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CBD Vs. Kava: What You Need To Know

Herbal remedies have been making headlines with their potential to alleviate various health concerns. You’ve likely heard about CBD, but Kava might be a new name on your list. Both are plant-derived compounds that can help address pain, anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders. While they offer similar benefits, there are also distinct differences that might influence your choice. Let’s delve into each of them and see how they can contribute to your well-being.

Discovering CBD: What Is It?

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a non-psychoactive compound extracted from the Cannabis sativa plant, specifically the hemp variety. It’s part of a group of substances known as cannabinoids, which also include cannabigerol (CBG), cannabinol (CBN), and cannabichromene (CBC).

The human body houses a complex network called the endocannabinoid system (ECS), controlling numerous crucial functions such as pain, stress, sleep, memory, mood, and immunity. CBD interacts with the ECS to maintain a balanced state known as homeostasis, contributing to your overall health.

In short, CBD works with your whole body to provide relief from a multitude of conditions.

Kava Unveiled: What Is It?

Kava, derived from the Piper methysticum plant, is a traditional herbal remedy often used in the Pacific Islands. Its power lies in kavalactones, potent compounds that influence the brain’s neurotransmitters, specifically serotonin and dopamine.

Serotonin is responsible for feelings of happiness, calm, and focus, while dopamine drives motivation, productivity, and reward. Kava enhances the activities of these neurotransmitters, making it an excellent choice for neurological issues like anxiety and sleep disorders.

Kava works primarily on your brain, promoting a calm and content mental state.

Kava vs. CBD: Comparing Health Benefits

Kava’s Potential Benefits:

  • Encourages feelings of calm and wellbeing
  • Triggers feelings of euphoria
  • Improves sleep quality
  • Lifts mood
  • Reduces stress

CBD’s Potential Benefits:

  • Promotes relaxation
  • Enhances sleep quality
  • Eases pain
  • Lessens anxiety
  • Regulates immune function
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Relaxes muscles
  • Boosts mood

Despite these overlapping benefits, there are notable differences in their areas of focus. CBD offers broad-spectrum healing that aids in functioning multiple systems (cardiovascular, immune, digestive, metabolic), whereas kava delivers stronger results for specific neurological (brain-related) issues.

Are Kava and CBD Safe?

Kava and CBD have had a tumultuous journey, with periods of bans and legalizations due to safety concerns. However, recent research and clinical trials assert the safety of these herbal remedies, albeit with some cautions.

Kava and CBD can potentially cause side effects when taken in high doses or combined with certain medications or other supplements.

Potential side effects for Kava include:

  • Dizziness
  • Low blood pressure
  • Digestive issues
  • Headaches
  • Gastrointestinal upset
  • Dry skin

For CBD, these could include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Digestive issues

It’s advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before starting a CBD or Kava regimen to avoid potential interactions and side effects.

Finding the Right Dosage

Determining the right dose of CBD or Kava depends on factors such as the product’s potency, method of consumption, individual weight, and tolerance levels.

A typical CBD dose might be around 20mg, but the range can vary significantly. Some individuals might find relief with as little as 3mg, while others may require 75mg or more.

Kava dosage can range around 10 grams of raw root powder or 140-210 mg of pure kavalactones daily. Consuming more than 1,000mg of kavalactone daily for an extended period may trigger side effects.

As with any supplement, starting with a lower dose and gradually adjusting to find your ‘sweet spot’ is recommended.

Can You Mix CBD and Kava?

It might be tempting to combine the effects of Kava and CBD, but it’s usually not advisable. Their similar properties might lead to over-sedation, and the blood pressure-lowering effect of Kava could be exacerbated when combined with CBD. It’s best to start with one and adjust your dose over time.

Both Kava and CBD are safe, plant-based remedies offering a range of health benefits. Overall, CBD tends to provide more holistic support, while Kava delivers more focused results in the realm of mental health. Your choice between these two powerful herbal allies will depend on your specific health needs and personal preferences.

About the author

Holden Desalles is a journalist in the new wellness space, covering topics such as CBD, adaptogens, and nootropics. He was formerly a staff writer at the millennial lifestyle website Thought Catalog.

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