Kratom is a well-known drug that’s often associated with pain relief and quelling opioid addiction. However, there are varying kratom strains that are more adept to doing one or the other. The different kratom strains hail from different regions of Southeast Asia. But that isn’t the primary reason why some kratom strains are better for pain relief and others are better for helping to stem opioid addiction.
Within kratom, there are dozens of compounds that make up its chemical structure (the exact number varies between 25 and 40 or more). However, there are two primary compounds — alkaloids. Those two alkaloids help to trigger either the analgesic (pain relieving) effects or the psychoactive (euphoric) effects that help with opioid addiction. The two alkaloids are mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine.
When searching for kratom strains, it’s important to know this information, because certain strains will have either more prevalence in one or the other alkaloid. However, there are some strains that contain both, making them more mellow. There’s a big difference here. When you have 7-hydroxymitragynine active, you have the analgesic properties. If mitragynine is active you have the euphoric properties. However, when both are active, you have a mix between the two.
Depending on what ails you, you’ll likely select one kratom strain over the other. But at the basis of any strain is the understanding that the percentage presence of these alkaloids is what will make the difference between one kratom strain and another. When it comes to mitragynine, the effect is highly similar to something like nicotine or morphine because it tricks the receptors of the brain to think that its responding to an opioid because it has opioid-like properties.
What Is Kratom Used For?
Indigenous tribes from Southeast Asia have been using kratom for medicinal purposes for centuries. It’s far more effective for something like pain relief than you would find from any other over-the-counter drug. The reason for this is the alkaloid properties of kratom. However, there are a variety of uses for kratom.
Before talking about the strains of kratom, let’s look at kratom veins. Kratom strains will often combine different veins. The veins simply relate to the color of the vein running through the leaf. The most prevalent kratom veins are red, white and green. Although yellow does occur, it’s far more rare. In fact, yellow-vein kratom is highly uncommon. It’s artificially produced only under special conditions and does not grow naturally.
The red-vein kratom has more 7-hydroxymitragynine, which is 13 times more potent than morphine. Red-vein kratom outsells both green-vein and white-vein kratom combined. Those are some serious statistics when you think about the 4 to 5 million Americans who are using kratom. This also helps with things like anxiety and depression and combatting insomnia.
The white-vein kratom leaf has white leaves and veins, and there’s more prevalence of mitragynine in white-vein kratom, which contributes to its nicotine or morphine-like effects. It also helps to boost the cognitive functions of the brain, very similar to a nootropic. This makes you more alert and aware, especially useful for quelling chronic fatigue and low-energy.
The green-vein kratom leaf is depicted by both the green vein color and also the color of the leaves. Green-vein kratom has mild effects because it combines both white and red-vein kratom properties. When looking at it on a chemical level, there’s a healthy balance of both alkaloids in green-vein kratom, giving it a very mild sensation. You can look at the effects of green-vein kratom as being somewhere between both the red and the white variations.
Kratom strains with increased 7-hydroxymitragynine
There are certain strains of kratom that dampen the body’s perception of pain. This occurs because of the analgesic properties of kratom, which bind to both the mu and deltoid opioid receptors. Often, this is found in red-vein kratom strains, which have a prevalence of the 7-hydroxymitragynine alkaloid.
Red-vein Borneo kratom strain
Borneo kratom is immensely popular for relaxation and pain relief. The strain originates from Borneo, as the name suggests. Borneo is an island located in Southeast Asia, shared by 3 countries: Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei. However, Indonesia controls 70% of the island. Thus, we associate the Red-vein Borneo kratom strain mostly to Indonesia. While most attribute Red-vein Borneo kratom to treating pain, it also helps with depression, anxiety, hypertension and fatigue.
Since Red-vein Borneo is highly potent, it’s important to watch the dosage you consume. If you’re just starting out, it’s not recommended to take more than 2 grams. Some even opt for the kratom tea variation in the very beginning to avoid some of the nausea, vomiting, migraines and other side effects of kratom, especially at the outset. It’s often best to start small and determine the effects before increasing your dosage.
Red-vein Indo kratom strain
The red-vein Indo kratom strain is well-known for having the highest content of mitragynine. This treats chronic pain and produces an intense feeling of relaxation, often lasting for hours. For that reason, the Red-vein Indo kratom strain is in incredibly high demand. Not only does it alleviate pain, but it also quells stress and anxiety, similar to other red-vein kratom strains. It’s also used to help with sleep and boost confidence levels and even to increase the sensation of arousal.
