Are you wondering if kava kava makes you high?
Well, I’ll tell you all about it today!
Basically, this infamous kava extract is derived from the roots of the Piper methysticum plant, which is well-known as the kava-kava plant.
This plant is found in the western Pacific. The people from this region have used this plant for centuries for their recreation.
Also, the users love their experience of ‘kava kava high’. But, we’ll take that up in detail later.
Are you ready for your crash course on the kava-kava plant?
Let’s jump right in!
So, what this kava root extract has to do with recreation!?
Well, let’s talk about it in a little detail, shall we?
The name “kava” comes from the Polynesian word “awa,” which means bitter. It belongs to pepper family.
➸ In the South Pacific, kava is a popular social drink, similar to alcohol in Western societies.
➸In fact, in Fiji, several official ceremonies to this day feature certain kava kava beverages as a way to welcome people! It’s actually consumed in the form of a social beverage, something similar to the use of wine in the Western countries.
Commonly Used Names For Kava Kava:
|Ava||Kava root||Piper methysticum Forst.f.|
|Awa||Kawa||Piper methysticum G. Forst.|
|Intoxicating Pepper||Piper Methysticum||Tonga|
|Kava Pepper||Kew||kava kava|
But, why do people consume Kava?
Well, the thing is that Kava is used to increase calmness.
This means that if enough of it is taken, it’ll produce the effect which is better known as the ‘kava kava high’. Now, this high is often said to be like the high of alcohol. But, of course, there are some differences between the effects of the two.
So, the thing is that kava kava does produce a high. But there’s a catch.
If you want to take Kava for just getting high then you should know that there are several risks involved.
In fact, these risks have actually prompted Australia, the U.S., and other countries to issue warnings to the consumers about the potential side effects.
Apart from that, it’s important to understand how kava kava actually works and what effects it may have.
What’s Kava Kava Used For, Anyway?
- Kava kava has been used as a medicinal and ceremonial herb for centuries.
- The main use of kava kava is to reduce the stress and anxiety. (1)
- It is also used for treating restlessness, phobias, insomnia, and jet lag.
- It is also said that the drug promotes relaxation that helps relieve tensed muscles and also helps numb one’s sensitivity to pain.
But, that’s not it!
- The Natural Medicines Database has confirmed that kava helps in reducing the convulsions in epilepsy patients.
- It has even evolved as a potent chemotherapeutic agent and is known to fight cancer.
- The drug is also used for managing the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome (2), depression, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (3) etc.
But, there’s something for women, too!
- The drug has proven useful in treating menstrual discomfort.
- It helps in managing the symptoms of certain urinary tract infections as well as those of uterine inflammation.
- This herb is also applied to treat diseases such as leprosy, tuberculosis and to promote wound healing.
- Kava is used as a mouthwash for toothaches and canker sores (4).
- It used as a poultice for abscesses and otitis.
However, there’s a slight catch with all these uses…
These miracle uses are not based on the modern medicine but follow traditional practices.
Another interesting fact is that this herb hasn’t really been approved by the Federal Drug Authority (FDA) for any of these treatments mentioned above.
The Kava Kava High and What’s It All About!?
Let’s talk about the hot topic now!
So, as I have said before, Kava is used to get a high or that “buzzed” feeling that you find at the end of a tequila bottle on a Saturday night.
The thing is that chemicals which are found in kava, known as the kavalactones help cause calming effects.
So, what’s the buzz like?
Well, the use of this kava may help get you a high that is similar to alcohol intoxication. If you’ve got a lower Body Mass Index, then the effect for may even be more noticeable for you!
How do Kava users feel like?
Well, if you are ‘kava drunk’ you may get high as when you’re, err…drunk on alcohol. Other than that, you may feel calm and relaxed. (Like how one feels after smoking a joint!)
You may experience a pleasant euphoric effect.
Some Users feel that they are more social under the influence of this herb.
The thing here to note is that even though people often compare kava to alcohol in terms of the ‘high’, they both affect our bodies in different ways altogether.
According to a paper published in 2011 in the Pacific Health Dialog, the difference between consumption of alcohol and that of kava were analyzed.
