Drug testing has become a routine practice right when you’re going for a job interview or if you are participating in some sort of sports.

The results of the drug test can have a huge impact on the interview you gave or the application for a game/sport.

Therefore, many people avoid taking drugs before such important occasions. However, if you have taken a drug and you need to appear for a drug test, this could be worrisome.

This article features the properties of kava and answers the question ‘will kava make you fail a drug test?’

To understand this, you need to have a firm grasp on the properties of Kava, features of drug testing and easy ways to eliminate kava from your system quickly.

What is Kava?

kavaKava is an herbal supplement that is used to produce a sense of calmness.

It helps in the relaxation of muscles and improves mood by inducing euphoria like state. It is also known to have an anxiolytic action, relieves restlessness, insomnia, and pain.

The generic name of Kava is Piper Methysticum. It is also called Kava pepper, Ava pepper, Sakau and various other names in different parts of the world.

It is well known for producing sedation and it is consumed by many due to its hypnotic, psychotropic and anxiolytic action.

Kava can also be used as a remedy for mood swings, especially in menopausal women.

It also acts as a therapeutic support for addiction. Kava is responsible for promoting better sleep by regulating the sleep-wake cycle.

Kava has anti-cancer properties that inhibit the growth and mitosis of tumor cells.

It is especially used in prostate cancer to avoid metastasis. The anti-inflammatory properties of kava are of great importance in medicine.

What does Kava comprise of?

Kava has the active ingredient that is known as kavalactones. They are also known as kavapyrones.

Kavalactones come in six forms which include; kavain, dihyrdokavain, methysticin, dihydromethysticin, yangonin, and desmethoxyyangonin.

Other than these active substances, various other bioactives are also present like lactones, awaine, pipermethystine, flavokavains, and glutathione.

What is the mechanism of action of Kava?

Kava works by interacting with a number of pathways in the brain and the body. It is involved in;

  1. Glutaminergic signaling, that is brought about by Kavain.
  2. GABAergic signaling that is mediated by dihydromethysticin. This signaling leads to sedation.
  3. Dopaminergic signaling which involves the release of dopamine by dihydrokavain and desmethoxyyangonin.
  4. Serotonergic signaling is mediated by dihydromethysticin which increases the levels of serotonin. On the other hand, desmethoxyyangonin decreases the levels of serotonin.

What is drug testing?

testDrug testing is a procedure in which a chemical and technical analysis of a biological specimen is carried out.

These biological specimens include blood, urine, breath, hair, sweat as well as saliva.

The reason drug testing is carried out is to check if a person has been taking a particular substance or drug in order to perform better (as in various sports and interviews).

Drug testing enables one to determine the presence of various drugs or their metabolites. Conventional drug testing is done for narcotics like cocaine, heroin, and cannabis.

Does Kava show up on a drug test?

Kava is legal in many parts of the world. The DEA does not conduct any special drug tests for kava.

However, in countries and regions where kava is prohibited and illegal, certain specialized tests have been introduced to detect the presence of kava and its metabolites in the specimen.

The routine drug tests like Urine drug test and Gas chromatography/mass spectrometry may or may not show up kava in the results. This is where the concept of false positive drug testing arises.

What is false positive drug testing?

False positive drug test result implies that your result of the test showed up a drug that you haven’t consumed.

For example, if person A consumes kava and the drug test result shows that person ‘A’ consumed marijuana, this is false positive. How can this occur?

It may be due to structural or chemical similarity or maybe the metabolites of the two drugs are the same.

If you get a false positive with kava by the urine drug test, you must go for a Gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS).

User reviews about Kava giving false positive results

According to users on Reddit, kava has been giving false positive results for MDMA.

Though most of the users state that kava doesn’t give any false positives, a very small number of poor individuals had to go through this trial where their results showed up as MDMA.

This doesn’t make any sense as kava and MDMA are totally different drugs that act on different pathways and receptors.

The results are confusing. Therefore, it can be deduced that these users have been taking other substances too because the majority of the users claim that kava doesn’t give false positives.

How to remove kava quickly from your system?

If you fear that kava will show up on a drug test and that you need to remove it from your system as quickly as possible then you need to follow these guidelines;

  • You can first try by dodging. Yes! You can give synthetic urine for testing or add some masking agent into urine that is not detectable on the test.
  • Or you can just start drinking as much water as you can. This method is effective if brought into use 3 days before the test. Drinking more water means urinating more frequently and kava is excreted from the body via urine.
  • Dilution can cause a problem. Diluted urine has no color. To make the urine color yellow start taking Vitamin B12 supplements. Also, take creatine tablets to ensure that your urine shows normal creatine levels. (the levels go down in diluted urine)
  • Use diuretics like grape juice, coffee, iced tea, apple cider vinegar and cranberry juice. This also increases urination.
  • Increase fiber intake to increase body metabolism which in turn increases excretion of kava.
  • You may also use blood cleanser herbs like chaparral poke root, red clover etc.


Kava is known to be a safe herb if consumed properly and without any additives. It doesn’t show up on routine drug tests neither does it give any false positives.

It has high medicinal importance and thus its use can be incorporated into treatment regimens for cancer, arthritis, insomnia, anxiety, and depression.

Keeping this in mind, it’s our responsibility to make sure that kava doesn’t get banned by using it carefully and not recreationally.



  1. Today Monday May 15th 2023. I’m in intensive outpatient for alcohol. I have been using kava, and I get tested. My counselor pulled me out of class for a positive urine test for MDMA. I told her about the kava and she and the nurse said that the test they will send to the lab will be more specific and be negative if I am telling the truth. Also they have seen this before. So yes an initial urine dip stick test can get you flagged for MDMA. Reference: Brickhouse Recovery, Boise Idaho. Just needed to share.


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