Kratom; What Is It?

If you’ve recently stopped by your local smoke shop, chances are you’ve seen a new product for sale called Kratom. Sold in the US as a fine, loose powder or in capsules, Kratom is a natural substance with a variety of uses. Commonly in the western world, it is used recreationally. Just like with cannabis, different strains of the plant produce different effects.

 

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What exactly is Kratom?

Kratom, or mitragyna speciosa, is an evergreen tree native to Southeast Asia. It’s medicinal and psychoactive effects have attracted a wide range of users and recently the plant has been growing in popularity in the United States. According to Wikipedia, the leaves of this plant have been used in Thailand as “an antidiarrhoeal, as a treatment for opioid dependence, as well as premature ejaculation”. Traditionally, users chew between 10-60 fresh leaves a day. In addition to its medicinal advantages, the leaves can have other effects ranging from an enhancement in creativity to euphoria. In small doses, Kratom can have an uplifting and energizing effect, but as doses increase it is more likely to have a sedating effect.

 

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Different strains of the plant are distinguished by their white, red or green veins.

White Vein Kratom

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White Vein strains are the most energizing of the three. Providing a stimulating effect, promoting alertness in low to moderate doses. Users of the White Vein report higher levels of concentration and motivation during long work hours. This strain is the most similar to its coffee bean cousin, and like the caffeine found in coffee, White Vein strains can make it hard to sleep if taken too late in the day.

Red Vein Kratom

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Red Vein strains are generally relaxing. The effects on muscles are comparable to pharmaceutical pain killers, and they are often used as a substitute for dangerous opiates to treat pain. When Kratom is used for means of opiate withdrawal, it is often Red Vein strains that prove the most effective.

Green Vein Kratom

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Green Vein strains could be referred to as the “hybrid” of the Kratom family. Sharing properties with both White Vein and Red Vein strains, Green Vein has both sedating and energizing effects. If the White Vein is overstimulating and causes you to be jittery, the Green Vein can give you energy without putting you on edge. If you need pain relief, but the Red Vein makes you too lethargic, the Green Vein may provide just the right amount of relaxation. Green Vein strains are also great for social anxiety, helping you relax and be more talkative.

How Much Kratom Should You Take?

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Stemming from the same family as the coffee bean, Kratom is essentially harmless. That being said, some companies that are commercially producing Kratom powder or capsules, are combining the plant matter with synthetic chemicals in an effort to increase the effects. Because of this, it is important to read all labels and warnings to ensure the product you’re getting is 100% natural. Kratom is ingested and smoking or vaporizing are not recognized as effective means of administration. Even though it has a powdery consistency, it is actually finely ground plant matter, meaning it will not dissolve in drinks. By far the simplest method is gel capsules, typically containing around .5 grams of the powder. Active doses are around 4-6 grams depending on factors such as weight, metabolism and tolerance. Its is always recommended to take a minimal dose and slowly increase as you are able to read your body’s reaction. If you’ve read along thoroughly, you’ve learned all you need to know before you take your first dose of Kratom, but since results vary depending on multiple factors, the best research is to try different strains for yourself.