According to new Psychoactive Substances Act 2016, the UK's government announced that new legalisation bans all substances deemed as “psychoactive” drugs excluding controlled drugs such as caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, etc.

According to definition of psychoactive substance, this is any substance which can produce a psychoactive effect in a person who consumes it.

Some shops already withdrawing supplies of nootropics from sale.

Does it means after the Act comes into force, then nootropics (smart drugs or cognitive enhancers) become illegal in the UK? For example racetams such as Aniracetam, Oxiracetam, Noopept, etc., since they're psychostimulants?

1 Answer 1


It is, technically speaking, illegal to produce, supply, offer to supply, possess with intent to supply, possess on custodial premises, import or export psychoactive substances.

There is nothing said on possession for personal usage or usage itself.

"For the purposes of this Act a substance produces a psychoactive effect in a person if, by stimulating or depressing the person’s central nervous system, it affects the person’s mental functioning or emotional state; and references to a substance’s psychoactive effects are to be read accordingly," so I guess nootropics fall under this definition.

In practice, however, this law is very bad legislation (technically bans many normal unharmful, or even beneficial, substances), and it gives quite some space for the enforcement discretion, and I am not aware ho it is enforced in practice.

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