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Kanna vs Kratom: How Do These Two Botanicals Compare?

The herbal market is booming, with everyone looking to improve their health. Kenna vs Kratom is a new comparison many customers are inquiring about. We not only touch on topics that surround kratom but also comparisons and potential alternatives. This helps you understand kratom better and make the best-informed decisions. Let’s take a look at both herbs and see how they compare. In addition, we will also provide the best kratom alternatives.

Kanna vs Kratom - by Oasis Kratom

What Is Kratom?

Kratom originates from Southeast Asia and comes from the Mitragyna Speciosa trees. Kratom has also been used for centuries by Southeast Asia natives. Strains of this herb can be found in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Papua New Guinea. Traditionally the leaves of the kratom plant were chewed or smoked, just like Kanna. This herb was also used in social settings and ceremonies. 

Mitragyna Speciosa is an evergreen tree in the Rubiaceae family (coffee family). Kratom is known for its impressive alkaloid content, which gives each strain its potency. The two main alkaloids are Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine. However, many other alkaloids make up kratom. The two main alkaloids in kratom cause this herb to be banned in many areas of the world. 

Kava kava is another kratom alternative that has gained much attention. Check out our blog, kava vs kratom.

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What Is Kanna?

The scientific name for Kanna is Sceletium Tortuosum. This flowering plant is part of the Aizoaceae family native to South Africa. The Khoikhoi and San people in South Africa have utilised this herb for centuries. It has been a prevalent part of South African folk medicine for many generations. Traditionally, the plant leaves were smoked or chewed during ceremonies or social events. The leaves are now typically ground to form Kanna powder.

The first reference to Kanna dates back to the 17th century. Jan Van Riebeeck, a Dutch colonial administrator of Cape Town, recorded the use of this plant. According to this record, forms of Sceletium Tortuosum included teas, gels, and tinctures. The leaves were often smoked or chewed, referred to as “Kugoed” (chewable or good chew). It also comes in powder and capsules. Kanna extract is quickly becoming a favourite among users, as well.

Like kratom, this herb is also made up of different alkaloids. However, the main ones include Mesembrine and Mesembrenone. Kanna does not have the legal issues that kratom does, making it one of the best alternatives. This herb is virtually everywhere worldwide, while many areas have banned kratom.  


Both herbs are similar when it comes to the forms that they offer. Kanna and Kratom are offered in powder, which is the most popular option among consumers. In addition, you will find these herbs in capsules, tinctures, teas, and extracts. Other products on the market vary for each herb, but these are the main options. However, users do prefer Kanna powder and kratom powder over other products.


The offered types are among the most separating points for Kanna and kratom. Kratom is quite complex, as there are 4 different vein colours to choose from. These include red, green, white, and yellow. In addition to this, kratom is offered in various strains. 

Some examples include Thai, Maeng Da, Malay, Borneo, Dragon, Elephant, and more. Also, the strains can carry over all the vein colors. So, there are endless possibilities when it comes to the different types of kratom that are offered on the market. All the kratom strains and vein colours will vary in their alkaloid content and the overall support that it offers. 

Kanna, on the other hand, is less complex. Kanna comes in three different types, which include regular Kanna, heated Kanna, and fermented Kanna. They all vary in the way they are processed, as well as their potency levels. These processes are all very different but will change the overall support you receive from Kanna. 


We mentioned these above, but we want to do a comparison here. Both of these herbs have different alkaloid profiles that can offer similar support.

Kratom varies in the alkaloids it offers according to the vein color and strain. However, the two main alkaloids that are present are Mitragynine and 7-Hydroxymitragynine.

The way that Kanna is processed will vary the alkaloid content. The main alkaloids in this herb include Mesembrine, Mesembranol, and Mesembrenone. 


The two main alkaloids in kratom are an issue for most lawmakers. There are a handful of areas within the United States that have banned the use of kratom. These include Vermont, Indiana, Rhode Island, and Wyoming. Most areas do not ban kratom but the two main alkaloids. 

Kratom has issues across the globe. This herb was banned in the 1940s in Thailand. This is one of the areas where kratom is prevalent. However, now, Thailand is trying to lift the kratom bans. There are so many similar stories regarding the legalities of kratom globally. 

Kanna, on the other hand, is readily available and legal. There are no bans on this herb, and some users choose Kanna as an alternative to kratom because they live in an area where kratom is banned. So, looking at these two herbs from a legal standpoint couldn’t be more opposite. 

However, what Kanna has going for it is the fact that it is not well known. This is probably why the herb lacks legalities because not enough people know about its existence, and it lacks scientific studies.

Where To Buy Them?

Kratom is pretty well known in the United States. You can pick it up in many local shops, including smoke, vape, speciality, and some gas stations. You can also choose to source your kratom with an online vendor.


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Kanna, on the other hand, is a very obscure herb. It is not well known, so it is highly unlikely that you will be able to find it in any local shops. Your best bet is to buy Kanna through a reputable online vendor.

Lab Testing

Since the Kanna market is poorly developed, you will likely have difficulty finding a vendor who offers lab testing on their products. This can be risky because there are a lot of fakes on the market. So, you must be very cautious and do your homework before buying Kanna. 

Kratom is not highly regulated. However, the American Kratom Association is working to put regulations in place. They have developed the Kratom Consumer Protection Act, addressing issues such as lab testing, age restrictions, and fines. 

The AKA has put GMP regulations in place to help vendors offer higher-quality kratom to consumers. To become a part of the AKA, the vendor must pass a strict third-party audit and abide by all GMP regulations. These regulations include lab testing.

We are an active member of the American Kratom Association. While the kratom market still has a long way to go, lab testing is in place to help authenticate products. Only buy from vendors who offer lab testing.

The Body

While both herbs lack scientific research, some studies help us understand how they interact with the body. While they provide similar support, both herbs work with different body parts. Kratom is known to work with opioid receptors, while Kanna is a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI). So, both of these herbs work differently in the body. 

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A Final Note

We hope that this blog has helped you understand Kanna vs Kratom. Both of these herbs are different but do bear some similarities. Kratom has been famous in the United States for some time, and Kanna products are quickly gaining traction. Check out our shop if you want to try some kratom powder or capsules. Let us know if you have any questions or want to try new kratom strains. Other kratom alternatives include kava, Sakae Naa, blue lotus, Mitragyna Hirsuta, Mitragyna Javanica, and Akuamma.

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Written by Nimesh D

Updated on August 21st, 2023

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