How Long Does Kava Last

How Long Does Kava Last

December 06, 2022

By drinkroot team | estimated read time - 11 min | December 6th, 2022

One of the most common questions people ask when they first try kava is,

"how long does kava last?"

Short answer that works for most situations is; after drinking kava, you should begin to feel the effects in about 15 minutes and last about 3 hours.

Long answer - The experience will usually peak in the first 30 minutes and last somewhere between 1-4 hours, gradually cooling off over time. Depending on the last time you ate, the length of the effects can be stronger and last longer, with lingering effects some have claimed lasting 18-36 hours. Usually this is the anti-anxiety portion but everyone's body is different.

Please do keep in mind kava doesn’t work the same for everyone. Not everyone will get the same experience and there are several factors to consider that determine how long kava lasts.

We will go over a number of these topics below

Factors Affecting How Long Kava Last

Man Preparing to Run

Man Preparing to Run


Just like most supplements, kava is metabolized in the liver. This is an area where the nutrients that food and drinks that we eat are processed and converted into energy for our body. When you are young you will usually have a fast metabolism and this slows down as you get older. Some people have genetic pre-dispositions to having a slower or faster metabolism long past their teen years, and this can affect how long it takes for the actives in kava to be processed in your body.

So when kava is metabolized, it would have different results for each one of us. People with slow metabolisms will experience a slower rate of metabolization, which will cause food calories or fat to be stored easier in the body. This is the premise of gaining weight as you get older. However, recent studies have shown you can actually speed up your metabolism through weight training and a balanced diet long into your later years. Your body re-learns to convert food into energy right away as it is constantly undergoing hormetic stress which needs a constant influx of caloric fuel.

Type of Kava

Kava has two main catergories: Noble and Tudei. Noble kava is typically the type that you can consume on a daily basis without any complications. It's effects normaly last between 1 to 4 hours, while its lingering anti-anxiety calming effects may last upto 36 hours.  

Tudei kava, also known as "medicinal kava" in tribal cultures, is not recommended due to its high percentage of adverse kavalactones and undesirable kavalactone profile. Despite its fast growth and harvesting benefits, it is associated with hangover-like symptoms. Tudei kava contains higher levels of the kavalactone DHM(5), responsible for prolonged sedative effects, with effects lasting up to two days, hence its name "tudei," meaning "two days."

Kavalactone Content

The kavalactone's are the active materials in the kava plant. The kavalactone content and kava chemotype also has an effect on how long kava can last. If you drink kava with high kavalactone content, it is possible that you will feel the effects longer. The chemotype can also change the length of the kava experience, as some varietals can have chemotypes with kava being a "quick and heavy" buzz, or kava being a long lasting/stretched mild cerebral feeling. The kavalactone dihydromethysticin is said to have a long lasting sedative effect so keep an eye out for the order of the kavalactones responsible for sedation when driving.

Kava Dosage

While therapeutic doses tend to range around 250mg of kavalactones, a standard bowl of traditional kava normally contains 250mg+ of kavalactones per serving. There is no current limit approved by the World Health Organization of kavalactones per day. There are many bars that have bowls with a much higher percentage or concentration of kavalactones per serving so do be careful when drinking kava at a bar.

Increasing your dosage will proportionally increase your kavalactone consumption. Eventually, you will feel the effects faster and it can last longer because you have an overabundance of kavalactones waiting to be broken down by your liver.

A long time kava user once told us he would drink kava in smaller doses throughout the day to make the effects last longer. This may not work for some new kava users, as they often experience reverse tolerance on their first try.

Kava Reverse Tolerance

Reverse tolerance is the slightly mythical nature of kava, where the effect of kava actually get stronger the more often you use it. Some people believe it is the chemical makeup of your unique central nervous system that takes time to adapts, while others may think it's actually just the person getting use to finally listening to their body. With either case, reverse tolerance is a big factor to consider, especially if you are new to kava. Don't worry if it's confusing because it takes a bit of time to understand.

In terms of time, with some circumstances it may take days to a week or so before you start to feel the results. That is why, it is recommended to double your dosage in the first few days or even weeks of drinking kava to acclimate to the uniqe experience of kava. As you go along with your kava journey we've seen that, you will eventually need less to get the same effects.

