Buying kratom for the first time?
If you're considering buying kratom for the first time ever, it's likely you've had several questions about what you should be looking for in a quality kratom vendor.
Every vendor out there is going to tell you their kratom is the best kratom for some reason or another. (We are too). It's really no different than buying any other product. The problem is, because of the lack of regulations on the actual kratom product, and because of the general inability to advertise kratom products AS kratom products, you're likely going to get a lot of people just shouting at you, OUR KRATOM IS THE BEST. So instead, we hope to provide you with some practical steps to buying kratom if you're a beginner.
Some questions you might be (and SHOULD be) asking your kratom vendor:
- Where do you get your kratom?
- How do you test it?
- Do you add anything to it (and if so, what is it?)?
- What's the potency or quality of the kratom?
But we'll get to all of that. I'm going to lay out a few points about what kratom is (for beginners), the different kratom strains and their capabilities, how to choose the right vendor for you, and what to do with your kratom once you have it in your possession. Let's get to it.
Step 1: Understanding what Kratom is.
Did you know that kratom, also known as mitragyna speciosa, is just a leaf? Well, no, it's not really JUST a leaf. It does have a lot of very interesting properties. Historically, kratom has been used for a variety of ailments. In Southeast Asia, folks would pluck the leaves from the trees and chew them to gain energy for their work in the fields. Traditionally, they would also harvest the leaves, dry them, crush them, and convert this into a tea which they would drink with copious amounts of honey.
As of 2016, The American Kratom Association reported that "Between 11 and 16 million Americans safely consume kratom products as a preference to conventional medicines because of its low rate for adverse events and its relative safety" (American Kratom Association, 2016). Some people use kratom instead of conventional medicines to stimulate the mind and cultivate focus, alleviate pain or mental difficulties, or boost the mood and provide ease of mind.
There are many more potential properties which have yet to be fully investigated, but anecdotally, folks use this plant for a wide variety of mental and physical pain. Just see the blog on the Pharmacology of Kratom, and you'll understand that kratom really is a magic bullet of biology. Of course, the 100 million users worldwide are still waiting to overcome the controversy, misconceptions, and misinformation that circulate about this plant.
That brings up a good point. Yes, there is controversy around kratom. It kind of boggles us, actually, how we haven't yet eclipsed all the 'fake news' about kratom. Just contrasting the public's acceptance of drugs with far worse side effects to kratom's relative safety and the plethora of potentially positive attributes, it seems obvious that kratom at least deserves more studies and funding, but unfortunately, the going is slow. Take a look at the AKA website for the anecdotal evidence of this plant's efficacy here.
So, okay, if you're still reading, I guess you're still interested in kratom despite the controversy. Or if you're a little rebellious, like we are, maybe you're still interested because of the controversy. Let's assume that you want to try kratom because you're into natural, organic stuff, but you need to figure out the best kratom for you. Let's talk about kratom strains.
Step 2: How do I know what the best kratom strain is for me?
The next thing you need to do after learning what kratom is, is to learn about the different strains and their capabilities. For now, I'm going to keep it extremely basic, which is where I recommend any beginner kratom buyer begin.
There are three MAIN strains. Every strain has a slightly different chemical composition and reacts differently in the body. While some strains are more sedative in nature, others are meant to increase energy or lift your mood. So choosing the strain for you is completely based on your motivation for taking it and the situation at hand.
Depending on what vendor you choose, you may hear a lot of different names tossed around. Some names are references to regions of the world (or countries) which have slight differentiating factors. But really, it's mostly comes down to the vein.
The vein is the central line or the main vein or 'midrib' of the leaf. In most leaves you see, it's going to be green. That vein (along with the other veins through the leaf) help to position the leaf so it is facing a light source. In kratom leaves, the midrib vein can be the evidentiary factor of the effect it produces, and the color is different at different stages of the leaves' life cycle. Depending on when the kratom leaf is harvested, you will find the vein down the center to be of different colors. The lightest is white, the next green, and finally red. Some people argue that there is a yellow veined leaf, but this is rare, as far as I know, so some vendors combine red, green, and white strains together to create their own 'Yellow' which produces more of a full spectrum effect, but to a lesser degree than extract.
We actually prefer to be straightforward about our kratom options. Here's the basic three strains:
Red Vein: Relax, recover, sedative, pain relief.
"I use this strain for migraines or severe physical pain in my neck. I'll use this for my muscles if they're extremely sore/to recover from a hard work out, or if I'm having muscle aches from a cold, or to help me sleep. It just depends on the occasion." - Valerie
White Vein: energy, focus, creative flow.
