Is Kava Addictive? Consuming Kava Safely | Botanic Tonics

Is Kava Addictive? Consuming Kava Safely | Botanic Tonics

Reviewed by Erin Berthold

Is Kava Addictive? Consuming Kava Safely

Kava, or kava kava, is a brownish brew made from the ground roots of the kava plant that has been popular in South Pacific Islands like Fiji, Samoa, and Papua New Guinea for centuries.[1] There, traditional kava has been leveraged in ceremonies and social gatherings to help stimulate creativity, produce pleasing feelings, and bring people together.

While the United States Food and Drug Administration doesn’t classify kava as an addictive substance, kava should be consumed in a safe and informed manner to reduce potential risks or unwanted side effects.[2]

So, is kava addictive? The short answer is no. According to recent studies, kava does not trigger addiction or withdrawal symptoms.[3] Read on to learn more about kava’s journey from history into the mainstream wellness space, the potential effects of kava, and tips on how to consume it safely. 

Kava Safety and Potential Side Effects

Most of us are familiar with today’s common stimulants like alcohol, nicotine, and coffee. These stimulants can be consumed without becoming addicted, but they can also lead to more severe dependency when not consumed safely or in moderation. 

Kava, however, does not share this commonality. 

Studies have shown that consuming kava does not result in dependency or an increased desire for use when consumed repeatedly over time.[4] So you can put your kava addiction concerns to rest.

Potential Side Effects of Kava

That said, it’s important to understand the potential side effects of kava, especially if you are newer to trying it. Kava use can result in any of the following side effects:[5]

  • Nausea
  • Upset stomach
  • Headaches

But not to worry. These side effects don’t happen to everyone. Plus, consuming kava safely and in the correct, recommended dosages can help you avoid these potential side effects altogether. In fact, drinking kava or consuming kava extract actually has great benefits when used correctly.

What to Expect From Kava

Kava is commonly used to ward off the effects of issues like occasional anxiety and help relax the muscles.[6] Unsurprisingly, many people find that taking kava at night can help promote better sleep. It’s believed that there is also a link between kava and sex.

Additionally, Kava has anti-inflammatory properties and can play a helpful role in reducing inflammation in the body.[7]

In short, if you’re looking for a burst of focus, a wave of calm, or a drink to hold when your alcohol-imbibing pals invite you to happy hour, kava offers a new alternative. Below, check out our top tips for safe kava consumption.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Safe Kava Consumption

Get the most out of your kava tonic or supplements by following the dos and don’ts of how to safely consume it. 

#1 DON’T Drink Kava and Drive

This is an important one for kava drinkers. Everyone knows you shouldn’t get behind the wheel after a night of beers or vodka sodas. While you won’t fail a breathalyzer test if an officer pulls you over, kava use can still impair your driving, creating potentially dangerous conditions on the road.

Kava is a muscle relaxer, which means it can make you slower to react and respond to your surroundings. As a result, it is not recommended to drive after ingesting kava of any kind. Stick to consuming a kava beverage at home, or plan to have a designated driver with you if enjoying it in a public space. 

#2 DO Consult Your Doctor First

Just like any other substance, it’s important to consult with your doctor before trying it out—especially if you’re living with an illness or underlying health condition. For example, it is not recommended to consume kava if you are currently taking anti-depressant medication.[8]

Before trying kava, ask your doctor if they recommend it based on your existing health conditions. They will have the inside scoop on whether consumption makes sense for you, given your prescriptions and health profile.

#1 DON’T Consume More than 250mg Daily

It is common for people to wonder: is kava safe? When consumed correctly, yes. Even for kava, too much of a good thing does exist. It’s important to exercise caution and make sure you consume a safe amount of kava. The exact amount of kava a person can safely consume depends on their weight and other personal factors, but typically, it is not recommended for any person to consume more than 250 milligrams per day. 

Safe amounts of kava also depend on: 

  • Your weight
  • How long you’ve been taking kava
  • The type of kava you take

Attitudes vary on what the “right” amount of kava to take is, experts agree that your daily dose shouldn’t top 250 mg.[9] Most newcomers will be happy with an amount far below the 250mg ceiling, too. Our advice? Start small and work your way up until you find a dosage that feels right for you.

Try Kava Safely from Botanic Tonics

One more bonus tip for the list: Do buy kava from a reputable seller. Like CBD or kratom, kava’s surge in popularity means suppliers need to produce safe, quality-tested kava supplements

That’s where Botanic Tonics comes in. Our feel free tonics and capsules are made with natural ingredients like kava, lion’s mane, and rhodiola, which we source responsibly from around the world. Our products are made in the USA and contain safe serving sizes, so you can consume kava confidently. 

Learn more about our high-quality kava products and explore our collection today.


  1. Britannica. Kava. 
  2. National Institutes of Health. FDA Issues Consumer Advisory for Dietary Supplements Containing Kava.
  3. Journal of Clinical Medicine. An Updated Review on the Psychoactive, Toxic and Anticancer Properties of Kava.
  4. Journal of Clinical Medicine. An Updated Review on the Psychoactive, Toxic and Anticancer Properties of Kava.
  5. Scientific Reports. Identification of a Kavain Analog with Efficient Anti-inflammatory Effects. 
  6. New Yorker. Kava and the Rise of Healthy New York. 
  7. Scientific Reports. Identification of a Kavain Analog with Efficient Anti-inflammatory Effects. 
  8. UCLA. Ask the Doctors - What are the risks and benefits of kava? 
  9. Nutrients. Kava as a Clinical Nutrient: Promises and Challenges. 

About The Author

Erin Berthold Botanic Tonic

Erin Berthold, PhD

Erin Berthold is the R&D Director at Botanic Tonics. She holds her PhD in Pharmaceutics from the University of Florida. There she studied the interaction potential between mitragynine and cannabidiol, two compounds from complex natural products. She is passionate about developing creative and alternative options for individuals suffering from substance use disorders.

Erin earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2011. Prior to going back to obtain her PhD, she worked in manufacturing, quality control, engineering, and quality assurance roles across regulated industry at pharmaceutical, medical device, and dietary supplement companies.

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