estimated read time - 19 min
estimated read time - 19 min
Kava and kratom are distinct plants with different origins, effects, and uses. Kava, derived from the Pacific plant Piper methysticum, offers relaxation and stress reduction without cognitive impairment. Conversely, kratom comes from the Mitragyna speciosa tree and can induce stimulating effects at lower doses and sedative effects at higher amounts.
Below we will go into various topics regarding the differences between the two herbs, the mechanisms of action, the differences in experience, how to find them, how to use them responsibly and what to expect.
The history of kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) is deeply rooted in Southeast Asian traditions, particularly in countries like Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Although originating from these asian cultures, it is actually banned for possession and use in Malaysia and Indonesia due to its potential for abuse and addictive nature.
Indigenous communities have long utilized kratom leaves for their medicinal properties. According to a study published in the "Journal of Psychoactive Drugs," kratom has been historically employed for its analgesic and stimulant effects, serving as a natural remedy for laborers and individuals facing fatigue (1).
Kratom, yields diversive effects based on dosage but similar effects from strain to strain. Low doses often induce increased alertness and energy, akin to caffeine, while higher doses may lead to sedation and relaxation. Some users report pain relief or mood enhancement. However, kratom's effects vary among individuals, and misuse can result in adverse reactions like nausea or dizziness.
Kratom's mechanism of action is attributed to its active alkaloids, mitragynine, and 7-hydroxymitragynine. These compounds interact with opioid receptors in the brain, influencing neurotransmitter release and mitigating pain. Research, by Prozialeck et al. (2012) and Grundmann et al. (2018) discusses its dual impact on adrenergic and opioid receptors, shedding light on the nuanced mechanisms contributing to kratom's analgesic and stimulant properties. Recent studies indicate kratom may not induce severe adverse effects, like life-threatening respiratory depression often observed in opioid overdoses.
Kratom withdrawal occurs when regular users abruptly cease or reduce intake after prolonged usage. Symptoms often mimic opioid withdrawal and may include muscle aches, irritability, insomnia, and mood swings. The severity varies based on dosage and duration of use. Management strategies often involve gradual tapering or professional assistance to alleviate symptoms.
Although kratom may not contain the respiratory challenges as seen in opiate withdrawal, going cold turkey on kratom is no walk in the park. Kratom withdrawal and recovery can result in intense physical and emotional responses such as physical malease, emotional irritability, increased anxiety, and uncontrollable insomnia. Kava is said to help with all these categories due to how it may enhance natural GABAa receptor activity. These are the recommended blends for kratom withdrawal.
A Traditional Fijian Ceremony
Mitragyna speciosa or kratom trees can grow up to 82 feet in height and its trunk may grow up to 3ft in diameter. The trunk is generally straight and slender with branching canopy. The leaves of kratom trees are characterized by their dark green and glossy appearance, featuring an ovate shape with 12 to 17 pairs of veins. These leaves can extend up to 8 inches in length and span 5 inches in width. Additionally, the kratom plant produces small, ball-shaped flowers as part of its reproductive process.
Kratom leaves contain a variety of active compounds, with alkaloids being the primary contributors to its effects. Among these alkaloids, the two main ones found in kratom are mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine. These alkaloids interact with opioid receptors in the brain, resulting in effects similar to those produced by opioids. Opioids are a class of substances or drugs commonly used for pain relief, particularly for moderate to severe pain. Opioid receptors, on the other hand, are protein receptors that play a crucial role in the body's response to pain, reward, and other physiological processes (9).
Mitragynine is the most abundant alkaloid present in kratom and interacts with opioid receptors in the brain, producing effects such as pain relief, sedation, stimulation, and mood enhancement (3). On the other hand, 7-hydroxymitragynine, although less abundant than mitragynine, is considered to be more potent and exhibits stronger analgesic effects (4).
Additionally, kratom contains several other alkaloids in smaller concentrations, including paynantheine, speciociliatine, speciogynine, and ajmalicine (raubasine)(5). While these alkaloids are present in lower quantities, they may also contribute to the analgesic properties of kratom.
No, kratom is not an opiate; it belongs to a different botanical classification. Kratom's alkaloids interact with opioid receptors, mimicing opiate's analgesic effects. But while kratom shares some characteristics with opiates, it lacks key elements contributing to the typical opiate classification. Understanding these distinctions is crucial for responsible use and informed decision-making
Various pills and supplements
Kratom’s legal status varies from country to country. In certain nations like Malaysia and Thailand, where kratom originated -the supplement is grown and exported as a cash crop to places like the United States. However ironically, the personal use and possession of kratom within these countries that grow it, is currently illegal due to its potential for abuse and addiction(6).
In the United States, kratom remains legal in some areas, but other states such as Alabama, Wisconsin, Arkansas and Tennessee were said to have submitted a legislation to ban the sale and possession of kratom. Due to increasing adverse effects related to kratom and the lack of regulation and quality control. The issue of legality of kratom in the US remains controversial(7).
Kratom typically does not appear on standard drug tests designed to detect common substances. The alkaloids in kratom differ from those in traditional opioids. However, some specialized tests may identify kratom alkaloids. Research on kratom's detection in drug screenings is limited, emphasizing the importance of staying informed about testing methodologies. As of now, standard drug tests are unlikely to reveal the presence of kratom, but individuals should be aware of any updates or changes in testing procedures.
Traditional kava being served
Kava refers to the plant Piper methysticum native to the Pacific Islands and the traditional beverage derived from the plant. It is a traditional beverage celebrated for its cultural and therapeutic significance. Backed by research, kava contains kavalactones that interact with GABA receptors, inducing relaxation without impairing cognitive function. Studies like "Kava: An Overview" by Singh (2015) highlight its anxiolytic and stress-relieving properties. Consumed during social and ceremonial gatherings, kava offers a unique experience, fostering a sense of community.
