An age-old stimulant is back. Kanna Drugs are more popular than ever. This legal drug which was discovered by hunter-gatherers from South Africa is widely available in smart shops in the Netherlands. Sniffing, chewing, smoking or drinking Kanna tea… all are possible. Curious about the Kanna experiences and effects? We know all about it.

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What are Kanna Drugs?

Kanna drugs are derived from the Kanna Plant (Sceletium Tortuosum). Dried plant remains or roots from this green pleasure plant have been in use for centuries. Kanna drugs were discovered in the south of Africa by hunters back in the Stone Age. They lived through violent times where battles and fighting were the order of the day. To recover from their trauma they started to chew kanna. Probably so as to drive out from their minds the images of beheadings or other gruesome images. But then later on, kanna was used for a completely different purpose.

There are great stories about the Khoikhoi peoples, once known as Hottentots. Putting it mildly, they would use Kanna in those days to get out of their heads. They had visions, got stoned and chilled, had laughing fits and if they had a bit too much Kanna root they might even lose consciousness. Many years later Kanna wasn’t just being chewed. Sniffing kanna became increasingly popular and and the plant was also smoked to produce a pleasant high. Dutch settlers who later in history set foot in the country where kanna originates called it literally ‘chew-stuff’. There are no actual proven stories but it is suspected that our fellow countrymen were also able to appreciate a kanna trip.

Illustration of a Khoikhoi / Hottentot smoking

Thinking of Buying Kanna?

Nowadays, kanna is widely used in the Western World. Often for recreational use or for tripping or spacing out. But just as the hunters from the Stone Age had discovered, kanna also has a medicinal effect. This spaceplant is therefore used regularly to counter anxiety and depression. Kanna tea is popular for this purpose, as is sniffing kanna.

You can buy kanna in all kinds of forms in both offline and online smart shops. Dried and shredded kanna leaves, crushed kanna (normal), kanna seeds for cultivating your own kanna plant and the popular and very strong kanna extract. The last one mentioned is far and away the most used because the effect of the extracts is many times stronger than when you use pure kanna.

Sniffing, Smoking or Chewing Kanna

Kanna drugs can be used in many different ways:

  • The oldest and most traditional method of taking this stimulant is chewing. In contrast to many other drugs, chewing kanna is not particularly nasty. The sap which comes out of the plant material or roots has to be swallowed. You are also supposed to keep the stuff in your mouth for a while.
  • Sniffing kanna is becoming increasingly popular. This could be on account of the taste which some users liken to that of cocaine. Sniffing kanna gets it into your bloodstream really quickly and the effect is felt the fastest.
  • Kanna was also often smoked by ancient peoples. Usually in combination with other herbs or spices. The taste is described as soft and pleasant. It’s often compared to liquorice.
  • Any drugs which can be smoked can often be vaped as well. Kanna extracts are good for vaping from around 190 degrees Celsius. This too has a liquorice-like taste.

Kanna Tea

There is yet another way in which this legal drug can be consumed. Namely as kanna tea. You can make this yourself but there are also special Kanna teabags. A great relaxing mix of kanna, honey and valerian root which you simply put in your cup with hot water. The result is a chilled, lazy, laid-back and relaxed feeling.

Kanna Effects

Kanna is a versatile drug which has a whole range of effects. The drug is used for both medicinal and recreational purposes. There are few drug types which can have so many different effects on a person. Kanna effects are:

  • Relaxing and happy
  • Helps counter anxiety, stress and depression
  • Socially stimulating
  • Sensitivity to touch
  • In some cases, increased libido
  • Energy boost
  • Comparable to a mild XTC trip

Kanna effects are different for everyone. You have to try it to find out what it does for you. The dosage too is different for everyone. Recommended doses are:

  • Chewing: 50 to 150 mg low - 200 to 400 mg average - 1 gramme high
  • Sniffing: 20 to 50 mg low - 75 to 125 mg average - 250 to 500 mg high
  • Smoking and vaping: 150 to 250 mg average - 500 to 750 mg high
  • Making your own tea: 200 to 500 mg average - 1 gramme to 1.5 grammes high

These are the recommended doses for pure kanna drugs. Kanna effects are often only achieved with an average to high dosage. Kanna extracts are many times stronger. For dosages with these, consult the user guide.

Kanna Experiences

Internet forums are full of kanna trip reports and kanna experiences. To save you time and trouble we have tracked down all kanna experiences from users so you can have a good idea as to what to expect. Many users compare a kanna trip to a mild form of XTC. You feel happy and relaxed but very stimulated at the same time.

Other users don’t agree with this and don’t feel any intense euphoria as with XTC. These users often report a marked increase in self-confidence, become (unknowingly) enthusiastic and are nice to everyone. Thresholds become lower and choices are made more quickly. This group compares kanna with cocaine, Adderall or a mild form of speed.

Low Dosages

What is also apparent when we review the kanna trip reports: many users are sceptical about the effect when they take the recommended dosages (as stated on the packaging). These dosages are very much formulated on the safe side and are therefore a bit low sometimes. We would therefore suggest that a slightly higher dosage of kanna will give the desired effect more quickly. Are you not getting what you expected after using kanna? Then it’s certainly possible to increase the dosage.

But take the possible side effects into consideration. Kanna raises blood pressure. A small overdose can result in nausea and headache. This often happens with other drugs as well. A very high dose of kanna drugs may therefore lead to heart palpitations which will cause anxiety rather than helping it. In the same way as for aged cheese, Banisteriopsis and medications, kanna absolutely may not be combined with MAO inhibitors as this could lead to intense anxiety attacks. In addition, it is extremely dangerous to combine it with MDMA due to the large amount of serotonin released as a result. Combining with other drugs is any case not to be recommended.

So: do you really want to experience an intense effect from kanna? Then don’t take the lowest dose but simply up the dosage. But make sure not to take an overdose. Always stay below the maximum dosage as indicated earlier and don’t combine with other drugs or MAO inhibitors.

Is Kanna Addictive?

We understand perfectly well that you’ll now be asking yourself whether kanna is addictive. After all it makes you feel good and helps you in all kinds of ways. But kanna drugs have not been proven as addictive.

Just like many other soft drugs, kanna works on the serotonin and dopamine receptors in your brain. As a result your brain experiences this as a reward. No scientific research has been done into the degree to which you can become addicted to kanna. Even so, the use of kanna is constantly not recommended for that reason.

View a video clip here with information about kanna and see how it’s sniffed (Dutch with subtitles).