Kratom is not approved or regulated by the FDA. This article contains data about kratom for informational purposes only. None of the information contained herein should be considered medical advice. Kratom is not intended for use in diagnosing a disease, or for treating, curing, or preventing diseases or other health conditions. Anyone considering the use of kratom should speak with their physician to answer any questions before doing so.
What Is Kratom?
Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) is a tree native to Thailand and other countries in the tropics. It is related to coffee, and the leaves have been used for a long time as both a stimulant and a sedative. These types of benefits come from two alkaloid compounds found in leaves. However, you may still be asking yourself, "What is kratom?"
- Mitragynine makes up 66% of the alkaloid content in kratom and acts as an analgesic (pain-killer) and adrenergic (stimulant). It also has antimalarial, antidiarrheal, and antitussive properties.1
- 7-HMG makes up about 2% of the alkaloid content in kratom and has very similar properties to mitragynine. It is also the primary psychoactive agent in the product. However, 7-HMG is only found in dried kratom leaves. 1
An Overview of Kratom
What Is Kratom Used For?
When used in smaller amounts, kratom has a stimulant effect like having a cup of coffee but without caffeine. However, when used in larger amounts, kratom can soothe and comfort an individual, helping to relax and unwind.
Kratom is traditionally used to both improve energy and help one relax. Workers would chew the leaves during the day to give them energy and to improve productivity. When the work was done, they would use kratom to wind down.
What Is Kratom Used for Today?
Today, people use kratom for many of the same reasons they have for thousands of years. It can wake you up and give you energy, helping you take on the day. It can also be used as an analgesic and to alleviate discomfort. The stimulant effects can lift one's mood and brighten their day. People also use kratom to relax, recharge, and gain a sense of improved well-being, meaning that it plays off one's mood and can increase motivation.
What Forms of Kratom Are Available for Consumption?
At one point in time, kratom was only available in raw format - leaves from the tree itself. Today, you have many other options when it comes to kratom consumption. We will discuss some of them below, as well as why someone might choose one over the other.
Kratom is available in capsule forms like most other natural products. Kratom pills offer quite a few benefits - they are easy and convenient to take, they can be added to your daily vitamin regimen quite easily, they have no taste, and they can be taken virtually anytime and anywhere, making them one of the most convenient options available.
Kratom tea can be made in a couple of diverse ways. The most traditional way is to steep kratom leaves in boiling water, like making a cup of loose-leaf tea. However, you can also mix kratom powder into hot water.
Kratom leaves can be chewed, steeped to make tea, dried and crushed into powder, and more. They are versatile and form the basis for all other kratom consumption methods, so if you are a DIY-er, this type might be the form for you.
Kratom liquid is a concentrate type made from either steeping kratom leaves or mixing kratom powder in water. It is not designed for use on its own but instead as an ingredient for foods and beverages.
Other Kratom Forms
Kratom is quickly becoming available in forms such as gummy varieties, resin, drinks such as kratom-specialized sodas, and kratom-infused honey sticks. Kava bars are rising in popularity as well.
How to Use Kratom
Anyone wondering about kratom's effects will also want to know how to use the leaves effectively.
Kratom's effects vary depending on how much you take, so it is essential to understand the right kratom dosage. For those looking for an energy boost to their day, a dose of between one and five grams is usually enough. However, if you are looking to improve your mood and sense of well-being, doses of five grams or higher are recommended.
What should you start with? Ideally, you will get started with a dose of two to four grams if you need energy, and five grams if you want to relax. Starting lower is always better than taking too much at one time. The effects will also vary based on your body's size and composition, so starting with a lower dose allows you to dial in precisely how much you need personally.
There is nothing quite like a delicious smoothie. Whether you love them as sweet treats or value their nutrition and health benefits, smoothies are simple to make and can be enjoyed just about any time. Kratom can easily be added to your smoothies in either liquid or powder form, too. Just add the appropriate dose to the smoothie mix, blend, and enjoy.
If you enjoy relaxing with a cup of tea or are looking for an energy boost other than coffee, kratom tea might be the solution for you. You can steep leaves directly, or use kratom powder or liquid to reduce the brew time. Kratom teak is a great way to start or end your day.
Kratom liquid or powder can also be mixed into beverages, including the following:
- Kratom and orange juice
- Kratom and coffee
- Kratom and chocolate-based beverages, like hot chocolate
As a note, kratom powder does best when mixed with hot liquids so that it fully dissolves. Kratom liquid can be mixed easily with hot or cold liquids.
