So, you’d like to learn some more about this life-changing little plant that everyone’s been buzzing about huh? Or maybe this is the first you’ve heard of Kratom and now I’ve sparked your interest? Either way, you’ve come to the right place. This is The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Kratom and it’s the perfect place to start your Kratom education. Let’s dive right into the basics.
The Latin and scientific term for Kratom is Mitragyna Speciosa. It’s a tropical evergreen tree (related to coffee) native to southeast Asia (namely Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand) which has been consumed safely for hundreds, if not thousands, of years for medicinal purposes and for energy by the manual laborers and citizens of those countries. The leaves of this plant are generally dried and crushed into a very fine powder and this is where the “magic” is found.
Kratom can actually be taken for a variety of purposes and is currently used by thousands of people in the USA and throughout the globe. Kratom can be very useful for most people and simply life changing for others (although a small percentage of people are “non-responders” and are immune to the effects of the plant).
After experimenting with many supplements both herbal and otherwise over the years, I can attest to the fact that Kratom is absolutely the best supplement I’ve ever taken. I could go on and on about my experiences with Kratom – I actually did go on and on HERE if you’re interested – but that’s not the point of this guide. In a nutshell…
- Kratom lifts my mood
- Kratom increases my energy
- Kratom intensifies my workouts
- Kratom drastically decreases anxiety and increases my motivation to get things done
- Kratom has improved my sleep
I credit Kratom with helping me to do MORE of the things I always enjoyed doing, if I only had the energy!
What Can Kratom Do for You?
Kratom can be a great ally for many purposes, whether you’re an athlete trying to push your training to the next level or you are looking for a mood-boost in a difficult time. Many will find it is the best supplement they’ve ever taken. Any QUALITY strain of Kratom – quality is very important – can kill anxiety at the correct dosage, although some strains are better for anxiety than others.
Need to improve your diet? Want to start exercising? Looking for more energy to do things you’ve been wanting to do for a while but have put off? Want to worry less? Want to ditch the Adderall for something less hardcore?
I believe Kratom is the best natural method of getting started on any of the above and more!
If you do some digging, you’ll find that many former addicts (to prescription meds or other hard street drugs) or people that suffered from depression, fibromyalgia (the list goes on) have used Kratom as a springboard towards a happier and healthier life. I’ve met a few people that can attest to this and am sure there are thousands more. If you want some proof, just Google “Kratom Saved Me”. You’ll find thousands of people who have benefited immensely from this herb.
How Kratom Works
The primary alkaloid found in Kratom (7-hydroxymitragynine) works on the kappa and delta opiate receptors of the brain. Why mention this? Well, while researching Kratom, as anybody considering taking it should, you may find some sources comparing it to prescription painkillers. These painkillers, Percocet being an example, are usually referred to as opiates and work on the u-opioid [mu] receptor. This distinction is very important because the mechanisms for Kratom and prescription painkillers are completely different, and Kratom IS NOT an opiate.
Its effects can be opiate-like depending on dosage, but the mechanisms are simply different. Just remember… Kratom affects the kappa and delta receptors while most prescription pain medications affect the u-opioid [mu] receptor. The u-opioid [mu receptor] is largely responsible for the feelings of intense euphoria produced by prescription opiates, which makes them highly addictive. For more info regarding this distinction, you can reference this study by Pinney Associates.
Which Variety of Kratom Should YOU Use?
When first entering the world of Kratom, the sheer number of strains and vein types or “colors” can appear overwhelming, but things are actually very simple once you understand the basics.
The different strains of Kratom each have their own, distinct properties and are very simply named after the regions in which they are harvested from. Some of these regions include Sumatra, Borneo, Kalimantan (a specific region of Borneo), Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia.
Types / Vein Colors
You’ll also notice that each strain of Kratom is described by a vein color and categorized under a Fast, Moderate or Slow “type”. In most cases (there are a few exceptions) the “type” of Kratom is correlated to the vein color. The vein color simply refers to the color of the stem and veins that ran throughout the individual Kratom leaves before they were dried and crushed.
