What Is Kratom? The Complete Guide to Kratom Effects, Strains, and Usage
New to kratom and uncertain where to start? If so, our comprehensive guide will provide you with all the answers to burning questions one might have regarding kratom. Today, you will learn what kratom is, how it works, its effects and benefits, and how to use it. We’ll also explain the different kratom strains and where to get kratom of the highest quality.
So, without further ado, here’s everything anyone new to kratom should learn before taking kratom for the first time.
What Is Kratom?
First things first, what is kratom? Also referred to as Mitragyna speciosa, kratom is a tropical evergreen tree native to Southeast Asia, specifically to countries such as Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia. The plant falls under the Rubiceae family; the same family coffee belongs to. And just like its relative, kratom is a potent nervous central system stimulant, affecting both mental and physical energy.
That’s because kratom leaves contain active compounds (mostly alkaloids, such as mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine) that provide stimulating and sedative effects. Due to these, kratom leaves have been present in Asian medicine for centuries, where it’s believed to help with pain, burnout, focus, and mood. These effects, however, depend on the dosage and strain used (we’ll cover them in more detail later in the guide).
As for how kratom is harvested, it’s mostly done by hand by skilled farmers who know which leaves to pick for high-quality kratom. Leaves are usually picked in the morning when the alkaloid content is at its peak. After harvesting, leaves are sorted according to their vein color, which affects the potency and effects of the strain – either red, white, or green.
Once the leaves are sorted, they are processed by air-drying or sun-drying. Drying is an essential step since it affects the potency and quality of the kratom product. The dried leaves are either sold as is or processed further into powder or capsules, which are the most common forms of kratom products.
How Does Kratom Work?
Kratom leaves contain chemical compounds known as alkaloids, the most prominent of which are mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine. These alkaloids interact with the body’s opioid receptors to produce various euphoric and sedative effects.
Many kratom users also report kratom offers pain relief effects, although this requires further research to be confirmed 100% true.
Additionally, kratom affects the adrenergic receptors in the body, which are responsible for regulating the release of adrenaline and noradrenaline. This results in increased energy, alertness, and focus.
Kratom also interacts with the serotonin and dopamine receptors responsible for regulating mood and emotions. This is why some people use kratom as a natural remedy for anxiety and depression. However, it’s important to note that research in this area is still minimal, and more studies are needed to confirm the effects of kratom on mental health.
What Are the Effects of Kratom?
The problem with explaining the kratom effects on the body and mind is that they depend on numerous factors.
First, the kratom itself is a highly complex plant. A kratom leaf contains 16 key ingredients, and each offers its unique set of effects. And since various kratom strains come with different ratios of these compounds, they also offer distinct effects. For instance, red kratom is associated with relaxing and soothing effects, whereas white vein kratom offers something completely opposite.
How kratom affects an individual also depends on the dose, with lower doses offering stimulating effects similar to those one can feel after drinking coffee and higher ones offering soothing and relaxing properties. Some users also report sexual arousal effects and higher doses (usually above 7 grams).
There’s also the case of one’s kratom tolerance. Other factors like your weight can also impact kratom’s effects, including how fast they hit and for how long they stay.
Speaking of which, how long does kratom last? That, again, depends on the strain, dose, tolerance, etc. On average, you can expect kratom effects to kick in after 30 minutes from taking and last for around 3-4 hours.
What Are the Benefits of Kratom?
There are several reasons for kratom being recognized as a promising medicinal plant. Indeed, if you look at its history, kratom has been used for centuries to help with numerous conditions, such as diarrhea, fatigue, diabetes, fevers, pain, and inflammation.
Today, kratom acts mostly as a pain-relief remedy, used mostly among those worrying about developing an opioid addiction associated with prescription painkillers. The problem here is that while kratom might help with some conditions, much more research is still needed to confirm its benefits.
What are the most significant positive health effects associated with kratom? According to several studies, kratom might offer help with the following:
- Pain relief: One of the most common uses of kratom is to alleviate pain. It works by binding to pain receptors in the brain, thus reducing sensations of discomfort.
- Anxiety and depression: Kratom works by increasing mood-enhancing neurotransmitters like serotonin and endorphins, helping regulate mood and improve well-being.
- Energy and focus: Kratom is potentially stimulating in lower doses, making it an excellent natural alternative to caffeine or other synthetic stimulants.
- Opioid withdrawal: Kratom has been used in traditional medicine as an alternative to opioids, which can be habit-forming and cause withdrawal symptoms when discontinued.
- Immune system support: Some studies suggest kratom has immune system-enhancing properties. Its alkaloids help stimulate the production of white blood cells, essential for fighting infections and diseases.
