Kratom has become an increasingly popular supplement. Even though it has only gained recent popularity in the West, people have long used kratom for medicine in other parts of the world. This stimulating substance comes from the tropical evergreen Mitragyna Speciosa tree. This tree is in the coffee family and has several similarities to coffee.
Kratom is popular as a dietary supplement and often comes in the form of a powder, extract, capsule, etc. This substance has been used since the nineteenth century for several purposes. The leaves contain a substance called mitragynine, usually chewed by the natives of the areas where they grow.
The tree is native to Southeast Asia and some parts of Africa. Due to their opioid properties, they often help with pain relief and relief of stomach issues like diarrhoea. They are also popularly used for pain and depression.
Kratom extracts and powder are two popular forms of kratom products, and it could be hard to tell their difference. This article explores the facts about these forms of kratom, their differences, their side effects, and which is better.
Kratom Extract Vs. Powder
Holistic products like kratom supplements often come in different forms that allow the users to buy kratom online. These different forms have different appeals and may have slightly different effects.
While many prefer capsules, others prefer kratom powder or extract. In many cases, kratom extract might look almost exactly like kratom powder. Many kratom users often wonder if there’s a difference between these two.
As a kratom newbie, it might be hard to tell which is which and which would be better for you. The major differences between these two lie in their concentration and formulation process. These differences result in slightly different effects.
There are now several different ways to make kratom powders and extracts. However, the basic method is simple and straightforward and based on the extraction process.
To prepare kratom powder, the Mitragyna Speciosa plant is first harvested and left to dry. When the plant has cured enough, the dried plant is crushed to a fine powder. This final product is what is referred to as kratom powder. It can be put into capsules or sold in powder form.
Kratom extract, on the other hand, requires a more robust process. For this reason, kratom extract is more concentrated and potent than kratom powder. There are a few ways to make kratom extract. To do this, the fresh or dried leaves are boiled for a long time. In some cases, the manufacturers can boil kratom powder instead of the leaves.
After boiling the powder or plant material, the water is strained; it’s usually left to simmer to dry up excess water. This process allows for a high concentration of alkaloids to remain in the kratom liquid extract.
The result is a dark, concentrated, highly potent paste that can also be used as a liquid kratom extract. It can be sold as is or left to dry and ground again to a powdery form. The highly potent product of this process are kratom extracts.
Which Is More Potent?
Regarding potency, kratom extract is certainly more potent than plain leaf powder. The formulation process of kratom powder results in a product containing the dried powdery constituents of the entire plant. On the other hand, the extract goes through a more robust process to ensure that only the most concentrated form of kratom is left behind.
The process of making the extract results in a product containing more alkaloids than powder. Thus, the same amounts of kratom powder and extract will not have the same potency. Due to the high alkaloid content of kratom extracts, it often appears darker in color.
Since kratom extract has a higher concentration of kratom per gram, it’s often the choice of many kratom users looking to get more potent effects of the substance. Kratom extract’s higher potency is the reason it is more expensive than kratom powder.
Kratom extract is also available in tinctures, oils, and pastes. Regardless of the form, extracts usually contain a more potent concentration of kratom. You might come across a ratio such as 2:1 on the label of a kratom extract on the drug store shelves. This ratio shows the strength of the extract versus its powder.
Dosage: Kratom Powder vs Extract
Kratom is still not regulated by the FDA or any other government bodies. Thus, there is no approved kratom dosage.
The effect of kratom on a person would depend on several factors. It might depend on a person’s physique, metabolism, and eating habits. The reason for using kratom will also determine how much you should use to feel its effects.
There are generally four levels of dosing kratom. For general usage, 1 to 2 grams of kratom powder is considered safe for a start. Experts recommend waiting 30 minutes to 1 hour before upping your dose if you do not feel its effects.
For bigger individuals, a higher dose is often more effective. Generally, an effective dose for individuals weighing 45 kg is between 2.5g and 4 g. For individuals weighing about 54 kg, a 3 to 5 g dose is safe and effective. Individuals over 100 kg might require a high to heavy dose.
Kratom extracts are more concentrated and may be harder to dose. Unlike powder, these products are labeled with inscriptions like 2X, 3X, 5X, etc. These labels show how much more potent the extract is than the powder.
To know the ideal kratom extract dosage for you, you might need to start with the powder. Alternatively, you could start with a very small quantity of extract and watch how it affects you. Also, if you’re using kratom for anxiety or depression, you would have to dose based on the severity of your condition.
Kratom Extract Dosing
If you’ve seen kratom extract products before, you will notice a ratio of 2:1 or 3:1 on the label. This ratio tells the extract’s strength compared to the powder. A 5:1 ratio, for example, means that the extract contains five times the number of plant alkaloids as the equivalent powder. In essence, it means that the extract is five times more potent.
Alternatively, some brands might have labels like 2X, 5X, or 10X. This is similar to the ratio format. A product with a 5X inscription means that it’s five times as potent as the powder product.