Although these indicators aren’t always correct, in most cases:
- Red Vein Kratom is considered to be “slow” (with effects that are more soothing and relaxing)
- White Vein Kratom is considered to be “fast” (with effects that are more invigorating and stimulating)
- Green Vein Kratom is considered to be “moderate” (a mix of both fast and slow effects – can be soothing and relaxing in higher quantities but also invigorating and stimulating in lower ones)
- Yellow Vein Kratom – tends to be rather slow, although not as much as most red strains
My recommendation when starting out with Kratom is to simply pick a vein color based on your initial preferences and then you can experiment with a few different varieties of that color and see which of those strains produce the most enjoyable effects for your personal tastes. Also, keep in mind that what works for someone else may not work for you. Your body’s own chemistry is strongly correlated to the effects you experience from any variety or strain.
Things to Look for When Buying Kratom
When deciding which type of Kratom to use, it’s important to stick to ORGANIC and HIGH-QUALITY. You want freshly harvested, premium grade leaves which are crushed to a fine powder and then sifted for maximum alkaloid content. The alkaloids are what cause the effects of Kratom.
Speaking from experience, powders purchased from local smoke shops are usually some of the lowest quality Kratom out there so I would definitely recommend to avoid these at all costs! Again, the quality and consistency of the Kratom you consume is very important. Quality can vary quite a bit from seller to seller so it’s important to find a reputable one for the best long-term experience. Low quality Kratom may produce little to no effects at all and can even end up being a complete waste of money.
Some vendors are able to increase margins by providing less expensive and lower quality Kratom. If you want to maximize your Kratom experience, please do some research and choose a great vendor – there are plenty out there! Like I said, the difference will be well worth your effort.
I also highly suggest you avoid all forms of Kratom extracts, whether liquid or powder, as they will skyrocket your tolerance. For those who don’t know what extracts are, they’re basically a MUCH more potent form of a substance. For example, in this case, the alkaloids in Kratom are extracted from the plain leaf and grouped together into a much more powerful compound. These contain WAY more of the active ingredient than normal powder.
On the surface, extracts may seem like a great way to save some money and to help you experience all of the benefits of Kratom while consuming less powder, but here’s the catch… Some of these extracts are potentiated by 50 to 100 times. These super-high levels of alkaloids can quickly become counterproductive and when experimenting with that much potency you’re dealing with substances that are not as benign or harmless as plain leaf Kratom. JUST STICK TO PLAIN LEAF POWDER AND YOU WILL BE GOLDEN.
Finding the Best Vendors
One of the best online sources for Kratom that I’ve found, when taking into consideration quality, selection and price, is Lively Mood Botanicals. I’ve spoken directly with the owner many times and he’s always been an absolute pleasure to work with. I’ve also been fortunate enough to find a local supplier in my area who’s very passionate about the quality of powder she distributes (which I find to be a rare thing locally), however she is a little more expensive due to the overhead of running her brick and mortar location.
One thing you’ll discover when purchasing Kratom online is that paying with a credit card can sometimes be difficult. The reason for this is lobbying from pharmaceutical companies that don’t want to lose profits to natural herbs. The US credit card processing companies side with big pharma and decline transactions related to Kratom or any other natural herbs that threaten to hurt their bottom line.
Because of this headache, Kratom sellers often offer BIG discounts if you use other methods of payment such as eCheck or Bitcoin. I personally use eCheck on all of my online orders as it’s a great, easy way to save some money! It’s taken me a few years of experimentation, but between Lively Mood and my local store, I now have a consistent supply of high-quality Kratom.
How to Use Kratom
One important thing to be aware of is that although Kratom is legal to buy, posses and sell in most of the United States, it is not currently approved for human consumption by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and can only be legally sold for things like aromatherapy and candle making.
Because of this, you’ll see many sellers and consumers of Kratom use the word “burning” instead of “consuming” or “drinking” and the word “aroma” instead of “feelings” or “effects”. Therefore, if someone says “I just burned 3 grams of Kratom and it had a very relaxing aroma” this really means “I just consumed 3 grams of Kratom and it made me feel very relaxed.”
This is purely a legality and can be confusing if you’re unfamiliar to the world of Kratom.
Methods of Ingestion
There are various ways of consuming Kratom, but I will stick to the 3 basic methods in this guide:
Toss and Wash
This is by far the easiest and quickest method out there. Simply measure out your dosage, toss the powder in your mouth, take a big swig of your favorite beverage, mix it around in your mouth and then swallow. Done.
