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The What’s and Why’s of Kratom – Everything You Need to Know



Kratom production

Kratom has been used for centuries throughout various cultures for its medicinal benefits. But it was only in the last decade that kratom started to gain popularity as a commercial herbal remedy. Today, it’s pretty widespread throughout the US, EU, and other countries around the globe.

However, the plant remains mysterious and relatively unknown to most of the population, making some buyers shy away from out of unfamiliarity. So if you’re interested in kratom but you’re not exactly sure if it’s for you, this quick fact sheet should give you all the details you need to know.

What is Kratom?

The word ‘kratom’ actually pertains to the tree, Mitragyna speciosa. Other names for it include biak-biak, gratom, ithang, kakaum, katawn, kedemba, ketum, madat, maeng da, thang, and thom to name a few.

The tree grows indigenous to Thailand, Indonesia, Myanmar, Malaysia, and Papua New Guinea where it’s typically used for healing traditions. As a tropical evergreen tree, kratom actually comes from the coffee family.

What is Kratom Used For?

As an herbal remedy, kratom has a variety of alleged uses. Of course, there’s not a lot of literature to support what it can do, especially because research on kratom is scarce. But anecdotal evidence, as well as a cultural belief in the benefits of kratom, have pushed it into herbal medicinal stardom, alongside herbs like hemp.

Some of its benefits include:

  • Pain Relief – Kratom is mainly used for its benefits against pain and soreness. Locals in areas where the tree grows indigenous typically steep the leaves in water to create tea, which is then consumed to calm and soothe the body after a day’s work in the fields.

  • Anti-Anxiety and Depression – Here’s another bold claim with limited scientific support but a world’s worth of anecdotal evidence. About 67% of those who use kratom in the United States do so to combat anxiety and depression. That’s mainly because the active ingredient in kratom called mitragynine works similar to the stimulant opioid.

  • Opiate Withdrawal – Most pain relievers like oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, and morphine are classed as opioids and are known to cause addiction. Presently, an estimated 41% of people who use kratom leverage its benefits as a treatment for opioid dependence, helping the body wean off of opioids in favor of kratom’s more natural benefits and effects.

There are a number of other uses for kratom like hypertension management, diabetes, diarrhea treatment, and even coughs and colds. And while many of those who use the herb will stand by its benefits, it’s important to remember that every person reacts differently to its chemistry.

Can Kratom Cause Addiction?

kratom powder and leaf

This is a common question in the minds of those interested in using kratom from companies like because of its use as a transitional substance for people weaning off of the use of opioids. The main active ingredient in the herb called mitragynine works in a way similar to opioids in that it’s a stimulant and a pain reliever. But even then, there are many ways that they differ.

The biggest upside to using kratom versus opioids is that it’s a natural substance. And statistics on its effects against opioid withdrawal have been staggering and impressive. According to the numbers, 87% of those using kratom reported relief from symptoms of withdrawal while around 35% were completely free from opioid dependence within less than a year after using kratom.

But even then, there are risks. Considering the effects of kratom, a very small percentage of those who use the herb reported substance use disorder. However, it’s worth noting that the numbers are very small, with less than 10% reporting criteria for mild substance use disorder, and even less than 3% meeting criteria for severe.

Many experts attribute this to a specific, individual tendency rather than it being a quality of the herb itself. Another thing to consider is responsible for the use and proper dosing. That said, anyone starting the use of kratom should be careful to use more than their body needs to achieve the herb’s therapeutic effects.

How to Measure the Right Kratom Dose

To ensure safe, proper use of kratom and minimal side effects, it’s imperative that you take the time to measure out the right dose. As a general rule, higher doses produce a sedative effect while low doses produce a more stimulant effect. There are also kratom varieties that generate different effects due to changes in their plant chemistry.

Here are a few tips to help you measure the proper dose:

    • Opt for dry weight as opposed to volume – Measuring your dose by weight proves to be far more accurate than using volume because of the varying textures and sizes of powders and leaves. Use a scale that weighs accurately up to a tenth of a gram.

    • Know your kratom quality – The quality of your kratom product will have a significant impact on its potency when used. The better the quality, the less product you’ll need to achieve the desired effects.

    • Observe your reaction – Take your first few doses in smaller amounts to ensure that you’re not overstepping your threshold. Gradually increase from there if necessary. Avoid starting at the maximum dose to avoid unwanted effects and adverse reactions.

Normal Quality Kratom

Ultra-Potent Kratom





















Extra strong





Determining how much kratom you need largely depends on your own threshold. If you have a mild tolerance than that means you can experience the benefits of the herb with smaller doses. The extra strong threshold is typically unheard of, and many people might not actually be able to tolerate these amounts.

Start with the smallest dose to determine where you fall. If the mild amounts don’t do anything for you, then you can step up to moderate and so on until you experience the therapeutic effects that the herb offers.

The Bottom Line

Kratom can be a helpful plant when it comes to health and healing, but there are limits. If you’re trying the herb for the first time, make sure you’re using the right amount of product to experience its benefits without risking side effects. Take it slow, measure your doses, and observe how your body reacts. With the right amount of kratom, you should be able to experience soothing calm and stimulation that hits all the right notes.

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