Kanna

Latin:  Sceletium tortuosom

Family:  Azioaceae

Parts Used:  Whole plant

Taste/Energetics:  Bitter

Properties:  Analgesic, stimulant, anxiolytic, euphoric, sedative at higher doses.

Actions:   This is an herb that has long been used in South Africa for its stimulating and euphoric properties for at least a thousand years. Traditionally it is made by fermenting the whole plant and has been used by warriors returning from battle who suffered with depression and fear due to trauma.  There is some research being done in terms of its effectiveness with those who suffer from PTSD.

This plant enlivens, stimulates, can bring a mildly euphoric state akin to a mild amphetamine or the beginning stages of MDMA.  Its quite an extraordinary experience for such a small amount of plant material.   It is a little “stonier” than a caffeine amphetamine stimulant and can augment the experience of listening to music, appreciating art, etc.    There is a slight dissociative quality to it that can make it feel a tad uncomfortable for some, especially at higher doses.  The stimulant effect then turns to sedation as the effects wear off within a couple hours.   Addiction and withdrawal issues have not been noted with traditional use of kanna.

Dosage:   Traditionally one either chews on the plant, snorts it, smokes it or prepares it as a tea or as an extract.  Tea is a fairly weak way of preparing it and is said to be useful for those who are weaning off substances and need a palatable adjunctant helper herb.  Smoking/chewing are common ways of consuming this plant.   When smoking, a mild dose is 50-100 mg and a heavy dose is 400-500 mg.  A moderate dose is generally around 150-250 mg.  If chewing it or taking it as a capsule, the dose is a little larger:  100-200 mg for a mild dose, 300-500 for a moderate dose and 600-1000 for a very strong dose.  Effects last 1-2 hours.

Contraindications:   This plant has alkaloids that act as serotonin reuptake inhibitors.  Thus it has the potential to interact with serotonergic antidepressants so avoid taking with that drug class.  This plant can cause headaches, nausea, insomnia, diarrhea and anxiety in some. This is a legal plant but this plant requires caution because it is a strong stimulant.  Avoid if pregnant, have cardiac issues or hypertension.  Generally avoid with other stimulants, drugs, etc.  This is definitely something you can take too much of and get into trouble.  Some have noted a synergistic effect with cannabis.  I wont comment on that.

Again- lets be careful about taking medicines from indigenous societies without respect or reciprication.  Purchase only from respected ethical harvesters who are connected to the traditional indigenous peoples.