Also known as, “Sceletium Tortuosum“ in botany, Kanna is one of the most commonly used traditional herbs that work wonders for mind-alteration. Its impact on the evolution of human consciousness is profound. Since it is naturally available, consumers conveniently enjoy its mood boosting and anxiety-reducing effects.
One of the family members of the ice plant family, Sceletium is a succulent shrub that people have been consuming for years. The people in the traditional societies of South Africa, such as the San and Khoi people used to use the tincture form of Sceletium to satisfy their hunger and thirst. They also used it to alleviate pain and enhance mood.
During prehistoric times, hunters used this plant to alter their minds. The oldest account of Sceletium usage goes back to 1662. Sceletium when fermented and dry-prepared becomes Kanna or Kougoed, which means ‘chewy things’ or ‘something to chew’. People have been consuming the Kanna plant as a highly safe and beneficial herb since the prehistoric times.
In the modern times, Kanna can not only be chewed but can also be prepared into tea, tinctures, and gel caps, and even smoked or snuffed.
- It shows anxiolytic effects.
- Helps you to relax.
- It has weak sedative effects because it contains mesembrine alkaloids.
According to researchers, there are multiple modes of action when it comes to Kanna plant extracts. However, their major bioactive chemical compounds are called mesembrine alkaloids.
These mesembrine alkaloids in the roots and leaves of Kanna plant have at least nine different types. All vary in their concentration – the typical range is between 0.2% – 1.5%.
Following is a list of eight different indole alkaloids:
Although the psychoactive effects of Kanna are not well defined, some of its alkaloids may have psychoactive properties.
Upon fermentation, the mesembrine content of Kanna is converted into Delta-7-mesembrenone. The mesembrine alkaloids may also have narcotic effects although of mild nature.
Researchers believe that Kanna affects the amygdala, the central brain region that is responsible for the processing of emotions.
Moreover, It changes the levels of two vital proteins found in the amygdala: SERT or 5-HTT the monoamine protein that transfers serotonin and an enzyme called PDE4 (Phosphodiesterase – 4).
In addition to this, several Kanna alkaloids work like SRIs (Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors). Thus, they help stop the available serotonin from decomposing in the brain. When a neuron receptor releases serotonin, the neurotransmitter is taken back up into the presynaptic neuron, where it metabolizes into other chemicals.
It works on similar pathways as prescription antidepressants. It blocks the re-uptake of serotonin. Since it remains active in the synaptic cleft for longer, this increases its chances to bind to post-synaptic neurons. This, in turn, enhances the activation of serotonin receptors. Hence, the feeling of relaxation and contentment that comes with the herb!
Not only this, It also decreases the threat circuitry response in the brain by reducing subcortical threat reactions. The researchers believe that this herb not only acts as a 5-HT reuptake inhibitor and PDE4 inhibitor but also promotes the release of monoamines, and thus, improves both mood and behavior.
Researchers believe that Kanna affects the amygdala suggests that it might help with stress. It influences the emotions processing center through the following mechanisms of action.
Blocking serotonin reuptake
Serotonin is one of the major mood-enhancing neurotransmitters. Kanna inhibits the serotonin transporters and works the same way as the SSRI antidepressants. This results in a decrease in the reuptake of serotonin and an increase in its bioavailability.
Blocking phosphodiesterase 4
Phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4) is an enzyme responsible for the breakdown of cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP). The cAMP is a molecule that plays a key role in a number of vital processes including brain function. Kanna inhibits PDE4 and reduces the activity of this enzyme, and thus produces an effect that is beneficial for depression, anxiety, and other mental issues.
Considering these modes of action, researchers believe that Kanna offers a wide range of health benefits related to stress relief and has a potential to be used as a medicine. Today, people use Kanna for anxiety and stress reduction, general relaxation, and mood enhancement particularly in cases of depression.
Kanna, in the form of a hot drink, helps ease tension and stress, relieves pain, and relaxes the body while as a natural chew, it suppresses hunger and improves digestion.
