Ministry of Hemp

Ministry of Hemp

America's leading advocate for hemp

Author: Kervaughn Whiskie

CBD Vs. Kava Kava: Two More Natural Remedies Compared

With so many herbal remedies available to consumers, its easy to get confused. How do the benefits of CBD and Kava compare? What about the side effects?

Alongside cannabidiol, other natural herbs are receiving a lot of attention, so we thought we’d compare CBD vs. kava today.

In our previous article, we compared CBD and kratom, another popular herb.

Within recent times, alternative medicine and natural remedies are becoming increasingly popular. More people are looking for ways to improve their overall health and well-being that doesn’t involve taking pharmaceutical drugs.

It’s no surprise that hemp-based substances such as CBD, have risen to prominence based on its unique therapeutic abilities. However, there are other herbs like kava, sometimes called kava kava, also receiving attention for similar positive effects. But can you really compare kava with CBD? If we were to pit CBD vs kava, which of the two would come out on top?

In this article we’re going to explore exactly that. We will examine how the popular CBD matches up against the lesser known underdog, kava. Through this comparison, we hope you can better determine which herbal remedies support your needs.


CBD, also known as cannabidiol, is a lot more popular than Kava. It’s certainly more widely used. Cannabidiol is one of the main compounds found in the hemp plant and its primary role is to create balance within the body. CBD is non-intoxicating and helps ease symptoms of a variety of common conditions including stress, anxiety and pain.

CBD offers numerous benefits without a high, unlike kava which can cause mild mind-altering effects. Photo: CBD oil bottles posed on a wooden table with hemp buds.

CBD offers numerous benefits without a high, unlike kava which can cause mild mind-altering effects.

Quite notably, scientists are studying the potential use of CBD to treat some more serious ailments like cancer. Today, you can find CBD in just about anything. There are capsules, gummies, tinctures and if those are too boring, you can even find CBD-infused beverages and food.


Kava is an herb native to the Pacific Islands. People in places like Hawaii, Fiji and Tonga used kava for hundreds of years.

Typically, the root of the plant is used to make an extract. Kava is thought to have calming, analgesic and stress relieving properties. Traditionally, they would dry and crush the root into a powder, then mix it with water to make a drink.

Herbal supplement companies today use more sophisticated methods of extraction in order to maximize the concentration of its main ingredients, kavalactones. The final product is usually a capsule that contains anywhere from 30% to 90% concentration. There are 18 of these kavalactones found in the kava plant and they’re responsible for its potential benefits.

Unlike CBD, which is non intoxicating, these kavalactones can also induce a high and even mild hallucinations due to their psychoactive nature.


CBD is well-known for its wide range of therapeutic applications.

Cannabidiol works with our endocannabinoid system to regulate the body’s internal processes. Many people all over the world are using CBD to help with issues such as chronic pain, stress, anxiety, insomnia and inflammation. Part CBD’s appeal is the lack of psychoactive effects. Apart from the more common uses, it also has the potential to treat even more severe illnesses such as schizophrenia, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, bone disease and more, though a lot more research is needed.

In 2018, the FDA approved Epidiolex, a marijuana-based CBD medicine, to treat seizures related to some forms of epilepsy. This was a major triumph, as it marked the first time the FDA recognized the medical benefits of cannabis. With more research, we can expect to see more CBD based products being introduced to the mainstream in the future.

Kava is much less researched than CBD. The kavalactones found in the plant interact with the neurotransmitters in the brain to create its calming, euphoric effects. Kava is mainly used to help reduce stress and anxiety. Some suggest that it can be a natural alternative to treating anxiety disorders. More research needs to be done to really determine its effectiveness as some studies have produced mixed results. This makes it a bit more difficult to form any real conclusions.

It is also said that kava can be useful in promoting sleep, and therefore has the potential to treat sleeping disorders such as insomnia. In one 2015 study involving over a thousand participants, researchers could not really prove any noticeable difference when compared to placebo.


One reasons that CBD is becoming so popular is that it has very minimal side effects. Studies have shown that even when consumed at relatively large doses, it typically does not cause any adverse reactions that may jeopardize the user’s health. CBD is a non-addictive substance that doesn’t require larger doses after prolonged use. CBD is arguably safer than many pharmaceutical drugs in use. No fatal overdoses by CBD have ever been reported. Even in the rare instances where users report side effects, they are usually mild symptoms such as dry mouth, drowsiness and nausea.

