|Summary sheet: Kanna
|Kanna, Channa, Kougoed
|Routes of Administration
Sceletium tortuosum (also known as Kanna) is a succulent plant commonly found in South Africa. Many of its psychoactive effects are similar to but less intense than the effects of empathogens such as MDMA. It can be administered orally, insufflated, subilingually, smoked, or chewed.
Kanna is sometimes used as an anti-depressant as a replacement for pharmaceutical anti-depressants. A pharmaceutical company owns a patented extract of kanna called Zembrin which may begin to be prescribed for depression, anxiety, insomnia and other psychiatric disorders in the future.
History and culture
This History and culture section is a stub.
As a result, it may contain incomplete or wrong information. You can help by expanding it.
Kanna was used by South African pastoralists and hunter-gatherers to enhance their mood and increase their energy.
The active compounds in kanna are mesembrine, mesembrenone, mesembrenol, and tortuosamine. It is believed that mesembrine and mesembrenone are responsible for the majority of kanna's effects.
The VMAT2 upregulation produced by kanna is thought to be responsible for the effects of kanna as a stimulant and euphoriant, due to the increase of dopamine and noradrenaline. The potent SSRI activity and PDE4 inhibition are thought to be mainly responsible for the antidepressant, anxiolytic, and sedating effects produced by kanna.
|This subjective effects section is a stub.
As such, it is still in progress and may contain incomplete or wrong information.
You can help by expanding or correcting it.
Disclaimer: The effects listed below cite the Subjective Effect Index (SEI), an open research literature based on anecdotal user reports and the personal analyses of PsychonautWiki contributors. As a result, they should be viewed with a healthy degree of skepticism.
It is also worth noting that these effects will not necessarily occur in a predictable or reliable manner, although higher doses are more liable to induce the full spectrum of effects. Likewise, adverse effects become increasingly likely with higher doses and may include addiction, severe injury, or death ☠.
- Physical euphoria - This is generally described as a warm, relaxing, light sensation throughout the body most comparable to MDMA, although much more mild in its presentation.
- Perception of bodily lightness
- Spontaneous physical sensations - The "body high" of kanna can be characterized as a mild to moderate euphoric tingling sensation that encompasses the entire body. This sensation maintains a consistent presence that steadily rises with the onset and hits its limit once the peak has been reached.
- Muscle relaxation
- Sedation and Stimulation - When snorted and smoked, kanna is typically stimulating, however other routes of administration may be sedating (especially orally).
- Appetite suppression - This effect is directly comparable to the same effect experienced on lisdexamfetamine.
- Pain relief - Kanna is reported to have mild pain relieving effects, similar to those of SSRIs and to a lesser extent, MDMA.
- Temperature regulation suppression - This effects is not as intense as many other substances such as psychedelics, alcohol or stimulants but can become problematic if combined with one of these compounds in a less than ideal setting.
- Increased perspiration - This effects is directly comparable to the same effects experienced with LSD and the come up stage of MDMA.
- Tactile enhancement - Strong feelings of tactile enhancement can be felt with kanna at moderate to high doses, this is especially prominent when smoked or when extracts are used, although it can occur to a lesser extent with other forms of administration for plain leaf.
- Dry mouth
- Headaches - Headaches are commonly experienced on kanna, however they are usually mild and only experienced at strong or heavy doses. Some report experiencing relief from headaches with kanna. This may indicate that the biological mechanisms behind some headaches could be suppressed by kanna's pharmacological action while the cause of other headaches may be enhanced by it.
- Nausea - This effect is mild and usually does not result in vomiting. Nausea produced by kanna usually passes after a few minutes after it starts. It can be avoided using 5-HT3 antagonists like ginger and limonene, and usually subsides after about 2 weeks of use.
- Heartburn - This can be avoided with 5-HT3 antagonists like ginger and limonene, and usually subsides after about 2 weeks of use.
- Stomach bloating - This can be avoided with 5-HT3 antagonists like ginger and limonene, and usually subsides after about 2 weeks of use.
- Diarrhea - This is milder when compared to the other unpleasant gastrointestinal effects of kanna. This can be avoided with 5-HT3 antagonists like ginger and limonene, and usually subsides after about 2 weeks of use.
