Native to the Southeast Asia, kratom (Mitragyna Speciosa) is a powerful medicinal plant used by thousands throughout the world. The medicinal potentials of this plant are vast, some of the most prominent include: pain relief, opiate addiction treatment, mood lifting, energy and immune system stimulation.
There are entire forums on the use and benefits of this impressive plant, which speaks for this plant’s virtue more than we ever could.
Uses Of Kratom
The medicinal effects of kratom are highly flexible and diverse due to its unique alkaloid profile, which is unlike any other plant known to exist.
These effects are:
- Pain relief
- Opiate withdrawal relief
- Opiate maintenance /transitional substance
- Energy Promotion
- Anxiolytic (Anti-Anxiety)
- Depression Relief
- Insomnia Relief
- Immune System Stimulation
- Nootropic (Cognition Enhancing)
- Lowers blood sugar
The plant also has other positive secondary properties such as high-antioxant and vitamin content, which has made it worthwhile for general health purposes as well. Kratom is safe in almost every regard, as there have been no known deaths from this plant, except in combination with other dangerous substances.
Kratom’s pain-killing effects are very pronounced, and are much more effective than OTC substances when dealing with chronic pain. Many people have become entirely pharmaceutical free thanks to it’s pain-killing effects.
As awareness increases, expect to see this plant as a commonplace alternative to opiate medication.
Kratom can effectively reduce pain from conditions such as:
- Cluster Headaches
- Back Pain
- Minor Injuries: Burns, Scrapes, Broken Bones
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Carpal Tunnel
- Torn Muscles
- Neck Pain & Soreness
- Abdominal Pain
- Chest Pain
Besides these, there are many more areas in which using kratom for pain can be effective.
Strains For Pain
The primary reason kratom is so effective for pain are it’s two primary painkilling alkaloids: Mitragynine, and 7-OH-mitragynine. Which have agonist activity at mu and delta opiod receptors, effectively dampening the body’s perception of pain. As a result, those who are looking for pain relief from kratom have had best effects with strains high in these two alkaloids.
Leaf alkaloid content can vary from plant to plant, and from strain to strain, however, there are a few strains which seem to be the most effective for pain overall. The most popular strains for this purpose are:
- Maeng Da
Preferred Vein Color:
Kratom & Opiate Withdrawls/Addiction
Because of this plant’s pain-killing and mood-lifting effects, it has been used effectively to quit opiates and dampen withdrawal symptoms for both prescribed pain medication and illegal narcotics.
You can find many cases of people using kratom for opiate withdrawal and addiction to both help transition to sobriety, and to combat cravings and post acute withdrawals as a maintenance substance.
- Maeng Da (Situational)
Preferred Strain Color:
The psychological effects of kratom are of a very unique nature in comparison to other plants found in nature, contain both sedating and stimulating properties; these effects can differ depending on the strain, plant and one’s own personal chemistry.
Nearly any strain can cause general mood-lifting, but the differences in strain can shift the spectrum of effects between stimulating and sedating.
According to uses, this plant may also be beneficial for the treatment of depression; however, not every strain is fit for this purpose. The more sedating strains may have some temporary effects on depression, but are lacking in effectiveness long term.
- Maeng Da
- Green Malaysian
Preferred Vein Color:
Some green vein strains have been used for well-rounded depression relief, though individual brain-chemistry may come into play.
There are several ways to maximize anxiety relief through kratom — the ideal strain for anxiety relief is a borneo strain, though other sedating strains can work effectively, and can also double as a great kratom for sleep. A borneo kratom strain has a subtle, yet powerful effect of destroying anxiety and restlessness better than nearly any other strain.
Preferred Vein Color:
Immune System Stimulation
Due to the immunostimulant alkaloids found in kratom:
Kratom can be extremely effective for boosting the immune system for conditions ranging from the common cold to the flu, or even more serious conditions. Because of this, many have learned to take it at the onset of a sickness to dramatically reduce its duration.
