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KAVA KAVA vs CBD: similarities and differences – 9 best effects

CBD Kava

Comparison of the best effects of Kava and CBD

CBD products have gained massive popularity relatively quickly. Demand for CBD products is growing, but not only that. Its presence in the media space and awareness of its effects is also increasing. But are we aware of the similarities between the effects of CBD and Kava Kava? Let’s find out!



CBD is one of the active ingredients in hemp. More specifically, it is cannabidiol from the inflorescences of the Cannabis sativa. Its main field of action is the regulation of the endocannabinoid system (ECS), whose function is primarily to maintain the body’s state of internal balance (homeostasis). CBD also has a direct effect on TRPV1 receptors, responsible in the body for, among other things, the sensation of pain.


It is generally agreed that it is most beneficial to take CBD – for example – in the form of  oils with the full spectrum of cannabis components (not exclusively CBD isolates): together with other cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids that enhance the effects of CBD alone – the so-called ambient / entourage effect.


Kava Kava, or Methystine Pepper, is a Pacific plant whose ground roots have been used for thousands of years to make the beverage of the same name: Kava. Its unique active ingredients – kavalactones – are responsible for its effects. They act, in particular, to increase the binding of GABA – the body’s main neurotransmitter – reducing overstimulation. It is widely believed that kavalactones affect the limbic system, responsible for regulating emotional states (e.g. satisfaction or pleasure). You can read more about the properties of kavalactones here.

Each variety of Kava (and even the same varieties grown on different islands) are characterised by a different composition of kavalactones – a different chemotype, so that they also differ in their properties. Some kavalactone compositions are more calming, others more mood-enhancing or instil a state of inner balance.


Both CBD and Kava Kava are well-known for their calming effects. However, the difference focuses on intensity: direct and indirect effects.



Kava – by affecting GABA receptors – can directly reduce overstimulation (reduce the amount of excitatory impulses in the nervous system). The increased binding of GABA is in relation to the increased action of gamma aminobutyric acid, naturally produced in the brain. As a result, the state of arousal is reduced. Kavalactones also interact with dopaminergic, serotonergic and benzodiazepine receptors, among others.



Concerning this, the effects of CBD are also noteworthy, although to a limited extent – the interaction with the endocannabinoid system (mainly CB1 receptors, located in the central and peripheral nervous system) affects GABA indirectly.


However, this indirect, less intense effect does not mean that CBD does not provide relief in the long term. It is assumed that in the long term (calculated in weeks or even months) of taking CBD, the neurochemistry of the brain is regulated and stabilised. This in turn results in a better mood on a daily basis.

CBD is also known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Chronic inflammation (especially in the brain) can be in relation to such acute problems as anxiety, depression and constant fatigue, for example.


The effects of Kava Kava on mood are more intense, more time-limited, but at the same time multidimensional. Some of the properties of Kava are:

  • euphoricity – some varieties of Kava can put us in a state of real pleasure and satisfaction (limbic system, dopamine, serotonin)
  • muscle relaxation – Kava reduces muscle tension, so it relaxes not only the head but also the body
  • barrier-breaking – this is one of the very social qualities of Kava: it stimulates eloquence and frank conversations, helps to open up to other people and break down internal barriers, making Kava an ideal drink not only for private tranquillity, but also for social gatherings
  • harmony with nature – the feeling of inner peace and tranquillity when drinking Kava is accompanied by a specific sensitivity to sounds, melodies and harmonies.
  • It is worth mentioning that the inhabitants of the islands of Vanuatu – famous for the Kava Kava tradition and also the home of our Kava Borongoru – are one of the happiest nations in the world. Coincidence?


Both Kava and CBD shorten the process of falling asleep and prolong our sleep.

Kava’s action is more effective in these cases, but this is not the only difference.


Kava also supports deep sleep – as measured by the intensity of delta waves in the brain.


This action of Kava therefore supports the regenerative potential of sleep, as well as the feeling of finally getting a good night’s sleep.

You can read more about Kava’s effects on healthy, powerful sleep here.


Kava and CBD: PAIN

First of all, it should be noted that neither CBD nor Kava are drugs of the pain relief type. They do, however, exhibit pain-relieving properties and CBD boasts a much broader palette here.


We have already mentioned CBD’s direct effect on TRPV1 receptors, which are responsible for pain sensation, among other things. TRPV1 is a vanilloid receptor, also known as a capsaicin receptor (a spicy substance known for feeling the spiciness of chilli peppers). Reducing the level of pain sensation is primarily an effect on the signal going to the brain. The activated receptor reduces the intensity of the signal.


The similarity in the effects of CBD and capsaicin also relates to anti-inflammatory properties. CBD effectively reduces inflammation by, among other things, acting on COX and LOX enzymes.

CBD also shows neuroprotective properties.


Kava Kava does not have such extensive capabilities in the context of pain relief. However, it is renowned for its muscle tension-reducing properties, making it invaluable in cases related to muscular pain, i.e. back pain or menstrual cramps.


Both Kava and CBD provide significant support for athletes. Especially in terms of post-workout practice and general recovery.


First of all, the properties already discussed should be singled out:

  • a muscle relaxant effect (mainly Kava)
  • anti-inflammatory effects (mainly CBD)
  • analgesic / muscle pain relief (mainly CBD)
  • recovery during sleep (mainly Kava)

Planning an evening workout?

You can read more about what kind of support Kava offers to athletes – here.


Both CBD and Kava do not interfere with mental clarity. Even when reaching a state of deep relaxation and tranquillity or satisfaction (depending on the variety of Kava), our thoughts remain clear.

Unlike alcohol, Kava can even act on the principle of reverse tolerance – when drinking Kava, over time the body needs smaller (rather than larger) doses to achieve the same relaxing effect. Read more: Kava Guides. 

At the same time, taking CBD and drinking Kava has its health limitations. In many countries, CBD products can only be used with the permission of doctors. Consultation with a doctor in the case of Kava is recommended especially for people on antidepressants and if there are problems with liver function. Kava should be avoided by pregnant and lactating women. Both Kava and CBD should be taken in the prescribed doses and from proven manufacturers. For Kava, only Noble quality varieties are recommended (avoid varieties that grow wild – Tudei).

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