What Does Kava Feel Like?
When it comes to any psychoactive plant, everyone’s experience will be different. However, one universal effect of consuming kava is a tingly, numbing sensation on the tongue. Enthusiasts have also reported feeling:
- Gently euphoric
Therefore, kava’s effects are often compared to those of alcohol, with less acuteness and no hangover. One notable reason for this is that the "active ingredients" in kava, called "kavalactones," may potentiate the activity of GABA-A receptors. In comparison, alcohol mimics the effects of GABA in the brain. For those unfamiliar, GABA is a neurotransmitter (a chemical messenger in the brain) that can reduce a cell's ability to make, send, or receive messages from other cells.
There are currently 18 known kavalactones. Six have been identified as “major kavalactones” and include:
Besides potentiating GABA-A receptors, a study conducted in 2012 found that yangonin can bind with CB1 receptors
. The research suggests that this interaction may reduce anxiety. Interestingly, THC also binds to these receptors, which brings about the pain-modulating effects of cannabis.