It’s become a bit of a running joke around the office that I’m the site’s Troll-in-Residence because of my many posts about crappy smoke shop brands. While I’m all too proud to embrace that title, the saying goes that all true things are said in jest.
I often discourage our readers from buying smoke shop kratom. Not because I have something against ma and pa proprietors. On the contrary, I understand that they are only trying to make a living…but sometimes they make their money at the expense of public safety.
Over the years we have seen kratom hospitalizations, kratom deaths and other undesirable events such as the 2018 Salmonella outbreak. Many of these incidents have been traced back to sketchy smoke shop brands.
One such product was Krypton, a smoke shop supplement that was found to contain O-desmethyltramadol, a powerful and potentially fatal prescription painkiller. But that is far from the only item on the market to be spiked, “enhanced” or otherwise adulterated.
When I heard about Kush Kratom I knew I had to review it, if for no other reason than it raises some red flags right off the bat. For starters, the company behind it does not have their own e-commerce site or any website, for that matter.
As a wholesale supplier, Kush specializes in moving product through third party entities. A notable example is Legal Herbal Shop, a vendor who is known for their wide variety.
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Their kratom powder is described as “extra fine, micronized organic kratom powder.” This description would be more than believable…if the label on their kratom capsules didn’t also say that it contains 100% Mitragynine.
Anyone familiar with alkaloid concentration knows that few vendors stock plain leaf with anything close to that percentage. 100% concentration is essentially impossible without the leaf being enhanced through inorganic processes.
The full product line is distributed by T& E LLC out of Wadsworth, OH. This is problematic because extensive research yields no results for this company.
There is a Taylors T & E LLC located in Hartford, KY, but they are an electrical contractor. Alternately there is a TAE LLC out of Monroe, LA, but they function as a home improvement business.
Kush Kratom Maeng Da and Kush Kratom Green Malay are but two of the items in their inventory. They also sell Red Bali caps, a 15 ml Maeng Da 40x liquid kratom tincture.
Kush brand kratom is said to be more potent than their competitors in the space, but that was hard for me to believe given their assertion that they are 100% organic.
Their kratom powder is available in 4 oz bags with your choice of Green Malay, Maeng Da, Red Bali or White Vein. Their capsules contain 500 mgs per gelatin cap.
Powder ranges in price from $27.99 to $29.99, depending on the strain you choose. Their 40x dry leaf liquid extract tincture goes for $14.99 for a 15 ml bottle. You can get two bottles for $26.99 or four bottles for $48.96.
As if this all doesn’t seem shady enough already, there is virtually no mention of these guys anywhere on social media or related forums. In one of the few posts in the /r/kratom subreddit, a user warns against such products, saying, “Head shop Kratom can be unpredictable in quality.”
Against my better judgment I decided to order a 4 oz bag of Maeng Da powder. I don’t bother with liquid extract because it’s bound to be garbage and I don’t want to waste the money. Call me a cheapskate, but if I’m gonna get burned I at least one it to be on a weak form of something I already enjoy.
Maeng Da is widely considered to be one of the absolute strongest strains on the market and I typically agree with that assessment. Not the case this time out. About the only thing that was strong about the Kush MD was the dizzy spell it induced in me about 45 minutes after I tossed and washed 4 grams.
Far from the extra fine plant matter promised by the site I received a pouch full of clumps that were acrid and smelled funky. Normally Maeng Da’s fragrance reminds me of a really fresh green tea, but this stuff had a sour, musty stink to it that made it hard to get it down and even harder to keep down.
Waves of nausea were followed by a dull headache in my temples and a bout of cold sweats. Not at all an experience that was worth almost 30 bucks.
My colleagues may have had a fine chuckle calling me a smoke shop hater, but after dealing with this stuff I think it’s safe to say that I’m the one that’s having the last laugh. After all, Kush Kratom has proven my point—smoke shop products are often overpriced, overrated and underwhelming. They are also carry the most potential of making you sick.
The conundrum that we face as a community of botanical enthusiasts is one that’s quite the double-edged sword. On the one hand, we want the Mitragyna speciosa plant and its active alkaloids to remain unregulated and legal, but as long as they are unregulated shoddy companies will always be able to dump bunk goods on unsuspecting consumers.
Customers should always ask some fundamental questions before making a purchase. You should always find out where a business gets their product from, where it is sourced from, how it is prepared, whether it has been tested by a third party laboratory, whether lab results can be furnished upon request and if it comes with a money back guarantee.
If it’s quality you’re after it’s always best to avoid headshop speciosa and stick with trusted online vendors. It’s companies like this one that give the industry a bad name. Enter at your own risk.
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