I’ll explain the results in easy words, I promise! (No scientific jargon, I swear.)
Well, when you initially consume alcohol, you see a sort of heightened activity and stronger emotions. With kava, it’s a bit different as one experiences increased calmness and relaxation.
Thus, we can put it as:
You’ll be cheerful, you’ll be relaxed but you won’t be as stoned and pukey as when drinking or smoking.
How long does kava kava take to kick in?
Well, It depends on the type of kava you are drinking.
You may attain the peak anywhere between 15 minutes to 1 hour.
The effects may wear off within 2 to 6 hours.
Things To Keep In Mind Before Taking Kava
Before you go out there looking for some kava, you might want to read this.
- First off, I want you to know that the amount of the drug needed to produce the high feeling( that you’ve been looking for) varies from person to person. This is because of individual factors, medical conditions, your body mass index, etc.
- There is no recommended dosage of kava that can be deemed as safe. You should not take as much as your friend does to produce a high or things may get ugly.
- Also, kava is not entirely safe, either.
- As a consumer, I want you to know that taking large doses of this herb (especially over a long period of time) will have some serious negative consequences on your body.
- In fact, users have reported a hangover-like feeling the day after taking a large dose.
- You should not take this extract at all if:
- You have got liver conditions
- You are pregnant or breastfeeding
- You shouldn’t drive or use any sort of heavy machinery after ingesting kava.
The Risk Factor For Using Kava Kava Extract: Do the risks outweigh the benefits?
(Wow, So many beneficial effects associated with kava root extract!)
Then, why has FDI issued a consumer advisory related to its usage?
Naturally, you must be curious to know whether the dangers exceed the advantages of kava root.
So let’s explore the other side of the coin as well!
The harmful effects associated with kava kava usage are as follows:
1. Dermatological Impacts:
Among chronic users, “Kava dermopathy” have been recorded.
This condition is characterized by scaly, dry skin along with yellow pigmentation on feet and hands.
These impacts showed up at utilization levels between 310– 440 g per week of Kava powder.
2. Parkinsonism Like Symptoms:
Utilization of Kava root extract can also bring about Parkinsonism-like symptoms.
3. Tachycardia and P-Wave Abnormalities:
Some studies reported P wave abnormalities and tachycardia among young athletes.
4. Viral Resistance:
According to University of Mississippi’s School of Pharmacy, this medicinal herb may show potential interactions with certain antiviral drugs leading to viral resistance.
5. Liver Damage:
It has been reported that the use of kava for as less one to three months can also cause serious liver damage and may even cause death.
According to the UMMC reports over about 30 cases of damaged liver in Europe have been linked to the use of kava. But, it has not been cleared if this damage is due to just the use of kava or due to a combination of kava and other medications.
A research was done in Australia in which it was found that a few extracts based on water of the aged kava roots are relatively safer to consume and also pose a lesser threat to the liver.
Apart from that, there are also a few other things you should know.
High doses of kava kava may cause a number of other mild side effects like:
- Some skin problems
Apart from that, kava kava can put you at a risk of more serious side effects like:
- Hair loss
- Loss of appetite
- Partial hearing loss
Final Words: What Should You Take Away From This
Kava kava extract is taken out from the roots of the kava plant and has historically been used in several cultures. Notably, it is still used in Fiji like wine is used in the European culture and is used to mainly increase one’s calmness.
Kava kava has shown supreme efficacy in treating several medical conditions like reducing stress, anxiety, etc. It is also used to treat psychological disorders like ADHD, depression, etc.
However, Kava doesn’t cause dependency unlike benzodiazepines and is well tolerable.It should be remembered that the high doses of kava kava cause a ‘high’ similar to alcohol intoxication, but both affect your body in different risks.
Unfortunately, the hepatotoxicity (6) reports associated with its use have decreased its usage in the Western World despite its effectiveness.
Kava should not be taken in high doses should not be mixed with alcohol.
Keeping in mind the positive effects of Kava, you can use this herb and ‘enjoy your kava-kava high’ but with caution!
I hope that I was able to help you out with your questions regarding the kava kava high. If I’ve left something unanswered, please take it up in the comments section and I’ll help you out in every possible way I can!