Kava Dosage: How much kava should I take?

Kava Dosage: How much kava should I take?

March 24, 2023

estimated read time - 14 min

Kava is often consumed for it's sedating and anxiolytic properties. It is an amazing plant that can help you feel relaxed, relieved from stress and anxiety, and can even help improve your mood.  

Kava can work wonders for your mind and body when taken in the right dosage. However, kava dosages may vary depending on certain factors such as the variety of kava you're using, your weight, metabolism, reason for using kava and your body's reaction towards kava. There is really no fixed dosage for everyone as kava's effects vary depending on these factors.

Suggested kava dosage and effects

Kava roots contain an approximate average of 3-15% of kavalactones and depending on what type of kavalactones are most prevalent, you can have wildly different experiences. You can read a more in depth discussion on how these different kavalactones affect you as well as which ones to choose on our what is a kava chemotype blog post, but for this general discussion we will just state that kavalactones are the active ingredients in kava.

In the South Pacific Islands where kava is commonly drank as a daily beverage, a standard coconut cup of traditional kava is said to have anywhere from 200mg to 600mg of kavalactones.

As a general guideline the World Health Organization recommends a maximum of 250mg of kavalactones per day. Sometimes a single coconut cup may have more than this amount, and usually a veteran kava drinker may have a 2-3 coconut cups in a session

Below is the suggested kava dosage you may take depending on what you are using kava for.

Kava Dosage Kavalactone Content Common Uses* Expected Effect*

Low Kava Dosage


-mild to moderate anxiety


-social gathering

-relaxed and calm*

-mild sedation*

-muscle relief*

High Kava Dosage


-moderate to severe anxiety


-muscle pain

-evening relaxation

-heavy sedation*



*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease

Kava Dosing for Each Kava Form

Kava Dosing for Different Forms of Kava

The suitable kava dosing can vary from which kava form you're using. And, the effects of your kava depend on its strength and varietal. Most commonly kava is sold as a "bulk" variety, which includes a mass of any plants the manufacturer can get across the whole country, ground together, then sold to brands or bars.

Kava Dosage for Traditional Grind Kava Powder

The typical session with traditional medium-grind kava powder is around 2-4 tablespoons (14-30grams) per day. Having said that, this varies A LOT because all kava's have different densities. For example, our Hawaiian blends are significantly less dense than our Vanuatu Reserve Bir Kar. 150g of Bir Kar medium grind powder will fill up 3/4 of its container. But we can barely fit 100g of our Wakea blend into the same exact container. Different densities means different amounts of space that it will take up.

You may change your dosage depending on the strength of your kava. The weaker the kava the more doses you might need. If you have a strong kava then, you may only need less. Below is a more detailed explanation of the amount of kava needed to get the desired experience.


Kava Dosage Kavalactone Content Amount Weak Kava (3%) Amount Average Kava (6%) Amount Strong Kava (15%)
Low Dosage 40 - 180mg 1.3g - 6g 0.7g - 3g .3g - 1.2g
High Dosage 180 - 250mg+ 6g - 8.3g 3g - 4.2g 1.2 - 1.6g

It is recommended to add 30 ml of water for each gram of traditional grind kava powder

Example: 30g of traditional grind kava powder = 900ml water

You can also check out our blog here on how to make kava using traditional grind powder.


Kava Dosage for Dehydrated Instant Kava

Dehydrated instant kavas are exactly what they sound like. It's kava, batched in the traditional manner, and deydrated. They are simpler and involve less cleanup. Hence why we love them ❤️. Please be careful about many brands touting their kava as "instant". The majority of the time it's just very finely ground kava known as "micronized" which is not an instant kava. We don't recommend those because you're literally eating the roots.

The recommended dosage and kavalactone content for instant kavas are mostly indicated on the label, which makes it easier to figure out the right dosage for you. You just have to follow the instructions.

Most of the kavalactone contents are expressed in percentage, in this case, simply calculate it to figure out the kavalactone content in grams.

Example: one dose of drinkroot instant kava is 2g (2000mg) with 8% kavalactone content. That is equivalent to 120mg of kavalactone per serving (2000mg x .08 = 160mg) or a handful of kava roots

You may increase your dosage depending on your preference and needs.

