Is Kava Addicting?

With all the amazing benefits of kava, many ask themselves; "Is kava addicting?" The short answer is no; kava isn't physically addicting in the least. We can't imagine going a day without our dose of fresh root, but on many occasions we have known many family and friends who have stopped their kava consumption with no noticeable withdrawal symptoms whatsoever.

To say a substance is physically addictive means that a user can become habituated to it and may experience unpleasant effects (withdrawal symptoms) when they stop its use. Heavy coffee drinkers who experience a headache or irritability when trying to cut down or stop their coffee use are a good example. In this case, caffeine is the addictive substance, and the headache and irritability are symptoms of their body's trying to readjust to the sudden absence of caffeine in their system.

With some substances such as caffeine, a tolerance can also build up with frequent or long-term use: this is why if you're an occasional coffee drinker, one espresso might have you climbing the walls, while experienced coffee drinkers can drink several shots and still sleep comfortably that night. It's also the reason why people who rely on coffee to wake up in the morning may need to increase their daily dose over time to get the same effect.

Also, there have been several published studies, as well as a couple of books in which the authors examined the potential addictive qualities of kava, but none of them found any evidence that kava is physically addicting. Kava seems to be consistent in its effects over time, and we've never heard of anyone experiencing noticeable withdrawal symptoms after ceasing kava use.

In fact, kava may actually have reverse tolerance for some users: reverse tolerance means that people who are new to kava may experience no effects the first time they take it; some users may need to try kava a few times to get any effect. While inconvenient and frustrating to the kava naive, reverse tolerance in harmless and usually goes away pretty quickly for those who stick with this herb.

Yes, we love our daily kava, and don't want to live our lives without it. So often, though, and far too quickly, a desire for relaxation gets labeled as an addiction! Do we also want to say that listening to music, exercising, or engaging in conversation are "addictive" just because they're pleasurable?

Actually, there are a few tell-tale signs of a kava "addict", and they are simple: by helping to manage daily stress, kava supports an increased sense of well-being*. Engendering increased kindness and compassion for those around him and a more relaxed way of viewing and engaging the world, he would be less likely to let the small things bother him as much as they might have in the past. As a result of being more relaxed, he also might be more sociable around others.

We encourage you to look through our vast resources on the site, which is increasing almost daily. We also have a new blog that allows our customers to ask whatever kava-related questions they wish, including the "Is kava addicting?" question that we often get asked.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to cure, treat, diagnose, or prevent any disease.