- Green Malaysian
Preferred Vein Color:
- Green Vein
- Moderate – Low
Nootropic (Cognitive Function)
Nootropic substances are a relatively new field of interest, yet it shows much promise. Interestingly, due to strain differences, it has been used as a nootropic in several different areas, such as focus and memory.
Unlike traditional medications for focus, kratom doesn’t make your focus “stick” psychologically, rather it dampens psychological background noise, promoting natural focus ability.
Because strain differences can vary, there is typically no set dose for peak cognition boosting effects — though it typically ranges from low/medium to medium.
- Green Malaysian (Focus)
- Thai (Focus/Energy)
- Maeng Da (Focus/Energy)
Preferred Vein Color:
- Low – Moderate
Thai kratom is well-known for its powerful energetic effects. The unique alkaloid profile of Thai kratom often provokes different reactions between different users, and may not be for everyone. However, this strain has a very dedicated following, unlike anything we have seen with other varieties of kratom.
The pain-killing effects of Thai are variable; typically, red vein thai (commonly called RVT) is the most effective in regards to analgesia, whereas white and green vein thai strains, while stimulating and a great kratom strain for depression, are lacking in this area.
Stimulation: 8 to 9.5 / 10
Pain Relief: 4 – 8 / 10
Mood: 6 – 9 / 10
Maeng Da Kratom
Maeng Da has been widely renowned as one of the most potent strains of kratom, and for good reason — it can provide both high levels of pain relief and stimulation. This strain has been ideal for those with pain who don’t want to sacrifice energy levels, as well as those who are looking for a mood-boost.
Stimulation: 7 – 8.5 / 10
Pain Relief – 7.5 – 10 / 10
Mood: 7.5 – 10 / 10
As a whole, sedating strains are lacking in the more stimulating alkaloids, primarily mitragynine, contained in the Thai/Maeng Da strains of kratom; however, they pack a very large punch as far as pain relief is concerned due to their large concentrations of 7-hydroxymitragynine. These strains have been traditionally used for chronic pain, opiate withdrawal relief and mood-lifting.
A true borneo strain, especially a red vein borneo, is one of the most unique and strongest strains of kratom you will find in nature; they are highly sedating, great for pain relief, and unparalleled for anxiety/stress relief.
Borneo strains also have a extremely low side-effect factor in comparison to other strains of its type. Once experienced, you can quickly distinguish a true borneo by its unique smell.
Stimulation: 1 – 2/10
Pain Relief: 8-10 / 10
Mood: 8 – 10 / 10
Bali kratom is one of the most economical strains due to large leaves and quick growth. Proper dosage for some Bali strains can be difficult, as they are known for their low “wobble” threshold. Though many have found one can reverse this negative by mixing it with another strain.
Stimulation: 2-4 / 10
Pain Relief: 7 – 9.5 / 10
Mood: 7 – 9.5 / 10
Indo strains are very well-rounded for pain and have less side-effects than comparable Balinese strains, and can be further sub-categorized as strains such as riau and sumatra, even borneo is a type of indo. Many have reported delayed effects from many types of Indo kratom, which is likely due to the leaves tough cell-walls, very similar to Green Malaysian strains.
While the effects are similar to Borneo kratom strains on paper, experienced users will notice the unique differences that make this strain so unique.
Stimulation: 2-3 / 10
Pain Relief: 8 – 10 / 10
Mood: 8 – 10 / 10
Many prefer a moderate strain as their daily go-to, due to its potent, yet smooth, effects. Currently, the most popular moderate strain is Green Malaysian; however, other sub-strains, vein types and breeding can make an overall sedating or stimulating strain moderate.
Green Malaysian has long been known as one of the longest-lasting strains due to leaf cell-wall density.
Many remark on this strain’s unique nootropic effects, which, despite heavy stimulation, can increase focus and patience for quite long periods of time. Interestingly, these effects are typically only noticed in retrospect due to its smooth character of effects.
