Sceletium: Benefits, Dosage, Side Effects, Drug Interactions, And Other Important Information


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Sceletium tortuosum, often known as kanna, is a succulent plant native to South Africa that has been used for millennia by local tribes for its mood-boosting properties. Sceletium has increased in popularity among nootropics, or compounds that are known to improve cognitive function, particularly due to its potential benefits in increasing alertness, focus, and overall cognitive performance. This article will provide a thorough  scientific understanding of sceletium,  its nature, health advantages, appropriate dosage, side effects, probable substance interactions, and safe use as a nootropic supplement.

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Sceletium: Benefits, Dosage, Side Effects, Drug Interactions, And Other Important Information is an original (NootropicsPlanet) article.

The Nature of Sceletium

Sceletium tortuosum, which belongs to the aizoaceae family, thrives in South Africa’s semi-arid regions. In ancient medicine, sceletium was mostly used for fermentation and drying to make it more palatable and effective. Scientific research on sceletium has found numerous main alkaloids responsible for its effects, including mesembrine, mesembrenone, mesembrenol, and tortuosamine. These alkaloids are hypothesized to contribute to the plant’s psychoactive and nootropic properties by interacting with neurochemicals in the brain.

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Health Benefits of Sceletium

Sceletium tortuosum offers a variety of health benefits, particularly in the realms of mental health and cognitive enhancement. These benefits are primarily derived from its alkaloids, which interact with neurotransmitter systems to produce effects that can improve mood, reduce stress, enhance cognitive function, and potentially offer neuro-protective benefits.

Mood Enhancement and Anxiolytic Effects

One of the most well-known health benefits of sceletium is its ability to improve mood and reduce anxiety. Sceletium boosts serotonin levels in the brain by reducing serotonin reuptake, which is a neurotransmitter important for mood control. This effect can result in increased mood stability, less symptoms of depression, and a general sense of well-being. Sceletium’s anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) properties make it a natural option for people seeking to manage stress and anxiety without the side effects associated with pharmaceutical antidepressants.

Cognitive Enhancement

Sceletium has been linked to having nootropic benefits, including increased cognitive processes like alertness, concentration, and memory. These effects are assumed to be caused by the compound’s interaction with the serotonergic system as well as its suppression of PDE4, which plays a role in learning and memory processes. Sceletium can enhance cognitive health by improving brain transmission and potentially stimulating neuroplasticity, making it an excellent supplement for students, professionals, and anybody looking to improve their mental health.

Stress Reduction

Sceletium’s ability to control the stress response is another significant health benefit. Sceletium can  lower stress perception and the body’s stress reactions, which positively impacts the central nervous system. This makes it an excellent supplement for individuals who experience high levels of stress, since it promotes both mental and physical health by reducing the negative effects of chronic stress, such as high blood pressure and decreased immune function.

Neuro-protective Properties

Recent research has found that sceletium can have neuro-protective properties, potentially protecting the brain from age-related degeneration and neurotoxicity. Although the specific processes are still being studied, the antioxidant activity of its alkaloids and the regulation of neurotrophic factors can contribute to these neuro-protective effects. This component of sceletium is an intriguing subject for future research, especially in the setting of neuro-degenerative illnesses such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Sleep Improvement

Individuals who have used sceletium have reported to have experienced enhanced sleep quality and duration. Although sceletium’s direct effects on sleep patterns  are not yet thoroughly researched, its anxiolytic and mood-enhancing properties can lead to a better sleep experience. Sceletium can not only  lower anxiety and regulate  mood, but it can help relieve sleep problems caused by stress and anxiety, enabling restful sleep.

Potential Anti-Addictive Effects

Preliminary study suggests that sceletium can have anti-addictive properties, notably in terms of lowering cravings and withdrawal symptoms associated with substance usage. While these findings require more scientific validation, they do imply that sceletium could play a role in addiction rehabilitation programs.

Lady having healthy sleep.

Chemistry of Sceletium

The psychoactive and cognitive-enhancing properties of sceletium tortuosum are attributed to a group of alkaloids including mesembrine, mesembrenone, mesembrenol, and tortuosamine. These compounds vary in concentration throughout different parts of the plant and are thought to be primarily responsible for its therapeutic effects.

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  • Mesembrine is considered to be the principal active alkaloid, known for its potent serotonin reuptake inhibitory (SRI) effects. It is a highly effective compound that contributes significantly to the plant’s antidepressant and anxiolytic properties.
  • Mesembrenone also acts as a serotonin reuptake inhibitor, but with additional PDE4 inhibitory activity, which can contribute to its cognitive-enhancing effects.
  • Mesembrenol and tortuosamine have not been  studied thoroughly, but are believed to contribute to the overall pharmacological profile of sceletium through complementary properties that may include other neurotransmitter systems.