- Increased or Decreased heart rate
- Pupil dilation - This effect is usually mild but can become more pronounced when combined with stimulants or psychedelics.
- Vasodilation or Vasoconstriction
- Motor control loss - This effect can be quite noticeable at higher doses but is usually quite mild when compared to the motor control loss combined by substances such as alcohol, benzodiazepines and psilocybin mushrooms. It is usually not impairing enough to discourage the user from standing up and walking around.
- Physical euphoria - This is generally described as a warm, relaxing, light sensation throughout the body most comparable to MDMA, although much more mild in its presentation.
- Color enhancement - This effect can be quite pronounced, especially when mixed with cannabis.
- Visual haze
- Pattern recognition enhancement - One may have an easier identifying patterns such as faces while under the influence.
- Peripheral information misinterpretation - This effect can occur inconsistently at heavy doses or when combined with stimulants.
- Depth perception distortions - Objects which are in one's direct line of focus may look closer while under the influence of kanna when compared to the surrounding visual field. This can be especially noticable when consumed using a dry herb vaporizer or when taken as an extract sublingually.
- Visual acuity enhancement - This effect can be quite pronounced and is speculated to have played a large part of why kanna was used by hunter-gatherer societies in certain areas of the world.
- Visual disconnection - This effect can occur when vaporized at heavy doses.
- Anxiety suppression - This effect is often compared to a common dose of a benzodiazepine. Some users do not experience a reduction of anxiety.
- Anxiety - This effect is uncommon, but is sometimes experienced when kanna is taken without priming.
- Analysis enhancement
- Addiction suppression - Research indicates that kanna may suppress cravings for certain drugs such as nicotine and cocaine.
- Wakefulness or Sleepiness
- Immersion enhancement
- Empathy, affection, and sociability enhancement
- Cognitive euphoria - This effect is most intense when insufflated and chewed and least intense when taken orally.
- Emotion enhancement
- Dream potentiation
- Disinhibition - This effect is usually mild when it occurs and is pretty selective.
- Increased sense of humor - This effect is comparable to the humor enhancement experienced on psychedelics.
- Language suppression - This effect occurs at high doses, typically when smoked or chewed. It often results in mildly slurred speech, and difficulty structuring sentences.
- Thought organization
- Motivation enhancement or Motivation suppression - Kanna can enhance motivation as well as suppress it. It is most strongly enhanced with intranasal and sublingual administration, and often suppressed when taken orally.
- Unity and interconnectedness - While on kanna, some people may experience a feeling of strong connection to and appreciation for nature.
- Thought acceleration or Thought deceleration
- Focus enhancement or Focus suppression - Kanna can enhance focus as well as suppress it. It is most strongly enhanced with smoking and snorting, less enhanced and sometimes suppressed when chewed, and often suppressed when taken orally.
- Novelty enhancement
- Creativity enhancement
- Increased libido - Kanna is sometimes used as an aphrodisiac due to its libido & tactile enhancing effects as well as its vasodilating effects. This effect is not experienced in all users, and for some it may suppress libido in a similar way to common pharmaceutical SSRIs.
- Increased music appreciation - This effect can be quite mild on its own when compared to other serotonergic substances, however this effects becomes a lot more pronounced when combined with other music enhancing substances such as psychedelics, alcohol, dissociatives and stimulants including nicotine and caffeine.
- Enhancements - Audio can sound much cleaner and sharper while on kanna than when sober.