Mixing It Up
Although this method takes a little more effort it definitely helps to mask the somewhat bitter taste of plain Kratom powder. Pour a cup of water, your favorite juice or even a protein shake (chocolate is a great option for masking bitterness), measure out your dosage, toss it into the beverage and stir well. Natural Kratom powder doesn’t dissolve very easily so you’ll need to give it a good mix. Shaker bottles are awesome for this and they do a pretty good job.
This is one of the most time consuming ways to prepare Kratom, but it’s also one of my favorites. Not only does it eliminate the bitter taste and texture of consuming plain powder, but it also gives me the added piece of mind that what I’m putting into my body has been completely sanitized (as the powder will be boiled).
To start, you’ll need a pot, a strainer (a coffee filter or even cheesecloth will work), water and a heat source.
- Start by bringing about 12 ounces of water to a soft boil. (Optional: Add a sliced lemon or lime to the water before boiling. The acids will help to protect the alkaloids in the Kratom and can add a great flavor to your tea.)
- Pour your measured dosage of Kratom powder directly into the boiling water and gently mix.
- Decrease the temperature and let simmer for around 15 minutes.
- Once the color of the tea becomes a dark orange or yellow remove the pot from the heat.
- Position your coffee filter or strainer over your drinking mug and pour the liquid directly in.
- At this point you can discard the powder collected by the strainer.
You can now drink the tea as-is or add some sugar, honey, cinnamon or whatever you’d prefer. You can drink it hot or pour it over some ice. You can also store Kratom tea in the fridge for around 3 days or so.
What Dose of Kratom Do YOU Need?
This will depend on many things, but the quality and potency of any single batch of Kratom powder will always be a very important factor to consider when determining how much you’ll personally need. Your individual body chemistry will make a big difference as well.
It’s not as simple as “higher body weight = larger doses”. With Kratom, a 300 lb. male may find that 4 grams of Kratom is the perfect dose for him, while a 100 lb. female may need 7 grams to feel any effect. To find your perfect dose, it will take a little experimentation.
The best advice is to start with a low dose and slowly work your way up (gram by gram) until you reach the desired effects. When you’re first starting out, do not take multiple doses in one day. You’ll want to give yourself at least 24 hours between doses before you try a higher one. A good place to start is around 2 grams and add a half gram or so to each dosage until you reach the desired effect. Kratom is generally stimulating in lower doses, while becoming more sedating in higher ones. If you feel nauseous you’ve probably taken too large of a dose.
A very basic and very broad dosage guideline for a beginner would be:
2-5 grams = Effects that are more stimulating
4-8 grams = Effects that are more relaxing and ease pain
6-12 grams = Effects that relieve pain and cause euphoria (this may be too strong for some)
Again, start at around 2 grams and take your time increasing your dosage until you reach the desired effects. You’ll also want to slowly ramp up with any new batch of Kratom you start as it may be more potent than your last.
Measuring Kratom Accurately
The most accurate way to measure Kratom powder (and the way I recommend) is with a digital scale that measures down to 1/10th of a gram in weight. You can buy these for less than $20 at many local and online stores. The convenience is well worth the price. Although you can measure the volume of Kratom (via teaspoon or tablespoon) rather than weight, it is much less accurate because volume can vary greatly based on how fine of a powder the leaves have been crushed into.
Keeping Tolerance Low
To use Kratom optimally, we’ll want to stay AT or NEAR the same dose continuously. WE WANT TO KEEP TOLERANCE LOW. Fortunately, there are a couple of relatively simple ways to do this.
Take Days Off
The first is to take a couple of days off per week from Kratom, preferably in a row. This 2-day break would be enough to reset your tolerance and get the alkaloids fully out of your system. The next time you are ready to take Kratom, your receptors will be fresh and it will be just as effective as the last time you took it.
Alternate Using Substitutes
As with any supplement that is very effective – coffee being an example – you may find yourself “missing” the extra boost during your days off. This is normal. Relax though, because there are a few other extremely useful supplements that you can use as substitutes during your short-term breaks (or for longer breaks if you’re a daily Kratom user like me). We’ll be releasing a Kratom Substitutes post soon.