Kava Dosage for Tincture and Capsules

The recommended starting dose for tinctures is 1-2 mL, which can contain an approximate 50-100 mg of kavalactones. Keep in mind that some kava tinctures may be concentrated than the others, so it is best to follow the instructions on the label or consult a health professional before using it.

The kava doses for kava tinctures and capsules are pretty much indicated on the label of the product. Each kava capsule has a specific amount of kavalactones, so you can easily adjust your kava dosage depending on how much you need. The same goes for kava tinctures. (We only mentioned tinctures for the sake of it, but we don’t recommend these forms of kava as they are said to be closer to possible liver risks. Kava is best and safer when processed the traditional way)

If you're still testing out which dose may work for you, we recommend to start with a lower dose first and slowly increase your dosage until you find what is suitable for you.

Factors to Consider

Factors Affecting Your Kava Dosage

Kavas effects and dosage depends on several factors. Some of theser factors are the variety of kava, your body weight, and metabolism.

Variety of Kava

If you're drinking a generic kava blend then this won't really apply to you. The variety of kava you're using can affect your dosage and potency to get your desired effects. Each different kava variety offers a unique set of qualities. They also can produce very different effects. Depending on their kava chemotype, some kavas are heavy, some are heady, some may expand creativity, some may even wake you up, and there are those who have balanced effects. These varieties can vary from very strong all the way to weak.

The variety of kava is one important factor to consider in kava dosing because of the different levels of kavalactones that are present in each variety. Weak varieties of kava usually contains 3% kavalactones. While strong kava has around 15% kavalactones or more. When you're using a weak kava, more likely you'll have to increase your dosage if you want stronger effects. While for stronger kavas, one dose may be enough. A lot of people worry too much about the kavalactone %, so you should save yourself the trouble and focus more on the desired experience you want. A high kavalactone percent kava with a nauseating kava chemotype can be a recipe for a very bad day. If people are touting about percents, they're usually hiding the chemotype profile.

Body Weight

Kava dosage is normally based on the amount of kavalactones consumed by an individual. Since kavalactones are fat-soluble, they tend to gather in the fatty tissues in the body.

As a result, people with bigger body weight (especially higher bmi) may need higher kava dosage than those with lower body weight to get the same effects. It is also important to understand that your health status, age and tolerance can affect your kava dosage.


Metabolism is the process of converting food and drinks in to energy. Kava is metabolized in the liver. Therefore, the rate a person's body metabolizes kava can make a significant impact in the kava dosage and/or experience

A person with fast metabolism may need a lower kava dosage to get the desire effects, while those with slower metabolism may need a bit more or may need to fast.

Kava Overdose

Can I overdose on kava?

Yes, you can overdose with kava. Kava overdose can happen when you take excessive amounts of kava or when you take low quality kava that has been mixed with other substances.

Kava is considered safe and the chances of getting overdosed with kava is very low but it can happen. Nothing in this world is good if taken in enormous proportions. You can also overdose on water.

Symptoms of kava overdose may include:

  • Severe headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of muscle control
  • Visual impairment
  • Hallucinations
  • Breathing difficulties

In some cases, severe kava overdose may result to liver damage. However, these cases are very rare and it seems to be the case mostly when kava is consumed in extremely high dosages over a long period of time.

How long should I take kava?

While kava can be very useful in relieving anxiety and stress, it is important to remember that the period of use should be on a case to cases basis and under the supervision of a certified healthcare professional. Generally, the duration of taking kava will depend on the reason for using kava, your health status and dosage. The use of kava for more than three months is usually not recommended by health professionals unless prescribed to avoid the risk of long term side effects.

Long term and heavy use of kava can lead to the possibility that you may develop some side effects. One of the most common side effects of long term, heavy kava consumption is rough and dry skin. Your skin can get dried out, scaly and slightly yellowish. This is a condition known as kava dermopathy, and usually subsides back to normal after the person stops drinking kava.

There is also the possibility of liver damage for heavy use of kava that has been circling around for years, but the evidence to support this hypothesis has been widely debated.

