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Sceletium tortuosum

The mood-enhancing plant Sceletium tortuosum is known in it's homeland as "canna" , "channa", "kanna" or "kougoed" (kauwgoed) which literally means, 'chew(able) things/goodies' or 'something to chew'.

Sceletium tortuosum has been used by South African pastoralists and hunter-gatherers as a mood-altering substance from prehistoric times. The earliest written records of the use of the plant date back to 1662. The traditionally prepared dried sceletium was often chewed as a quid, and the saliva swallowed, but it has also been made into gel caps, teas and tinctures. Less commonly, it has been reported that Sceletium used to be inhaled as a snuff, or smoked, usually with the addition of other herbs.

Sceletium elevates mood and decreases anxiety, stress and tension, and it has also been used as an appetite suppressant by shepherds walking long distances in arid areas. In intoxicating doses it can cause euphoria, initially with stimulation and later with sedation. Long-term use in the local context followed by abstinence has not been reported to result in a withdrawal state. The plant is not hallucinogenic, contrary to some literature on the subject, and no severe adverse effects have been documented.

Sceletium has significant mood-elevating and anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) properties. In doses as low as 50 mg users report improvements in mood, decreased anxiety, relaxation and a sense of well-being. At higher dosages near 100 mg, kanna acts as a calming euphoriant and empathogen. Users report increased personal insight, interpersonal ease and a meditative, grounded feeling without any perceptual dulling. In fact some note enhanced tactile and sexual response. Some reports also note significant potentiation of alcohol and cannabis. High doses produce distinct inebriation and stimulation often followed by sedation.

"The active constituents of Sceletium tortuosum are alkaloids, including mesembrine, mesembrenone, mesembrenol and tortuosamine. Mesembrine is a major alkaloid present in Sceletium tortuosum, and has been demonstrated in unpublished laboratory studies to be a very potent serotonin selective reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). This receptor-specific activity, and receptor activities also found on nicotinic, dopamine and nor-adrenaline sites certainly validate the traditional mood-elevating uses, and suggest additional therapeutic and wellness potential."

Sceletium must never be combined with other SSRI, MAO Inhibitors, cardiac or psychiatric medications. Not for use by pregnant or nursing women or anyone under the age of 18. The results of taking sceletium on top of other SSRI's are unpredictable, and it is known that alcohol can also cause side effects combined with many SSRI's. Headaches in conjunction with alcohol have been noted with sceletium use.

Kanna from Bouncing Bear
IAS Kanna (Sceletium tortuosum)

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