“A body of men holding themselves accountable to nobody ought not to be trusted by anybody.” The political theorist and noted revolutionary, Thomas Paine, said that. Of course the “body of men” he was talking about was a governing body, but this quote could just as easily apply to the kratom industry.
If my years of attending conventions and product demos have taught me anything it’s that the ethnobotanical space is no different than the world of the political elite, the automotive field or even the adult entertainment industry—all three are driven by a very dramatic form of supply and demand.
As with bureaucracy, car manufacturing or porn, any dereliction of duty on the part of the provider can result in gross injury to the consumer. In short, there’s always someone out there who’s looking to screw ya. In the case of smoke shop kratom, a spurious brand of Mitragyna speciosa powder can really screw you up.
This is the raw balls of the kratom problem: The FDA has not approved kratom for medicinal use, which means that it remains unregulated in states where the substance is legal. Chemical compounds that lack regulation are able to be manufactured, distributed, sold and purchased by just about anyone, for any reason whatsoever.
Consequently, shady companies can sprout up overnight and take to this already over-saturated industry in order to turn a quick profit. They can take substandard kratom powder from any source, trustworthy or otherwise, dump it into the packaging of their choosing, slap a fancy logo on it and send it off to retailers.
In many cases, wholesale kratom suppliers fail to list grams on their packages, many of which lack detailed labeling of any kind. No list of ingredients. No guarantee of purity. No dosage instructions.
Some of this comes down to fundamental legality—it is a violation of FDA guidelines for a kratom vendor to market M. speciosa for human consumption, therefore listing dosages would no doubt rattle the proverbial snake. On the other hand, some brands simply can’t be bothered to disclose any information about their product, good or not-so-good.
The first time I got burned by a headshop brand, I rushed to my office and hammered out what I thought would be a substantial news scoop. The resulting article sought to expose both the company behind the kratom capsules in question and the headshop that refused to refund my money.
When I handed it into my editor at the time, I half-expected to receive a good-humored “atta boy,” if not a formal nomination for the Pulitzer. Instead, I was laughed out of his office and relegated to writing ad copy for protein bars.
I never quite understood why I’d been reassigned until some time later when a young writer handed in a similar blog entry. The circumstance was the same—he’d been burned by a smoke shop proprietor who’d sold him on bunk product that failed to get the job done and refused to replace the item—but by then I’d learned to manage my expectations.
In retrospect, I should have been laughing right along with my editor. The joke, lame as it is, never goes away. If there’s a punchline in the kratom industry it should be, “No refunds?”
From an objective standpoint, consumers should never expect a ma-and-pa retailer to replace or refund a kratom product, regardless of its quality or lack thereof. After all, they’re just trying to make a living like the rest of us. And we can’t come down hard on them for refusing to offer refunds. This policy is simply there way of covering their ass against all potential contingencies.
If there’s someone who we can come down on it’s the kratom vendors behind wholesale kratom products. They should know better and, in most cases, they do know better…but that doesn’t stop them from being shady.
One of the biggest names on the smoke shop circuit is Live Well, alias Live Well Organic, alias Live Well Kratom. As I’ve done almost every day since that first fateful experience with a smoke shop brand, I have looked into these cats with the intention of shedding some light on what they’re all about.
The following is everything you need to know about Live Well Kratom—the good, the bad and fugly.
WHAT IS LIVE WELL KRATOM?
LWK is a US-based supplier of Mitragyna speciosa plant matter. First established in or around 2017, Live Well is primarily known for their kratom capsules, although they also stock kratom powder and kratom extract.
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Word of mouth spreads more slowly than an anglerfish inseminating its mate. Establishing a brand can take longer than some entrepreneurs are willing to wait.
While it’s hardly unusual for months to go by before a company finds its legs, it’s ponderous for a brand to exist for years without attracting a sizable customer base. Live Well Kratom has been around for a minimum of three years and have barely scratched the surface of social media.
Their Facebook profile has only managed to rack up nine measly Likes and only one user has left a review. If that’s not peculiar enough on its own, consider the fact that they haven’t posted an update to their page since 2017. Those who seek them out on Twitter or Insta will come up empty-handed.
More alarmingly, their online store is only made available to those who are willing to compromise the integrity of their laptop or other device. When I visited their homepage, I was presented with an alert informing me of potential attackers who might be attempting to abscond with my personal data.
In spite of their failure to promote themselves on social, they have managed to get some attention on Reddit. Alas and alack, the attention is largely negative based on my research.
Before you gamble on a batch of something with a worse track record than the NY Mets, consider the sheer surplus of highly-rated kratom suppliers in the United States and beyond. There is no shortage of fine options to choose from, many of whom dole out kratom coupon codes and free sampler packs to first-time customers.
The following are my picks for the best three Live Well Kratom alternatives. As you can see, these are all brands that are readily accessible at neighborhood smoke shops and gas stations. Each has been thoroughly vetted, and found to be of acceptable quality and affordability.
When you’re dealing with a market as oversaturated as this one, there’s only one approach that makes sense. In short, approach with caution…lest you get burned.
With the rise of online kratom forums, it’s as easy to find recommendations as it is to find promo codes. Nevertheless, you should always do your own independent research before placing an order. Be safe, be smart and be well.
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