Kratom and Coffee: How They’re Similar and What Makes Them Different

July 29, 2019 Articles, Kratom Alkaloids, Kratom Blends, Kratom Capsules, Kratom Products, Kratom Strains, Kratom Tea, Op-Ed

Coffee is everyone’s jam! It’s that thing that so many of us rely on for our morning pick-me-up. Some of us drink it twice a day or more, particularly to get through that mid-afternoon slump.

Coffee’s popularity is undeniable—java drives the American economy, accounting for 18 billion dollars in sales, almost eight percent of which is comprised of specialty coffee sales. Those sales are shown to be increasing exponentially every fiscal year.

This is no surprise as a growing number of people have turned to coffee or, rather, turned back to coffee after discovering the potential dangers of mass market energy drinks.

Kratom tea has also become quite popular of late with thousands of Americans enjoying its many different strains. This has lead to much speculation about the possibility of combining the two.

Here’s what you need to know.

KRATOM & COFFEE—HOW ARE THEY SIMILAR?

In order to understand kratom and coffee, we must first delve into the roots of kratom. The kratom leaf comes from the leaves of Mitragyna speciosa, an evergreen tree that’s part of the coffee family of plants. As such, it bears some striking resemblances to coffee beans.

Like a strong cup of coffee, kratom can give you that much-needed pick-me-up. Whereas coffee can often result in jitters and nervousness, burning kratom rarely has this kind of side effect.

DO THEY TASTE THE SAME?

Sort of. Both kratom and coffee can share a bitter flavor. Lots of people acquire a taste for coffee’s naturally “dark” taste, but the same cannot be said about kratom. The pungent flavor of kratom can be nauseating to some, hence the desire for kratom capsules.

Many users also enjoy “cutting” kratom with other substances to dull the taste. Some of our favorite mixtures include honey, almond milk, pink lemonade and blueberry smoothie.

EFFECTS OF COFFEE & KRATOM

Coffee is said to have a number of positive effects on the body and mind. Those who drink coffee in moderation report increased attentiveness, sharpened focus, improved mood and elevated energy levels.

However, it is important to note that some coffee drinkers experience a “crash” shortly after the effects of coffee’s caffeine content wears off. As caffeine’s effects dissipate the “come down” leaves users feeling sluggish and, in some cases, even lethargic.

Those who are sensitive to caffeine can experience headaches after drinking coffee. Those who drink coffee on a chronic basis are prone to what doctors call “rebound headaches.”

That being said, studies show that coffee may reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s, heart disease and other serious medical conditions. Its neuroprotective properties have been well-documented among the medical community.

Like coffee, kratom is often referred to as a “stimulating” compound with users using terms like “fast” and “heavy” to describe the aroma of select strains.

Several users have made bold claims about kratom’s potential in areas similar to coffee, but there is insufficient evidence at this time. Put more simply, not enough is known about kratom to support such claims.

As of 2019, kratom is not approved for medicinal use in the United States. On the contrary, the FDA has issued a public warning, urging Americans to avoid consuming kratom.

In the past, we have discussed the potential for kratom addiction and the incidents of kratom hangover. Some users have gone so far as to say that they suffered migraines after burning certain kratom strains.

SIDE EFFECTS

Those who consume coffee on a frequent basis can suffer some serious adverse effects. Drinkers who consume too much caffeine may experience any or all of the following side effects:

  • Jitters
  • Nervousness
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Digestive issues
  • High BP (Blood Pressure)
  • Muscle breakdown
  • Rapid Heart Rate
  • Addiction
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea

Kratom also has its fair share of adverse effects, some of which are more acute than others. While the casual user may experience mild nausea or headache along with dilated pupils, others may be afflicted with effects that are far more severe.

Acute kratom side effects may include any or all of the following:

  • Tongue numbness
  • Vomiting
  • Dry mouth
  • Urine retention
  • Constipation
  • Agitation
  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Darkened skin
  • Thyroid problems
  • Liver damage

We now know that kratom should never be burned in large doses as it may result in respiratory depression, swelling of the brain, seizure, kidney or liver failure, and even death.

POTENTIAL FOR ADDICTION & ABUSE

Unfortunately, evidence suggests that both coffee and kratom are addictive in nature. Chronic kratom use is believed to lead to tolerance, one that can lead to users consuming excessive amounts that may result in hospitalization or even liver failure. Kidney problems have also been observed in some subjects.

Both coffee and kratom are psychoactive compounds and they share certain potentially addictive properties. In the case of coffee, the chief culprit is caffeine, the chemical responsible for its intensely stimulating effects.

While caffeine is not known to disrupt one’s social life or economic health in quite the same way as most addictive drugs, it is nevertheless a substance which can result in over-stimulation to the central nervous system, insomnia or even heart palpitations. The myths and facts about coffee are manifold, but one thing is irrefutable—it absolutely can cause moderate physical dependence.

KRATOM & COFFEE—HOW THEY DIFFER

Although coffee and kratom both come from the same family of plants they couldn’t be more different when it comes to their chemical make-up. With more than 100 disparate species of coffee, there’s no saying how many different compounds one expect to find in their cup o’ Joe.

The two most prevalent forms of coffee are Arabica and Robusta. Arabica beans compose at least 60% of coffee production in the known world. Known colloquially as “mountain coffee,” Arabica has its origins in the highlands of Ethiopia where it grows in the Southwestern region.

