Kanna and Serotonin: Understanding the Connection


Kanna, a plant native to South Africa, has been traditionally used as a medicine and recreational drug for centuries. Recently, it has gained popularity as a natural supplement that may improve mood, reduce anxiety and depression symptoms, and increase energy levels. One of the main ways that Kanna is believed to work is through its effect on serotonin, a neurotransmitter that plays a key role in regulating mood and anxiety. In this article, we will explore the connection between Kanna and serotonin, including the potential benefits and risks associated with this interaction.

What is Kanna?

Kanna, also known as Sceletium tortuosum, is a succulent plant that grows in South Africa. It has been used for centuries by indigenous tribes for its mood-enhancing effects, as well as for its ability to reduce stress and anxiety. Kanna is available in various forms, including powder, capsules, tinctures, and teas, and is sold as a natural supplement in many health food stores and online shops.

What is Serotonin?

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is responsible for regulating mood, appetite, sleep, and other physiological processes in the body. It is often referred to as the “feel-good” neurotransmitter because it plays a key role in regulating mood and feelings of well- being. Serotonin is produced in the brain and is released in response to various stimuli, including stress, exercise, and food.

How Does Kanna Affect Serotonin Levels?

Kanna is believed to affect serotonin levels in several ways. Firstly, it is thought to inhibit the reuptake of serotonin, which means that it increases the levels of serotonin in the brain by preventing it from being reabsorbed too quickly. This can lead to a more sustained release of serotonin, which may improve mood, reduce anxiety and depression symptoms, and increase feelings of well-being.

Secondly, Kanna is believed to stimulate the release of endorphins, which are natural chemicals that promote feelings of pleasure and euphoria. Endorphins are also known to increase the release of serotonin, which may further contribute to the mood-enhancing effects of Kanna.

Potential Benefits of Kanna on Serotonin Levels:

1.  Improving Mood: One of the main benefits of Kanna is its ability to improve mood and reduce symptoms of anxiety and By increasing serotonin levels in the brain, Kanna may help to promote feelings of happiness and well- being, and may also reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.

2. Reducing Stress: Kanna has also been shown to have stress-reducing effects, which may be related to its effects on serotonin levels. By increasing serotonin levels, Kanna may help to reduce the release of cortisol, a stress hormone that can contribute to feelings of anxiety and

3.  Promoting Relaxation: Kanna is also believed to have relaxing effects, which may be related to its ability to increase serotonin levels. By promoting feelings of calm and relaxation, Kanna may help to reduce feelings of anxiety and promote better sleep.

Potential Risks of Kanna on Serotonin Levels:

1. Interaction with Other Medications: Kanna may interact with certain medications, including antidepressants and other drugs that affect serotonin levels. This can lead to a potentially dangerous condition called serotonin syndrome, which can cause symptoms such as confusion, agitation, and rapid

2.  Allergic Reactions: Kanna may also cause allergic reactions in some people, which can range from mild to severe. Symptoms of an allergic reaction may include hives, difficulty breathing, and swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat.

3.  Overdose: While Kanna is generally considered safe when used in recommended doses, taking too much can lead to negative side effects, including nausea, vomiting, and dizziness. In rare cases, it may even lead to seizures or coma.


Kanna is a natural supplement that is believed to have mood-enhancing effects, thanks in part to its ability to increase serotonin levels in the brain. While Kanna may offer a range of potential benefits, it is important to be aware of the potential risks associated with its use, including the risk of serotonin syndrome, allergic reactions, and overdose. As with any supplement or medication, it is important to talk to your healthcare provider before using Kanna, especially if you are taking other medications or have any underlying health conditions.


1. Smith, (2020). Kanna: Uses, Benefits, and Side Effects. Healthline.

2. Nell, H. (2019). Kanna (Sceletium tortuosum): A Review of its Ethnobotany, Phytochemistry, and Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 244, 112074.

3. Turner, M., & Derry, F. A. (2018). Kanna (Sceletium tortuosum) – A Southern African Plant with Psychoactive Properties. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 50(4), 292-302.

4.  Smith, (2021). Serotonin Syndrome: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment. Verywell Mind.