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Kava is a plant native to the Western Pacific.


Kava consumption is associated with a decrease in anxiety and a more relaxed state, without causing cognitive impairment.[1]

Effects of kava vary by strain, similar to other plants including cannabis and kratom.

Mechanism of Action[edit]

The exact mechanism of action of kava has not been established, but it is believed that it is primarily from GABAA potentiation, MAOI properties, CB1 receptor agonism, and inhibition of reuptake of norepinephrine and dopamine.

Legality and Availability[edit]

United States[edit]

In the United States, the sale of kava as a dietary supplement is approved. Products containing kava can be purchased in stores and online.[2]


The sale of kava was prohibited in 2002, but the ban was lifted in 2012. Health Canada has not approved any kava products for human consumption. The herb can still be sold, just not labeled for human consumption.

United Kingdom[edit]

The sale of kava for human consumption is prohibited. However, possession is legal, and import is legal as long as the products are not labeled for human consumption.


France, the Netherlands, and Switzerland have legalized and regulated the sale of kava products.[3]

The sale of kava products (but not personal possession) was banned in Germany from 2002 to 2014. After pressure from Pacific nations to reconsider the ban, Germany lifted the ban, but put strict regulations in place.


  1. http://www.nature.com/npp/journal/v28/n2/full/1300052a.html
  2. https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=kava
  3. https://web.archive.org/web/20081219043150/http://www.ipfsaph.org/cds_upload/kopool_data/FAOLEX_0/unknown_net60412.pdf