drugs, and it is FDA-approved for treating ADHD. These drugs have been studied for possibly aiding in cognitive enhancement. According to a 2015 study, low doses of amphetamines have increased cognitive functions like memory, attention, and focus. 

However, these prescription drugs can cause dependency and addiction to a large extent. If you’re consuming Adderall without a proper prescription by a medical professional, beware of the Amphetamine screen. This test detects amphetamine in your urine. Companies often use urine tests to detect amphetamine drugs in employees. 


Various ways of performing drug tests include gas chromatography, drug testing, reagent, and immunoassay drug testing. While Modafinil does not appear on standard drug screenings, it can be detected in the system through specific testing methods. 


Reagent and immunoassay tests usually detect Modafinil or another foreign substance, leading to further investigation. The substance can be detected in the blood for up to 30 hours, so its short-term effects can last up to two days. While it may appear on most tests, it’s unlikely to lead to a failed drug test. Some sports and corporate employers use Modafinil to enhance performance. 


It’s always wise to check with the manufacturer about the specific ingredients of your nootropic before signing up for a drug test. While certain synthetic nootropics can have a false positive result, other natural nootropics should not risk failure. 

If you are using prescribed nootropics such as Modafinil for behavior disorders, make sure that you inform your administering agency or legal entity. Remember that nootropic drugs or supplements are safe if you take them in the recommended dosages. 


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