Cotinine is an alkaloid found in tobacco and it is also the principal metabolite or breakdown product of nicotine. It is generally safe, non-addictive and has pharmacokinetic properties adequate for therapeutic use. People use cotinine because it has antipsychotic, anxiolytic, and antidepressant properties and modulates the serotonergic, cholinergic and dopaminergic systems.[1] Cotinine is a nootropic compound that is very effective for cognitive enhancement.[7]


Cotinine is less toxic than nicotine, and therefore, it is non-addictive, and very effective for cognitive function. Cotinine’s properties and the preclinical evidence of its nootropic effects in psychiatric conditions suggest cotinine as a pure agent, in absence of nicotine, it represents a new therapeutic agent to reduce anxiety, facilitate the extinction of fear memories, and improve attention and working memory in people with psychiatric conditions such as AD.[2] It boosts your brain-energy and helps increase your creativity.
Cotinine is also helpful in some models that predict antipsychotic behavior, called prepulse inhibition. Cotinine is generally protective of brain cells and helps save the patients with Alzheimer’s as well as schizophrenia from trouble controlling themselves on many different levels. The following are some of cotinine’s benefits.

  • Improves cognitive function [8]
  • Helps patients with Alzheimer’s [9]
  • Helps people who have schizophrenia [10]
  • Reduces negative effects of stress [11]
  • Improves mood [12]
  • Improves memory [13]
  • Increases attention, learning and memory [14]
  • Helps people with Parkinson’s disease [15]

How it works

Cotinine is considered to be one of the most effective biomarkers of exposure to tobacco products and tobacco smoke. It can be easily measured in urine or blood and can be detected in the body for up to 4 days after exposure to nicotine. [3] Consistent with the modulation of the neurotransmitter systems, cotinine behaves as a positive allosteric modulator of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) and has anti-inflammatory effects. The decrease in neuroinflammation induced by the stimulation of the cholinergic system seems to be a key element explaining the beneficial effects of cotinine in a diverse range of neurological and psychiatric conditions.[4]
The energy barriers for the internal rotation of the methyl group in cotinine (4.55(4) and 4.64(3) kJ mol-1, respectively) are much lower than in nicotine (estimated in 16.5 kJ mol-1). The combination of different intramolecular electronic effects, hydrogen bonding and possible binding differences to receptor molecules arising from the carbonyl group could explain the lower affinity of cotinine for nAChRs.[5]


Cotinine itself is not harmful to health. Since cotinine is known to have few side effects in humans, it’s a strong candidate for a safe drug with nicotinic-type benefits.


You are recommended to take daily dosages of cotinine of up to 1,800 mg for a period of 4 days as it does not induce deleterious side-effects in humans. Oral cotinine treatment of up to 160 mg/day have no addictive, cardiovascular (e.g., heart rate and blood pressure), or behavioral effects in individuals between 21 and 42 years of age. Cotinine at the dosages shown here does not help with tobacco cessation and antagonizes the reduction of the withdrawal symptoms induced by a nicotine patch.[6]