Kratom is the ground leaves of the mitragyna speciosa, a plant native to Southeast Asia. It’s in the same botanical family as coffee. According to the FDA, it affects the same opioid brain receptors as morphine. It is legal to buy and use in 45/50 US States, but is not approved for the treatment of any disease.
Although kratom has deep roots in the history of the world, thousands of people are just beginning to recognize its potential and incorporate it into their own lives. However, as a botanical substance, kratom is available in many different forms and the diversity of choice can be daunting.
So, what are the differences between the various types of kratom, and why do these differences matter? Let’s find out!
Unique From The Ground Up: Kratom Colors and Strains
Because kratom is sourced from natural plant matter, every batch is more or less unique, as no two leaves are exactly the same. Once the leaves are harvested and processed, many additional factors play formative roles in the resulting quality and potency of each and every kratom product.
However, many of the subtle underlying differences between products are difficult to quantify. To help clarify an otherwise nebulous industry, most kratom sellers market and organize their products by strain color and strain name.
Generally, kratom is organized into three categories – white, red, and green. These categories refer to the stem and vein coloration of the harvested leaves, which, at harvest, are distinctly tinted. When ground and prepared, coloration differences between kratom powders can also be observed.
Red kratom is the most commonly available form of kratom and is likely sourced from mature red-veined leaves. On the other hand, white kratom is ostensibly derived from younger and often smaller white-veined leaves. Green kratom is often seen as being a middle-ground between the two and is thought to originate from middle-aged, green-veined leaves.
Contrary to popular belief, the differentiation between kratom colors isn’t purely cosmetic. Depending on the state of maturation and leaf color at harvest, the psychoactive effects of the resulting kratom powder can vary. However, it’s important to note that kratom’s effects can largely be user-dependent.
- Red kratom is generally considered to be highly sedating and may offer the most effective pain relief when compared to other strains.
- White kratom strains are purportedly highly energizing but appear to offer only slight pain relief.
- Green kratom is typically somewhat sedating and may provide adequate pain relief.
Aside from color variants, kratom is commonly sold and marketed under dozens of strain names.
Generally, these names simply refer to the kratom’s region of origin, such as Red Thai or Green Vietnam. However, they can also reference specialized processing methods. As an example, Bentuangie – a rare form of kratom – supposedly undergoes a unique post-harvest fermentation process.
Despite the variability of user experience, some kratom strains have earned a reputation for catering to specific needs.
- The Maeng Da family of strains is often renowned for its highly-potent nature, but may be too strong for some.
- Bali kratom strains are often characterized as being relaxing and highly sedating. Some users have found that even Bali’s white-veined variant offers a surprisingly tranquil experience.
Kratom Product Varieties & What They Offer
Powdered kratom products are the most commonly available form of kratom. To create them, kratom farmers in Southeast Asia collect and dry the leaves of various mitragyna speciosa trees. After the leaves have been sufficiently dried, they’re ground into a fine powder before being packaged and shipped to eager customers all over the world.
Kratom powders are favored for their versatility and inexpensive price. Generally, the lack of additional product packaging and processing keeps powdered kratom products affordable, especially when compared to other, more premium offerings such as capsules and extracts.
The tradeoff is that kratom powder is exactly that – powdered. Buyers will have to measure their own dosages carefully and store the powder correctly in order to avoid contamination, sunlight exposure, and potency degradation that can often occur from negligence and improper storage.
Capsuled kratom products are designed to address many of the convenience concerns of powdered kratom products. By purchasing pre-pressed capsules that contain a specific amount of kratom powder, customers get access to accurately quantified, self-contained kratom dosages that are suitable for on-the-go usage.
However, this added convenience isn’t cheap. If you calculate gram-for-gram, kratom powders generally offer more kratom for less in comparison to kratom capsules. Still, the better option will largely depend on user preference.
Stem And Vein
Rather than discarding the stems and veins of the kratom plant at harvest, some vendors package and sell them. As the name implies, stem and vein kratom merely includes the dried stem and vein remnants from kratom leaves.
Some vendors sell stem and vein kratom as-is, while others crush and grind the plant matter to create a fine powder that’s comparable to ground leaf kratom products.
The prevailing idea behind these products is that the discarded stems and veins of kratom actually contain different plant-based compounds than those found in leaf-derived kratom products. These organic compounds, called “alkaloids,” are responsible for kratom’s effects within the human body. By purchasing stem and vein, buyers can experience an entirely different side of kratom that would otherwise be discarded and overlooked.
Kratom: A World Of Choice
The expansive world of kratom and its sheer variety can be intimidating to newcomers. However, this diversity of choice plays an instrumental role in making kratom both an accessible and intriguing plant.
Author Bio: Constante Quirino is a freelance writer and content strategist. He is an advocate for healthy, balanced lifestyles. He writes about the latest developments in yoga, meditation, and alternative medicines like Fair Trade sourced kratom.