Mitragyna speciosa, also known as Kratom (or ketum or kratum), is a tree with origins in Southeast Asia, specifically Thailand and Malaysia. Its leaves are known to be psychoactive and ingesting them produces certain effects, explained in detail below.
What is Kratom?
Mitragyna Speciosa, also known as kratom, is a tree related to the coffee family native to Southeast Asia. Its leaves are psychoactive and have long been used for their medicinal properties, such as to increase mood, relieve mild to moderate pain, and treat a variety of health problems.
Kratom behaves in a manner similar to morphine, and historically has been used for pain management as well as for recreation.
History of Kratom
Kratom has been used by the people of Southeast Asia for centuries, primarily in Thailand and its neighboring countries, as a form of traditional medicine: as an anti-diarrheal, for the management of pain or opioid dependence, and for premature ejaculation, among other uses.
In areas where kratom grows naturally, it is not seen as a drug. Its use is widespread in areas like Thailand, where it is primarily chewed in raw leaf form, with estimations that up to 70% of men are daily users. Ironically, kratom is outlawed in Thailand, with speculation that this is because its use reduced the government’s tax revenue from opium.
Kratom is relatively new to areas like the United States and Europe, where most of the supply has been imported from Southeast Asia.
Types of Kratom: Strains & Forms
There are different types of kratom leaves, called veins, and they include Green Vein, White Vein, and Red Vein. In addition to this, many veins are named specifically after the region (Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia) in which they are grown:
So, for example, you can find popular strands such as Green Thai or White Malay in most vendors’ selections. On top of this, there are combinations and enhancements — Bali, Maeng Da, Borneo, etc. — enough variety to confuse anybody. But a good rule of thumb to avoid confusion is that they are all one of the three strains listed above (Thai, Indo, Malay) or a combination/enhancement of these.
Forms of Kratom
There are multiple ways to take kratom, and the way it’s taken depends on preference. The main forms are:
The traditional method of using kratom is through chewing raw leaves. While fine for someone born in kratom-growing regions who grew up chewing kratom leaves, it can be disgusting for people new to kratom.
However, the leaves can also be used to make tea. For tea drinkers, this can be a great way to try kratom.
A popular form is kratom powder, which is created by taking dried leaves and grinding them into a fine powder, likely a favorite because of its cheaper price per gram and its versatility. You can mix the powder with any food or beverage — though some people have trouble with the taste — or you can simply make your own kratom capsules.
Another popular form of kratom is capsules. Vendors take kratom powder and cap it, often into 500 mg or 650 mg capsules. It tends to be more expensive, but many customers are willing to pay a higher price per gram because it saves them the trouble of capping the kratom powder themselves.
While personal experiences with kratom vary widely, many people have reported similar effects from kratom use, such as the stimulant effect at low doses and sedative effect at higher doses, and often even a simultaneous stimulating and calming effect. Additional effects have been described as intense feelings of optimism and hope for the future, increased energy or alertness, increased libido, “warm glow” feelings, euphoria, as well as increased sociability and empathy for others.
In terms of pain management, many people who have tried unsuccessfully to manage their pain with traditional prescription painkillers have found success with kratom, at the same time eliminating or minimizing many of the negative effects associated with prescription painkillers.
There has been some anecdotal evidence that kratom has been successfully used in the treatment of opioid and alcohol dependence.
Potential Negative Side Effects & Health Risks
There have been reports of addictions forming from the misuse of kratom. The truth is, anything that increases good feelings and promotes such positive effects has the potential for abuse. As such, careful and responsible use is important in order to avoid the negative side effects associated with misuse and overuse.
Adverse side effects from misuse include nausea, vomiting, vertigo, confusion, and shortness of breath. Side effects from chronic kratom use include weight loss, diminished appetite, delayed ejaculation, constipation, and darkening facial skin. In addition, there has been evidence to suggest that chronic use can lead to withdrawal symptoms.
While these negative side effects exist, most are mild and nearly all can be avoided through careful use.
Info on Purchasing Kratom
It’s possible to find kratom for sale in some physical stores that sell specialty supplements and herbs, though it can be difficult to find a reliable shop that sells kratom products other than extracts.
However, your best bet is to buy kratom online through specialized kratom vendors. These online kratom vendors are usually the most reliable place to get kratom, although the quality of online vendors and online vendors’ products can vary widely.
We’ve assembled a list of recommended kratom vendors. In this list are only reputable, affordable kratom vendors, with a dedication for high quality kratom products and extraordinary customer service. If you are just starting out, any of these vendors would be a good place to begin.
Is Kratom a Nootropic?
A nootropic — also called a “smart drug” — is any product, drug, supplement, herb, or food that increases brain function by improving cognitive areas such as memory, attention, and motivation.
As you can see, the classification is quite broad. However, there are only a few drugs scientifically proven to improve cognitive functioning, and these include stimulants, such as caffeine, and drugs used to treat disorders like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and ADHD.
Though not officially listed as a nootropic, kratom exhibits many nootropic-like effects and many users consider it a nootropic due to its positive effects on cognitive functioning, such as improved energy and alertness, as well as increased motivation. While these anecdotal reports have been reassuring, further scientific study would be needed before labeling kratom a nootropic.
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Important disclaimer: Any pages dedicated to kratom, including our page on the best place to buy kratom online, are for informational and educational purposes only. Kratom hasn’t been evaluated by the FDA and therefore has not been approved for human or animal consumption. While kratom is a natural herb, there are anecdotal health risks associated with consuming kratom and there is evidence to suggest addictive potential should it be abused. Therefore, if you have addiction issues, we strongly recommend you stay far away from this plant. This website does not endorse consumption or the information on these pages. In addition, kratom has been outlawed in certain places around the world and it’s important to do your own research and due diligence on your local laws before coming into contact with kratom. At the time this article was written, kratom is illegal in Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Tennessee, Vermont, and Wisconsin. Your continued use of this website’s pages on kratom means you’ve read and understand this disclaimer, are over the age of 18, and reside in one of the states in which kratom is legal.