What Is Kratom? (And Where to Buy It in 2023)
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Kratom is a natural supplement rapidly increasing in popularity — and it’s not hard to see why.
The plant — a member of the coffee family — has been linked to numerous health and wellness benefits, including boosting energy, promoting relaxation and easing the symptoms of chronic pain conditions.
Like many other supplements, the kratom market is becoming ever busier with products promising miracle benefits. So, how do you know that you’re buying from a reputable kratom retailer and not a company that promises far more than it can deliver?
We’ve investigated dozens of kratom retailers looking for the best kratom products the market has to offer.
So, if you’re interested in introducing kratom into your supplement regimen in 2023, keep reading to find out more about the plant, its benefits and some of our favorite kratom products.
- Best Overall Kratom Product: Super Speciosa Green Maeng Da Kratom Powder
- Best Kratom Liquid: Kingdom Kratom Formula 2 Extract Shot
- Best Premium Kratom Product: MIT45 Gold Capsules
- Best for Beginners: Just Kratom Green Maeng DA Kratom Powder
- Best Kratom for Relaxation: Top Extracts Red Smash Kratom Powder
What is Kratom?
An evergreen tree of the coffee family, kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) has been used as a traditional medicine across Asia for centuries due to its pain-easing and stress-relieving qualities. It’s only been in the last decade or so that kratom has made its way to the wellness market, but it is rapidly growing in popularity.
At lower doses, users report kratom has a stimulant effect, while at higher doses it’s believed to act as a sedative. Several strains of the therapeutic plant are used for supplements, having varied chemical makeups, which may elicit different effects:
- Maeng da kratom: Originating from Thailand, this potent strain comes in white, green and red varieties.
- White vein kratom: Believed to increase focus and cognition, as well as boost mood and energy, white vein kratom is native to Indonesia.
- Yellow vein kratom: The result of drying white vein kratom in a specific way, yellow vein kratom is reported to be a powerful energy booster.
- Red vein kratom: Sourced primarily from Bali, this kratom variety is associated with soothing benefits, including an improved sense of well-being and reduced stress.
- Green vein kratom: Depending on how much and when it’s taken, green vein kratom can both enhance energy levels and help relieve stress.
The active compounds of kratom are the alkaloids 7-hydroxymitragynine and mitragynine. Evidence suggests that these nitrogen-rich compounds interact with opioid receptors in the brain and nervous system, which may help with pain relief and promote relaxation, making it a popular alternative treatment for chronic pain conditions such as arthritis and fibromyalgia.
Once harvested, the green leaves are dried, then crushed or powdered. You can find kratom in a wide variety of supplements including as a simple powder, or as capsules, tablets, pastes, shots and even teas.
Benefits of Using Kratom
Kratom has been used for hundreds of years all across Asia as a natural remedy to treat the likes of fatigue, pain and stomach complaints. While more studies are needed, research has provided some support to these traditional medicine claims.
Early research points to several potential health benefits to taking kratom, including:
- Pain relief: All strains of kratom have been associated with pain-relieving effects — particularly neuropathic pain — believed to be the result of the plant’s active compounds binding with opioid receptors. While kratom interacts with opioid receptors much like morphine and codeine it’s considered an atypical opioid. This means it selectively inactivates certain signals, which may explain why the side effects of kratom are more tolerable than typical opioids.
- Improving mood: Studies suggest that kratom can inspire a positive state of mind, causing an improved sense of well-being. Mitragynine from kratom binds to opioid receptors in the brain responsible for mood regulation, which can reduce anxiety and relieve the symptoms of depression.
- Boosting energy: Kratom users often report increased energy levels. This could be in part due to kratom’s ability to boost blood circulation, which means more oxygen is transported to the cells. This enables the cells to metabolize nutrients more quickly to boost energy.
- Treating opioid withdrawal symptoms: Kratom has opioid-like effects, but unlike them, it’s only a partial opioid agonist. This makes it useful in opioid addiction treatment as it provides a similar sensation to opioid drugs without the severe comedown.
Other potential health and wellness benefits of kratom include suppressing appetite, boosting libido, promoting relaxation, improving focus and enhancing cognition.
Where to Buy Kratom in 2023
As an increasingly popular supplement, Kratom is becoming more widely available in the likes of health food stores and vape stores. The easiest place to buy kratom is specialty stores, where you’ll be able to find multiple strains and several formulations all in one place.