Physiological Properties of Sceletium

The physiological effects of sceletium on the body and brain are primarily mediated through its interaction with the central nervous system’s neurotransmitter systems. The key physiological properties include:

  • Serotonin Reuptake Inhibition: Mesembrine and mesembrenone inhibit the reuptake of serotonin (5-HT) into presynaptic neurons. This activity increases the concentration of serotonin in the synaptic cleft, enhancing serotonergic neurotransmission. Enhanced serotonin levels are associated with improved mood and reduced anxiety, as serotonin plays a crucial role in mood regulation.
  • PDE4 Inhibition: Mesembrenone’s ability to inhibit phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4) can contribute to its anti-inflammatory and neuro-protective effects. PDE4 inhibitors are known to improve long-term memory formation, learning, and neuroplasticity by increasing cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) levels in the brain. Elevated cAMP levels enhance certain signal transduction pathways involved in the regulation of cognitive functions and mood.
  • Dopaminergic and Cholinergic System Modulation: Although the direct properties of sceletium alkaloids on the dopaminergic and cholinergic systems are not wellknown, there is speculation that these neurotransmitter systems are also affected, either directly by the alkaloids or indirectly through their primary actions. Modulation of these systems can further explain the cognitive-enhancing effects of sceletium, as dopamine and acetylcholine are critical for attention, motivation, learning, and memory processes.

The interaction of sceletium’s alkaloids with these neurotransmitter systems leads to a cascade of effects within the brain, promoting neuronal growth, neuroplasticity, and resilience against stress. The precise balance and synergy between these properties contribute to the cognitive and mood-enhancing properties of sceletium, making it a compound of interest not only for its traditional use but also for potential therapeutic use in modern medicine.

Anxiety issue.

Optimal Dosage of Sceletium

Individual variations in response to the supplement make determining the correct sceletium dosage challenging. Clinical research and traditional use indicate that low to moderate doses can achieve the intended nootropic and mood-enhancing effects while avoiding major negative effects. Doses for sceletium typically range from 50 to 200 mg per day, depending on the form and product being used. It is critical to begin at the low end of this range and gradually raise as needed, keeping track of any changes in effect or side effects.

Side Effects of Sceletium

Sceletium is usually regarded as safe when used in the recommended dosages. However, as with any supplement, some individuals can experience negative effects. The most frequently reported side effects include headaches, moderate gastrointestinal disturbances, and, in rare cases, palpitations or anxiety, especially at larger doses. Given its serotonergic effects, there is a theoretical danger of serotonin syndrome when combined with other serotonergic medicines, but this has not been described in scientific research.

Lady facing belly pain.

Potential Substance Interactions with Sceletium

Sceletium’s activity on the serotonin system suggests that it can interact with other medications that affect serotonin levels, such as SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) or MAOIs (monoamine oxidase inhibitors). Combining sceletium with these medications can raise the risks of developing serotonin syndrome, an uncommon but serious illness marked by high body temperature, agitation, enhanced reflexes, tremor, sweating, dilated pupils, and diarrhea. Individuals taking antidepressants should check with a healthcare expert before starting sceletium supplementation.

Best Responsible Use of Sceletium

There are some important factors to consider before taking sceletium as a nootropic product. To assure product quality and purity, start by sourcing the supplement from recognized vendors. To reduce the danger of side effects, begin with a low dose and gradually increase it based on personal tolerance and reaction. Monitoring for negative reactions or combinations with other drugs or supplements is critical for safety. Finally, it is recommended that you speak with a healthcare practitioner before using sceletium, especially if you have any current medical conditions or are taking medication.

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In conclusion, taking a sceletium supplement can offer potential benefits for mental health and well-being. Sceletium, also known as Kanna, has been traditionally used for its mood-enhancing properties and stress-relieving effects. However, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement, especially if you have underlying health conditions or are taking other medications. Additionally, individual responses to sceletium may vary, and more rigorous scientific studies are needed to fully understand its efficacy and safety. As with any supplement, moderation and informed decision-making are crucial for optimal health outcomes.

Lady having supplement.


  1. Sceletium for Managing Anxiety, Depression and Cognitive Impairment:A Traditional Herbal Medicine in Modern-Day Regulatory Systems. Retrieved From:,subcortical%20threat%20responsivity%20%5B42%5D.
  1. Acute Effects of Sceletium tortuosum (Zembrin), a Dual 5-HT Reuptake and PDE4 Inhibitor, in the Human Amygdala and its Connection to the Hypothalamus. Retrieved from:
  1. Sceletium – Uses, Side Effects, and More. Retrieved from:

Important Note: The information contained in this article is for general informational purposes only, and should not be construed as health or medical advice, nor is it intended to diagnose, prevent, treat, or cure any disease or health condition. Before embarking on any diet, fitness regimen, or program of nutritional supplementation, it is advisable to consult your healthcare professional in order to determine its safety and probable efficacy in terms of your individual state of health.

Regarding Nutritional Supplements Or Other Non-Prescription Health Products: If any nutritional supplements or other non-prescription health products are mentioned in the foregoing article, any claims or statements made about them have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and such nutritional supplements or other health products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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