There are some long term kava users that have been using kava for years now without stopping but, did not encounter any issues at all. One kava enthusiast revealed online that he has been taking kava every day for 25 years and has never had any problems.

We usually recommend to cycle in and out kava routines throughout the year, but as long as you're using high quality noble kava, to each their own.

Again, kava does not work equally for everyone. What works for some may not work for you.

Kava Interaction and Restrictions

Does kava interact with anything?

As we always say, kava is not for everyone. There are group of people who are prohibited to use kava or should only use it with the guidance of medical experts.

Who should avoid using kava?

  • pregnant women- during pregnancy the actives from kava can transfer to the child while in the mother's womb.
  • breastfeeding mothers- kava can stay in the milk. We don't know if it's safe for children but we don't recommend it.
  • children- children are not permitted to take kava unless it is prescribed by their physician. The study of kava in children is unclear, thus, just like alcohol, kava are not considered a good idea for children. We don't anyone to try out kava until they’re 18 yrs old and above.
  • people with Parkinson’s disease- kava may cause their tremors to increase, muscle spasms and may decrease the effectiveness of its medications - study referenced here
  • people with liver problems- since kava is metabolized in the liver, people with existing liver problems should not be using kava for the reason that it may cause further damage to the liver. 
  • people taking prescribed medications- people who have prescriptions or maintenance should consult their physicians first before taking kava. A lot of prescribed medicines and even some supplements may interact with kava.

What should not be taken together with kava?

Kava can interact with some substances and medications, therefore it is important to be cautious when taking kava. Kava is metabolized in the liver, so any substances and medications that can affect the liver may interact with kava. The risk of liver damage is higher when these are taken with kava.

Medications that can affect the central nervous system should also not be taken together with kava as it can result to extreme drowsiness, dizziness, and impaired cognitive function.

If you're taking any of the following mentioned below it is best to avoid using kava and consult your physician about using kava if you are interested.

Alcoholic drinks, kratom, antidepressants, antipsychotics, and sedatives, benzodiazepines

Some specific ones we've come across are

  1. Phenothiazine: often used for the treatment of schizophrenia
  2. Levodopa: used to treat a person with Parkinson’s disease (due to the parkinsons and kava increasing tremors relation we made above)
  3. Anticonvulsants: medications used to treat seizures
  4. other supplements that can harm the liver

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most effective way to take kava?

The best way to take kava in our humble opinion, is by drinking in its traditional form. Having said that, it's not always easy to do this. Other forms like capsules or tintures are not recommended, as it may contain ingredients that may be harmful.

When will I feel the effects of kava?

Most of the time you will start to feel the effects of kava in 10-15 mins with a peak around 30 minutes. There are times that kava will take effect around the hour mark, but it's dependent if you have food in your stomach. And if you're a new kava user, there's a possibility that you will not feel the effects right away, because of reverse tolerance, which is very common in kava.

How long does the effects of kava last?

Normally, the effects of kava would last between 1-3 hours. Some even claims that the effects can last for up to 36 hours. But there are certain factors that can affect on how long kava can last in our body. We have a blog about these factors which you can check out here.


In summary, there is no exact kava dosage for everyone. Your dosage may vary depending on certain factors such as the reason for using kava, the variety of kava, and the form. Your weight, metabolism and health status can also affect your dosage.

These factors are the most common things that can impact your kava dosage. The suggested dose varies from 40-250mg of kavalactones daily but many people do go over it. The World Health Organization also set a maximum of 250mg kavalactones per day. You may increase or decrease your dosage depending on how strong you want your kava to be. But we always remind our customers to stick to the recommended dosage by WHO.

Although the chances of getting overdosed with kava is very little, it is still possible. Taking excessive amounts of kava or taking kava while on prescription medication may cause side effects. Kava is not a drink for everyone. There are group of people who are not supposed to take kava unless approved by a health professional.  

Kava is a amazing plant, that can give wonders to your mind and body. But, it is important to take kava in moderation and with precautions. In the same way we don't recommend people to drink copious amounts of beer every day, we say the same with kava

But we still love the root. Bula!

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