The Different Types Of Kratom Explained

The Different Types Of Kratom Explained

Max Sargent
Max Sargent
Last updated:

Kratom may be a drug you’ve never heard of. Growing naturally across Southeast Asia, kratom offers diverse—in fact, opposing—effects depending on the dose and strain. Used in relation to many health problems, including opioid withdrawal, kratom may have a lot to offer, although existing research is scarce.

Find out all about kratom in this article.

What is kratom?

What is kratom?

Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) is an evergreen tree found across Southeast Asia. It belongs to the Rubiaceae family, making it a close relative of the coffee plant. It is the leaves of the kratom plant that are utilised, whether in raw, powdered, resin, tincture, or extract form.

Kratom is used throughout Southeast Asia to experience its unique influence on the body. At low doses, it offers stimulation and mild euphoria. In this sense, kratom is often compared to coffee, but without negative side effects such as anxiety.

Bizarrely, at around 7 grams, the effects of kratom switch entirely, taking on lethargic qualities that tend to make users highly relaxed and lazy. Some even compare high doses of kratom to opiates.

Traditionally, kratom leaf is chewed or brewed into tea. These days, many sellers offer kratom extracts, which make for easier and more consistent dosing.

The effects of kratom take about 30 minutes to kick in, and last for up to four hours.

What are the active ingredients in kratom?

What are the active ingredients in kratom?

There are several active ingredients in kratom, and the concentrations vary from strain to strain. However, around 90% of kratom’s active ingredients are made up of the following four compounds:

  • Mitragynine: Composing around 66% of the total alkaloid content in the leaves, mitragynine can be considered the main active ingredient of kratom. The compound binds to 5-HT2A serotonin receptors in the brain, making it a serotonergic compound.
  • Paynantheine: This is an opioid receptor agonist, which, at higher doses, may account for the relaxing, lethargic effects that kratom can produce.
  • Speciogynine: Little is known about this kratom-derived alkaloid, and it’s not entirely clear what its mechanisms of action are.
  • 7-hydroxymitragynine: This compound acts on mu-opioid receptors, and may also be responsible for the lethargic effects of kratom.

Related article

Does Kratom Show Up On A Drugs Test?

Why do people use kratom?

Why do people use kratom?

Kratom does not tend to be used as a recreational drug. Rather, people use it to achieve certain outcomes. For example, some use it for its clean, energising effects in order to maintain focus and energy during specific tasks.

However, kratom is also being explored for its effects on numerous health conditions and symptoms. It’s worth noting that research into kratom is scarce and inconclusive, and it remains unclear whether it has viable medical potential.

That said, some people use kratom in relation to sleep problems, chronic pain, and even opioid addiction and withdrawal symptoms.

Related article

Top 8 Effects Of Kratom

How is kratom categorised?

There are many different strains of kratom, each looking slightly different and exhibiting different effects.

There are two main ways to categorise kratom. The first is by vein colour. As you’ll shortly see, this is the primary method. Second, kratom can be categorised by where it comes from. As it grows across Southeast Asia, different locations produce distinct strains.

What are the different types of kratom?

What are the different types of kratom?

Below we’ll list the four major strains of kratom—by vein colour—before listing some other strains, which could be described as “sub-strains”.

Each strain has a unique alkaloid ratio, and thus unique effects. As such, certain strains tend to be preferred for certain purposes.

Red vein kratom strains

Red vein kratom strains can be found in abundance across Southeast Asia, meaning there are many of them. This type of kratom is particularly high in 7-hydroxymitragynine.

Characteristics and effects

Red vein strains are powerful and fast acting, and are considered to be among the strongest available.

In terms of effects, red strains lean more toward the soothing, opioid-like side of kratom’s repertoire. As such, people tend to choose red strains in relation to issues like pain and sleep. In fact, the strain red maeng da is the most popular kratom variety in relation to pain.

Green vein kratom strains

Green vein strains are masters of balance—for the most part. Containing more balanced ratios of active compounds, green kratom strains can exhibit a range of effects depending on the dose, which makes them good for beginners, or just those who’d like the option.

However, there are exceptions to this rule, such as green Bali kratom, which is particularly energising.

