Kanna Extract Disclaimer:

Kanna extract is a legal substance, but some extracts require a prescription in some countries. This ultimate guide is created to facilitate safety for people who decide to use Kanna and not medical advice. 


Sceletium tortuosum

Sceletium tortuosum is a South African psychoactive plant. It has different names, including kauwgoed, kougoed, gunna, channa, canna-root, canna, and Kanna. There’s a bit of confusion around the name, and this is because many plants are called gouged, canna, or Kanna. Kanna also shares the name with the eland antelope, which is a revered animal in the Hottentots and South African Bushmen cultures.

Kanna is a woody, hardy, and succulent plant with green fluid-filled leaves. The plant is easy to cultivate, and it’s popular among different ethnobotanical collectors. They mostly grow the plant to ferment and prepare its material.

As stated in the disclaimer above, Kanna is a legal substance gaining interest even outside South Africa. The active substances in the plant are mesembrenone and membrane. Many writers describe Kanna as a hallucinogen. However, it’s only a mildly psychoactive substance; sometimes, it’s used with other plants. Examples include dagga and cannabis.

People mostly consume Kanna by chewing it, but it can also be taken in capsules, tea, or smoked. It can also be made into finely powdered materials and snuffed to yield mood enhancement or a calm euphoria. This is together with decreased anxiety and a state of alertness. Kanna is also considered to be an empathogenic plant because it increases empathy and allows people to feel connected.

The Botany of Sceletium tortuosum

  • Name: Sceletium tortuosum (Linnaeus)
  • Family: Aizoaceae
  • Sub-family: Mesembryanthemoideae

The plant is also called Mesembryanthemum tortuosum L. Plants belonging to the Aizoaceae family are rich in alkaloids, with reports showing alkaloids in multiple species.

Sceletium tortuosum is a prostrate herbaceous plant that can grow up to 30cm. The plant has spreading branches of fleshy stems and fleshy roots as well. Its’ leaf is lanceolate-oblong, smooth, and unequal. These leaves are mostly 1cm wide and 4cm long, and they are fleshy, angular, and thick. The leaves mostly grow in groups of up to five leaves, and this is without a stalk. Kanna leaves mostly grow directly on the branches. Also, the fruits are angular, and they bear small seeds.

There are many species under the Sceletium genus. Examples include S. strictum, S. namaquense, S. joubertii, S. expansum, and S. anatomicum. Members of this genus are closely identical, and people confuse them with Mesembryanthemum. Kanna is mostly propagated via cuttings or seeds. The seeds are grown by scattering them only succulent soil or cactus before watering.

The Confusion Around the Name Kanna

Botanists often use common names in identifying plants, but this can cause many problems over time. For example, Soma has been identified as Ephedra, fly agaric, or Syrian Rue. Kanna also falls short when it comes to available taxonomic records, even in historical records.

According to historical records, South African Hottentots chewed many plants, and they were either called gouged, Kanna, or channa. Sceletium tortuosum is known to be among these plants. Despite the fact that Kanna is mainly identified as Sceletium tortuosum, there are many cases where the common name is also applied. For example, Leonotis Leonurus, which is a lion’s tail, is called Kanna. Salsola dealata is also known as a Ganna.

The Kanna Extract Experience

Initially, Kanna was considered to be an agent of intoxication and pleasure. People mainly used the plant for its inebriating effects, and they are historically considered to be mysterious entheogen. The plant is also believed to be able to produce stimulating and sedative effects. There are so many reports about Kanna, but the truth is that it’s a gentle entheogen with a subtle effect.

Preparing Kanna Extract

The Kanna plant is known for its rich alkaloidal content, but it has to be properly prepared before use. Kanna is known to contain oxalic acids like the genera Sceletium and Mesembryanthemum. Oxalic acid is known for its ability to produce severe allergies and irritation. Therefore, it needs to be broken down by fermentation.

