Kava Serving Guidelines: How Much Kava for a Safe and Enjoyable Experience

Kava Serving Guidelines: How Much Kava for a Safe and Enjoyable Experience

Table of Contents

What is the right amount of kava to help ensure you reap all the happy and carefree effects without overdoing it? Let's start with what we know: Clinical studies have told us anywhere from 20 to 300 milligrams is a safe, effective amount of kava

While this is a helpful piece of intel, it doesn't tell us much about the differences between a good amount for first-timers and for folks with more experience. Truth be told, kava isn't always straightforward regarding servings, so it's helpful to have more guidance, especially when you’re just getting started.     

So, without further ado, let's get into how much kava to use, whether it's your first time or your 100th. 

What Is Kava? 

kava kava drink and powder on a table in the pacific islands
Kava is a traditional beverage made from the roots of the kava plant, which grows across the South Pacific. It's renowned for its calming ability, but many people also use it socially or for ceremonial purposes because the effects of kava are gently euphoric with a dash of chattiness. 

Although once only found within Pacific Island communities, you can now find kava around the world. It's also transformed from traditional drinks into new kava products and formulations, like our Kava + THC Dark Chocolate Bar

What Are the Effects of Kava?

woman relaxing on the beach on a hammock

Kava's powers come from compounds called kavalactones, which interact with the GABA receptors in our brains and essentially hit the 'calm down' button for us. 

But kava offers more than just a sense of calm. With the right amount of kava, you'll feel:
  • Relaxed
  • Talkative
  • Clear-headed
  • Carefree
  • Mildly euphoric

What Factors Affect Kava Serving Amounts?

Unlike other familiar psychoactive ingredients (THC and alcohol, to name just two of many), researchers haven't found any evidence that body weight, sex, metabolism, or genetics affect how we each experience the same amount of kava. 

Some of the differences boil down to an effect called reverse tolerance, but there are a few other ideas floating around about why the experience differs from one person to the next:

Kava Quality and Type

Just like there are many strains of cannabis, there are also many strains (cultivars) of kava. The two kinds you'll find most are noble kava and tudei kava. They differ in their effects and kavalactone profiles. 

Between the two, noble is a higher-quality kava. With noble kava, you'll get a less intense experience but much more pleasant effects overall. When side effects do happen, they are rare and typically mild. 

On the other end of the spectrum is tudei kava, usually considered a lower-quality kava. Yes, the effects are more intense, but there can be uncomfortable lingering side effects that last up to two days (which is why it's called "tu-dei"). 

There is some speculation that our bodies absorb each kind of kavalactone differently, perhaps leading to these effects. But these differences could also impact how much kava you should take because noble kava's gentler effects might require more frequent or larger amounts compared to the potent and challenging effects of tudei kava. 

Frequency of Use

preliminary study tells us that a higher amount of kavalactones may cause stronger effects than several small amounts throughout the course of a day. But interestingly, the smaller amounts last longer in the body. 

This suggests that the more you consume kava, even in smaller amounts, the longer you'll reap the effects as the kavalactones build up concentration over time

How To Determine the Right Amount of Kava 

With those caveats out of the way, let's break down kava servings into more actionable information. How much kava should you use? First, let's look at a safe amount. 

What Is a Safe Amount of Kava?

According to clinical trials, the safe daily serving range for kavalactones is between 20 and 300 mg. Importantly, according to the Encyclopedia of Toxicology, "Clinical studies have not revealed any chronic toxicity."

But, whatever your experience with kava, remember the golden rule: start low and go slow. The following serve as very general recommendations. Your experience will be uniquely yours.

What Is a Starter Kava Serving?

Begin with a serving on the lower end of the safe spectrum listed above. We'd recommend a piece of our Kava Chocolate Bar + THC bar. At 50 mg per piece, this is the perfect starting place. 

What if you’re drinking kava? A standard bowl of kava contains something close to 250 mg of kavalactones. Just remember there could be as much as 3 to 20 percent variation with traditional preparations like this. So, if you’re drinking kava in a traditional setting, start with a smaller or partial bowl as a serving size.

What Is a Good Amount of Kava for Experienced Kava-Lovers?

Once you have a handle on the effects of kava and what to expect from a standard starter amount, you can experiment. 

That might mean two to three pieces of Kava Chocolate (100 mg) or drinking a full bowl (roughly 250 mg) in the next session. 

Keep the "start low and go slow" mantra in mind to help keep effects predictable and comfortable. Then, as you increase, pay attention to the shifting nuances in effects. 

For example, the Textbook of Natural Medicine suggests that a 45 to 80 mg amount of kavalactones three times a day may have relaxing properties, while a higher amount of 180 to 250 mg of kavalactones right before bed may make it easier to fall asleep

Note Traditional Kava Servings

When we discuss a safe amount of kava, it's important to highlight how Pacific Islanders consume kava versus the guidelines gleaned from a Western perspective. 

In many South Pacific communities, it's nothing for kava drinkers to consume multiple cups of kava each night. Some estimates say that's anywhere from 750 to 8,000 mg of kavalactones per day — well beyond what's recommended based on the clinical studies we highlighted above.

How is there such a difference between these two perspectives? In Fiji, Vanuatu, and Tonga, kava is their culture, not a standardized ingredient. As Apo Aporosa, a researcher at the University of Waikato, explained to National Geographic, "We have been drinking this way for 3000 years, so pharmacological guides don't mean a lot to us." 

Serving amount standards are designed with totally different goals: consistency and safety in medicine and reducing risks, all while facilitating monitoring and dose adjustment. A standard serving recommendation is the least risky but can also be quite different from what serving kava looks like in real life, outside standardized measurements.

Getting the Amount of Kava Right: Start Low and Go Slow

woman enjoying a chocolate bar

Whether you're a beginner or more experienced, the key to kava is to start with a small amount and gradually increase as you become familiar with the effects. For some folks, that may mean a 50 mg piece of our Kava Chocolate Bars hits the spot from the get-go, while others may choose to slowly add a few more pieces to their session to ramp up the effects. 

The low-and-slow approach lets you ride the wave of relaxation and clear-headedness with predictability and consistency. As you explore, remember that each person's experience with kava is remarkably unique. Using a bit of diligence will help you get the balance right.

Until next time, happy exploring, and keep your mind in mind. 

FDA Disclaimer:
 The statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The efficacy of these products has not been confirmed by FDA-approved research. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. All information presented here is not meant as a substitute for or alternative to information from health care practitioners. Please consult your healthcare professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before using any product. The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act requires this notice.

Related Posts

How To Create The Best Cannabis Experience For Newbies

July 1, 2022

How To Create The Best Cannabis Experience For Newbies
Overcoming Reverse Tolerance: The Key to Mastering Kava’s Effects

February 11, 2024

Overcoming Reverse Tolerance: The Key to Mastering Kava’s Effects


All Education

Related Products

Kava + THC Dark Chocolate Bar
Kava + THC Dark Chocolate Bar
Kava + Ashwagandha Dark Chocolate Bar
Kava + Ashwagandha Dark Chocolate Bar
Previous post Back to blog Next post