So yes, kratom is a potentially beneficial herb for various health issues, from chronic pain to mood disorders and immune function. However, it’s important to remember that more research is needed to fully understand its benefits and risks and to always consult a healthcare professional before using any herbal supplement.
Risks and Side Effects of Taking Kratom
Although, as discussed, kratom offers several potential benefits, there are also some concerns regarding using kratom. However, similar to its benefits, we need more research to confirm whether kratom can be considered unsafe.
From what many kratom users report, short-term kratom side effects usually include:
- dry mouth,
- and sedation.
It is important to note that the severity of these side effects varies depending on the individual and the amount of kratom consumed. Generally, the higher the dose, the more severe these potential side effects can be.
Long-term use of kratom has also been associated with several risks. The most concerning of these is the potential for addiction. Kratom contains alkaloids that bind to the same receptors in the brain as opioids, leading to similar effects on the body. This can lead to physical dependence, withdrawal symptoms, and a higher risk of overdose when consumed in large amounts.
Other long-term risks associated with kratom use include liver damage, kidney failure, and respiratory depression. These risks are most likely to occur in individuals who consume large amounts of kratom regularly over an extended period of time.
How to Take Kratom?
There are three main ways to consume kratom: powder, capsules, and extract.
Kratom powder is the most popular way to consume kratom. It can be mixed with water or another beverage and drunk (the so-called toss-and-wash method) or added to food. Another popular method to ingest kratom powder is preparing an infused tea.
Kratom capsules offer a more convenient way to consume kratom. The capsules are pre-measured, making it easier to control the dosage, and they are consumed like standard coated tablets.
Kratom extract is the most potent form of kratom. It’s made by boiling leaves in water and evaporating the water until a concentrated resin is left behind. Kratom extract can be ingested directly by placing several drops under the tongue or, similar to powder form, added to a drink or food.
How Much Kratom to Take?
Finding the perfect dosage of kratom is a challenging thing. There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to kratom, with the dose depending on numerous factors, such as your desired kratom effects, tolerance to kratom, kratom strain, weight, etc.
In general, we can split kratom doses into two categories – low and high doses:
- Low doses refer to dosages of approximately 2-6 grams of kratom powder;
- High doses usually are between 6-12 grams of dried kratom powder.
As covered, lower doses are associated with stimulating effects, whereas high doses are more soothing. However, it’s essential to be careful how much kratom you take, especially if it’s your first time.
The best idea is to start with low doses and slowly move your way up as your body builds tolerance to kratom or until you reach your desired effects.
If you want a more accurate measurement of the ideal kratom dose for your body, take roughly 0.03 grams per pound of body weight for stimulating effects or 0.06 grams per pound for sedative and pain-relieving effects. One teaspoon of dried kratom powder contains approximately 2.5 grams, while a tablespoon contains about 7 grams, for reference.
Also, before you take kratom, be sure to eat well and stay hydrated. It’s easy to dehydrate yourself when taking kratom, so drinking enough water before and during kratom ingestion is incredibly important if you want to lower the risk of experiencing more severe side effects.
Understanding Kratom Strains
Throughout this guide, we’ve mentioned several times that there are several different kratom strains, all coming with their distinct effects, benefits, and potency. Essentially, kratom strains are divided based on their leaf vein colors, which can range from white to red, green, and yellow.
White Kratom Strains
White kratom strains are known for their energizing and stimulating effects. They are typically taken in the morning or early afternoon to help increase focus, productivity, and mental clarity. White kratom strains are also known for their mood-lifting properties, making them a popular choice for those dealing with depression or anxiety.
The potency of white kratom strains varies depending on the specific strain. Some strains, such as White Maeng Da and White Borneo, are known for their high potency and long-lasting effects. However, users should still exercise caution when using any white kratom strain, as they can cause side effects such as insomnia, jitteriness, and increased heart rate when taken at higher doses.
Red Kratom Strains
Red kratom strains are associated with sedative and relaxing effects. They are typically taken in the evening or at night to help promote sleep and relaxation. Red kratom strains are also known for their supposed pain-relieving properties, making them a popular choice for those dealing with chronic pain or other conditions that cause discomfort.
The potency of red kratom strains also varies depending on the specific strain. Strains like Red Bali Kratom and Red Indo are known among users for their high potency and long-lasting effects. Red kratom strains are, however, also associated with several side effects, such as dizziness, nausea, and constipation.
Green Kratom Strains
Green kratom strains are popular among users seeking balanced effects, offering both energizing and relaxing white and red kratom properties. Many users take green kratom during the day to help increase focus and productivity while also promoting relaxation and stress relief.