According to history, the plant is harvested in October because it’s most potent during this period. After harvest, it is crushed and left in a container for a few days so it can ferment. After that, it is then left for another two to three days in the sun before the container is opened and the bag mixed. The container is covered again and placed under the sun for a week. It is taken out of the container and left to dry under the sun.

After drying, the plan is powdered or chopped and ready for use. This is not the only method used in preparing Kanna extract. Some decide to toast the fresh plant on coals to dry out, then powder it.

Many products are on the market, and they are either dried or in other extracts. You can also find elixirs and tinctures in some shops or herbal centers. Some also sell it in combination with other medicines.

What is Kanna Extract?

The alkaloids in the plant are alcohol soluble. Therefore, soaking the powder in 99% isopropyl alcohol or food-grade ethanol to dissolve the alkaloids. The solution is left for some time before it is squeezed, after which the powder is filtered and discarded. After that, the solvent is evaporated out of the extract.

It’s important to note that residual alcohol is unsafe and toxic to consume. After completely washing the solution, the extract can be mixed with other materials or kept as a rein.

What to Expect

Effects of Kanna

In traditional reports, it is widely believed that Kanna causes excited intoxication, but the effects are different in small doses. These effects include an increase in self-confidence, a decrease in inhibition, a feeling of well-being, and relief of anxiety and stress.

The effects can also include feelings of meditative tranquillity and euphoria. There are also reports from many users highlighting that the substance enhanced their level of focus. The report also shows that Kanna can be used as an aphrodisiac, as it can increase sensitivity to touch and skin.

The combination produces mild visions in higher doses and when combined with cannabis. According to reports, the common side effects of the substance include depression, loss of appetite, and headaches.


As mentioned earlier, there’s up to 1.5% alkaloid in Kanna. The main components are mesembrenone and membrane. Isolations of the plant yield 0.2% mesembrenone and 0.86% membrane. In small quantities, there are many other alkaloids in the plant, including tortuosamine.

Alkaloids like tortuosamine, mesembrenol, mesembrenone, and mesembrine are believed to be psychoactive. There are also reports that tryptamines occur in the plant, as N, N-DMT, and methyltryptamine were found in the Delosperma species.

The membrane is a serotonin reuptake inhibitor, and it only has little effect on phosphodiesterase 4. Mesembrenone on the other hand is a more balanced serotonin reuptake inhibitor, and it can boost energy levels by blocking phosphodiesterase 4. Reports also show that Kanna is a cannabinoid agonist and an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor.


The plant contains oxalic acid, which is highly astringent and acidic. This is the main reason why Kanna extract must be heat-treated or fermented to ensure proper degradation of the oxalates.


Here’s what you should know about the dosing for the powder and the extract:

Kanna Powder

The powdered substance is orally taken and held in the mouth for up to 10 minutes before being swallowed. Basically, 2g of the substance produces a tranquil mellowness within 30 minutes. On the other hand, 5g can ease symptoms of anxiety and depression. Higher doses cause entheogenic effects. These effects include noises in the ears, congested feelings in the head, gagging reflexes, tingling in the mouth, loss of appetite, analgesia, and mydriasis.

Kanna Extract

For cognitive effects, the dose of the extract is 25 to 50mg per day. However, psychiatrists in South Africa prescribe 100 to 200mg per day for major anxiety and depression. According to research, a daily dose of 6mg/kg of body weight is safe to consume.


Microdosing involves taking a sub-perceptual dose of a substance like psilocybin to enjoy its benefits. These benefits include enhanced levels of focus, creativity, and energy. Most microdosing regimes use compounds that have a similar structure to dopamine or serotonin. Examples are phenethylamines or tryptamines, both of which are 5-HT2A agonists.

Today, people are experimenting with this dosing approach using different psychoactive substances. To learn more about microdosing, we recommend reading Microdose Bros Blog.

Legality of Kanna

Is Kanna Legal?