Coffee owes its health benefits to its key properties which include caffeine, 2-Ethylphenol, Quinic Acid, 3 and 5 Dicaffeoylquinic Acid, Dimethyl Disulfide, Acetylmethylcarbinol and Putrescine.

On the other hand, kratom gets its aroma from the more than 25 indole alkaloids present within the veins of the kratom leaf. The following is a full list of kratom’s active alkaloids, all of which occur at varying concentrations in mass market kratom products:

  • Ajmalicine
  • Akuammigine
  • Ciliaphylline
  • Corynantheidine
  • Corynoxeine
  • Corynoxine A and B
  • Epicatechin
  • 9-Hydroxycorynantheidine
  • 7-hydroxymitragynine
  • Isomitraphylline
  • Isomitrafoline
  • Isopteropodine
  • Isorhynchophylline
  • Isospeciofoline
  • Mitraciliatine
  • Mitragynine
  • Mitragynine oxindole B
  • Mitrafoline
  • Mitraphylline
  • Mitraversine
  • Paynantheine
  • Rhynchophylline
  • Speciociliatine
  • Speciofoline
  • Speciogynine
  • Speciophylline
  • Stipulatine
  • Tetrahydroalstonine

WHICH IS MORE POWERFUL?

The potency of kratom and coffee are obviously up for debate. Everyone reacts to things differently, so naturally opinions vary wildly. Lots of people speculate that kratom is much stronger than coffee, although others insist that the right beans are way better.

One thing is pretty concrete—the duration of effects. Caffeine’s effects typically last for no longer than 4-5 hours whereas kratom’s aroma may stick around for as long as 6 hours with some users swearing that it lasted in excess of 7 or even 8 hours. This is especially true of stronger strains like Maeng Da which contain higher levels of Mitragynine.

IS KRATOM LEGAL?

This is one area in which coffee and kratom differ quite a bit. Coffee is legal and readily available across the globe, kratom has been banned in a variety of countries, states and municipalities. In fact, it was even banned for many years in its native Thailand.

Today kratom is legal in most U.S. States, but not everywhere. The possession or distribution of kratom has been outlawed in some states where legislation has been passed. Kratom is currently illegal in Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Rhode Island, Vermont and Wisconsin.

Although kratom remains legal in most of the state of Florida, Sarasota County legislators succeeded in passing a bill that bans the sale of kratom locally.

The legal climate in the United States is such that legislation may be pending in other states, so users are urged to check with local government about kratom’s legal status in their respective area.

DOSAGE LEVELS

Unlike coffee which is generally measured out in standard sizes in coffee bars and cafes, kratom is not always so easy measure out. Some kratom vendors provide measuring spoons, but this isn’t always the case.

Those who wish to burn kratom for its aroma should be sure to pick up a digital scale to measure out precise amounts as anything over 8 grams is far too much and may pose a health risk. Kratom should always be burned for research purposes only.

ARE KRATOM & COFFEE SAFE TO COMBINE?

This is a difficult thing to discuss since both substances are potentially hazardous to one’s health. By now, most users in the kratom community already know all about kratom potentiators. These are the agitators that potentiate speciosa’s effects.

Coffee may very well serve as a potentiator, but it’s imperative that people understand that these two psychoactive compounds share many undesirable effects in common and mixing the two may potentiate these adverse effects.

Before considering a kratom + coffee mixture, think about your personal sensitivity and tolerance. Take all proper precautions. In the event of side effects, discontinue use and seek immediate medical attention.

RECIPE FOR KRATOM + COFFEE BLEND

Should you decide that this mixture is right for you, you’ll want to cut the bitter taste, lest you start gagging on clumps of kratom powder and the putrefied flavor of Arabica beans. You’d do well to add a sweeter such as a flavored creamer or almond milk.

Some users may want to squirt some chocolate syrup into their cup or consider blending their kratom and coffee mix in a blender with fruits and/or ice cream.

If you’re blending these two compounds together, you should always use a smaller kratom dose than you normally would. This will reduce your risk of experiencing side effects such as nausea or vomiting.

CYCLING YOUR DOSAGES BETWEEN COFFEE & KRATOM

Many users have found that the more they burn kratom, the less it hits them. When the aroma doesn’t reach you, you’re likely dealing with tolerance. In this case, it would be a good idea to lay off the “Thang” and switch to a strong cup o’ Joe.

It’s always advisable to skip a few days in between your doses, turning to coffee instead. Coffee is unlikely to hit you in the same way that kratom has, but you’ll appreciate the difference it can make when you cycle back around to the strain of your choice.

WHICH STRAINS GO BEST WITH COFFEE?

Greens and whites are the most simpatico with coffee beans, so you may want to consider one of the following for your mixture:

WHAT ARE PEOPLE SAYING ABOUT KRATOM & COFFEE?

Most users agree that the kratom + caffeine blend should be taken on an empty stomach for the most satisfying results. One user combined four grams of kratom tea with 200 milligrams of coffee.

“Feeling really energetic,” he says. “…little to no body load. No negative effects becides feeling a little warm to the body. I woke up 1 hour ago. Currently cleaning room feeling hyper…”

“This is my favorite,” another user wrote. “Also note a good green or a white is best for energy so obviously best with coffee. I like 5gs green malay and cup of coffee every morning.”

BOTTOM LINE

If you’re thinking about making this kind of mix, make sure you choose a strain that suits your needs and you monitor the resulting effects carefully. Be safe, be smart and be well.

Bob Freville
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