For daily Kratom users, there’s also a pretty simple solution to keep tolerance low. Just use one strain per day OR do not mix strains on a daily basis. You’ll be fine if you mix strains for a couple of days during the week. And if you are going to mix, just don’t mix more than 2 strains per day.
Preferably, you’d be mixing a white or green strain with a red. This combination of fast or moderate strains with a slow strain can produce some fantastic effects since you’re getting the uplifting and energizing effects from the fast strains and the more pronounced mood-lifting and anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effects from the red strains.
Putting It All Together
If you ever speak to anyone who’s had tolerance problems with Kratom, they were almost certainly using extracts, mixing strains on a daily basis or using the same strains over and over again. All of these are big No-Nos for those who want to use Kratom on a daily basis and maximize the positive benefits of it long-term.
Just know that keeping tolerance low is extremely possible and that the negative or “dark side” of Kratom, which is often brought up on forums or in the news, is sometimes dramatically overblown – especially for those that choose to obey these principles of Kratom supplementation.
After all, many of us know how great coffee is for mood and energy until one day it just isn’t the same anymore. We want to avoid this with all supplements and this is made possible through CYCLING! Imagine what it would be like if every cup of coffee felt like your first. Ah, the beauty of the first time! Well, it’s the same with Kratom. We want every time to feel like our first.
Alternating between strains and colors is what I’ve found to be most effective for nullifying tolerance. Doing this will ultimately help keep your tolerance AS LOW AS POSSIBLE.
I’ve been taking Kratom on a daily basis now for about 2 ½ years. I started with 2 grams in the morning and 2 in the evening, which is about the minimum effective dose. Anything below this and people will most likely not feel anything at all. I’m currently at about 3-5 grams twice a day. I could take 2 grams like a did before without a problem, but I find myself doing more creative work these days and enjoy the extra boost I get at 3-5 grams.
So, let’s say you have 10 strains of Kratom on hand and they are as follows:
- White Vietnam
- Maeng Da
- Red Thai
- Red Malaysian
- Red Borneo
- Ultra-Premium Elite Elephant (white strain)
- Yellow Sumatra
- White Hulu Kalimantan
- Green Borneo
- Green Sandai
A great example of a daily Kratom schedule would be to use White Vietnam (Fast) on Monday, Red Thai (Fast) on Tuesday, Green Borneo (Moderate) on Wednesday, Yellow Sumatra (Slow) on Thursday, White Hulu (Fast) on Friday, Green Sandai (Moderate) on Saturday and Red Borneo (Slow) on Sunday.
Some people may choose to use only moderate and fast strains during the week if they have very labor intensive or focus oriented work. This will be okay IF you alternate strains and do not mix more than 2 days a week – preferably mixing in a red strain.
If you use mostly white and green strains, you can also use a brief stint of only reds to lower your overall tolerance. Whenever my tolerance seems to be increasing, a few days (3-5) using only reds can be really effective for resetting my tolerance to the faster strains.
So What’s the Catch?
There really isn’t one! In responsible doses, Kratom is one of the safest, all natural herbs on planet Earth. It can improve your mood, boost motivation and focus, relieve aches and pains, treat anxiety and depression and it can even be used to treat and cure opiate addiction! Simply Google the terms “Kratom Saved Me” and you’ll find thousands of testimonials from people all across the globe whose lives have benefited immensely from this all natural herb.
Because of its threat to the profits of the biggest pharmaceutical companies in the world, Kratom is often demonized in the mainstream media (as a result of intense lobbying against it). News outlets pump out the controversial misinformation (because controversy equals more profits). Due to this misinformation (along with those politicians who profit from big pharma) many states have tried to ban Kratom.
Fortunately, the public is speaking up and fighting back against the political influence of corporate greed and if we all do our part, Kratom can be here to stay for everyone!
To see if Kratom is legal in your state, check out this KRATOM LEGALITY MAP.
Ready to try Kratom? If you’re looking to buy online my suggestion would be Lively Mood Botanicals. They offer a Starter Pack which includes some red, white and green vein Kratom, perfect for getting your feet wet the first time.
Questions? Feel free to ask. And if you’ve had any experiences with Kratom, leave a comment below and let the world know!