Following are some amazing benefits and uses of Kanna.
1. Reduces anxiety levels
Kanna plant helps in minimizing insecurities, inferiority complex, and inhibitions, and thus provides consumers considerable relief from stress and anxiety. Some users are better able to focus on their inner thoughts and experience meditative tranquility, while others find themselves appreciating the beauty of nature after taking Kanna.
2. Emotional engagement
Kanna plant assists the users to be distant from situations that induce nervousness and are emotionally engaging. For example, a person who is afraid of public speaking might take Kanna to calm his nerves when he is supposed to perform in public.
3. Makes people interactive and sexually active
Since it gives a major boost to self-confidence by eliminating all anxieties and insecurities, people who are usually reserved in public tend to enjoy social interactions and contacts after taking it.
Moreover, less sexually active people feel more aroused when they use this herb. This explains why men who are unable to perform well sexually use this product to stimulate their sexual senses.
4. Ultimate energy booster
When people take Kanna, they are likely to experience a tingling sensation and a significant increase in their energy level. Users report that Kanna helps them think clear and straight, and improves their focus.
However, it is noteworthy that when taken in high doses, it causes sedation due to increased muscle and mental relaxation. This may lead to impaired thinking and concentration.
5. Suppresses appetite
If you want to fast or travel long distances in a semi-arid land, it might come in handy! It suppresses appetite and keeps hunger at bay.
Not only this, it also helps in reducing the desire for tobacco or nicotine.
6. Makes life look brighter
One of the most amazing benefits and uses of Kanna is that it can help escape reality. When taken in the right proportions, it may make your life look brighter. According to some users, it has a slight effect on the visual perception that makes colors appear much softer than they actually are. They experience objects surrounded by a subtle glow – and this makes life more interesting!
7. Helps with depression
it serves as an alternative to traditional antidepressants. The alkaloids in Kanna act as SRIs and lift the mood of the users. By lowering the levels of neurotransmitter in the brain, this plant helps treat mild to moderate depression.
In a word, No In fact, one of the effects of Kanna involves the suppression of appetite.
Since anxiety, depression, and weight gain go hand in hand, Kanna’s beneficial effects on reducing anxiety and depression symptoms will have a positive impact on your weight loss efforts.
Shepherds have used Kanna plant for years to suppress their hunger when traveling far from their homes. This suggests that Kanna may actually be helpful in reducing weight rather than causing weight gain.
In addition to the shepherds, local tribesmen also chew on Kanna to help them suppress their appetite. Therefore, Kanna may actually offer a lot of benefits when used as a potential weight loss medication.
There is no evidence regarding the use of Kanna leading to weight gain and thus, it is nothing to worry about.
Let us have a look at how you can use Kanna in the right dosages regardless of the way you decide to use it.
The euphoric effects of snuffing Kanna typically last for one to four hours. For adults, 50 mg to 150 mg is the recommended dosage. However, as little as 20 mg can also do the trick!
The recommended dose for Kanna smokers is 100 mg to 250 mg. Any amount between 50 mg and 500 mg is fine though. The euphoric effects reach their peak within 30 to 60 minutes – and fade quickly in a few hours.
For users who like chewing Kanna with a chewing gum, the recommended subtle dose is 50 mg to 150 mg. In case you want pronounced results, consider taking a 200 mg to 400 mg dose.
4. In tea
Its efficiency is decreased in tea. Considering the fact that too much Kanna in tea causes nausea and vomiting, 200 mg to 400 mg is the recommended dosage.
5. Kanna legality
Even if you do not have a Kanna license or prescription, you can easily buy, process, cultivate, and distribute the herb legally – it is not a controlled substance according to the Federal law in the United States! Nevertheless, using it as a drug or supplement might require you to go through the specific rules set that might be set by your country.
While the herb has been in traditional use for years and is believed to be safe unless taken in inappropriate amounts, it still can cause some adverse effects. High doses of Kanna can be euphoric but not hallucinogenic.
