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Kratom (pronounced kray-tum) is a tree native to Southeast Asia which has been used for centuries as a folk medicine. People often use it as an alternative to coffee because it can offer longer-lasting sharpness without caffeine-induced jitters.
Though it is still legal in most Western countries and is generally considered to be safe to use, the DEA has questioned its use and the FDA has issued a public health warning, urging the public not to use it. Kratom is not approved for medicinal use in the United States and is discussed here purely for research purposes only.
Kratom comes in a variety of different forms: extracts, raw powder (leaves), capsules and gel. Extracts aren’t recommended for beginner users because they can be very powerful and difficult to dose.
Capsules are more practical because the dosages are already measured out. They generally taste better than the loose powder and are also just easier to carry around. Kratom capsules are also likely to keep your Kratom fresher for a longer period as the powder is packed tightly and well-protected from moisture and other substances.
This herbal remedy has a little something for everyone, but effects will vary based on the user, the strain and the overall strength and quality of the product. Note that different strains will have different “aromas” as well, depending on your personality, body type, etc. Be sure to read the dosage amount on the bottle since some pills will have more or less than 500 mg.
A dose of about 2-3 g (4-6 capsules) is recommended for people who are just starting out. You can take them with water (hot drinks also work well to dissolve the tablets quickly) and on an empty stomach for maximum efficacy.
Remember that the capsules will take up to 40 minutes to kick in and last for a few hours, so wait until you see how you feel after a couple of grams before taking more. A very strong dose of regular Kratom would be 12-25 grams—this is NOT recommended for ANYONE!
If you have extra strong Kratom or extract, you need to half the above doses—don’t go any higher than 6 grams, especially if it’s your first round.
Another weird thing about Kratom is that, in higher doses, Kratom can be sleepy which is the opposite of what most people expect.
These days, it’s imperative to ensure that you buy from legitimate vendors, not only for your own safety but because the more bad news stories get leaked about people taking supplements that claim to be Kratom (but are actually unsafe), the less likely it is to become fully recognized as a useful herb in the future.
The problem is that some vendors will cut their product with either relatively harmless products (like other types of leaves, including those from kratom’s sister plant Mitragyna javanica) that don’t do anything.
Even worse (but this is very rare), they could cut your product with dangerous substances to cut costs. There have been reports of people selling other substances under the name of Kratom in a blend of synthetic opiates that have the potential to be extremely strong and dangerous.
Remember that it costs a fair amount of money to cultivate, process and ship these plants, so if you see a vendor selling it for an unusually cheap price this should be a warning sign that it could be bogus.
A normal, higher end price for Kratom is around $20/oz. USD. It’s not common but can happen that vendors will add fillers to Kratom capsules. This is in part because it’s not fully legal and remains unregulated so it’s not checked for quality—basically, it’s super easy to make something and market it as Kratom. There is no regulation, so you should be careful.
“The reality is that it costs a lot of money to import and produce quality kratom and kratom products, such as kratom extracts, kratom resins and kratom tinctures. However, if you have no ethics at all, and know how really under-regulated the kratom industry is in this country, you can make tons of cash selling expired or fake kratom. How can you do this? Just by undercutting the price of legitimate kratom vendors.” ~ Mr. Kratom
Legitimate companies will be interested in selling authentic, safe products. So, you can always check reviews of different vendors. If you find counterfeit vendors, be sure to report back to the original company right away and let them know. You’ll also want to watch out for Kratom that is expired.
While some strains are stronger than others, what you really want to look for in a Kratom capsule is quality. The main red flag is if it’s unusually inexpensive. If it’s cheap it’s likely to have fillers.
Usually fillers are harmless, so if you get a bunk shipment, it will just be that nothing happens. But there have been reports of more dangerous fillers being used. Look for recent online reviews before you choose your vendor as word travels fast about bogus products and shady kratom vendors.
In North America, you can sometimes find Kratom in head shops or the online versions of these, “Legal High” websites. But you are more likely to find real Kratom by searching around on ethnobotanical sites, online stores that sell a range of natural products and are clearly knowledgeable about them.
Check to see what kind of information they provide on their website and drop them a line asking a question to see how quickly they get back to you. There are also websites exclusively dedicated to selling Kratom only and the more established the vendor, the more obvious it will be by just glancing at their website. Usually the better ones will offer discounts, sample packs, affiliate programs, an FAQ section and some sort of money back guarantee.
If you’re looking to buy the best Kratom capsules, you’ll find that most strains are readily available in capsule form. Depending on what you want to get out of your Kratom, different strains might seem more potent than others.
Thai Kratom strains are likely to have the highest percentage of the active ingredient mitragynine.
Maeng Da (“Pimp Grade”) will most likely be the strongest Kratom pills which give you the most intense sensation.
Red Bali will be more rejuvenating than others, offering a restorative experience. Borneo is said to be the best Kratom for a sense of well-being. Other strains’ disparate aromas will vary with most sharing certain concentrations of indole alkaloids in common.
There are plenty of great sources for kratom online, but as we mentioned above, ethnobotanical sites are among some of the absolute best and most knowledgeable about the Mitragyna speciosa (kratom) plant.
Here is a short list of some of the best kratom vendors currently in operation:
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