We’ve researched dozens of online kratom brands to find the best kratom product selection to put a spring in your step in 2023.
Best Overall Kratom Product: Super Speciosa Green Maeng Da Kratom Powder
- 100% pure kratom leaf powder
- Available in several sizes
- Suitable for beginners and experts
- Natively-grown kratom
The Green Maeng Da Kratom Powder from Super Speciosa is made from 100% kratom leaves and nothing else. This strain of kratom is associated with a number of health benefits including boosting energy, improving focus and promoting relaxation.
Whether you’re new to kratom or a seasoned user, this powder is a great option since you can mix it in your favorite beverages and use as much as you’d personally need. Just start with one teaspoon of the powder and adjust accordingly.
Super Speciosa tested every batch of their powdered kratom to verify potency and to make sure they are free of heavy metals, pesticides, herbicides and any other impurities. Check the results for yourself by scanning the QR code on the product packaging.Buy Now!
Best Kratom Liquid: Kingdom Kratom Formula 2 Extract Shot
- Organically grown kratom
- Ideal for on the go
- All-natural ingredients
- 100% money-back guarantee
For a quick hit of kratom goodness on the go, you can’t go wrong with the Formula 2 Extract Shot from Kingdom Kratom. Ideal for a burst of energy right when you need it, each shot has the equivalent of 6-8g of kratom powder in a handy 10mL vial.
Kingdom Kratom sources its kratom from the best Indonesian organic farmers to make sure you’re getting the freshest and consistently high-quality products. All of the brand’s kratom is tested for potency and contaminants, so you know exactly what you’re getting.Buy Now!
Best Premium Kratom Product: MIT45 Gold Capsules
- 0.5g capsules of 45% Mitragynine extract
- Contains white pepper, turmeric and ginger
- Third-party lab tested
- Money-back guarantee
Boosting a high potency of 45% mitragynine extract, the Gold Capsules from MIT45 offer a convenient kratom experience, whenever you are feeling a little sluggish pre-workout or looking for a post-exercise boost to your recovery.
Each capsule is turbo-charged with white pepper, turmeric and ginger, which may boost the anti-inflammatory properties of kratom, as well as provide some additional benefits, such as boosting immunity and pain relief.
All MIT45 products are thoroughly third-party lab tested to ensure they are as advertised in terms of potency, and are free of contaminants and toxins.Buy Now!
Best for Beginners: JustKratom Green Maeng DA Kratom Powder
- Energy-boosting kratom strain
- 100% natural
- Third-party lab tested
- Available in several sized bags
For those wanting to get the most out of their day, the Green Maeng Da Kratom Powder from JustKratom is an excellent choice. Although it is a milder strain, through the use of natural grafting techniques, Maeng Da was created to embody the best of several kratom strains in one, making it a popular option for beginners.
Kratom powder is a versatile supplement. It dissolves well, so it can be added to your favorite drinks, stirred through hot soup, or even sprinkled over pasta. It can be combined with food and moderate amounts of alcohol, but the effects of kratom powder will be slightly delayed.
Green Maeng Da is available in bags of 30g, 60g, 150g or 1/2 kilo or 1 kilo, and each batch of powders is third-party tested to ensure purity and safety. If you’re not a big fan of powdered supplements, JustKratom’s Green Maeng Da Kratom is also available in capsule form.Buy Now!
Best Kratom for Relaxation: Top Extracts Red Smash Kratom Powder
- Blend of three red strains
- Sourced from small-scale farms
- Independently lab tested
The Red Smash Kratom Powder from Top Extracts is a blend of three different kratom strains — Red Bali, Red Horn and a dark fermented red variety of the plant — to get the maximum benefits possible.
A full serving may help you experience a sense of warmth and calm, while a low serving is believed to have a mild stimulant effect.
Top Extracts source their kratom from small-scale, local farmers from Indonesia and once it’s imported it goes through a rigorous round of heavy metal, microbial, and DNA tests before it reaches the manufacturing facility. The powder is tested once again in third-party labs, so you can be sure you’re getting a safe product.Buy Now!
How We Chose Our Winners
Not any old kratom product will do. We set strict criteria that needed to be met for a kratom product to secure a spot on our list.
The finest quality kratom comes from the best farms. Therefore, we only considered brands that disclose the source of their kratom and have a long-standing relationship with farmers. We favored brands that source their kratom from fair trade and organic growers.