Kava works through its active ingredients, mainly kavalactones, engaging with brain neurotransmitters. These target GABA-A receptors, bringing a calming effect and easing anxiety without affecting thinking. By boosting GABA's impact, kava induces relaxation. Its influence on dopamine and other neurotransmitters additionally uplifts mood
Research has shown kava is not addictive compared to substances like alcohol or opioids. It lacks the addictive properties associated with those substances and its chemical mechanism of action doesn't create a physical dependency. Because of this, there is no reported 'kava withdrawal'. However, some individuals might develop a psychological dependence due to its calming qualities, similar to using chocolate as a coping mechanism during stress. (8)
No, kava is not a benzodiazepine. It is a natural beverage derived from the roots of the Piper methysticum plant, traditionally used for its calming effects. While both kava and benzodiazepines may induce relaxation, their mechanisms of action differ. Understanding these distinctions is vital for responsible use and informed choices in seeking natural remedies for anxiety
Kava is unlikely to show up on standard drug tests designed for common substances, as it does not contain the same compounds as illicit drugs. However, it's essential to stay informed about any updates in testing methodologies. As of now, typical drug screenings are not designed to detect kava, emphasizing its distinction from substances commonly targeted in drug tests.
Two Friends Enjoying Kava
Kava and kratom mechanisms of action as well as traditional uses are completely different. Kava interacts with GABA receptors, inducing relaxation reduction of anxiety without affecting opioid receptors. On the other hand, kratom engages directly with opioid receptors, providing pain relief and mood enhancement. Safety considerations also differ; kratom use may lead to chemical dependence and opioid-like withdrawal symptoms, while kava is generally non-addictive. This explains why kava can be used daily for ritualistic ceremonial use as it is calming, socially oriented, but not habit forming. While kratom should be used sparingly due to its houses stimulating, opiate-like, and addictive properties.
Using kratom and kava simultaneously can have complex effects due to their distinct properties. While some individuals combine them for potential synergistic effects, it's essential to understand the contraindications. Both substances may impact neurotransmitter systems, potentially leading to intensified sedation or relaxation. Although kava is generally considered safe when used responsibly, kratom's safety profile has yet to be confirmed. The combination of the two should not be taken lightly and it is best to approach with caution.
These are the two blends our customers who use kratom regularly have recommended. When using kratom, the user tends to already get the sedated effect and they can choose make the experience stronger by simply taking more kratom. So the addition of kava is not needed for its sedative effect, but rather the mindful anti-anxiety calming effect, which is much higher in these two varietals. Our Raw Epicure and Single Origin Kelai kava's are not like your normal kava's, and have experience profiles almost entirely in the head, which is why they are great for daytime use. Please use responsibly.
Kratom and Kava are two botanicals with uniquely different therapeutic properties. Kava, traditionally renowned for its anxiolytic effects, is a natural choice for stress and anxiety relief. In contrast, kratom offers distinct applications, with its alkaloids interacting with opioid receptors for effective pain management. Known for its stimulating properties in smaller doses, kratom can enhance energy levels and focus.
Energy and Focus: In smaller doses, kratom is reported to have stimulant-like effects akin to heavy doses of caffeine, providing users with increased energy, alertness, and improved focus.
Opioid Withdrawal Support: Some users claim that it helps alleviate withdrawal symptoms, although more research is needed to establish its efficacy and safety in this context
Using kava involves preparing a beverage from the ground up roots of the kava plant (Piper methysticum). The root is first ground and pounded. It is then mixed with water, kneaded, and strained through a cloth. The resulting liquid is consumed traditionally in coconut cups. In contrast, using kratom entails consuming the leaves of the Mitragyna speciosa tree in either capsule or tea form. The leaves can either be dried and steeped in hot water, or ground into a fine powder and taken in pill form.
No, outside of both botanicals being derived from plants, they have almost nothing in common. kratom and kava are distinct botanicals with different origins, effects, and applications. Kava, derived from the Pacific Islands, is traditionally consumed for relaxation and stress reduction. In contrast, kratom, from Southeast Asia, contains alkaloids interacting with opioid receptors, offering potential pain relief and stimulation.
Determining whether Kava or Kratom is better depends on individual preferences and intended effects. Kava is known for relaxation and stress reduction, so it is better for social gatherings or when someone is suffering from stress or anxiety. Kratom, offers stimulating and pain-relieving properties, so kratom is better for pain management or when people are feeling tired looking for sometime akin to a few cups of coffee. Both have distinct benefits, but individual reactions vary.
In summary, kava and kratom have gained popularity for their potential benefits in relieving stress, anxiety, and pain, but they are distinct in their origins, effects, and mechanisms of action.
Kratom, originating from Southeast Asia, has been used for centuries for its stimulating effects and pain-relieving properties. Its alkaloids, mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, interact with opioid receptors in the brain, producing effects similar to opioids. However, it's important to note that kratom carries a higher risk of dependence and addiction due to its opioid-like properties.
Kava, originating from the Pacific Islands, is primarily consumed for its GABA-ergic calming and relaxing properties. The kavalactones in kava interact with various neurotransmitters in the brain involved in regulating mood, anxiety, stress, and pain. Kava is generally considered safe, with few reported risks and side effects.
While both kava and kratom claim to improve mood and well-being, it is crucial to recognize that they are two different plant species with distinct mechanisms of action. Caution should be exercised when using kratom due to its potential for dependence and addiction, whereas kava is generally regarded as safer. Consulting with a healthcare professional is recommended before using either substance.
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