Over the past few decades in the US, marijuana has become widely accepted as an opioid alternative for managing chronic pain.

Medical cannabis isn’t, however, the only plant in town that could replace the use of addictive opioids for many people.

Increasingly in the US, many are turning to kratom as a way of dealing with various maladies, including chronic pain, anxiety, insomnia, and low energy.

And just like with weed, kratom is also used recreationally as a stimulant with mild euphoric effects.

One other similarity with pot is that kratom is also subject to various claims as to its potential dangers. While this hasn’t quite reached Reefer Madness heights yet, it’s worth clearing up certain misconceptions about kratom as well as outlining what we do and don’t yet know about this plant.

This article aims to do just that, on top of informing you as to where it is legal and what reputed brands sell kratom if you decide you’d like to give it a try.

What is kratom?

Kratom is a tree that’s part of the Rubiaceae genus of plants, which means it is closely related to the coffee plant.

best kratom

Its leaves contain mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, two psychoactive alkaloids that, like coffee, act on the central nervous system as a stimulant.

The wonders of kratom don’t end there though. It contains around 40 other alkaloid compounds, each with its own set of effects that changes depending on the strain and dosage of the kratom that’s consumed. More on this later.

Where does kratom come from?

Kratom is indigenous to Southeast Asia, where its leaves have been consumed by people throughout the region for centuries at least.

It has been particularly popular among farmers and other manual laborers for its stimulating effects; useful when toiling under the hot sun.

Kratom has been used in traditional medicine as well, as a treatment for fever, diarrhea, and pain relief.

While there have been few studies to assess these claims under Western scientific methods, anecdotally it appears this is a plant with a lot of potential.

How is kratom consumed?

Traditionally, laborers and farmers would chew on the leaves of kratom for an energy boost to get the job done.

This isn’t the most efficient way to consume it though, nor do the fresh leaves transport well from Southeast Asian tropical forests to America.

best kratom

It’s more common now, therefore, for kratom leaves to be dried and then ground down into a powder. This powder is then mixed into a drink, such as a tea, or put into capsules so they can be easily swallowed.

The other benefits of capsules is that you don’t taste the kratom, which has an earthy, bitter flavor that many find unpalatable.

This is why those that prefer to drink kratom tend to use sweeteners.

Another approach for consuming kratom is the ‘toss and wash’ method. This means taking a dose of powder in your mouth and then knocking it back quickly with the drink of your choice.

What are the reported effects of kratom?

As mentioned, kratom is a stimulant, comparable to a strong cup of coffee, that also induces mild euphoric effects.

It helps to boost physical and mental energy, increase sociability, and elevate your mood.

This, however, only holds true at low doses. At higher doses, the effect profile of kratom flips. It starts to have a sedating effect, promoting a sense of relaxation and calmness.

Higher doses are therefore used to aid with sleep issues and anxiety, as well as to alleviate chronic pain and tensions.

(For more info on dosing kratom correctly for your desired effects, check out this kratom dosage guide.)

What are the different kratom strains?

There are various strains of kratom that are easily distinguished by ‘veins’ of different colors in the leaves.

Other variables that can result in different types of kratom include where it was grown and when it was harvested.

For the purposes of this guide, we’ll concentrate on the three main strains of kratom characterized by their white, green, or red veins.

White Vein Kratom

White Vein Kratom
White Vein Kratom from Kratzilla

White vein kratom has been harvested early while its leaves are still growing. This means it has a higher concentration of 7-hydroxymitragynine relative to other alkaloids in the leaves.

As such, white vein kratom is milder than other strains but its effects tend to last for longer.

Green Vein Kratom

Green Vein Kratom
Green Vein Kratom from Kratzilla

Green vein kratom has been harvested once the leaves have developed but not yet reached full maturity.

It is widely known as the ‘balanced’ strain of kratom, providing a compromise between its sedative and stimulating effects.

Red Vein Kratom

Red Vein Kratom
Red Vein Kratom

Red vein kratom has been harvested once the leaves are fully mature. This is when the leaves’ alkaloids are at their highest concentration, with several new alkaloids introduced after the leaves stop growing.

Red vein kratom is therefore understood as the strongest strain of kratom, and so may not be the ideal strain for beginners to start with.

Where is kratom legal?

Kratom is not federally illegal in the US, nor is it regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.

However, several states have made it illegal to buy, sell, possess or use kratom. Those states are:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Indiana
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • Wisconsin

Dozens of cities and counties have prohibited kratom too. This includes:

Sarasota County, FL, Alcorn, Calhoun, Itawamba, Lowndes, Monroe, Noxubee, Prentiss, Tippah, Tishomingo, and Union County, MS, Corinth, Derma, Fulton, Guntown, Iuka, Mantachie, Marietta, New Albany, Okolona, Oxford, Pontotoc, Ripley, Saltillo, Senatobia and Vardaman, MS, Monument and Parker, CO, San Diego, CA, Jerseyville, IL, and Oceanside, CA.

Kratom has also been banned by many countries in the European Union, as well as Australia, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

Is kratom addictive?

One of the main reasons legislators give to justify banning kratom is that it is addictive.

Overlooking how this same logic doesn’t apply to alcohol, tobacco or prescription opioids, let’s look in more detail at whether this is true or not.

Scientific studies into kratom use are limited but there are indications that it can be addictive when used long-term at high doses.

Under such conditions, some believe that it induces changes to the opioid receptors in your brain which results in a physical dependence.

One caveat though is that this is much milder than is the case with prescription opioids. If you are taking kratom infrequently at low to medium doses, it’s highly unlikely that you have anything to worry about.

What are the best kratom brands?

Since kratom is unregulated in states where it is legal in the US, it is really important that you source it from a reputable seller if you decide you’d like to try it.

Much of the hysteria surrounding kratom’s safety often arises from unscrupulous vendors selling it with impurities.

So, which kratom brands should you trust?

Kratzilla is one of the most trusted kratom brands. It sells White Maeng Da, Green Maeng Da, and Red Maeng Da as capsules and powder. In whatever form, it always contains 100 percent pure kratom so there is no risk of you ingesting unwanted impurities.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here