All forms of Sceletium tortuosum are legal in every country when sold as herbal preparations. You can find them in most herbal shops and stores. The main thing to note is that some countries have regulations regarding the claims made for herbal medicine. With that, it’s mostly sold according to its traditional use. It is sold as Zembrin in South Africa, and this is a prescription-only substance.’


Since it’s legal in all countries, sourcing Kanna is easy. However, with respect to claims around its pharmaceutical and healthcare use, there are a few restrictions. With that, it’s relatively easy to find Kanna and its products. Like other products out there, the only issue faced was with respect to confirming how the plant was sourced. Ethical considerations are also an important area to consider.

You can find Kanna and its extracts in many herbal stores. The extract is available in different potencies; some sell them as tinctures.

Ethical Considerations

Media and trade rapidly connect people in different parts of the world today. Also, people now use plants in different contexts and locations that deviate from their original indigenous cultures. Sceletium tortuosum occurs in the wild of South Africa, and the Red List of South African Plants lists it as a Least Concern as of 2005.

To ensure that no threats are posed to the wild population, extracts, cuttings, seeds, or dried herbs shouldn’t be sourced from the wild. For this purpose and to preserve the wild population, it’s best to cultivate the plant. The good thing is that Kanna is easy to cultivate, and the cultivated species contain the same amount of alkaloids as the wild species.

History and Stats

The first record of the Kanna extract was during the 1600s in South Africa by a Dutch explorer. There is much mystery around the background of the plant, even though it is now called Sceletium tortuosum. Reports also highlight that the plant for used for mood-altering benefits, especially in prehistoric times.

Peter Floris was the first to report Kanna, and this was during his voyage to the Indies from 1611 to 1615. Kanna resembled the Koran ginseng in his account, but he didn’t obtain fresh plant samples. Jan van Riebeeck in 1662, wrote about the indigenous use of the plan in different South African tribes.

Reports also identify that other South African groups and the Hottentot consumed channa, canna, or Kanna during healing dances and rituals. The reports also show that the plant was used as a vision-inducing hallucinogen. However, these explorers did not provide information about the botanical sources of the plant.

At the end of the nineteenth century, reports started to emerge showing that the plant is from the Mesembryanthemum spp. Kanna became associated with Carpobotus edulis, Sceletium anatomicum, Sceletium tortuosum, and Sceletium expansum.

Today, interest in Kanna in the pharmaceutical and medical space continues to increase, with the pharmaceutical drug being called Zembrin.

Benefits of Kanna Extract

The compounds found in Kanna are mesembranol, mesembrenol, mesembrenone, and mesembrine. They are all collectively called mesembrine alkaloids. These alkaloids offer a range of health benefits to the body, and here’s an overview of their benefits:

Provides Mood Support

Kanna is a great option for anyone looking for a natural way to support mood. Preclinical data shows that Kanna acts on serotonin and phosphodiesterase 4. This synergism in the central nervous system allows Kanna to elevate their mood and promote relaxation.

The alkaloids help enhance serotonin, the reuptake of serotonin in the brain to increase serotonin levels. Basically, the compound delays neurons so that serotonin is not absorbed quickly. With that, there’s an increase in the availability and activity of the brain and body.

Kanna is a game-changer when it comes to handling emotions because serotonin supports behavior, mood, and other nervous functions. The interesting thing is that there is much clinical trial evidence supporting these claims.

Promotes a Healthy Stress Response

Even though stress cannot be completely avoided, there are many ways to nurture stress response, and this involves using Kanna. However, it’s important to note that this does not mean supporting mood. Reports show that Kanna supports cognitive ability and makes it emotionally stronger against stressors.

Delivers a Sense of Alert Serenity

Some people consider Kanna to be a chill pill. Its membrane alkaloids provide support for serotonin reuptake inhibition. This also enhances calmness and relaxation. It’s no surprise because serotonin is the happiness hormone. Therefore, enhancing the neurohormone helps increase alertness and a sense of mental well-being.

