As Whitney Marx stirred up a drink with kava in it, she spoke with her customers about the benefits of kava and kratom.

Shes owned the Kava Bar in Midtown Tucson for four years and just opened up the Kava Den in Downtown Tucson last year.

You are provided with a feeling of relaxation, like a social lubricant, she explained. You dont get the hangover. Youre not inebriated. You can still drive home.

While Marx sees a lot of customers that vary in age, she said her regulars tend to be a lot of people in their twenties.

They dont want to feel bad. They want that same social outlet without the negative impacts that alcohol has on your life, she said.

In a study done from 2002 t0 2018 by Jama Pediatrics with a sample size of over 182 thousand people ages 18 to 22, the amount of people not drinking went up every year. They say in the years they tested them, the number of college students that didnt drink went up by 8 percent. They said the amount of non-college students in that age group went up by about six percent.

Marx said kava offers benefits you dont get from alcohol.

It can help people with insomnia. Theres an overall physical muscle relaxation, she said.

Nielsen IQ says in the first two weeks of January 2022, non-alcohol products saw a 19 percent increase in dollar sales.

While she often sees new customers that have never tried kava or kratom, Marx is hoping more people buzz about the benefits.

I hope that KAVA continues to grow and awareness about kava and the benefits and that people can use it to improve their lives, she said.