We prioritized brands that created their kratom products using all-natural formulations – no additives, no bulking agents, and no artificial colors or flavors, just 100% pure kratom leaf powder.
Independent Lab Testing
From a kratom product to make our list, independent lab testing for purity and potency was an absolute must. The certificate of analysis (COA), which shows the results of testing, should be available for customers to view either on the website or via a QR code on the packaging.
The COA should verify that the kratom concentration is as advertised and that the product is free of contaminants, such as pesticides, heavy metals and potentially harmful microbes.
Potential Side Effects of Using Kratom
The potential side effects of long-term kratom use include, but are not limited to:
- Loss of appetite
- Dry mouth
- Weight loss
- Discoloration of the cheeks
- Sensitivity to sunburn
- Increased urination
- Tachycardia (increased heart rate)
Although further research is needed, there is evidence that long-term, regular users of kratom are at risk of developing a dependency on the plant extract. Regular exposure to kratom increases the body’s tolerance to the plant’s active compounds, meaning more and more is needed to experience the same effects. Eventually, this can lead to dependency.
The risk for kratom dependence is highest in people who consume more than 5 grams per day, more than 5 times a day. If these people suddenly stop taking kratom they’re likely to experience mild to moderate withdrawal symptoms, such as irritability, mood swings, nausea, insomnia, stiff joints, muscle pain and runny nose.
How to Take Kratom Safely
Due to tolerance and dependency issues, the FDA has warned against the dangers of using kratom and therefore, there are no guidelines for its safe usage as a dietary supplement. This means we can’t make recommendations for kratom use and stress that people considering taking the supplement do so at their own risk.
That being said, we can suggest some things you can do to reduce your risk of side effects, tolerance, and dependency when you start taking kratom.
Start with a low dose
With kratom it’s wise to start with a low dose to help minimize your risk of side effects and to ensure that you tolerate it well. Plus, you should only increase your kratom dose if absolutely necessary.
Only take kratom when needed
You can reduce your risk of kratom tolerance and dependency if you only take it when needed as opposed to daily. For example, if you’re using it to improve your stamina in the gym, only take it before workouts, or if you’re using kratom for its soothing properties, could you just take it to help you relax on stressful days?
Avoid when pregnant or breastfeeding
While further studies are needed, research indicates that kratom use during pregnancy can lead to low birth weight babies and kratom dependence in newborns. Therefore, kratom is best avoided while pregnant or breastfeeding.
Consult your doctor
Kratom is not suitable as a supplement for people with certain health conditions including epilepsy, heart issues, substance use disorder, and some mental health problems.
Furthermore, kratom interacts with certain medications — including some sedatives, antidepressants and therapies for opioid dependency — which can change the effects and side effects of these medications. Consequently, you should speak to your doctor if you’re considering kratom supplementation.
Is kratom the same as CBD?
Kratom and CBD are both plant extracts that are associated with similar therapeutic benefits, including reducing anxiety, easing pain, and improving sleep quality. However, the compounds responsible for these benefits are different.
CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for maintaining balance in numerous body systems. Whereas, the therapeutic alkaloids of kratom interact with the opioid system in the brain and nervous system to promote certain benefits.
When it comes to side effects, those of CBD are milder than those of kratom. Additionally, it’s only long-term use of kratom that can lead to increased tolerance and dependency.
Can I take kratom every day?
Kratom exposure every day is likely to increase your tolerance over time. This means that you’ll gradually need a higher and higher dose to achieve the same effect. This can result in kratom having no noticeable effect on sleep, pain, or energy levels, and eventually, dependency.
To reduce your risk of tolerance and dependency, take the lowest dose of kratom you can and only take it when needed. If you’re worried about kratom tolerance, you can do a kratom cleanse by stopping taking the supplement for a few days. This will flush kratom out of your system.
Will kratom make me high?
Some regular kratom users claim that in higher doses, kratom has a similar effect to opioids. This is likely due to 7-hydroxymitragynine – one of the main therapeutic compounds in kratom – binding to opioid receptors in the brain.
Kratom is a plant-based supplement that is linked to several health and wellness benefits, including helping you to relax at the end of a hard day and providing you with a burst of energy when you need it. However, more research is needed to fully understand the effects of kratom on the human body.
There are side effects and potential dependency issues associated with kratom use, but your risk can be minimized by taking the supplement responsibly and by talking to your doctor before you start taking it.
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