Nootropics are "smart drugs" and of them, there are quite a few "racetams."
I've used two racetams, piracetam and aniracetam, and I thought I'd note their differences. Although aniracetam is often described as stronger than piracetam, that's kind of like saying Ritalin is stronger than caffeine - they're not the same.
It's also important to note that I only take a low dose of these nootropics because I seem sensitive to them. For piracetam, I was taking 1/8th of a teaspoon (415 mg), although now I can take 1/4 of a teaspoon (830 mg). For aniracetam, I usually take 1/4 of a teaspoon (550 mg). These are lower than normal doses.
Better Word Retrieval
Better Memory Retrieval
Helps with reading
Helps with math
No direct effect on mood*
Starts working after 30-60 mins, lasts 3-5 hours roughly
*However, if you end up remembering old memories that you don't want to remember, and have trouble dealing with that, then that could cause a mood change. It took me awhile to get used to the memory recall, which is why I started at a low dose.
Piracetam - Summary
I think piracetam has great potential for helping with learning disabilities. Word retrieval is one of my difficulties, and I purposefully take piracetam before watching Jeopardy, and it definitely makes a big difference.
Energizing, Possibly Manic Inducing
Music sounds better
Increase in vision - colors look clearer
Increase in sense of smell
Starts working in 30 mins, seems to last all day, with residual effects into the next day.
Aniracetam - Summary
The first take I took aniracetam, it made me sleepy. After that, it's consistantly made me feel more energetic. I've used it for its anti-depressant effect with much success. However, since I have bipolar disorder, I have to be careful to not take in when I'm already hypomanic, because it definitely could induce mania.
Although memories are more vivid with aniracetam, memory retrieval is not enhanced in the same clear way as with piracetam. I wouldn't recommend it for test taking or academic work. It actually makes me a bit scattered. I do take choline/inositol with it because the 'racetams are supposed to used up the choline in your brain.
Since I find aniracetam to have such a positive effect on my mood, it is somewhat psychologically addictive, and I purposefully don't take it every day so that I don't become dependent on it. I find it a fun drug to take, which of course makes sense... Who wants to be depressed? :)