The root, stem, or leaf of Kanna when chewed can lead to a headache, restlessness, and even depression. Chewing fermented Kanna is also linked to intoxication.
Other Kanna side effects include abdominal pain and infection of the upper respiratory tract.
Moreover, Kanna supplements may increase blood pressure, and cause nausea or heart palpitations. Also, some users have reported experiencing loose stools, sleepiness, dry mouth, and hazy sounds and colors.
Taking Kanna in the afternoon may cause insomnia at night for some users, while others sleep better.
It is important to note that snorting Kanna is strictly not recommended, as it can cause damage to the mucous membranes in the nasal passages and sinuses.
In addition to this, despite no sign of addiction or withdrawal symptoms in the users, regular long-term use of Kanna can lead to tolerance.
There are plenty of positive Kanna reviews as reported by its users.
Several people for whom life had become nothing but a burden and when anxiety, stress, and depression had taken a toll on them, found their escape in Kanna.
Many of them had not expected it to work but still tried it – and to their utter surprise, they experienced the significant reduction in their anxiety, restlessness, and depression. It helped the users to maintain their calm and composure, and consequently, improved the overall quality of their life.
The most convenient way to get your hand on the botanical marvel is to buy it online! There are several stores doing Kanna business online, where you can easily find a wide range of Kanna products to choose from – all you have to do is order and wait to receive the herb at your doorstep within a few days!
According to the federal law, Kanna or Sceletiumtortuosum is legal for cultivation, possession, buying, and distribution purposes in the United States without the need for a license. However, the FDA has set some rules and standards to which it must conform when sold for consumption. While this is the case in most of the states, there are some states that observe stricter laws to control its use.
Furthermore, when it comes to other countries like Canada, Australia, and Poland, the herb is uncontrolled. It is sold as a medicine in South Africa under the invigilation of SA Medicines control.
Hence, before buying and using Kanna as a medicine, you must first check with your country or state’s laws and rules regarding its consumption to avoid any legality issues.
- GC-MS, LC-MS(n), LC-high resolution-MS(n), and NMR studies on the metabolism and toxicological detection of mesembrine and mesembrenone, the main alkaloids of the legal high “Kanna” isolated from Sceletium tortuosum.
- In vitro permeation of mesembrine alkaloids from Sceletium tortuosum across porcine buccal, sublingual, and intestinal mucosa.
- The effects of Sceletium tortuosum in an in vivo model of psychological stress.
- A toxicological safety assessment of a standardized extract of Sceletium tortuosum (Zembrin®) in rats.
- Investigations of the phytochemical content of Sceletium tortuosum following the preparation of “Kougoed” by fermentation of plant material.
- Proof-of-Concept Randomized Controlled Study of Cognition Effects of the Proprietary Extract Sceletium tortuosum (Zembrin) Targeting Phosphodiesterase-4 in Cognitively Healthy Subjects: Implications for Alzheimer’s Dementia.
- Acute effects of Sceletium tortuosum (Zembrin), a dual 5-HT reuptake and PDE4 inhibitor, in the human amygdala and its connection to the hypothalamus.
- A randomized, double-blind, parallel-group, placebo-controlled trial of Extract Sceletium tortuosum (Zembrin) in healthy adults.
- A novel approach in herbal quality control using hyperspectral imaging: discriminating between Sceletium tortuosum and Sceletium crassicaule.
- Psychoactive constituents of the genus Sceletium N.E.Br. and other Mesembryanthemaceae: a review.
- Forensic analysis of mesembrine alkaloids in Sceletium tortuosum by nonaqueous capillary electrophoresis mass spectrometry.
- Direct analysis in real time high resolution mass spectrometry as a tool for rapid characterization of mind-altering plant materials and revelation of supplement adulteration–The case of Kanna.
- Development of computerized Kana Pick-out Test for the neuropsychological examination.
- Sex-Based Differences in Rates, Causes, and Predictors of Death Among Injection Drug Users in Vancouver, Canada