Supports Executive Function and Improves Cognitive Flexibility

Executive function includes high cognitive functions, including problem-solving, memory, and attention. It also encompasses self-control, decision-making, moral reasoning, and abstract thinking. The prefrontal cortex of the brain mediates most of these processes. Interestingly, studies show that Kanna provides support for executive functioning.  

Another study shows that Kanna extract improves cognitive flexibility, a subset of executive function.

Therapeutic Use

The pharmacology of Kanna is still being studied, and research continues to give interesting findings and reports. Currently available studies suggest that Sceletium tortuosum and Mesembrine extracts have antidepressant activities. Clinical studies show that Zembrin reduces stress and improves sleep.

Researchers also suggest that the substance can be useful for people with high blood pressure and stress. Although, these results are yet to be confirmed by human studies.

Kanna Risks and Side Effects

One of the risks of Kanna is oxalic acid, but this is not an issue if properly fermented during preparation. Do not consume fresh Kanna or partially fermented Kanna to avoid this risk.

Kanna inhibits serotonin reuptake; as such, it shouldn’t be taken with substances like tramadol, sibutramine, antipsychotics, warfarin, and St. John’s Wort. People who take antidepressants, hypnotics, sedatives, and anxiolytics should apply caution.

Basically, the combination of medications should be done with caution, and it’s best to first consult a doctor beforehand. Using Kanna with SSRIs can cause serotonin syndrome. Serotonin syndrome is characterized by anxiety, increased heart rate, insomnia, twitching, and tremors. Further increase in serotonin syndrome causes delirium, seizures, and even coma.


Many kinds of literature report that Kanna extract is cocaine-like or stringing stimulating. Considering the confusion around its name, it’s likely that there was a compound in the past that produced these effects. However, modern Kanna is without any of these strong effects.

Frequently Asked Questions

We have already covered a lot about Kanna above, but there are still questions that people usually ask. Here are answers to some of these frequently asked questions:

Is Kanna caffeine-free?

Kanna does not contain caffeine.

Is Kanna easy to grow?

Yes, the plant is very easy to grow, which can be done from cuttings or seeds. The seeds of Kanna are germinated like those of cacti. This is either finely spread on a surface of cactus soil or with the aid of a takeaway tek. Kanna grows in sandy, arid soils and only requires occasional watering.

How much Kanna extract should I take?

The amount of Kanna extract you take depends on the amount that is made. The dose of 10x extract is 2.0g, while that of 100x extract is 0.2g. In addition, the amount you take depends on the manufacturer. With that, it’s always advisable to check what the manufacturer recommends.

Can you die from taking Kanna?

Like every other substance, Kanna should be taken with care. Studies show that the substance should not be taken with SSRIs because it can cause serotonin syndrome. Extreme serotonin syndrome cases cause coma, which can be life-threatening.

What are the ways to use Kanna?

People use Kanna in many ways, and each method has its respective uniqueness. For example, vaporizing or smoking Kanna gives more relaxing and euphoric effects. On the other hand, drinking tea made of Kanna gives sedative effects. People also sniff Kanna, and this is for its fast action. Sniffing Kanna increases alertness and energy.

During the early time when the plant was first discovered, people would pick the plant and chew it after fermentation. These are the most common methods to make the active ingredients available.

The Takeaway

Sceletium tortuosum is also called Kanna, and it’s a powerful plant with strong historical records about its use. The substance is rich in alkaloids called mesembrine alkaloids, and they are known to offer multidimensional brain support. This includes enhancing executive function, alert serenity, healthy stress response, and cognitive flexibility.

If you want to enjoy the brain-supporting effects of Kanna, consider getting the Kanna Extract 40x on Microdose Bros Online Store and you can also buy magic truffles here. Contact us today if you have questions or want to share your experience with Kanna, psilocybin, or other psychedelic substances.