As with other strains, the potency of green kratom strains varies from one strain to another. Some strains, for instance, Green Maeng Da and Green Malay, are more potent and long-lasting. However, due to their more balanced effects, green vein strains are said to be more unpredictable, which is why it’s so vital to be careful with green kratom doses, as they can cause side effects such as dry mouth, sweating, and loss of appetite.
Yellow Kratom Strains
Yellow kratom strains are less common than other strains, but they offer unique effects that are worth exploring. Yellow kratom strains are typically a blend of other strains, resulting in a balanced combination of energizing, relaxing, and mood-lifting properties. They are known for their ability to promote focus and productivity while also reducing stress and anxiety.
White kratom blends, like Yellow Vietnam and Yellow Bali, are associated with high potency and long-lasting effects. As for their potential risks and side effects, some users report nausea, dizziness, and headache when taken at higher doses.
Popular Kratom Strains
The most popular kratom strains vary depending on individual preferences and needs. However, some strains are more widely used than others due to their unique effects and potency. Some of the most popular kratom strains include:
- Maeng Da: Known for its high potency and long-lasting effects, Maeng Dais a popular choice for those looking for an energizing and mood-lifting strain.
- Bali: Bali kratom is known for its sedative and pain-relieving properties, making it a popular choice for those dealing with chronic pain or other conditions that cause discomfort.
- Thai: Thai kratom is known for its energizing and stimulating effects, making it a popular choice for those looking for a natural alternative to caffeine or other stimulants.
- Borneo: Borneo kratom is associated with relaxing and calming effects, making it a popular choice for those dealing with anxiety or insomnia.
- Malay: Malay kratom is known for its balanced effects, offering both energizing and relaxing properties. It is a popular choice for those looking for a strain that can help increase focus and productivity while also promoting relaxation and stress relief.
Overall, it is important to do your research and consult with a healthcare professional before using any kratom strain. While kratom can offer many benefits, it can also cause side effects and interact with certain medications. By understanding the differences between each strain, users can choose the one that best fits their needs and preferences.
It’s also important to note that there’s still more research required to confirm both the positive and negative aspects of taking kratom, no matter the strain.
Is Kratom Legal?
In the United States, the legality of kratom varies by state. As of 2021, kratom is legal in most states, but it is banned in some. For example, it is illegal to buy, sell, or possess kratom in Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin. In some states, such as Florida and Georgia, kratom is legal, but there are age restrictions and labeling requirements.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has considered classifying kratom as a Schedule I drug, which would make it illegal at the federal level. However, due to public outcry and advocacy efforts, the DEA withdrew its intent to ban kratom in 2016.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also issued warnings about the potential dangers of kratom, including the risk of addiction, overdose, and death. That, however, is associated with the lack of comprehensive research regarding kratom. With new studies confirming or denying kratom’s potential effects, it’s likely that the FDA may change its recommendations in the future.
Where to Buy Kratom?
With kratom’s growing popularity, finding a reputable source has become a challenge. Well, if you’re wondering who to trust when buying kratom, look no further than Kratom Exchange. What sets us apart from many other kratom stores is the utmost attention to detail throughout each step of the harvesting and processing stages.
At Kratom Exchange, we only use natural fertilizers that ensure our kratom is pure and free of any potentially harmful chemicals. We then dry kratom leaves in covered barns, protecting them from losing their rich alkaloid profile. We then process and pack our kratom products following the highest industry standards, ensuring our customers receive pure kratom of the highest possible quality.
Go to our store or request a free sample. And if you have any concerns regarding the quality or effectiveness of our products, you can always reach out to us or request a refund thanks to our 100% Money-Back Guarantee.
Despite kratom’s increasing popularity, there are still a lot of controversies and safety concerns surrounding its potential benefits. DEA, for instance, treats kratom as a “drug of concern,” whereas FDA has issued warnings regarding kratom use leading to addiction, overdose, and even death.
And sure, these claims sound severe, explaining why kratom is still banned in many countries and some U.S. states. Its potential health benefits cannot go unnoticed, though, with kratom being associated with numerous benefits, including potentially helping alleviate pain, battle anxiety, increase focus, enhance mood, and more.
And with more kratom users confirming these potential health effects, it’s clear that kratom can be incredibly beneficial in tackling such issues. More scientific research is needed to confirm that, though, especially considering various factors (e.g., dose, individual tolerance, and strain) playing a part in both positive and negative kratom effects.
And while we can’t help you decide whether kratom is the right fit for you, we can provide you with the best possible products for you to try if kratom can be of help in your individual case. Head to our store or visit our blog section to learn more about kratom, its strains, usages, and more.
You can also contact us directly through our phone number or online form. Our team will happily answer any questions you might have regarding kratom and our products.