This herb/plant goes by many names such as Krypton, Biak-Biak, Thang, Kakuam, Thom. It’s a tropical evergreen plant that grows in marshy regions of countries like Thailand, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea. The scientific name of kratom is Mitragyna Speciosa. It belongs to the Rubiaceae family which also includes plants like gardenia and coffee.
Its usage dates back to the early 1900s when the natives would chew its leaves raw or boil them into tea as it gave them energy. The folk medicine made heavy usage of kratom for pain management and myriad other ailments (fatigue, depression, insomnia, etc). Occasionally it would serve as a recreational herb which was also used for overcoming opioid addiction.
Today you can find it in the US in the form of capsules, powder, extract, table, crushed leaves, etc.
It’s at low doses that kratom truly renders its therapeutic benefits. At high doses, the effects can be unpredictable and downright sedating. If the dose is too high, kratom could act as an opioid making you euphoric. It’s because of this property that kratom was used for managing withdrawal symptoms and as a substitute for opioids. It’s the alkaloids that give kratom all that therapeutic power.
As mentioned, kratom tends to have a bunch of physical/mental health benefits. While the range and intensity of those effects are going to vary with each strain on each individual, some of the most noted benefits are –
- Pain management – This one continues to be #1 reason behind its growing popularity. The same is evident by the nature of reviews left by kratom users on this page on WebMD. Some of the alkaloids present in kratom tend to fight inflammation. It also inhibits pain receptors thus dulling the pain sensation, however momentarily.
- Energizing effects – Since kratom belongs to the coffee family, it shouldn’t be surprising that some kratom strains are going to make you feel instantly energized. In fact, many like to sip on kratom tea instead of coffee first thing in the morning because it is so much more herbal/therapeutic.
- Mild relief from anxiety/depression – If you find it hard to control thoughts or have been feeling depressed for a long time, chances are a few kratom strains may offer you some relief from depression and anxiety. It may also make you feel much more sociable. So, you may want to take it before attending a social event or a party. You can check out the research papers that talk about kratom’s effects on anxiety and depression.
- Helpful in overcoming addiction – While there is no research to prove this range of effects of kratom, natives did use it when it came to transitioning from other hard drugs or overcoming/managing often painful withdrawal symptoms that accompanied weaning off of opioids.
Cannabidiol aka CBD is one of over 120 cannabinoids that are present in the cannabis plant. CBD is extracted from the flower of hemp/marijuana. Both these plants belong to the Cannabis Sativa species.
Please note that CBD products like CBD oil, that are available in the US markets come from hemp. They are required to contain no more than 0.3% traces of THC. That means, they can’t be psychoactive (meaning they do not carry any intoxicating properties).
CBD is extracted in the oil form using CO2 solvents such as ethanol. It is later processed and sold as final products in the form of tinctures, creams, capsules, as well as few edibles (such as CBD gummies, brownies, etc.).
- Pain management – CBD can be excellent in managing myriad forms of pain. It does the job by binding itself with the body’s endocannabinoid receptors that go on to reduce inflammation and chronic pains. Many suffering from MS, chronic pains, backache, joint pains, and even menstrual cramps may experience some relief. Check out this study stipulating CBD’s pain-relieving properties.
- Reduces anxiety and depression – CBD oil has so far been quite promising as a potential tool for managing anxiety and depression naturally. In fact, many people have this natural approach to over the counter pills. Cannabidiol is further seen to be quite promising when it comes to managing PTSD.
It further has major antidepressant-like effects (as evident by several studies performed on animals). CBD does the job by acting on the same brain receptors that produce serotonin (the happiness hormone).
- Managing Insomnia – One of the studies published in the Permanente Journals backs-up CBD’s potential in managing short-term sleep issues. Furthermore, a 2017 review which was published in the Current Psychiatry Reports also stipulated that cannabidiol does indeed directly impacts the sleep quality by attaching itself to various receptors that regulate sleep/wake cycles of the body.
CBD is largely legal in America (for the most part). However, several states may have restrictions regarding the sale and distribution of cannabidiol and CBD products. Therefore, you may have to exercise caution in certain states. Also, check the status of legality in the state/county that you reside in before buying it.
The only thing controversial about CBD is the question regarding THC concentration (a psychotropic cannabis component). Legally, it cannot be any more than 0.3%. But, some manufacturers may mislabel their products. There’s always that chance.
Moving on to kratom is again legal in the US with a few exceptions.
Even though kratom contains both good and not-so-god (if consumed without caution) effects; surprisingly enough all the attempts by the FDA and DEA to ban it or classify it as a Schedule 1 drug over the years fell flat on the face.
Although both are unique in their own ways and have myriad overlapping benefits to offer, if you really had to compare the two when it came to managing pain, anxiety, and sleep – CBD is unequivocally a far more acceptable option.
It’s a lot safer to buy and with no chances of overdosing as is the case with kratom. Also, more people are familiar with CBD than they are with kratom which means you can get more honest reviews about CBD. That’s something to think about.
However, this should not restrict you from checking out kratom and what all it has to offer.