Stimulation: 4-6 / 10
Pain Relief: 6 – 8 / 10
Mood: 7 – 8.5 / 10
Something unique to this plant, in comparison to many other medicinal plants, is the distinct differences of vein color; which has corresponding effects and growth conditions. While each vein color tends to have a unique set of effects that can provide clues to the effects that the strain has.
However, there are some minor exceptions, especially when dealing with strains with a less balanced alkaloid profile such as Thai, or Borneo strains which on the whole provide a kratom experience that is stimulating or sedating, respectively.
Red vein kratom is one of the most popular due to its natural tendency toward higher levels of 7-hydroxymitragynine, which leads to impressive pain-killing effects, sedation, as well as anxiety and stress relief.
Red veins also tends to be less at the mercy of individual brain chemistry; whereas white and green vein strains often effect people variably.
This is one of the reasons red vein thai (RVT) is so popular among kratom users –it combines both heavy levels of energy from it’s Thai influences, with the red vein painkilling effects — leaving the strain stimulating but very well-rounded.
Pain Relief: 3/3
Despite the lower amount of 7-hydroxymitragynine found in white vein strains, this vein type should not be treated lightly. White vein kratom has a very strong following, and can be highly effective for conditions such as depression and lack of focus/energy.
Of all the vein types, white vein shows the most potential as a nootropic (cognition enhancing) substance. Many have found that using this vein type first thing in the morning to be a great substitute for coffee due to it’s “clean” effects on alertness and focus.
Pain Relief: 1/3
For those who prefer neither the sedation of red veins, or the stimulation of white veins, green vein kratom may be the best solution. Green vein strains are much more moderate in their effects than other the other vein varieties and can provide the best of both worlds, making them commonly used as a daily kratom.
Green vein strains can also provide nootropic effects, and are generally less at the whim of personal brain chemistry than white vein strains tend to be.
Pain Relief: 2/3
Dosage has been a key factor for those looking for specific effects. By dosing too low, the medicinal capabilities are nulled, while dosing too high can often lead to relatively harmless, but potentially unpleasant side-effects, such as the “wobbles” and minor nausea. To learn about kratom dosage, refer below.
Average Dosage by Grams
Mild – 1 to 2 grams
Moderate – 2-4.5 grams
High – 4.5 – 8 grams
Average Dosage by Teaspoon
Mild – .5 to .9 tsp
Moderate – 1 to 2 tsp
High – 2 to 3.5 tsp
It should be noted that due to varying potency between strains and plants, this estimate is in no way standardized, instead it an estimate based on historical and experiential reports. Doses at the the “high” end of the spectrum are also much more likely to cause side-effects, depending upon the strain.
For best effect, many have found that this plant should not be taken in high doses regularly, as some of the medicinal effects can diminish. However, those who use this plant to combat chronic pain may find this inevitable, as pain doesn’t operate in a convenient time-cycle.
Differences between strains is a factor that can’t be overlooked when calculating a dosage. There are a few primary strains that should be dosed relatively lower than the average, these strains are:
- Maeng Da – Potent, active at lower doses
- Bali – Side effects encountered at lower doses in comparison to other strains
- Thai – Can be overstimulating for some at higher doses
Because of this, it is a good idea to modify dosage with these strains accordingly in order to achieve best results. Some strains, such as Borneo, can be dosed relatively higher, due to their lack of side-effects. Because of this variability in strains, it is advisable to start low with any new or unknown strain.
Effects By Dosage
Something that is frequently encountered with a variety of strains is the difference in effects at differing doses. Although this varies depending upon the strain and where you buy kratom, typically, lower doses are relatively more stimulating than higher doses; while the cause of this is not well known, it likely has to do with the sedation curve of 7-hydroxymitragynine.
For anyone inexperienced with kratom, it is essential to know about the philosophy, theory and advice regarding kratom dosage.