While there's some evidence that kava may help with stress, insomnia, and similar issues, there's also evidence that it may cause damage to the liver in some cases. Photo: A spoonful of powdered kava root resting on a wooden table.

While there’s some evidence that kava may help with stress, insomnia, and similar issues, there’s also evidence that it may cause damage to the liver in some cases.

Kava on the other hand, can have various side effects, especially when consumed in large doses. Some of these may include: headaches, dizziness, fatigue, depression, diarrhea, skin issues and liver damage.

Perhaps the most severe of these is related to its impact on the liver. An overview from the National Institutes of Health found between 50 and 100 cases of liver injury related to kava consumption. While some kava advocates dispute these claims, there is some evidence that links kava to hepatotoxicity.

Whether or not similar adverse effects are found among Kava’s traditional consumers, this still raises concerns about the quality of the kava supplements being sold commercially. Additionally, there may also be some negative reactions when consumed with other substances like alcohol, anticonvulsants, antipsychotics and diuretics. With these potential risks and minimal research, kava needs to be consumed with caution and under the right medical supervision.


In the US, CBD is legal throughout all 50 states as long as it is derived from hemp (0.3% or less THC). The 2018 Farm Bill was a huge step forward for the cannabis industry. It rightfully removed restrictions on hemp by revoking its schedule I classification. Even though hemp is now legal on a federal level, there have been police raids on CBD stores in states like Texas, due to conflicts between state and federal laws. U.S. Consumers, in general, haven’t faced any legal penalties for possessing or purchasing CBD.

Kava is also considered legal in the US. However, it’s important to consider the 2002 advisory issued by the FDA warning of its potential liver damage. Certainly, more research needs to be done on the herb to confirm or deny those statements, but remember just because its legal doesn’t mean its safe. Another consideration: Poland banned kava, while countries like France, Canada, Germany and Switzerland have some restrictive measures in place.


Hopefully this helps to paint a clearer picture of what these herbal remedies are and how they compare to each other.

CBD is widely used and researched, with a long list of holistic benefits and limited side effects. While kava, on the other hand, does show some potential to treat stress related symptoms, its long list of side effects and lack of definitive scientific research suggest that consumers should proceed with care.

With all these things into consideration, which do you think is better?

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CBD VS Kratom: Comparing Two Popular Natural Remedies

When it comes to comparing CBD vs. kratom, these two natural supplements don’t have as much in common as you might think. While both offer some real benefits, CBD remains the safer choice in most cases.

Both CBD and kratom are getting a lot of attention, so we thought we’d compare their relative benefits here.

You’ve most likely heard of the hemp-derived compound CBD before. It’s been the talk of the town in realm of alternative medicine for quite some time, and has really developed a reputation as a natural route to relief of many conditions or their symptoms.

But there are some other herbs besides hemp, that have also been growing in popularity for their therapeutic properties. In this article we will take a look at kratom and how it really compares to CBD.

Some people claim kratom can be an effective substitute to CBD. But, is this really accurate? On the surface, they may appear to have some common ground. As you begin to dig deeper it becomes more apparent that they’re really quite different.


Nowadays, CBD or cannabidiol can be found in many different types of consumables.

Photo: A collection of CBD tinctures in assorted bottles, decorated with hemp buds. Our guide to CBD tinctures explains how to pick the right supplement for your needs.

CBD oil, extracted from industrial hemp, is a safe, non-psychoactive supplement with numerous benefits.

You can find it in traditional forms like CBD tinctures or capsules and even more creative products such as CBD coffee. The main role of this compound is to create internal balance, through its interaction with the body’s endocannabinoid system. Part of what makes CBD so special is that it’s non-psychoactive, unlike the well-known THC, the main active ingredient in psychoactive cannabis (“marijuana”). CBD can help you improve your mood, deal with anxiety and even support pain relief, all without experiencing mind-altering effects.

CBD also shows the potential to treat many more serious conditions. As scientists conduct more research, even traditional doctors increasingly support the use of cannabidiol.


Kratom, also known as “mitragyna speciosa,” is a tree that originates from South East Asia. It grows naturally in countries like Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. People from these areas have used kratom for thousands of years. Traditionally, natives of these areas chewed the leaves for its stimulant-like properties. Kratom has a long history of use as an opium substitute and in more recent times has become popular as a recreational drug.

