Kratom is often compared to coffee, which makes sense given that both plants are part of the same family and can provide similar boosts of energy. But its effects are also commonly described as opioid-like.
Coffee and opioids are obviously very different from one another, though. So what gives? How can kratom possibly be like both at the same time?
One fascinating aspect of kratom is the extremely wide-ranging, “bi-phasic” nature of its effects. This term refers to its tendency to induce different effects at low and high doses. Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine are the two primary alkaloids responsible for kratom's effects, and their concentrations in the plant vary depending on the dose.
Along with dosage, let’s examine all the factors believed to contribute to the diversity of kratom’s effects.
Low Doses (Stimulant Phase): At lower doses (1-5 grams), mitragynine is the predominant alkaloid. It acts as a partial agonist of the mu-opioid receptors, triggering a release of dopamine and norepinephrine, which contribute to increased energy, alertness, and enhanced mood. This stimulating effect is thought to be similar to the effects of coffee or mild stimulants. Users may experience improved focus, heightened sociability, and increased motivation, making it a potential aid for productivity and social interaction.
In addition to its two primary alkaloids, kratom contains more than 40 other alkaloids, each with varying affinities for different receptors in the brain and body. This includes not just opioid receptors, but also other receptor systems such as adrenergic, serotonergic, and dopaminergic receptors. These complex interactions may account for its diverse effects across different individuals.
Many suggest that different strains of kratom have varying effects, often attributed to differences in alkaloid content depending on the region where the kratom is grown as well as other environmental factors and different drying or processing methods. However, the scientific research on this topic is lacking, and there currently isn't clear evidence supporting the concept of distinct strains having consistent alkaloid compositions and effects.
With that said, kratom leaves do come in different vein colors which users certainly associate with specific experiences. For instance, red vein kratom strains are generally thought to produce more sedative and pain-relieving effects, making them popular among individuals seeking relaxation and relief from chronic pain. On the other hand, white vein strains are often considered to be more stimulating, providing a boost in energy and cognitive function. Green vein strains are said to fall in between, offering a balanced combination of both stimulating and sedative effects.
Check out our Devil’s Kratom line for examples of red, white, and green vein kratom strains.
As we learned in kindergarten, every individual is a unique snowflake. Therefore, each person's body chemistry and tolerance vary, which can influence how they respond to kratom. Factors such as genetics, metabolism, and overall health can contribute to the variation in effects experienced by different individuals.
Certain genes that influence drug metabolism can impact how quickly a person's body breaks down kratom alkaloids. This can lead to variations in onset time, intensity, and duration of effects. Genetic differences in opioid receptors can also impact how people experience pain relief, mood enhancement, and other effects.
What may be a stimulating dose for one person could lead to sedation in another. This is why we recommend to start with a lower dose and gradually increase as needed to find the optimal balance between kratom's stimulant and sedative effects.
Regular kratom use can lead to tolerance, requiring higher doses to achieve the same effects over time. This can complicate the understanding of kratom’s effects, as long-term users might experience different results than new or occasional users at the same dosage.
Strategies that some users recommend to potentially help mitigate kratom tolerance include:
Kratom's effects can be influenced by other substances a person is taking, both pharmaceutical and recreational. Combining kratom with certain drugs, such as opioids or stimulants, could potentially enhance or alter its effects.
Not only do these interactions lead to unexpected and unpredictable results, but they can also be dangerous. As research has shown, the risk of overdose death is over 1,000 times greater for opioids than for kratom alone. So kratom is safe when taken as directed on its own. But in the relatively few cases where kratom was associated with a lethal overdose, the user either had other drugs in their system or a preexisting health condition, or both.
Therefore, it is always extremely important to avoid combining kratom with other potentially dangerous substances.
A person’s mood or mindset, along with their physical setting and surroundings, can impact the perceived effects of kratom. Stress levels can also have an influence, as can personal expectations, which can act like a placebo effect to produce the results anticipated by the user.
Also, the potency of kratom products can fluctuate widely due to differences in processing and preparation methods. Only use a GMP-certified vendor (again: MT Brands!) to ensure the quality and consistency of your kratom.
Kratom's remarkable ability to produce both stimulant and sedative effects adds to the allure of this ancient herb. The interactions between mitragynine, 7-hydroxymitragynine, and other alkaloids at different doses create a dynamic range of experiences for users. Whether seeking an energy boost or pain relief, make sure to educate yourself about proper dosing, strain differences, and potential interactions.
You can rely on manufacturers like MT Brands to always provide the very best kratom products on the market today. In addition to our full Devil’s Kratom line, we are also unveiling a brand new kratom innovation very soon.
Kratom’s effects may be complex, but when it comes to which kratom supplier you should trust, the answer is simple: choose MT Brands!