I think that taking a stimulant without a medical purpose or a real problem is not a good idea. For those who have real challenges, real difficulties, and real reasons for taking stimulants I have no issue with the necessity. It is a matter of requirement, need, and moderation.
Stimulants may have varying effects on the host as seen in this preliminary research published in Nature; caffeine likewise may not work for everyone.
As you say, caffeine and stimulants are chemical compounds. Drugs. And as such, they have the capacity of abuse, but in this case, the abuse potential and the repercussions of one are greater than the other. That in my opinion makes caffeine a lesser of two evils.
In an ideal world, I would give up coffee, and people would not feel pressured to try stimulants. But this is not the case, so all we can do is resist the temptation. I would also suggest reading the submissions to the New York Times, titled "In Their Own Words: ‘Study Drugs.’"
To my knowledge, the use of stimulants without medical cause is frowned upon by the faculty and it is ill-advised and I would say the same.
What are your thoughts on the subject of stimulants? What food or drink do you have to help you study? Discuss or leave your comments below.