First synthesized in 1964 by Romanian scientist Corneliu E. Giurgea, Piracetam is the most well-known nootropic compound . In fact, Piracetam’s discovery lead to the term “nootropic,” and is responsible for establishing the “Racetam” class of cognitive enhancers as we know them today.
Chemically, piracetam is a synthetic derivative of our major inhibitory neurotransmitter, GABA, Piracetam is understood to act primarily on the glutamate system within brain areas specific to memory and learning . Research suggests that, as a primary mode of action, Piracetam increases neural activity in the hippocampus and cortex by upregulating AMPA and NMDA receptor densities, thereby enhancing glutamate transmission. Piracetam has also been reported to increase cerebral blood flow and the acetylcholine efficacy in the brain, both of which have been suggested to positively influence focus, memory, and learning  .
As one of the most popular enhancement compounds, users report a number of perceived cognitive effects including improvements in verbal fluency, memory recall, short-term memory retention, creativity, and emotional affect. Although Piracetam is quite common in beginner nootropic “stacks,” this pioneering compound still remains a staple in blends used by the most seasoned nootropic user.