Therapeutic Uses, Effects, Addiction


Kava is most frequently used to ease stress, insomnia and anxiety (as a treatment for panic disorder, social phobia, PTSD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder etc) but has many other benefits. Kava can also be a great-antidepressant, helps with muscle tension and muscular pain, neuropathic pain such as sciatica and even as an anti-craving substance that has helped many people come off benzodiazepines, alcohol and other drugs.


The effects of Kava can be felt within 5 minutes, and last for about 3-5 hrs on average can be felt for up to eight hours. Some report longer-term effects, including a feeling of mental clarity, patience, and an ease of acceptance for days after ingestion.

Effects include:

One of the best properties of kava is that it relaxes and eases stress and anxiety but does not make one ""loopy"", ""hazy"" or in any way mentally impaired.

Kava has been demonstrated to be a very effective treatment for anxiety; equal to Buspirone and Opipramol and more effective than valerian or St. John's Wort, without the side effects associated with benzodiazepines such as tolerance and negative cognitive effects and sedation.

Is it Addictive?

No. Kava is absolutely not addictive in any way and has been shown to have absolutely no withdrawal. In fact, Kava has what is known as a "reverse tolerance" where the amount needed at first to have an effect will be greater than the amount needed say, a month in the future. Some people report that they find little effect from kava their first few times using it and the best way to "break through" the initial tolerance is to take kava daily until you start to feel an effect.

Will it impair my functioning?

Due to kava's unique pharmacological profile, it does not impair mental functioning despite its relaxing properties. A study was conducted to establish the safety of kava (compared to a benzodiazepine and placebo) in operating a motor vehicle. The study found that "A medicinal dose of kava containing 180 mg of kavalactones does not impair driving ability, whereas 30 mg of oxazepam shows some impairment." However, if you have to question your ability to operate a motor vehicle or heavy machinery after drinking kava we always suggest you err on the side of caution and refrain from doing such. The safety of kava consumers is paramount. Be alert. If you're not, let someone else be and stay in the passengers seat.

What is kava dermopathy?

Kava dermopathy is a reversible skin condition that occurs in some kava drinkers after prolonged use. It results in dry, scaly skin and may itch or hurt. Some users have found straining most or all of the sediment out of the prepared kava to be helpful in preventing it. The dermopathy may actually continue to spread after use is discontinued, but should begin to recede and disappear within 2-3 weeks (most recover sooner).

Some users have found Alpha Hydroxy Acid therapeutic lotions (specifically AmLactin) to be the most aggressive treatment and seems to improve the condition the quickest. These lotions can cause irritation and discomfort if the skin is broken. However, for mild symptoms and/or when dermopathy first appears, it seems to be the most effective treatment. Moisturizing lotions have also been found to help in treating the symptoms of dermopathy (pain, dryness, etc). For more information on treatments, see link above.