How long does it take Kanna Extract to work?

How long does it take Kanna Extract to work?

Introduction to Kanna Extract

Kanna (Sceletium tortuosum) is a plant native to South Africa. Its traditional use was primarily for its psychoactive properties, often in social and ceremonial contexts. Historically, people chewed, smoked, or used Kanna as snuff, experiencing both stimulating and relaxing effects. Indigenous peoples have used it for centuries for its mood-altering properties. 

Kanna Extract Composition and Effects

Key Terms Explained:

  • Alkaloids: Naturally occurring compounds in plants, like mesembrine in Kanna, which have significant effects on the brain and body.
  • Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs): Compounds that increase serotonin levels in the brain by preventing its reabsorption into neurons. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that influences mood and feelings of well-being.
  • Phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4): An enzyme that regulates mood and inflammation in the body. Inhibiting PDE4 can lead to increased energy levels and alertness.

Detailed Explanation:

Mesembrine, a key alkaloid in Kanna, acts as an SRI. It enhances mood by increasing serotonin availability in the brain. This mechanism is similar to many antidepressants used for treating mood disorders.

Kanna's impact on PDE4 inhibition also plays a role in boosting energy and reducing inflammation, contributing to its ability to increase alertness. This combination of effects on serotonin and PDE4 makes Kanna a unique natural compound with diverse therapeutic potential.

Effects on Mood, Energy Levels, and Stress/Anxiety Relief

Kanna's impact on the brain's chemical makeup leads to several beneficial effects:

  • Mood Elevation: The increase in serotonin levels can lead to improved mood and feelings of euphoria. This effect is particularly beneficial for individuals dealing with stress or mood disorders.
  • Energy Boost: By inhibiting PDE4, Kanna can enhance energy levels and alertness. This makes it useful for combating fatigue and improving focus​​.
  • Stress and Anxiety Relief: Kanna's calming effects on the brain can help alleviate stress and anxiety, making it a popular choice for natural stress management.
  • Social Enhancement: A secondary effect of Kanna is its ability to help users feel more in tune with those around them. This can lead to improved social situations and a reduction in social anxiety​​.

Kanna Extract

Kanna Dosage and Consumption Methods

Users consume Kanna in several forms, each with its own specific dosage and method of administration. The most common forms are powder, extract, capsules, and leaves.

1. Kanna Extract Powder
  • Dosage: Consumed orally, typically 2 grams of Kanna powder can produce calming effects after about 30 minutes. Users often take around 5 grams for stronger effects like anxiety relief or euphoria. This method involves holding the powder in the mouth to allow the saliva to extract active compounds before swallowing​​.
2.  Kanna Capsules
  • Dosage: Capsules offer a practical and precise way to consume Kanna, with dosages varying based on concentration. Beginners should start with a lower dose and adjust it based on their personal experience.
3.  Kanna Leaves
  • Dosage: Chewing Kanna leaves, a traditional practice, typically involves a 15-minute chew. The dosage can vary depending on the potency of the leaves​​.

Traditional and Modern Consumption Methods

Kanna's flexibility allows for various consumption methods:

1. Chewing

  • This traditional method involves chewing leaves or powdered plant material, allowing for gradual absorption through mucous membranes in the mouth.

2. Sublingual Use

  • This method entails placing Kanna powder or extract under the tongue for absorption. Dosages of 50-150 mg produce a subtle effect, while 200-400 mg yields a medium effect​​.

3. Tea Preparation

  • Kanna tea, made from leaves or powder, generally requires a higher dosage (200-500 mg). It has a slower onset, but the effects last longer, up to 4-5 hours​​.

4. Smoking

  • Smoking Kanna alone or mixed with other herbs provides a rapid onset of effects; however, they tend to be short-lived compared to other methods.

Each method provides a distinct experience with Kanna. Users should start with lower dosages and adjust according to their response, always considering individual sensitivity and potential interactions with other substances or medications.

Kanna Extract

How long does it take?

