September 12, 2023

Is Smoking Kava Safe?

Kava is known for its relaxing and anti anxiety effects. Usually a drink made out of the root is consumed to reap its benefits, but it can also be smoked. People who have been struggling to quit smoking often turn to herbal remedies such as kava for assistance. However, it’s important to know that smoking kava is not safe and could damage your health. Read on to learn more about this herb and what you need to be aware of before attempting to smoke it.

Kavalactones are a group of chemicals that give kava its calming properties. They interact with the limbic system of the brain and impact neurotransmitter receptors that produce feelings of euphoria and relaxation. Kava isn’t a psychedelic, unlike LSD and magic mushrooms, but it does have some psychoactive qualities. Those with sensitive minds may experience slight visual alterations such as color distortions and altered sense of time, but these effects aren’t as strong as those from taking other psychedelic substances.

Smoking kava destroys the potent compounds that make it so beneficial, and even brewing it in boiling water reduces the efficacy of kava. The heat from the combustion process can break down the kavalactones and cause them to lose their sedative qualities. UF researchers, led by Chengguo Xing, Ph.D., professor and associate chair of the department of medicinal chemistry in the College of Pharmacy, and Ramzi Salloum, Ph.D., associate professor of pharmacology and health outcomes research in the College of Medicine, have received funding to investigate if an AB-free kava regimen can help tobacco smokers reduce their smoking-related lung carcinogenesis risk.


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