The effects which occur during the offset of a stimulant experience generally feel negative and uncomfortable in comparison to the effects which occurred during its peak. This is often referred to as a "comedown" and occurs because of neurotransmitter depletion. The comedown experienced with kanna is less intense when compared to that of other stimulants, and is only experienced at high doses. Its effects commonly include:
At low doses kanna often results in an "afterglow" which results in mild and generally positive effects a few hours after the peak has passed. Its effects commonly include:
- Psychedelics - Although anecdotal reports are scarce, what can be found seems to indicate an unexpectedly strong synergistic experience which results in increased cognitive and physical euphoria, appreciation for music as well as enhanced tactile effects and an increased likelihood of entering in to laughter fits. The likelihood for anxiety becomes greatly reduced and some visual effects such as drifting become less prominent - visual effects such as colour enhancement, depth perception distortions, perspective distortions and after images become more pronounced. There are unique visual effects from this combination, however, which seem to be unique to the combination and are unlikely to be experienced when psychedelics or kanna are taken on their own. A unique body high is also present with this combination, although this can come at the expense of specific effects which are known to arise from more stimulating psychedelics such as perception of bodily lightness. The headspace of this combinations has a higher level of lucidity than the psychedelic on its own will typically provide which could make the experience less likely to offer the same level of profound insight that psychedelics on their own are known to provide. Cognitive effects such as immersion enhancement, empathy, affection and sociability enhancement, novelty enhancement and feelings of unity and connectedness are much stronger with this combo whilst memory suppression, thought loops and libido enhancement may become less intense. This combination should be used only in safe temperature secure settings due to the increase in body temperature that kanna can cause
- Cannabis - Kanna is reported to have strong synergy with cannabis. Commonly reported effects from this combination are intense euphoria, less anxiety, and intensified visual effects. The appetite enhancing effects of cannabis are greatly reduced whilst feelings of time distortion are greatly enhanced. The depth perception distortions that kanna often cause at high doses are much more likely to present themselves with this combination and with greater intensity. Suggestibility enhancement, novelty enhancement, humor enhancement and music enhancement from both compounds are enhanced greatly. It should be noted that this combination can feel very psychedelic with the ways that these enhancments manifest themsleves. The sedating effects from the cannabis may lessen the stimulatory effects of kanna but the prosocial effects of kanna can cover up the more introverted aspects of the cannabis high. Effects not often seen from either compound such as magnification, thought disorganization,thought loops, ego inflation, mild visual disconnection and diffraction can occur when they are combined together. Caution should be used with this combo as the experience can be overwhelming at high doses of each due to a rather unique body high in which the head and torso feel heavy but limbs feel lighter as well as dramatically enhanced increases in the auditory, visual, tactile and olfactory effects of each compound. This combination also increases the length of intoxication rleative to the comnsumption of either compound on their own.
- Caffeine - Kanna is reported to have synergy with caffeine, resulting in stronger stimulation with decreased anxiety and irritability. Other effects include an increased likelihood of cognitive euphoria and increased music appreciation, both effects tending to be rather inconsistent when caffeine is consumed on its own. Tactile enhancement and visual acuity enhancement become quite prominent. It should be noted that both compounds are known to increase heart rate and so caution should be used in determinig how often one uses these substances together and at what dose. Those with a weak heart should avoid this combination entirely. The prosocial effects of kanna are more pronounced with this combo although the empathy and affection aspects are reduced.
- Amphetamines - Kanna has a strong synergy with amphetamines with effects ranging greatly based on its method of administration. Oral administration alleviates the excess stimulation, irritability and anxiety seen with high doses whilst reversing the emotion suppresing effects of lower doses. The physical euphoria of both compounds is intensified greatly and the cognitive euphoria seen with higher doses is also greatly intensified. The effects of oral kanna on an amphetamine high can reliably make the experience feel more relaxing whilst decreasing (but not eliminating) the thought acceleration from the amphetamine. Effects that both compounds have in common such as brightness alteration, increased stamina and music enhancement become far more pronounced. This holds true for negative side effects of both compounds as well such as increased perspiration, dry mouth, appetite suppression, vasoconstriction, temporary erectile dysfunction, difficulty urinating and frequent urination, abnormal heartbeat, increased heart rate and increased bodily temperature, with these last three effects specifically, it should be comnsidered important that this combo is used sparingly. The empathogenic effects of kanna are greatly enhanced with this combo, as are the tactile enhancements and visual effects such as color enhancement, perspective distortions and depth perception distortions. Drifting from amphetamines is also more likely with the co-adminstartion of kanna although this rarely goes beyond level 2. Unique effects such as visual stretching and and low level visual disconnection is possible with this combo as well, especially if consumed during the amphetamine comedown.
