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Kanna Basics

What is Kanna?

Everything you should know about kanna here at a glance

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What is Kanna?

Kanna, botanically known as Sceletium tortuosum, is a succulent native to the dry regions of South Africa. This plant has been an integral part of the traditional cultures of the San and Khoi San, the indigenous peoples of South Africa, for many centuries. Kanna is often referred to as "Bushman's Greens" or "Kougoed." The active compounds in Kanna are alkaloids, particularly Mesembrine and Mesembrenone, which occur in the leaves and stems of the plant. These substances have psychoactive properties and are used by indigenous peoples for various ritual and medicinal purposes. In traditional medicine, Kanna is valued for its mood-enhancing and relaxing properties. It is believed to reduce stress and anxiety, elevate mood, and have a calming effect. The San also used Kanna as an appetite suppressant during long hunting trips.

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How does kanna work?

The psychoactive effects of Kanna (Sceletium tortuosum) are due to a group of alkaloids, particularly mesembrine and mesembrenone. These active ingredients interact with the serotonin system in the brain, which can lead to a variety of effects. It is important to note that the effects of Kanna may vary depending on dosage, form of preparation, and individual sensitivity. Here are some of the most common effects:

  1. Euphoria and Relaxation: Many users report a mild to moderate euphoric effect accompanied by a feeling of relaxation. Kanna is often used as a remedy for stress and anxiety.

  2. Mood Enhancement: Kanna can elevate mood and promote feelings of well-being and happiness. This is attributed to interaction with the serotonin system, which plays a role in regulating mood.

  3. Energy boost: In small amounts, Kanna can have a stimulating effect and increase energy. This is in contrast to higher doses, which can have a more relaxing effect.

  4. Appetite Suppressant Effects: In some traditional applications, Kanna was used as an appetite suppressant, particularly by the San during long hunting trips.

Kanna products at a glance

Kanna products are available in various forms and preparations. Here are some common forms of Kanna products:

Kanna powder

Kanna Extracts

Kanna Capsules

Kanna Tee

Kanna Snuff

Kanna combination products

Kanna Powder: Dried and ground leaves or plant parts of Kanna are often sold as powder. This powder can be taken orally, held sublingually (under the tongue), or dissolved in beverages. Dosage varies depending on the product and individual tolerance.


Kanna Extracts: Kanna extracts are concentrated forms of the active alkaloids from the plant. They may be available as tinctures or in capsule form. Extracts are often considered stronger and more potent than the raw powder.


Kanna Capsules: Kanna may be available in capsule form, providing a convenient method of consumption. Capsules often contain standardized amounts of active compounds to allow for more precise dosing.

Kanna Tea: Some people prefer to consume Kanna in the form of tea. This often involves brewing dried plant parts in hot water.

Kanna Snuff: In some regions, Kanna is also offered as snuff powder. This involves inhaling the powder through the nose.

Combination Products: Kanna can also be found in blends with other herbal substances or supplements. These products may aim to enhance or broaden specific effects.

Learn More in Our Kratom Blog

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