The plant’s main active ingredients are mitragynine and 7-Hydroxymitragynine (7HMG). These two compounds induce their effects by interacting with the body’s opioid receptors. Mitragynine is the chemical thought to be responsible for the therapeutic effects, whereas researches attribute psychoactive effects to 7HMG. The clinical research on kratom is still very limited. This lack of research also prevents kratom from catching on like CBD.


CBD has a relatively long list of applications. It’s most commonly used to help with anxiety, sleep disorders, chronic pain and inflammation.

Although many consume it to feel more relaxed and manage stress related symptoms, it is also becoming quite popular in the fitness community to help with recovery and pain management. Apart from those practical uses, CBD is also being researched for its potential to treat more severe ailments such as: cancer, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, diabetes and many others.

When comparing CBD vs. Kratom, one major difference is that CBD is non-addictive and appears safe even at relatively high doses, while kratom can pose risks of dependency and other side effects. Photo: Powdered kratom in a white bowl sits atop whole mitragyna speciosa leaves.

When comparing CBD vs. Kratom, one major difference is that CBD is non-addictive and appears safe even at relatively high doses, while kratom can pose risks of dependency and other side effects.

Kratom is used mainly to reduce anxiety, relieve pain and help with opiate addiction. As research surrounding the herb seems to still be in the early stages, no solid conclusions can be drawn as of yet. Based on user accounts, and the natives who’ve grown the herb for centuries, there may be some truth behind some of the promoted benefits. Some individuals have claimed it is particularly effective in breaking dependency on stronger opioids like heroin and oxycodone. However, more clinical trials need to be conducted before it can be recognized as a reliable method of treatment.


CBD is great not only because of its numerous benefits, but because CBD has limited side effects. The versatile cannabinoid, is proven to be non-addictive, and is still safe to consume even in large quantities. To date, there have been no CBD related deaths ever recorded. Some mild side effects that may be experienced by users include nausea, dry mouth and drowsiness.

Kratom however, starts to a lot look less appealing when we begin to examine the side effects. Although it’s promoted to be a solution to opiate addiction, there is also the risk of becoming addicted to kratom. Frequent use is generally not recommended, as it increases the chance of dependency and also exposes the consumer to other potential risks.

Some relatively common kratom side effects include vomiting, nausea and constipation. But the list doesn’t stop there, as there are even more severe symptoms that may arise from kratom use such as seizures, psychosis, respiratory depression, liver toxicity, and increased blood pressure. When we consider all these side effects, they could heavily outweigh the benefits.


The 2018 Farm Bill forced the Drug Enforcement Administration to remove hemp-deriveed CBD from its list of illegal drugs. The bill formally legalized industrial hemp with a THC content of 0.3% or lower as an agricultural commodity, rather than a controlled substance.

Even with this monumental move, there are still some restrictions varying from state to state. While consumers can generally access CBD both in stores and through online CBD vendors, some CBD stores still face the threat of police action.

While recent legal changews support access to CBD, kratom may face further restrictions in the near future. Photo: A gavel with the scales of justice behind it.

While recent legal changews support access to CBD, kratom may face further restrictions in the near future.

The legality of kratom remains a bit more undefined as it is not regulated on a federal level. However, there are some states that have banned the substance like Tennessee, Indiana, Alabama, Wisconsin, Vermont and Washington, D.C. In 2016 the DEA announced their intentions to classify kratom as a schedule I substance. The announcement was followed by intense public outcry, and since then they have not yet made any advances to restrict it on a national level.

Even the FDA issued a statement warning of kratom’s adverse effects. The FDA attributed 36 deaths to kratom in 2017. Last year, there was a salmonella outbreak related to kratom products which affected 199 people across several states. The nationwide controversy led to a massive recall, and once again shed negative light on the herb, which may eventually lead to its restriction on a larger scale.


When we examine all the factors above, we’re better equipped to evaluate natural remedies.

While some people compare kratom and CBD as herbal supplements, they’re in two completely different lanes. CBD is a lot more recognized, with a strong backing of user testimonies and scientific research.

While kratom may treat some conditions, due to minimal research and a growing list of concerns, it is likely to be restricted before it is accepted on a wider scale. While we don’t support legal prohibition of natural substances, users of kratom must be aware of the risk of dependency and other potentially harmful side effects.

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