The “Less is More” Theory
The “less is more” theory is very popular among kratom forums, and there is some evidence to back this theory. Almost every strain has an optimal dose for both medicinal and euphoric effects, and dosage above this ideal threshold can have reverse effects due to mu opiod antagonists such as corynantheidine.
Now, it’s important to note that different strains have differing levels of this alkaloid, so this statement may not apply to all strains, however, the majority of strains are affected.
The “less is more” theory, is also advisable because lower dosage also creates less tolerance to effects, which can increase the plant’s medicinal potential over time.
As plain leaf has to be digested in order to have medicinal benefit, it is considered best taken on an empty stomach, as this will ensure the effects are delivered quickly and properly.
Because eating is a necessity, it may not always be possible to use it in this manner; for this reason, many have made kratom tea to deliver effects more quickly.
Reducing Kratom Tolerence
Kratom tolerance is the number one impediment when looking to ensure peak medicinal effects. Besides taking this plant less frequently, there are some tricks one can use to keep tolerance low.
Strain rotation is a fantastic way to keep the medicinal effects of kratom fresh. When using a specific strain for a long period, you can develop a tolerance to its specific alkaloid profile; however, by switching strains daily, the alkaloid levels do not remain stable enough to develop a full tolerance to the effects.
Rotation by Effects – This method involves using alternating strains types (e.g. Mon. – Sedating, Tues. – Stimulating, Weds. – Sedating)
Rotation by Vein Color – Similar to the above method, this involves rotating by vein color (e.g. Mon. – Red, Tues. – White, Weds. – Green)
By using these methods, one can ensure that the alkaloid profiles are as varied as possible on consecutive days, which can keep tolerance at bay for a much longer period of time.
Note: Stem and vein kratom is often used as a substitute to further reduce tolerance, as its alkaloid profile is typically very different than the plain leaf.
However, because using this technique to it’s fullest requires 3-5+ different strains, this method of tolerance reduction, may not fit the means of everyone.
There are a variety of other ways to supplement tolerance reduction, including:
Magnesium supplementation is a great way to keep kratom tolerance low due to its NMDA antagonist effects, which are the primary opiod tolerance regulators.
There are many studies supporting this, one of which can be found in April 1998’s publication of Anesthesia & Analgesia.
Exercise is a very effective yet under rated method of reducing tolerance. Exercise’s reduction of tolerance is cumulative, meaning the more you exercise, and the more in shape you are, the less tolerance is developed, which potentiates the medicinal effects of kratom.
Rotating it with Akuamma, Kanna or Oasis has better effects than changing strains. They have different Natural Chemicals therefore giving the Natural Chemicals in Kratom a chance to purge from your system.
The “Wobbles” is a term that was coined within kratom communities to describe the most prominent side effect of kratom, especially Bali strains. The wobbles are defined by the difficulty to focus the eyes at a specific point without strain and annoyance; this effect can lead to headaches and nausea.
While the wobbles are not much more than an annoyance, driving or operating other heavy machinery while experiencing the wobbles is dangerous, and should never be attempted.
Avoiding the Wobbles
The easiest way to avoid the wobbles is to keep dosage below the side effect threshold. This threshold can vary between strains and plants. Typically, doses under 5 grams will not cause the wobbles.
Strains by Wobble Factor
- Bali – High
- Green Malaysian – Moderate/High
- Indo – Moderate
- Maeng Da – Moderate
- Thai – Moderate/Low
- True Borneo – Low
Note: It is almost impossible to experience the wobbles with strained kratom tea; leading many to believe that it is an effect caused by one of the fat-soluble alkaloids.
Combating the Wobbles
While there is not much information available on combating the wobbles, there are a few things that can help in the process.
Activated Charcoal – This supplement is one of the most effective ways to get rid of the wobbles; it works by adsorbing a portion of the wobble-causing alkaloids, negating the effects almost entirely.
Food/Carbonated Drinks – While these won’t help get rid of the wobbles, they can speed up digestion, allowing the symptoms to pass more quickly, if inevitable.