Learning More About Kratom
We will explore the different strains below but understand that there are four primary kratom types out there. They each have slightly different chemical makeups, which makes them better suited for different needs. The best advice here is that, beyond asking what is kratom or why is it good for you, you should ask yourself what you want from it.
Do you want to be more energized and mentally alert? Do you want to feel a sense of deep contentment and relaxation? Do you want to feel ready to take on whatever the day might throw your way?
Many people choose to use different strains of kratom at different times of the day. Doing so allows them to boost their energy levels when necessary, and then relax when the day is done.
Choosing the Right Vendor
Once you have answered the question of what is kratom and is it right for me, you will need to turn your attention to the various vendors available. Kratom is available from many different sources, including smoke and vape shops in your immediate area. However, you must choose a trustworthy, reputable vendor.
Like most other natural products, the FDA does not regulate kratom. That fact leaves the door open for unscrupulous manufacturers and vendors to offer products that might contain very little kratom and are mostly just filler. Look for reviews from previous customers - those can tell you a great deal about what to expect from the products. You should also look for guarantees of purity and quality.
What Is Kratom: Understanding the Primary Strains
You will find three different kratom strain options on the market today: red vein, white vein, yellow vein, and green vein. The veins in the leaves are different colors and the leaves provide slightly different effects.
An Overview of the Kratom Strains
Red Vein Kratom
Red vein kratom comes from Bali, and it is noted for having more analgesic and relaxing effects. So, if you are more interested in winding down than feeling energized, red vein kratom is likely the place to start.
White Vein Kratom
White vein kratom, on the other hand, is native to Indonesia and is associated with more energy and better focus. Whether studying for a test, getting ready for a long day at work, or just for a quick energy boost, white vein kratom can help with motivation and alertness.
Yellow Vein Kratom
Yellow vein kratom is not a different kratom strain. Instead, it is created from white vein kratom leaves that are dried and processed uniquely. The result is a potent energy booster that can carry you through the entire day without the "fade" that caffeine can cause and without the jittery-anxious feeling that too much coffee can leave you with.
Green Vein Kratom
Green vein kratom is also from Indonesia and straddles a middle line between red and white vein varieties. It's generally considered milder than either of the others and can be stimulating in lower doses or relaxing in larger doses.
Each strain has a slightly different chemical makeup. For a full rundown of the alkaloids present in kratom, the American Kratom Association recommends this page from Kratom Science.2
Choosing the Right Strain for You
What does kratom do? It depends on the strain and dosage you choose. Here's a quick rundown of what you should know.
How Should Kratom Be Stored?
Kratom storage will vary depending on the type you are using. If you have leaves or powder, store it in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. If you are using kratom liquid, it can be stored in your cabinets until opened, and then it should be refrigerated after opening to help maintain its freshness.
Kratom vs. CBD: A Brief Comparison
Should you take kratom or is CBD the better option? There is no comparison to be made between kratom vs CBD, as each has different properties. Kratom can improve your sense of well-being, alleviate discomfort, and energize you. CBD, on the other hand, is being studied for its effects on anxiety and does not have any effect on energy levels, focus, or cognitive abilities.
Does Kratom Show Up in a Drug Test?
Kratom should not show up in a standard drug screening test. The leaf is legal in much of the United States and most tests do not screen for it or its metabolites. However, through advanced liquid chromatography, blood mitragynine concentration can be determined, although this form of testing is only used in certain situations and is not widespread.
Is Kratom Safe?
Kratom has been used for hundreds of years throughout Southeast Asia. For most people, lower doses of the leaves should be safe and can boost energy while providing a sense of improved well-being. However, those concerned about possible unwanted kratom effects or interactions with medications they are taking should speak with a medical professional before taking it.
It is worth noting that kratom is dehydrating and can cause headaches, balance issues, or enhanced hearing issues if too much is taken at one time. Symptoms of restless leg syndrome may also appear if one takes a stimulating strain or takes a large dose in the evening.
How Long Does Kratom Stay in Your System?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of how long kratom stays in your system. Many different variables affect its half-life, just as there are that determine kratom effects and dosage. Depending on your body size and composition, as well as the kratom dosage is taken, it can have a half-life of two to twenty-four hours.
Kratom is a natural product that has been used for a very long time. It is also the answer for those seeking improved energy levels, relief from discomfort, and a way to improve their sense of well-being and contentment. However, it is vital to choose a trustworthy vendor and the right type for your needs and goals.