Characteristics and effects

For the most part, green vein strains can offer a range of effects. For those seeking an energetic, euphoric buzz, lower doses can support this, while higher doses have more lethargic qualities.

For those who are unsure about kratom, green vein strains can be a very good place to start.

White vein kratom strains

White vein strains are the most stimulating and the least lethargic types of kratom.

They tend to be used by those who want a boost of energy, or those who use kratom as a nootropic. For the latter camp, taking microdoses of white kratom throughout the day can help to maintain a mild but constant level of stimulation.

The strongest type of white kratom is known as white horn kratom.

As mentioned, the effects are pretty straightforward: energy!

If you want a deeply narcotic effect, try a red or green strain. That’s not to say that high doses of white vein kratom won't offer these effects, but simply that it’s an inefficient way to achieve these goals.

Yellow vein kratom strains

Yellow vein kratom isn’t technically a strain, but rather a way of processing white kratom strains. However, the effects of this processing are distinct enough to warrant yellow kratom its own section.

Characteristics and effects

Yellow kratom has effects more similar to green kratom—balanced. However, it’s very long lasting and considered to offer a particularly clean buzz. Even more than white kratom, the yellow variety is favoured by those who microdose and use kratom as a nootropic.

Other kratom strains

Alongside the above strains, there are also regional varieties of each. In fact, there tend to be regional varieties for all the different colours. Below are some of the most popular:

  • Maeng da kratom: These strains produce heavy, lethargic effects and are best used by those who desire deep relaxation from their kratom.
  • Bali kratom: These strains (from Bali) are said to be mostly relaxing, but not entirely without some energy. Thus, they may be suited for those who wish to wind down without becoming too languid.
  • Horn kratom: These strains only grow on the island of Borneo, making them very elusive. They gain their name from the distinctive horn that grows on them. Hard to cultivate, these varieties grow predominantly in the wild and are considered to be the most potent forms available.

What kratom products are available?

What kratom products are available?

Here at Zamnesia, we offer kratom in a range of forms to cater to everyone’s desires. You can find the following kratom products in our shop:

How to take kratom

How to take kratom

As mentioned, kratom is traditionally consumed by chewing the leaves or making a tea. The latter is especially popular, as kratom tea can be made using dried, shredded kratom leaves, kratom powder, resin, tincture, or extracts.

Otherwise, kratom capsules can simply be swallowed, and extracts and tinctures can be added to essentially any (non-alcoholic) drink of your choice.

Which kratom strains are best for beginners?

Perhaps the single most popular strain is red Bali. This strain is mostly relaxing, but potent too. Red Bali is great for beginners, as it can demonstrate what kratom can do without being too overwhelming.

Otherwise, green strains are generally the best bet for beginners. Whereas red Bali is most likely to create a relaxed high, green strains offer the choice between relaxation or stimulation. Small doses offer stimulation, whereas higher doses will produce more narcotic effects.

Which kratom strain is the strongest?

In terms of kratom that you can easily buy, maeng da is considered to be the strongest. The good news is that you can get red, green, white, and yellow maeng da kratom strains, so there’s something for everyone, no matter how you’d like to tailor your kratom experience.

Can you have a kratom overdose?

Kratom overdoses are rare, and it’s not known whether they can be fatal to humans. A kratom overdose will induce vomiting long before a lethal toxicity is reached. In the lab, there is a single piece of research where scientists managed to kill mice with intravenous injections of kratom.

All that being said, stick within the suggested dose range of a given product.

Can you mix kratom with other drugs?

Kratom is known to be dangerous when mixed with different drugs. Research is scarce, so it’s best not to mix kratom with any drugs. However, it’s known to have particularly bad interactions with other depressant drugs, especially alcohol and opiates.

Kratom: A world unto itself

Kratom: A world unto itself

There are a ridiculous number of kratom strains around, and charting the differences between all of them is very difficult. If in doubt, begin with a versatile green strain and discover which side of kratom's effects you like the most, and then explore from there!

Max Sargent
Max Sargent
Max has been writing for over a decade, and has come into cannabis and psychedelic journalism in the last few years. Writing for companies such as Zamnesia, Royal Queen Seeds, Cannaconnection, Gorilla Seeds, MushMagic and more, he has experience in a broad spectrum of the industry.
You’re visiting our International website.