The onset and duration of Kanna's effects vary significantly based on the method of consumption and the dosage.

1. Chewing Kanna Leaves or Powder
  • Onset: Effects generally begin within 15 to 30 minutes due to the direct absorption of alkaloids through mucous membranes in the mouth.
  • Duration: Typically lasts between 1 to 2 hours​​.
2. Sublingual Use
  • Onset: Sublingual use leads to quick absorption with effects starting within 15 to 30 minutes.
  • Duration: The effects can last for about two hours but may diminish rapidly afterward​​.
3. Kanna Tea
  • Onset: Consuming Kanna as tea has a slower onset, taking about 1.5 to 2 hours, as it must pass through the digestive system.
  • Duration: The effects of tea can last for up to 4 to 5 hours, providing a more extended experience​​​​.
4. Smoking Kanna
  • Onset: Smoking provides the fastest onset, typically within a few minutes, because of rapid absorption via the lungs.
  • Duration: This duration is usually the shortest of any method, often less than an hour.
5. Kanna Capsules and Extracts
  • Onset: Ingested forms like capsules and extracts take around 30 minutes to an hour to become effective. This varies with individual metabolism and stomach contents.
  • Duration: The effects can last from 2 to 5 hours, depending on dosage and individual response​​​​.

Kanna Effects and Precautions

Common Side Effects of Kanna
  • Nausea: One of the most common side effects of consuming Kanna in any form is nausea. This can occur even with typical doses, especially for those who have a sensitive stomach or may be new to the substance​​.
  • Drowsiness: Some individuals may experience drowsiness, particularly at higher doses.
  • Other Effects: With higher doses, other effects such as a feeling of intoxication, and loss of appetite may occur. Sensory alterations (e.g., tingling sensations, and changes in auditory perception) could also occur.


  • Interactions with Medications: Kanna should not be used in conjunction with certain medications, particularly Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs), Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), and Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs). This is due to the risk of serotonin syndrome. This is a potentially dangerous condition resulting from too much serotonin in the brain​​.
  • Pre-existing Conditions: Individuals with certain mental health conditions, particularly those with psychotic features, should avoid using Kanna.
  • Combination with Other Substances: Exercise caution when combining Kanna with alcohol, cannabis, or other psychoactive substances, as it can potentiate their effects​​.
  • General Safety: Always start with a small dose to assess your individual tolerance and to prevent overuse.

The Karoo Desert

Microdosing and Therapeutic Uses

Microdosing Trend

  • Concept: Microdosing involves taking sub-perceptual doses of a compound to achieve ongoing benefits without experiencing full-blown psychoactive effects.
  • Benefits: This practice is becoming popular for enhancing creativity, energy, and focus. Microdosing Kanna leverages its mood-enhancing and cognitive-boosting properties with minimal side effects.

Therapeutic Uses

  • Mental Wellness: People often use Kanna for its mood-elevating and anti-anxiety properties. Researchers actively explore Kanna's potential as a natural antidepressant. However, further research is necessary to fully understand its efficacy and safety.
  • Cognitive Enhancement: Some evidence suggests that Kanna may improve cognitive functions such as memory and concentration, particularly in lower, sub-perceptual doses.

Strategy for Microdosing

  • Dosage: Microdosing typically involves taking small amounts of Kanna. Lesser amounts should be used than the amounts typically used for recreational or therapeutic purposes.
  • Routine: Developing a microdosing routine involves trial and error to find the right dose and frequency that works best for the individual. It is important to consider unique body chemistry and lifestyle in this protocol.

While Kanna has potential benefits for mental wellness and cognitive enhancement, it is important to be aware of its side effects and interactions with other substances. Microdosing Kanna could be a beneficial practice for some. It should be approached with caution and guidance from a healthcare professional is recommended.

South African Beach


Exploring Kanna reveals a rich tapestry of traditional wisdom and modern potential. Navigating the complexities of natural remedies like this one is an adventure and a reminder of balancing historical practices with cautious, informed usage. This balance should be respected in pursuit of mental and emotional well-being.


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