Thus, the same amount of kratom extract of such a product will be five times stronger and more effective than its kratom powder. Besides its stronger effect, the kratom extract might likely have longer-lasting effects due to its enhanced concentration of alkaloids.
If you’re a user of kratom powder, it will be easy to tell how strong a kratom extract product would be based on the ratio. For this reason, purchasing powders and extracts from the same supplier is best. That way, it would be easier to evaluate and compare the effects of the products.
Kratom Uses And Benefits
People use kratom for several reasons. Its purported health benefits are extensive. However, many of these health benefits have not been scientifically proven. The lack of conclusive scientific studies about kratom has resulted in a limited understanding of its pharmacology. Nonetheless, there’s no shortage of anecdotal evidence lauding the effects of this substance.
Kratom has been noted to have some analgesic properties. This effect is the reason some consider it a great alternative to nicotine. It has also been marketed as a treatment for cough, anxiety, diabetes, etc.
When kratom enters the body system, it binds to the same receptors that opioids bind to. This is what causes it to produce some opioid-like effects. These effects can produce pain relief and sedation, depending on the dosage.
When consumption of kratom powder is in low doses, it produces some effects such as:
- Stimulates the brain
- Improves energy levels
- Better mood
- Dulls mild pain
- Improves social behavior
- Improves sex drive and stamina
Due to its higher concentration of active alkaloids, kratom extract can cause more intense and longer-lasting effects. It helps manage both physical and mental issues like depression and pain. Besides these effects, kratom extract might also produce the following effects:
- Treatment for opiate withdrawal
- Manage chronic pain and inflammation
- Reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression
Since it binds to the body’s opioid receptors, it’s often used by those undergoing opioid withdrawal. The desired results are best achieved with medical supervision.
Generally, some anecdotal evidence seems to show that kratom is also effective for managing blood pressure. If taken in a high dosage, kratom will cause intoxicating effects and heightened pleasure levels.
Side Effects Of Kratom
The use of kratom, like many other herbal remedies, comes with some safety concerns. A medical practitioner can best tell you if and how you should consume kratom. Due to this drug’s health concerns, it is illegal in some countries and regions.
Depending on several factors, kratom powder and extract can cause various side effects. These effects range from mild to chronic. Mild side effects are most common and affect some first-time users. Some of these side effects include:
- Dry mouth
- Mood changes, etc
Some other cases could present more serious side effects, including increased heart rate and high blood pressure. These side effects often come with other similar stimulants. Some other chronic side effects of kratom include low sex drive, facial flushing, liver and kidney problems, erectile dysfunction, memory and focus issues, and psychosis.
To avoid these adverse effects, it’s best to stick to the lowest effective dose of kratom. Overdosing will most likely lead to these severe side effects. Also, it’s best to hydrate frequently when using kratom.
Kratom can cause you to feel thirsty and dehydrated, which might worsen the side effects. Thus, staying hydrated could help keep the side effects at bay.
A study of over 3000 kratom users showed that taking 5 g of kratom 22 or more times a week increases the chances of experiencing side effects. Out of all the side effects observed in the study, 20% were primarily stomach/gastrointestinal issues.
Prolonged use of kratom can also lead to dependence. Stopping its use after dependence is established would often lead to withdrawal symptoms akin to opioid withdrawal. These symptoms include muscle pain and hot flashes and might resolve in a few days. Kratom could also have unpleasant potential interactions with other drugs.
How To Identify And Differentiate Between Kratom Extract And Powder?
Kratom extract and powder are very similar in appearance and may be hard to differentiate. Even for long-time users and experts, these two can be hard to identify independently. However, when put side by side, the extract tends to have a darker pigment than the powder. This is due to the presence of high concentrations of plant alkaloids.
Both products contain mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine. They also contain other similar compounds. Since they both turn into fine powdery forms, it’s nearly impossible to tell one from another independently.
This is why buying your kratom products from reputable companies is necessary. You must also ensure that the products go through third-party analysis to identify and confirm their constituents and ingredients. These reputable brands have clear labels on their packaging to guide customers and give reliable information about the product.
One other way to identify the extract is its aroma. Due to its concentrated form, kratom extracts might have a sharper and more intense aroma than powder.
Which is Better: Kratom Powder Or Extract?
The question of which of these products is better does not have one right answer. It depends on the reason for usage and the person using it. Generally speaking, new kratom users should start with kratom powder. Since these are not that concentrated, they are a better choice for first-time users.
Users who take the powder frequently might want to get stronger effects after some time. Thus, they might consider the extracts to be better for them at that point. Switching to extracts would likely not produce any adverse effects for these users. Instead, it would lead to stronger effects.
Regarding the cost of these products, powders are usually less expensive. Thus, some might consider powders to be a better option. Also, depending on what you need kratom for, you might prefer one over the other.