"I use this strain if I need to perk up a bit, but I do not want another cup of coffee. The effects of white vein kratom, for me, are a little less obvious, but I have noticed that I have a clean energy that lasts longer than a cup of coffee. I like to use this before the gym or for intense activities like hiking, biking, skiing, etc." - Joy
Green Vein: mood boosting, euphoria, well-being. Green vein kratom is by far my most commonly used strain of kratom.
"I have struggled with anxiety and depression for a long time, but thanks to kratom, I have never needed to try any anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medication (something that I am really against doing). When I use this, I am fully functioning and generally just feel well." - Fiona
Our version of this is Griffin Green Kratom Powder & Capsules.
Combinations. Depending on what we're doing, we might even combine different strains. Sometimes combining the white and green for something either mentally or physically active while combining red and white if we're in pain, but don't want to be sleepy.
Keep this really simple. And that leads straight into the conversation on vendors.
Step 3: Which Kratom Vendor is Right for me?
Kratom vendors come in all shapes and sizes, and it's no surprise when I hear people mention the big names that are out there. And to further complicate things, new products are coming out all the time. For people who are really averse to the bitter taste, this is really good news, as there are new products out there (like mixed powder packets which contain sweeteners, etc).
Unfortunately, there are brands out there that don't take their kratom very seriously and just try to make a lot of money. Some of these brands essentially just want to push product which is why they add other substances to their kratom, diluting the effects, and sometimes causing illness or sickness, and sell their product so cheaply, they undercut other vendors who are doing the hard work of knowing their farmers in Southeast Asia, paying to rigorously test the product, and then package it all according to the standards of the FDA or AKA, which are really strict in order to keep it safe to consume. (This demographic of vendor seems to be getting smaller!)
We're willing to pay more for a product which has gone through the testing (for both quality and safety-biology & heavy metals), instead of waste money on a product which is adulterated and posing questions or could harm customers.
It might be a biased preference, but we like vendors who stick to the basic powders or capsules without adding anything to it. The sad truth is that not much masks the bitter taste except for sweeteners. So I think it's just best to find a vendor who doesn't add anything that could detract from the experience.
That being said, you want to make sure and look at the vendor's lab testing processes. Some even have it available to see on their website. Make sure the vendor follows good manufacturing procedures and if at all possible, look for vendors who are registered as GMP-compliant with the American Kratom Association. I know there is a list of those folks on the AKA website.
If a vendor doesn't take your safety into consideration - actually, as the highest consideration - then look somewhere else.Step 4: How do I take Kratom?
Check out this blog on how to take kratom here, but here's what you can expect.
Kratom is bitter. Yeah, I've heard 'bitter' is a bad word, and it's not good for marketing, but that's the truth. Some people can take it like a champ and aren't bothered. Other people have a harder time.
So for my people who are champs with superhuman taste buds, it's the toss & wash method. Put a spoonful in your mouth and toss it back with whatever - water, Gatorade, milk, orange juice...anything except carbonated beverages. Although if you want to chase it with a lemon or lime, or even a shot of apple cider vinegar, the cellular construction of the kratom leaf will break down more quickly with the help of the acid, and it does cause the feeling of the effects to strengthen.
For other folks - maybe you need to toss and wash with something sweet and flavored. Maybe you need to make an actual tea and douse honey all up in that or maybe you just need to mask it in a protein shake or something. Otherwise, if you still really can't stand it, capsules are for you my friend. A little more expensive, but usually worth it if it's the difference between relief and throwing up from the taste.
Use your best judgement on that.
But do take either capsules or pure powder for your first time.
PLEASE. Do not take shot, a gummy, or ANY extract your first time.
Extracts are really for veteran users or people coming off of hard opiates. This goes for our extract as well. They are a lot stronger due to the process of extracting the alkaloids (usually from all strains combined in one), and should be taken with caution.
With anything edible or drinkable (gummies/caramels/shots), it's just harder to control the exact dosage you take to begin with. I've heard of people who tried kratom the first time as a shot and will never take it again. I hate that because whoever offered that to them as a first time experience ruined their opinion on kratom for life.
With capsules or powder, it's pretty easy to start small and work your way up if need be.
Hopefully, you've now taken your kratom. So now, how do you store it?
Step 5: How do I store my kratom?
Store your kratom in an airtight container in a cool, dark, dry place. Pretty simple. Don't let it get too hot (that includes if you use it in tea - too high of temperatures can kill the impact).
Any other questions about kratom? Comment below, and we'll do our best to answer.
- The American Kratom Association | 5501 Merchants View Square #202 | Haymarket, VA 20169 | http://www.americankratom.orgPOLICY BRIEF | No. 1001 http://americankratom.org January 2021 | 2 January 2021 | 2