How To Make Kava Last Longer

Woman Relaxing on the Grass

Woman Relaxing on the Grass

There are several ways on how you can make the effects last longer and here are some of the top ones we recommend

  • Use only premium quality noble kava for the best kava experience. Make sure to only look for high quality kava and we recommend to stay away from pills or tincture versions. Traditional is tried and true.
  • Fast for a few hours or more before using kava. Kava is best taken on an empty stomach. Doing fasting before drinking kava will also help you feel the effects faster and stronger.
  • Drink small amounts over a long stretched time. We mentioned above that some kava users would drink one session of kava in smaller dosage to maintain the effects. This could work for long time kava users, but we recommend to try this later on in your kava journey and not at the beginning. When starting off it can be easy to overdo it and end up nauseated.
  • Remove all distractions, this includes your smart phone, tv, and computer. Kava is more of an inner feeling. If you stay in a quiet place away from any distractions, you can focus on what kava is doing to your body and the effects it brings out. It comes more in light waves and can become much more pronounced as you tune into it.
  • Eat light fatty snacks in between drinks; Pork rinds, keto fat bombs, string cheese, avocado, etc. Some people claim eating light fatty snacks in between drinks can help activate the kavalactones that make the effect kick in again. The locals call this “kava i kik” (“kava, he kicks”) in Vanuatu.

How To Stop The Effects of Kava

Couple Watching a Movie

Couple Watching a Movie

The immediate/heavy effects of kava usually only last in our bodies for 1-3 hours. It's quite humorous that the things we recommend you don't do while having kava, are the exact things you CAN do if you want the kava experience to stop or be severely muted.

 One of the things you can do if you want to stop the effects of kava is to keep yourself distracted. You can turn on the television, watch a movie, listen to a podcast or listen to some music you're a fan of. Change the state of your mind through exterior distractions and you may not notice the kava anymore. We do NOT recommend to drive as the sedative effect can cause your reaction times to slow down or the constant movement can make you feel nauseated. Since kava is an inner feeling, if you don't concentrate to much on what kava is doing to your body, the effects may not be that visible. Drinking kava on a full stomach will most likely slow down the effects of kava.

How Fast Does Kava Leave Your System?

The duration for kava to leave your system varies based on the factors above. Generally, kava's effects may last 3 to 6 hours after consumption. However, traces can linger longer, potentially up to 24 hours, especially in heavy or habitual users. It's crucial to note that individual differences exist.

Can Kava Make You Feel Sick in the Morning

Feeling sick in the morning is actually common and people often think it's due to tudei kava. However, most reputable brands have strict import regulations on noble kava, so it's uncommon to be able to get tudei in traditional form even if they tried. The only possible exceptions we may know of that could have tudei are pill and tincture forms of kava.

The most common reason people feel nauseated or sick the day after kava is because they're severly dehydrated and low on electrolytes. Just like alcohol, tea, coffee, and most experiental beverages, kava is also a diuretic. This means it can lower your electrolyte storages. Take some electrolytes like pedialyte, drink some water and it should take most, if not all, of the edge off.

If you still feel yourself in a cloudy mental state, we would recommend you to go on a brisk walk or a light jog first thing in the morning. Kavalactones may embed themselves in your fat molecules. In the morning your body is in a fasted state with its glycogen storages depleted. This means if you exercise a bit, it's easier to start burning fat sooner. When you breakdown the fat molecule the kavalactone may also be released. We do recommend not to overdo it thought since the former issue of electrolytes is most likely the case for the heaviness. You don't want to do heavy cardiovascular exercise when you're low on electrolytes.


In conclusion, the duration of kava's effects varies depending on various factors, including metabolism, type of kava, kavalactone content, and dosage. While most individuals experience effects lasting around 3 to 6 hours, some may encounter prolonged or shortened durations. Understanding these factors can help optimize the kava experience and manage expectations. Additionally, implementing strategies such as choosing noble kava varieties, fasting before consumption, and consuming light fatty snacks between drinks may enhance and prolong the effects. It's essential to approach kava consumption responsibly and be aware of potential side effects, such as nausea or dehydration. If adverse effects occur, replenishing electrolytes and engaging in distractions can help mitigate discomfort.

Let us know if we missed anything. Make sure to spread the love of kava!

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