Small powder doses might lead to your desired effects if you need kratom as a mild stimulant. In this regard, you’d have spent less and still achieved your goal.
If an individual wants to use kratom for pain, they might need to use more powder to feel its analgesic effects. However, a small dose of the extract could be all the person needs. In this case, the individual might consider extracts a better choice.
Also, some experts say that using the powders will cause you to have a more robust experience with all the compounds in the plant profile. This might make some people prefer to use powders over extracts, especially if they use them for relaxation and mild stimulation.
Cost Of Kratom Powder And Extract
The cost of kratom products varies widely. There are dozens of companies and brands making kratom products, and they all differ in pricing. However, as we established earlier, kratom extract is the more expensive option.
On average, you might find a 1-ounce pack of kratom powder costing about $8 to $12. The same size pack of the extract can cost from $15 to $40. The price could be more or less depending on the brand and other factors.
Legal Status Of Kratom
Even though kratom has long been in use before modern medicine, its use still raises many safety concerns. Most people consider it to be addictive and potentially harmful. In some rare cases, kratom presented severe side effects like respiratory issues, weight loss, and liver damage.
Even though it has positive effects, there’s not enough scientific evidence to support and incite its regulation. Thus, it has become illegal in many places.
Like many dietary supplements on the market, kratom products do not have approval for use by the US Food and Drug Administration. Note that its legality does not somehow equate to the safety of the use of all such products. Due to its psychoactive effects and other factors, the Drug Enforcement Agency labels kratom as a Scheduled drug.
Kratom is legal on a federal level in the United States. However, selling, growing, and using in some states is illegal. As of August 2022, four US states have passed the Kratom Consumer Protection Act (KCPA) bill. Kratom use, cultivation, and sale are legal in Nevada, Georgia, Utah, and Arizona. Some other states like Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin have outrightly banned kratom.
Some cities where kratom is illegal include San Diego, California, Sarasota, Florida, and Denver, Colorado. The substance remains legal in other parts of these states. Some other states, like Illinois, New Hampshire, and Tennessee, have age restrictions for kratom use and sale.
In other countries like Australia, Denmark, and Japan, kratom is outrightly illegal. However, in African and most Asian countries, there are no specific laws concerning its legality.
As such substances increase in popularity, there will be several changes regarding their legality in different regions and states. It’s best to keep up with your local laws to know if kratom is legal in your locality.
The time and methods used to harvest a kratom tree result in different end products having different effects. There are different types of kratom strains on the market, all having different effects. However, there are three major strains: red, white, and green kratom. Besides these strains, however, there are several more strains available.
White Vein Kratom Strain
This kratom strain has the highest mitragynine content of all. To make this strain, the growers harvest the plant when it is young and still has white veins. After their harvest, they are brought indoors to dry in a dark space with no light.
The result is a mildly stimulating kratom strain that’s great for heightening alertness and boosting energy levels. This strain can be quite intense and thus is unsuitable for new users. White Elephant is a popular white vein kratom strain.
Red Vein Kratom Strain
Many people often wonder what is red kratom and about its effects. However, This strain is the most popular and best-selling strain on the kratom market. It comes from fully mature kratom trees. After they harvest the mature trees, they dry the kratom leaves using abundant sunlight or UV lamps.
\This process leaves this strain with the highest 7-hydroxymitragynine content. With this strain, users get to experience a mellow, calm effect. It is effective for pain relief and chronic pain management. Some popular red vein strains are Red Malay and Red Bali. Most kratom strains on the market start as red vein kratom.
Green Vein Kratom Strain
Green Bali and Green Malay are some popular green vein kratom strains. The growers harvest the Kratom in the middle of the tree’s growth cycle to get this strain. After its harvest, the plant is dried both indoors and outdoors.
First, it is dried indoors in a dark, air-conditioned room. Afterward, they dry in the sunlight. This strain produces a more subtle, stimulating effect. Users often claim that this strain improves focus and mental clarity.
Yellow Vein Kratom Strain
Unlike the other strains listed above, the yellow vein kratom strain does not come from a particular leaf color. The yellow vein kratom is usually a mix of two of the strains above. A yellow vein kratom strain is obtained from a blend of two or three colored strains. A unique fermentation process can also result in this strain.
Many users say this strain gives the most robust, well-rounded kratom experience. The Yellow Sunda strain is a popular strain that is a blend of 60% Red Vein Kratom and 40% Green Vein Kratom. This strain also alleviates malaise and social anxiety and provides energy boosts.
Conclusion: Which One Is Better For Me Kratom Extract vs Powder?
Kratom has many potential health benefits. However, only a small percentage of Americans use this substance, and there’s not much information about it. Thus, it may be hard to know the difference between powder and extract. Essentially, kratom extracts are more potent than their powder forms.
Buy from reputable brands to ensure you use a safe and potent product. Such brands carry out third-party tests of their products to verify their potency and safety. As a note of precaution, it is best to speak with a healthcare professional.