Three stimpaks on a table in Fallout.
Screenshot by Gameskinny

Fallout Theory Explains How Stimpaks Work

Fallout is a hub for unique theories that include ones about the highly coveted stimpak.

The Fallout universe’s sprawling landscape is only matched by the amount of lore within the canon. From the mysteries of the Vaults to the technology that fuels the post-apocalyptic world, every aspect of the games has a story or theory, and even objects like stimpaks aren’t immune to them.

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How Do Stimpaks Work in Fallout?

A stimpak resting on a desk in Fallout.
Screenshot by Gameskinny

In Fallout, stimpaks work like any other Estes flask or health potion: they give you back some health after taking damage. In the original games, stimpaks only temporarily regained your health, but later entries changed this, so the effects were permanent.

Stimpaks are syringes filled with healing agents and drugs. They have a small dial on the end to notify the user if they’re usable. When injected, stimpaks can heal gunshots and stab wounds, but they were initially used on patients after surgery before the Great War. Even now, stimpaks remain the most important healing tool in the Fallout franchise, though super stimpaks are even more effective and dangerous.

If you find yourself without any stimpaks, there’s no nearby doctor, and you just got back from clearing out an especially difficult raider camp, don’t fret! Often, a good rest in a bed is a surefire way to heal and even repair limb damage. However, if you can’t find a nearby bed, eating or drinking is another fantastic way to regain health, so long as it’s not irradiated. Granted, the allure of the mysterious stimpaks is you don’t have to go through many steps to heal. However, according to one theory on Quora, the answer to why stimpaks can seemingly heal anything has nothing to do with drugs and everything to do with nanobots.

Nanotechnology is Fallout’s Greatest Mystery

Fallout 76 featured
Image via Bethesda

Both before and after the bombs dropped in Fallout, technology played a huge role in the universe. Because of technology, society advanced in a way that allowed for power armor powered by fusion cores and robots to be used as nannies. However, nanotechnology wasn’t as prominent, even in a universe where technology was at the bleeding edge.

As of now, the only canon mention of nanotechnology involves its use in weapons manufacturing by Cambridge Polymer Labs. This same company also helped develop materials for the power armor, including its chest piece and specialized in robotics. If armor is being made for war, it would make sense that stimpaks wouldn’t be far behind. By blending nanotech and robots, you’d have the nanobots necessary to rapidly heal any wound.

It could easily be assumed that an injection of drugs could heal a wound and, according to the theory, even stimulate cells to heal a wound. But without being injected into the wounded area, this explanation doesn’t make much sense, especially when there are gas forms of the drug. As a result, nanobots are the only logical conclusion, and if true, they could change science in the Fallout universe forever.

Fallout Nanotech Theory: Does It Hold Up?

A rusty stimpak on a table in Fallout.
Screenshot by Gameskinny

The use of nanobots in stimpaks has yet to be confirmed, but it holds a lot of water. In canon, the pieces are in place for it to not only be true but perhaps be a technology that could save the Wasteland. When considering the fact that The Institute has already mastered the creation of synths and teleportation, the use of nanobots feels like a no-brainer. Plus, if nanobots did exist, the applications could potentially heal the Wasteland or make it worse, whether that be by creating a new disease or a whole new faction of power-mad individuals.

With so many theories about Fallout, from Dogmeat being a synth to the dark secrets about mannequins, it’s hard to say what could and couldn’t be a logical explanation. However, when a company specializing in nanotech and robotics exists, and there are tools that use drugs to heal almost any wound, it makes sense that nanobots are the true secret ingredient. For all of the outlandish ideas in Fallout, both canon and non-canon, there’s no denying that stimpaks are strange, and the best solution to why they work so well could involve robotics of the microscopic variety.

Want to know more about the Fallout universe? Check out GameSkinny’s Fallout hub.

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Nicholas Brooks
Nick is a Freelance Writer at Gameskinny and brings with him over a decade of writing and editing experience from sites like CBR and Gameskinny. He also runs a small podcast called Popsubclub, where he interviews individuals in the entertainment industry as well as talks with peers. Nick's love of video games is only a small part of his passions as he's also an avid fan of movies, comics, music and theme parks. Make sure to follow his Instagram (@Comicsubclub) for more.