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CBD vs. Kratom [The Difference?]
The rise of the CBD industry has also encouraged the gradual acceptance of other common drugs as well. However, this doesn’t mean an increase in dangerous substances like heroin or cocaine. But instead, other substances more similar to CBD, like Kratom.
Kratom is intriguing as it is a natural plant with similar effects to cannabis, yet it is also mildly addictive.
Considering the strange qualities of kratom and its inherent psychotropic attributes, is there any danger of kratom addiction? For that matter, is kratom even a drug?
Let’s take a look at the age-old battle of CBD vs. kratom and determine which is better.
What Is Kratom?
While kratom usually refers to the chewable leaves, the name itself comes from a tropical tree that grows natively in Southeast Asia. Within the leaves of this tall, spritely plant are a myriad of psychotropic compounds.
It is incredibly easy to use kratom; instead of the sometimes complicated maneuvers of smoking it or grinding it down into a powder, you can chew it. The age-old method of imbibing Kratom is chewing its leaves like chewing gum. Some people prefer to take it a step further and use it as an extract. They add it to food or taking it as a capsule, the same as you would a CBD capsule.
The compounds within Kratom are especially interesting, as they are both similar and different from any other drugs.
The primary compounds are mitragynine. and 7-a-hydroxy mitragynine. These interact with the same receptors in the brain that are used when you imbibe opioids. These receptors, when stimulated, give you very similar effects to taking any common opioid drug. It gives you a high, along with a decent dose of mental stimulation.
What makes the whole thing intriguing is that it isn’t like opioid drugs concerning the consistency of effects. Just like with cannabis, there are distinctive varieties of kratom that produce vastly different outcomes when compared to other types.
There are two typical varieties. Maeng Da, known as White Vein Kratom, is known for its stimulant effects. It generally gives you a rush of energy and helps you focus. Red Vein Kratom, however, is almost the opposite; it is well known for its sedative properties, giving you a very sleepy and gentle high. There is also the Green Vein variety of Kratom, which some consider to be a bit of a hybrid.
Is Kratom an Opioid?
When considering what actually kratom is, especially when it comes to trying to consider its addictive properties, it is useful to compare it to an opioid.
First-time users of kratom might notice that it feels exceptionally close to an opiate in effects. You get the same intensely dampening effect, along with a fair amount of soporific, gently calming effects. At higher doses, you can also notice a good rush of psychotropic effects, just like any other common drug.
In fact, kratom interacts with the exact same receptors that opioids do. This makes them seem like basically the same thing. So, are kratom and opioids that similar?
While the effects are very similar and they work with the same parts of the brain, kratom is still fundamentally separated from other opiates. Though they seem the same thing, they interest the receptors differently
For starters, in a similar way to how CBD is gentler on the receptors than THC is, kratom does not overstimulate the opioid receptors. This results in a calmer, less intense type of opioid high. But it is still very reminiscent of a standard opioid sensation; it is not at all the same thing.
Some people prefer to enjoy their kratom by smoking it, like in a pipe or rolled up like a joint. In this way, it is quite similar to opiates. However, despite how it might look and smell when imbibing this way, it is still fundamentally different from regular opiates.
CBD vs. Kratom
The interesting thing about comparing kratom and CBD is that they were initially developed alongside one another. As kratom evolved in Southeast Asia, it is often found and grown only a few miles away from cannabis. This means that, before kratom began taking the western world by storm, people in Southeast Asia would often use both cannabis and kratom interchangeably.
However, the use of CBD on its own is a pretty recent invention, especially with the advent of extraction mechanisms that enables the production of entirely pure CBD to isolates.
Thinking about the plants that both the drugs come from, CBD from cannabis plants and kratom from the kratom plant, they are also fundamentally different with regard to their species. While cannabis is in a category all on its own, kratom is linked to the same family of plants that coffee comes from. This is why some people consider kratom to be very similar to coffee; native people use it as a stimulant and a way to stay awake when forced to work too intensely.
However, though many like to think of CBD and kratom as being one and the same somehow, there are some severe fundamental differences. For starters, kratom is quite addictive, especially if you start taking it regularly.
While some people do use kratom to try and overcome addiction. You may experience withdrawal symptoms like you do with opioids. kratom itself will leave you with a significant yearning for it, long after you’ve stopped using it.
This addiction isn’t as strong as other types of drugs. Not nearly as potent as nicotine addiction, for example. But it is still exceptionally strong and painful to deal with. It seems illogical to use kratom over CBD.
But what kinds of side effects do both types of drugs induce?
CBD vs. Kratom: Side Effects
Both CBD oil and kratom are commonly considered to not have any side effects whatsoever. Some people even claim taking a CBD and kratom combination without feeling anything negative afterward.
However, there are always going to be a few negative consequences of taking any substances.
Kratom might have far worse side effects than CBD. Kratom is known to cause nausea, dry mouth, appetite suppression, and opioid-like itching of the skin. Additionally, these are only the side effects we can confidently say exist, as there is shockingly few studies or evidence for the various claimed benefits and side effects of kratom. The FDA recently reported that it advises against using kratom, due to its untested long term effects.
CBD, meanwhile, has remarkably few side effects. According to a myriad of studies, including this one by Kerstin Iffland and Franjo Grotenhermen, CBD’s side effects are merely a continuation of its desired effects.
This means that were you to use too much CBD at once, you wouldn’t suffer harmful effects. Instead, you would just experience a continuation of more significant results from the CBD. You would feel sleepier at night and more awake during the day, and you would notice a massive reduction in inflammation. Perhaps the only real side effect is a slightly increased incidence of diarrhea in the first few days.
It is safe to say that, when it comes to deciding between CBD and kratom based only on their side effects, CBD is by far the best option.
Though there are a variety of useful effects and attractive benefits to enjoying kratom, the long list of potential side effects, alongside its unknown long-term risks, make it too much of a gamble to enjoy safely.
Final Thoughts on CBD vs. Kratom
While there are a variety of benefits of kratom, the idea of choosing it over any other type of recreational drug seems quite tricky.
Not only is kratom under-studied when it comes to long term health effects, but it is also worryingly addictive, as well as just generally problematic when it comes to continuous use. It emulates similar effects and addiction similarities to opioids, while also having a variety of the same side effects.
When it comes to CBD vs. kratom, it seems impossible to not pick the easier, far more reliable option of CBD.
However, neither CBD nor kratom is currently illegal, so continue enjoying them to your heart’s content. Just make sure you keep on top of any new research conducted into the side effects of kratom, as there’s no telling what it might uncover.