However, Red-vein Indo kratom is also used to fight cancer by boosting the body’s immune system and even by decreasing the body’s blood pressure. It provides an antioxidant effect by attacking radicals like superoxides and hydrogen peroxide, which are attributed to causing diseases.
Red-vein Maeng Da kratom strain
The red-vein Maeng Da kratom strain is attributed to a plantation in Indonesia, one of the most potent strains. However, the origins of this strain are relatively unknown. The plantation in Indonesia dubbed itself “The World’s First Legal Kratom Plantation” at a time when kratom was legal in every country except Thailand. It’s unknown why the plantation stuck with that name.
The plantation used a process called grafting, where the vascular tissues of plants are combined in an effort to genetically modify its properties. This is common in horticulture today, but it was highly uncommon to genetically modify kratom back during this time. The hope here was to create the ideal (or “perfect”) strain of kratom. And it did work, creating a very potent strain named after a large edible beetle (“Maeng Da”).
However, the genetically-modified strain disappeared over time. Eventually, the term evolved to define other potent strains of kratom, primarily the red-vein Thai. Today, it’s simply a term to define some of the most potent strains of kratom as opposed to kratom hailing from a particular region.
Red-vein Bali kratom strain
Although named Red Bali kratom, this strain of kratom doesn’t hail from the Bali province of Indonesia. Instead, it’s often a mixture of strains from Sumatra and Borneo. While confusing at first, most attribute the name to the port of Bali as the first transport for shipping the strain. Like the other red-vein kratom strains, the Red Bali kratom strain is incredibly popular. That’s likely due to the price effectiveness of red-vein kratom, or for the simple fact that people who consume it widely prefer its pain relief properties.
One of the reasons for the popularity of the Red Bali kratom strain is because it’s not as powerful as some of the other red-vein kratom strains. In fact, it doesn’t give you a huge wallop, effectively sedating you like much of the other red-vein kratom strains do. That’s likely why people who are to quell depression and anxiety prefer it over those seeking an enormous pain relief effect.
Kratom strains with increased mitragynine
When it comes to opioid addiction withdrawal and treatment, most turn to white-vein kratom. White-vein kratom has high levels of mitragynine, which help to trick the body into thinking that there is an opioid present. Thus, it allows a person to stem the tide of withdrawals from harmful drugs like heroine. In fact, studies have shown it to be more potent than methadone for treating withdrawal symptoms.
Withdrawal from opioids is incredibly painful. There are numerous symptoms associated with that withdrawal that range from extreme levels of anxiety and hypertension to sweating and dilation of pupils, inability to sleep for several days at a time, vomiting, diarrhea and even extreme migraines. It’s hard to battle those symptoms when your body is going through such a state of shock. That’s why most turn to kratom to treat the withdrawal symptoms.
How the brain responds to kratom
The brain has three primary opiate receptors: mu, delta and kappa. They’re located throughout the brain and spinal cord, each of them responding in a different way. Kratom acts on two of those receptors. Primarily the delta receptor. But in lesser extents, the mu receptor. This tricks the brain in thinking that an opioid is present, which lessens the impact of withdrawal. Symptoms are quelled, making it easier to transition away from drugs like heroin.
Although white-vein kratom leaves have more mitragynine, most prefer red-vein kratom for opioid withdrawals. That might be why it’s used to treat both pain relief and withdrawal from opioids, making it the most popular kratom type sold on the market today. Because of its anti-anxiety effects, the red-vein kratom is better at counteracting the withdrawal symptoms seen in those recovering from harmful drugs.
In fact, all strains of kratom work with opioid withdrawal due to the presence of mitragynine. However, the following kratom strains are often used:
- Bali kratom
- Borneo kratom
- Green-vein kratom
- Hula kratom
- Indo kratom
- Maeng Da kratom
- Malaysian kratom
- Thai kratom
- White reserve kratom
How to buy the right kratom strain
Certain kratom strains are stronger and more potent, while others have much milder effects. Some are euphoric while others are sedative. Some will give you energy while others will make you drowsy. Buy the kratom strain based on the symptoms you exhibit.
If you’re taking kratom for chronic pain relief, select a potent red-vein kratom strain that will help. If you’re taking kratom for fighting anxiety or depression, take a white-vein kratom that will help boost mood and energy levels. For opioid addiction, go with a red-vein kratom that has higher levels of mitragynine.
Do your due diligence before you buy kratom. And select the right medium. Whether that’s kratom powder, kratom tea or kratom extract, the delivery medium will also impact the potency. Kratom extract is extremely potent while kratom tea is very mild. If you’re just starting out with kratom, consider these factors before you buy any kratom strain.