PT360 – Kanna: Love and Wholeness Through Nature’s Alternative to MDMA

September 30, 2022
Featuring: Stephanie Wang

In this episode, Joe interviews Stephanie Wang: Founder and CEO of KA! Empathogenics, which has created the first-ever empathogenic supplement chew with the primary ingredient of kanna. 

Subscribe Share

In this episode, Joe interviews Stephanie Wang: Founder and CEO of KA! Empathogenics, which has created the first-ever empathogenic supplement chew with the primary ingredient of kanna. 

Similar to our exploration of kratom with Oliver Grundmann, Ph.D., this episode dives deep into a plant rarely talked about in psychedelic circles: kanna (or Sceletium tortuosum), a succulent native to South Africa. As a natural serotonin reuptake inhibitor and serotonin releasing agent, kanna’s effects sound very similar to those of MDMA (heart-opening, feeling surrounded by love and wanting to connect, an increase in energy, hunger suppression), but with a lot more: sleep improvement, a decrease in gut inflammation, increased focus and awareness, and a feeling of brain recalibration and true homeostasis (and it’s legal!). KA!’s first product is their kanna chew: a healthy, pH-neutral snack with no sugar, preservatives, caffeine, or artificial sweeteners, made with the intention to “restore full spectrum aliveness for all human beings.” 

Wang breaks down the science behind why kanna works, its history with the Khoisan people of South Africa, her first kanna plant ceremony, contraindications and what pairs well with it, how you should take it and how long it can last, and why she chose KA! as the name for her company. She and Joe also talk about their shared past with Evolver, the complexity in the simple question: “How are you?”, the care needed when making comparisons, society’s move towards self-directed healing and more natural foods, and the question of whether or not every modern culture is truly ready for psychedelics and natural plant medicines.

Notable Quotes

“It was amazing to experience kanna in a ceremonial setting where it was incredibly expansive and heart-opening. That’s literally how it feels: You just feel this oneness and you feel enormous love. You feel everything around you is love, everyone is love. And what it also had an effect on is how we were relating to each other in that setting. So imagine that you’re in a place where nothing matters. Nobody cares what you look like, where you came from, what job you have, how much money you make, what social strata [you’re in]; nobody cares. All you care about is meeting each other in that heart-centered space, in a very human and intimate space.”

“One out of five Americans (at least) suffer from some kind of mental health issue. …[Something] you talk about a lot in your show is this wholeness: we are far more than just our minds. We are bodies, we are hearts, we are spirit as well. So really looking at that as a whole is tremendously important, and kanna is one of those amazing plants that starts to connect you to that understanding.”

“What we look for a lot, in terms of our own healing, is in nature already. And instead of trying to tease out, ‘Okay, here’s the active component and let’s just isolate this, patent this, etc. and then make a drug, and then…’ – that’s, to me, an old model, actually. And what happens is then… the wholeness is lost. …There’s a reason why this particular plant evolved this way and has all these properties.”

Links (KA Empathogenics)

Facebook: Evolver Boston (for a piece of Joe’s history) Khoisan people Lost Khoisan Tribe (and kanna usage)

Psychedelics Today: The Intertwined Prohibitionist Histories of Psychedelics and Kratom This Legal Supplement Made Me Roll Like I’d Taken MDMA

NIDA: What are MDMA’s effects on the brain? Revised estimates for the number of human and bacteria cells in the body What is kA rating?

Stephanie Wang 2

In this Episode

Stephanie Wang

Stephanie Wang is passionate about the power of plants and conscious transformation. She is the Founder and CEO of KA! Empathogenics. KA! is the first-ever empathogenic supplement chew made with 100% botanicals that features kanna – clinically proven to activate an immediate sense of grounded energy and lifted mood, helping people feel more alive, connected, and capable as they navigate everyday anxiety and stress. Previously, Stephanie was the President of The Alchemist’s Kitchen and Director of Evolver, a conscious lifestyle company in New York. She was also a content producer for the X-Prize Foundation, ABC Television, The Discovery Channel, and produced feature films that premiered at The Tribeca Film Festival and Sundance Film Festival. A native of Hong Kong, Stephanie began her career in corporate finance at Salomon Brothers, New York, and was a number one ranked equity analyst in the retail sector with HSBC Securities, Hong Kong. She is the creator and host of How Things Connect podcast.

KA! Empathogenics socials: Instagram / Tiktok