Native to South Africa, the remarkable properties of the Kanna plant — or Sceletium tortuosum — have fascinated human populations for centuries. Although this African herb has remained relatively unknown throughout history, usage of the plant for its mood-boosting and stress-relieving effects dates back to prehistoric times.
Today, Kanna’s applications remain relevant within the modern world. With the advent of the internet, information about Kanna for anxiety and focus is more accessible, and the plant is gaining newfound popularity as a cognitive enhancer.
Kanna for Anxiety & Focus: What the Research Says
For decades, most of the literature surrounding Sceletium tortuosum sought to evaluate the plant’s effects on mood, anxiety, and sleep. However, some newer research suggests that Kanna could, in fact, aid focus — whether during studying or other cognitive tasks.
In 2001, a South African company named PhytoNova began manufacturing Kanna extract as a pharmaceutical product called “Zembrin.” PhytoNova initially marketed Zembrin as an antidepressant, but the product quickly gained popularity among students and professionals in South Africa as a cognitive enhancer. Intrigued, researchers began conducting tests to evaluate Sceletium tortuosum’s potential utility as a focus-booster.
In one randomized, double-blind clinical study, the authors examined the effects of Zembrin on a healthy group of participants who were between 50 and 80 years old. After administering Zembrin to some of the subjects and a placebo to others, the researchers conducted a series of tests to gauge cognitive performance. They found that subjects given Zembrin demonstrated increased attention, focus, and motivation in comparison to the placebo, suggesting that taking Kanna for focus could be effective.
In a study published in 2018, another researcher detailed his clinical experiences using Sceletium tortuosum extract to treat several patients. In one case report, the author reported that one of his patients felt “more focused, more engaged, and not so socially distant” after using Kanna for ten days.
While the evidence behind Kanna’s effectiveness as a focus-booster is promising, the current body of research on Kanna for focus is limited. Further studies will be necessary before the plant’s nootropic value is clearly established, but for now, Kanna appears to be an effective study buddy.
Limitations and Challenges
If you’re interested in using Sceletium tortuosum to enhance your academic or professional performance, there are a few things that you should know.
For starters, like all botanical substances, Kanna use isn’t risk-free. Users have reported several side effects, and the plant could interact unfavorably with other substances. Thankfully, at present, most research suggests that Kanna is safe.
In one placebo-controlled study conducted in 2013, researchers set out to examine the safety of Kanna. They found that not only were there no adverse health effects in the Sceletium extract test groups but that Kanna for anxiety was well-tolerated. The study’s subjects did report side effects — such as headaches, abdominal pains, and upper respiratory tract infections — but they occurred more frequently among the placebo group. Meanwhile, some participants receiving Kanna described positive side effects, such as increased resilience to stress and improved sleep.
Other users using Kanna for focus have reported that the plant seems to interact with other substances, for better or for worse. For instance, some users have noted that Kanna synergizes with caffeine — one of the most popular study aids in the world — to produce overwhelming stimulation that can degrade focus. As a result, regular caffeine users should exercise caution before introducing Sceletium tortuosum into their study regimen.
Purchasing Kanna: What to Know
Evidence suggests that Kanna is an effective study buddy — and thankfully, at present, it’s an accessible one, too!
As of this writing, Kanna is legal to purchase, sell, distribute, and use in the majority of the world with some exceptions:
- United States: Louisiana is the only state where the plant is strictly prohibited having been declared an illegal substance via 2005’s Louisiana State Act 159.
- United Kingdom: Kanna was defined as a prohibited substance per the country’s Psychoactive Substance Act of 2016
- South Africa: As a plant, Sceletium tortuosum is uncontrolled, but the country’s Medicines Control Council regulates Kanna sold as an herbal product or medicine.
Like many botanicals, Kanna is available in a variety of product formats. If you’re interested in using Kanna for anxiety or focus, it’s worth examining the differences between each Kanna product in order to maximize the value of your purchase.
For instance, Kanna powder is the most commonly-available Kanna product on the market. To create Kanna powders, farmers dry and grind the plant’s flowers, producing a fine-grain powder that can be easily measured and administered. Kanna powders are generally inexpensive, but they lack the potency of other Kanna products.
On the other hand, Sceletium extracts are more expensive than Kanna powders, but these products are typically made from superior-grade dried Kanna and are highly potent. In some cases, a single gram of Kanna extract can be as potent as 10 grams of Kanna powder.
Finally, fermented Kanna is a preparation of the plant’s leaves, stems, and roots that farmers age for about a week. The resulting product often boasts a broader range of effects in comparison to standard Kanna but is notably less potent than Kanna extracts. Typically, fermented Kanna retails for about the same price as standard Kanna powder.
Order Premium-Grade Sceletium Products Online
At Kratora, we carry a variety of high-quality Kanna, kratom, and kratom alternative products that are sourced directly from nature. Whether you’re interested in highly-potent Kanna extracts or cost-effective bulk Kanna powders, our broad selection of farm-fresh Kanna is sure to please.
We’re proud to offer our customers Kanna products that are:
- Organic and all-natural
- Packaged fresh and securely sealed
- Purchased from reliable, trustworthy growers
Shop with us today to receive same-day shipping on orders submitted before 3 PM EST Monday through Friday and 1 PM EST on Saturdays (excluding holidays).
Please note that the US FDA has not approved this product to be sold for internal use. Sold for external use only. None of the products sold on our website are intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or medical condition.
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