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What is Kratom?

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Curious about this relative newcomer to the herbal supplement scene? Mitragyna speciosa, commonly known as kratom, is a plant grown primarily in Southeast Asia. A cousin of our friend the coffee plant, kratom trees are harvested for their leaves, which are used for medicinal and recreational purposes.

Typically sold as powder, capsules, extracts, or tinctures, kratom acts similarly to a stimulant such as coffee in smaller doses, and offers pain relief and sedative qualities at higher doses similar to the effects of beer, wine, or cannabis.

Kratom vs. CBD

You’re probably pretty familiar with CBD and all it has to offer, but since kratom is a relative newcomer to the North American market, let’s get familiarized with the similarities and differences between kratom vs CBD.


Kratom vs. CBD: Effects

When considering kratom vs CBD, you may be surprised to learn they share many of the same benefits. CBD has been shown to reduce pain and inflammation, assist with anxiety, promote sleep and overall calmness/wellness, as well help with a variety of issues such as seizures, skin conditions, and more. CBD is not psychoactive.

In small doses, kratom is a stimulant, with users reporting feeling more alert, awake, productive, and sociable. These mood-boosting qualities mean kratom can be used to help alleviate depression, anxiety, fatigue, and lethargy. At higher doses, kratom acts more like a sedative, dulling physical sensations. It is often used as a painkiller for chronic pain as an alternative to opioid painkillers, and is also used to help with opioid withdrawal.

Kratom vs. CBD: Side Effects

Since it does not contain the psychoactive compound THC, CBD does not have many side effects. However, some commonly reported side effects are dry mouth, diarrhea, reduced or increased appetite, drowsiness and/or fatigue.

Since kratom is still relatively new to the North American market, it hasn’t been studied or researched to the same extent as CBD. Some reported side effects are sweating, lack of appetite, itching, dizziness, dry mouth, constipation, discoloration of the cheeks, insomnia, liver damage, hallucinations, and seizures. It has been reported to be addictive when consumed in large amounts over a long period of time.

Kratom vs. CBD: Safety

Any drug/substance use comes with some degree of risk, and the effects of a substance varies from individual to individual. CBD is widely researched and regulated where legalized, so you can feel confident knowing what you’re consuming. Since kratom is not regulated it is worth finding the most reputable kratom brand/site possible. Good practice for any first time substance use is to familiarize yourself with potential side effects and to take CBD or kratom in a safe environment with a friend.

Kratom vs. CBD: Legality

In the United States, CBD is legal at the federal level when two conditions are met: it contains less than 0.3% trace amounts of THC, and when it is derived from the hemp (rather than the cannabis) plant.

Kratom is legal to purchase and consume in the United States, where it is often marketed under alternative medicine as a herbal remedy. Kratom is not regulated by the FDA nor prescribed by medical professionals.

Kratom vs. CBD: Active Compounds

The main active compound in CBD products is CBD itself, go figure! This non-psychoactive compound has many healing and therapeutic properties. While some CBD products are made with CBD isolate (aka just CBD), others include other naturally occurring compounds such as CBG (with anti-inflammatory properties), and CBN (promotes sleep).

Kratom offers two active compounds: 7-Hydroxymitragynine (commonly referred to as 7-OH), and mitragynine. Both compounds interact with the opioid receptors in our brains, resulting in effects like pleasure, sedation, and pain relief. Mitragynine also acts as a stimulant and interacts with other receptors in the brain, resulting in feelings of energy, alertness, and sociability.

Kratom vs. CBD: How to Ingest

There are multiple ways to consume both of these substances. CBD can be smoked as a dried herb, whether rolled into a joint, packed into a bowl, pipe, chillum, or one-hitter, smoked in a bong, and more. It can also be consumed in edibles: cannabis is infused into butters and oils and then used in cooking and baking. CBD oils and tinctures are also gaining popularity, and can be consumed orally.

Kratom is often sold in a powder: this powder is then whisked into beverages and soft foods to make the sometimes strong flavors more palatable. Kratom is also sold in capsules and oils and tinctures, which are consumed orally. Kratom leaves can also be steeped in hot water to make kratom tea. Though kratom can be smoked, it is not recommended as it can quickly become addictive when ingested in this manner.

Benefits of CBD vs Benefits of Kratom

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CBD vs Kratom for Anxiety

When it comes to comparing kratom vs CBD for anxiety, it’s a pretty even match. It has been shown that CBD can reduce anxiety and nervousness. Kratom is also widely used to help relieve anxiety. Different strains of kratom are more targeted towards anxiety relief than others; check out this great round-up of the best kratom for anxiety.

As with any medical or holistic treatment, it’s best to also consult with a doctor or therapist about anxiety.



CBD vs Kratom for Pain Relief

In studies, CBD has been found to possess anti-inflammatory properties, and is often used to ease chronic pain through reducing inflammation. When comparing CBD vs kratom for pain relief, it’s all about picking the right strain of CBD oil for pain: check out this excellent round-up for the finest CBD oil for pain products.

Many have discovered that using kratom for pain relief can be an effective treatment for both everyday and chronic ailments. It is believed that the active compounds in kratom—hydroxymitragynine and mitragynine—interact with the opioid receptors in our brains to offer pain relief. Higher doses of kratom are generally recommended for pain relief.

Kratom vs CBD for Sleep

CBD is often used as a sleep-aid, insomnia treatment, and overall relaxation tool. While CBD forward products are sure to relax you and get you ready for sleep, products that include the active compound CBN are especially effective at helping with sleep. Check out this excellent round-up of the best CBD for sleep products.

When comparing kratom vs CBD for sleep in particular, you may be safer sticking with a CBD product. While kratom is known to produce opioid-esque effects like sleepiness and lethargy when consumed in larger doses, it is not necessarily the most effective at helping with sleep unless you find a particular strain and dose that works for you. Since many strains of kratom are energizing and stimulating, you may find yourself the opposite of sleepy when taking kratom for sleep!

Kratom vs CBD for Energy

Since CBD’s main effect is overall wellness and relaxation, it is not necessarily the most effective at energy boosting. However, some strains and products incorporate other compounds and additional natural ingredients in order to create a more energy-boosting effect. When it comes to considering kratom vs CBD for energy, your best bet is kratom for energy.

Kratom has a long history of use throughout southeast Asia as a natural way to boost energy, improve focus, and increase alertness, similarly to how caffeine is used. Smaller doses of kratom are best for increasing energy and focus, as larger doses tend to have a sedative effect. A perk for the lovebirds reading this: kratom has also been anecdotally found to act as an aphrodisiac when taken in small doses, increasing libido and improving sexual endurance.

Kratom vs CBD: Final Thoughts

Still unsure whether CBD or kratom is right for what ails you? We recommend reviewing our notes on kratom vs CBD above and considering what you want to get out of the substance. If you’re looking for pain relief, a dose of kratom could be more effective than CBD. If you’re looking to alleviate anxiety or help insomnia, you may find CBD much more effective at consistently producing a calming effect. As with all medical or herbal remedies, your experience will vary from others: try a small amount of either product to see what resonates best with you and your body!

Kratom vs. CBD: FAQs