As we mentioned earlier, the Kavalactone is the major Psychoactive Ingredient in Kava. The chart above is a list of the 6 active Kavalactones and a number assignment. The numbers were given to each kavalactone by Dr. V. Lebot, a well known Scientist and expert on Kava. At TrueKava.com they actually test the Chemotype Composition of Kava. A unique feature of Hawaiian Kava Is that the Chemotype normally start with 46. This means that the Hawaiian Kavas are high in Kavain. Kavain is a very desirable Kavalactone because it is considered more Euphoric or some might say “Heady”. This type of Kava is sought after by people who drink their Kava during the day and want to stay energetic and alert. Kavas high in Kavain are also ideal in social situations because it encourages talking and camaraderie.
The Kavas that start with 25 or 52 as not as popular because the highly potent dihydrokavain (DHK) and dihydromethysticin (DHM) are thought to cause nausea and lethargy. Lebot wrote in one his papers (1) that “when the Chemotype of a Kava is rich in DHM and DHK, drinkers suffer from photophobia, diplopia and sometimes nausea. They feel the need to sleep and sometimes will fall asleep at the place where they have drunk.” Translation, all you want to do is turn down the lights and crash on the couch.
In our Kava Consumer Guide, we list the chemotypes for every kava sold by the vendors. Here are a few examples of how chemotypes work. Moi is a very popular daytime Kava with chemotype of 463251 and Kavalactone content of 14%. The double bonded Kavalactones (2,5) are way down on the totem pole and this Kava is perfect for daytime use because it is more euphoric and the user will have complete Mental Clarity. Mapulehu has a chemotype of 462531 with Kavalactone percent of 8%. The DHK Kavalactone (2) and DMH Kavalactone (5) have a prominent position in this Kava so it is sedating. The Papa Kea Kava has a chemotype of 462351 but a big Kavalactone percent of 22%. This Kava is high in Kavain and has the DHK (2) in a prominent position. It has Analgesic effects or pain killer effects. This Kava not only numbs the mouth, but it numbs the throat as well.
In summary, we like to say that Kavas that begin with 46 are for people on the go who take their kava during the day to help with the stressful workday or social situations. They want to keep their Mental Clarity while they go about their daytime chores. The Kavas whose Chemotypes begin with 2 are better used at night when you are ready to go into couch potato mode. No matter what the chemotype, Kava increases the likelihood that you will have a very sound and deep sleep.