- Alcohol - Kanna is reported to have strong synergy with alcohol, increasing the prococial effects of both substances as well as providing a strong sense of novelty enhancement and appreciation for nature. The warm body feelings of kanna are enhanced greatly with this combination, as are typical empathogenic desires for physical effection. Negative drawbacks to alcohol consumption such as irritability and tactile suppression are reduced whilst feelings of pain relief, muscle relaxation and motor control loss become more pronounced. Nausea and heartburn may be more of a risk for sensitive individuals and so those with a weak stomach should be cautious with their dosing. The visual effects of kanna are mostly reduced to color enhancement and a visual haze as the effects of alcohol seem to negate some of kanna's more hallucinogenic visual effects. It has been shown that SSRIs increase sensitivity to alcohol and may make the compound more neurotoxic than if it were taken on its own. For this reason, it is advised to use this combo sparingly if one should choose to try it
Toxicity and harm potential
This toxicity and harm potential section is a stub.
As a result, it may contain incomplete or even dangerously wrong information! You can help by expanding upon or correcting it.
Kanna is not known to be toxic on its own but it may be toxic when mixed with other substances that interact with serotonin or PDE4.
It is strongly recommended that one use harm reduction practices when using this substance.
A lethal dose of kanna on its own is not known to have occured, however it may be dangerous and even lethal when mixed with other substances.
Tolerance and addiction potential
Kanna is known to have a "reverse tolerance", similar to serotonergic antidepressants and kava kava, where in order to experience the strongest and most theraputic effects, a person must have taken kanna recently. This is often called "priming" and usually takes about a week of daily priming to experience the most intense effects. After about week of priming, continuing to use kanna at the same dose will not cause an increase or decrease in tolerance to its psychoactive effects.
Psychological dependence can be experienced with kanna, however is much less intense than the psychological dependence experienced with other stimulants such as amphetamine, and antidepressants such as fluoxetine. According to the manufacturers of Zembrin, kanna does not cause withdrawal symptoms, however some anecdotal reports describe mild physical withdrawal symptoms similar to, but less intense than the withdrawal symptoms experienced with SSRIs and stimulants.
This dangerous interactions section is a stub.
As such, it may contain incomplete or invalid information. You can help by expanding upon or correcting it.
Warning: Many psychoactive substances that are reasonably safe to use on their own can suddenly become dangerous and even life-threatening when combined with certain other substances. The following list provides some known dangerous interactions (although it is not guaranteed to include all of them).
Always conduct independent research (e.g. Google, DuckDuckGo, PubMed) to ensure that a combination of two or more substances is safe to consume. Some of the listed interactions have been sourced from TripSit. Combinations with the following substances can cause dangerously high serotonin levels. Serotonin syndrome requires immediate medical attention and can be fatal if left untreated.
- MAOIs - Such as banisteriopsis caapi, syrian rue, phenelzine, selegiline, and moclobemide.
- Serotonin releasers - Such as MDMA, 4-FA, methamphetamine, methylone and αMT.
- SSRIs - Such as citalopram and sertraline
- SNRIs - Such as tramadol and venlafaxine
This legality section is a stub.
As such, it may contain incomplete or wrong information. You can help by expanding it.
Kanna is not known to be controlled, regulated or illegal in any country except for the United States as well as the United Kingdom.
- United States: Kanna is uncontrolled in the United States by federal law. This means all parts of the plant and its extracts are legal to cultivate, buy, possess, and distribute (sell, trade or give) without a license or prescription. If sold as a supplement, sales must conform to U.S. supplement laws. If sold for consumption as a food or drug, sales are regulated by the FDA.
- Louisiana: Kanna is a controlled substance in Louisiana. It is not controlled anywhere else in the United States.
- United Kingdom: Kanna is illegal to produce, supply, or import under the Psychoactive Substance Act, which came into effect on May 2016.
- APA formatted reference
Please see the citation formatting guide if you are having trouble properly formatting citations.
- Gillman, P. K. (2005). "Monoamine oxidase inhibitors, opioid analgesics and serotonin toxicity". British Journal of Anaesthesia. 95 (4): 434–441. doi: . eISSN 1471-6771. ISSN 0007-0912. OCLC 01537271. PMID 16051647.
- Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 (Legislation.gov.uk) | http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2016/2/contents/enacted