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Selank vs. Semax – A Comparison

Selank and Semax are psychoactive peptides developed by the Russian Institute of Molecular Genetics in the 1980s. The Soviet Union prioritized ‘catch all’ nootropic research, and these drugs were designed to improve a broad range of neurological conditions.

Semax is a nootropic and neuroprotective compound. It stimulates the central nervous system and improves mental acuity, memory, and physical performance; the effects of this compound resemble noopept, another Russian nootropic developed for the same benefits. The stimulation of Semax use is mild and does not usually come with the jitters of stronger stimulants such as ephedrine.

Semax’s cognate Selank is a non-sedating anxiolytic; it calms the user without the mind dulling side effects common in traditional anxiety treatments. In addition, it is known to enhance cognition much like Semax does. Selank and Semax are often thought to be opposites, but this is not the case. Categorizing these compounds as opposites precludes an understanding of their complexity.



Semax is analogous to ATCH, a strand of adrenocorticotropic hormone secreted by the pituitary gland in the human body. This hormone is produced in stressful situations and is thought to increase mental acuity and performance. This is known as beneficial stress ‘eustress’, a concept important for understanding how Semax works.

Stress should not always be seen as a bad thing. While it is usually the response to adversity or danger, stress can also result from fulfilling challenge – in this case it can actually benefit mental function and improve cognitive ability.

Performers call this mind state ‘the zone,’ psychologist call it eustress. Semax should replicate this effect in a perfect responder.


Semax is a stimulant, but its effects are mild in comparison to traditional drugs like caffeine or amphetamine. Users often report only feeling the effects of Semax when in stressful situations – affirming the compound’s eustress inducing characteristics.

As a nootropic, Semax should improve concentration, motivation, and cognitive ability. The drug also has anxiolytic and antidepressant effects uncommon in most stimulants. Semax is often combined with amphetamine to potentiate the stimulating effect of the later while reducing the side effects; it is often used alongside other nootropics like noopept and selank as part of a stack.

While Semax is typically used for its acute effects it, like noopept, may also have build up benefits due to its elevation of brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF) as seen in animal tests.



Selank is analogous to a human immunomodulatory peptide, tufstin, found in the spleen. The compound affects the concentration of monoamine neurotransmitters in the brain; these regulate mental processes such as emotional and memory. Selank also improves the metabolic rate of serotonin.

Selank results in non-sedating anxiety reduction with mild nootropic benefits. The drug also has an anti-anhedonia and anti-depressant effects. It is important to note that while depression generally refers to a depressed mood, anhedonia is strictly the lack of pleasure in doing previously enjoyable things. Selank more accurately fits the profile of an ‘anti-anhedonic’ than an anti-depressant – although there is overlap between both symptoms in major depressive disorder (MDD).

Clinical studies in Russia have found that Selank facilitates learning and memory, sensory attention, and curiosity. As a nootropic, Selank is often described as mild by most; some users are unable to detect any effect. For this reason, the drug is often stacked with another nootropic like noopept, caffeine or Semax as a way to take the ‘edge’ of stronger stimulants without diminishing the stimulation.


Similarities and differences between the two

The primarily similarity between Semax and Selank is the structure of the two peptides; both are heptapeptides and analogous to chemicals naturally occurring in the human body. The two compounds are closely related and produce anxiolytic and nootropic benefits concurrently. While Semax is primarily a stimulant and Selank is an anxiolytic, both operate in the middle ground of their respective specialties. Semax is a relaxing stimulant while Selank is a stimulating relaxant.

There are differences between the two nootropics. As mentioned earlier, Semax can be anxiolytic; however, this is not always the case. Some users report feeling anxious while on the drug. In contrast, anxiety is almost never felt by users of Selank. Responders almost invariably feel some level of anxiety reduction even if nootropic benefits are not noticed.



  1. Semax and Selank are both heptapeptides; the drugs are similar in structure and were both developed at the same institute for similar purposes.
  1. Both are analogous to naturally occurring chemicals in the human body. Semax is related to part of the adrenocorticotropic hormone found in the pituitary gland and Selank is a synthetic analogue of tufstin, a hormone found in the human spleen.
  1. Both provide nootropic and anxiolytic effects concurrently, and both are mild with a moderate response rate.
  1. Both are typically administered through the nasal mucosa via a spray. They can also be administered subcutaneously or through any other mucosa tissue.



  1. Semax is primarily a stimulant; its nootropic effects are pronounced and have the highest rate of respondancy. While Semax does often reduce anxiety, not in all users – users often report an increase in anxiety when taking the compound. Selank on the other hand, is primarily an anxiolytic and anti-anhedonic; almost all responders to the compound will experience a reduction in anxiety.
  1. Semax is analogous to part of a stress hormone found in the pituitary gland; its nootropic effects come from facilitating eustress (beneficial stress) in the user. Selank on the other hand, is a direct analogue of tufstin, an immunologic found in the spleen. Its nootropic effects are not the result of stress, but rather the reduction of it.



Selank and semax are two psychoactive peptides from Russia; they have much in common and many differences as well. One is a stimulant while the other is an anxiolytic, but they share everything from similar nootropic effects to a related chemical structure.

To recap, semax is a mildly stimulating nootropic that facilitates a eustress response in the user; this is thought to promote mental clarity and cognitive ability. Unlike most stimulants, Semax often has a relaxing effect. In the perfect responder this should be a calm and confident focus.

Selank is primarily an anxiolytic anti-anhedonic without the dulling side effects common in such drugs. Along with Semax, it can benefit cognitive ability. However, It does not achieve this effect through the promotion of beneficial stress but the reduction of it.

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