Kratom is a tropical evergreen tree (Mitragyna speciosa) native to Southeast Asia. It grows both naturally and cultivated in countries such as Vietnam, Thailand, Bali, Malaysia, and surrounding countries for commercial use.
For hundreds (if not thousands) of years, kratom has been used for health, ritual, spiritual and recreational purposes.
How Kratom Works
People take kratom for its range of effects on the mind and body. It is known to have calming, mood-boosting, sleep-supporting, and even stimulating effects, not unlike coffee or caffeine (to which it is closely related).
These properties are linked to naturally occurring plant alkaloids found in kratom, most notably mitragynine and 7-hydroxy mitragynine. Their effects can be experienced most readily when consumed orally.
What is CBD?
CBD stands for cannabidiol, a psychoactive and naturally occurring plant compound found in marijuana (Cannabis sativa or indica). It is not “high producing” like THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and is instead better known for supporting nervousness, poor sleep patterns, inflammation, and more.
How CBD works
CBD interacts with receptors in the brain that have various effects on the body. Some of these receptors include serotonin and certain other receptors, which means that taking CBD can encourage the body to boost mood, relaxation, and inflammation to an extent.
To experience these effects, CBD can be eaten, smoked, or applied topically.
Kratom and CBD Compared
|Kratom was used for spiritual, health, and ritual purposes in its native homeland of Southeast Asia. The leaf of the plant was also notable for boosting the energy and performance of workers and laborers.
|CBD has always contributed to the marijuana plant’s traditional healing use for calming effects, and relaxation. It wasn’t until the 1940s that it was extracted from the plant for use, research, and experimentation independently of the whole plant and THC.
|Kratom has many active compounds, though mitragynine and 7-hydroxy mitragynine are the most studied. Both are shown to interact with receptors in the brain that modulate inflammation, nervousness, and mood.
|CBD is in itself an active constituent of the marijuana plant. It interacts with parallel yet completely different receptors to kratom that deal with mood, calming, nervousness, and, to an extent, digestive states (such as nausea or vomiting).
|Kratom was traditionally consumed for energy-boosting, ritual, and spiritual purposes, and to an extent, for recreation. Today many kratom users take kratom recreationally and, to some extent, for health purposes.
|CBD extracted from marijuana has become a popular alternative and modern natural remedy for supporting inflammation, especially related to joints. It is also used to help with nervousness and nausea.
|Kratom is commonly categorized by vein leaf color. This also helps define what effects it may have: white vein kratom tends to have stimulating effects, green vein kratom more balanced effects, and red vein kratom has more calming benefits (though these effects can be dose-dependent).
|CBD products tend to be categorized into three types: full-spectrum CBD products, broad-spectrum CBD products, and CBD isolate products. The full spectrum contains all cannabis compounds (including THC, but at very low levels). The broad spectrum contains most, while the isolate only contains CBD.
|There is a broad range of effects kratom can have. These can include soothing nervousness and promoting sleep, but also increasing energy, mental focus, and brain function.
|CBD shares a lot of similarities with kratom’s effects. However, they are not identical – they are more “parallel” to kratom. CBD is used to support nervousness, tension, and mood imbalance.
|Kratom may cause mild side effects like digestive upset, nausea, dizziness, sleepiness, vomiting, dry mouth, and sometimes muscular discomfort. If large doses are abused, it could cause hallucinations, liver damage, seizure, coma, and, very rarely, death.
|CBD may cause mild side effects like dry mouth, digestive upset, sleepiness, excessive fatigue, and a lack of appetite. You’ll want to be careful taking CBD with certain medications as there can be undesired interactions, especially with blood thinners.
|Kratom is generally considered safe to use only when used correctly and not abused. However, there are rising concerns about the misuse and abuse of the herb increasing the risk of health issues.
|CBD is considered a very safe natural and alternative product. The side effects are mild, and there is no risk of overdose. Vulnerability to addiction or abuse of CBD is not likely.
|Kratom is considered legal in most countries around the world. However, in high-control countries (like China, Russia, and North Korea), laws have been implemented to ban and imprison those who sell or use it.
|In most countries or U.S. states where marijuana is considered legal, CBD is considered legal as well. However, there are still some countries and states where it is illegal or restricted (even if it is recognized as federally legal, such as in the United States).
|Forms of consumption
|Kratom is most popular consumed in raw form, typically as a powder. This powder can also be consumed in supplement form. People also drink kratom tea or purchase edible products, like kratom gum, to experience its effects.
|CBD can be eaten, smoked, or applied topically for its effects to be felt or therapeutically used. The forms it comes in can include CBD oil, salves, balms, gummies, baked goods, teas, and a lot more choices compared to kratom.
|Most kratom is priced low as $30 for 250 grams (powder or capsules) and upwards of $250 for 1000 capsules. That said, there are many price ranges and categories in between.
|The price range of CBD products varies a great deal because there are so many types. However, the best way to determine price range is to look at CBD oil, which can be around four to twenty cents per mg.
Kratom vs. CBD: Which one is better for each use?
We take a side-by-side look at both kratom and CBD, determining which is best in each of its benefit categories.
Again, while both kratom and CBD are shown to be supportive of better sleep, CBD is considered the front-runner here. This may be because CBD’s effects are more reliably sedative. On the other hand, kratom may have a calming effect, but in certain doses (and with certain people) may have a stimulating effect instead.
For energy and motivation
CBD has more of a “downer” effect, while kratom is far better at being stimulating and energizing. Again, this depends on the dose or strain of kratom used.
Kratom vs. CBD Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Can you mix or take kratom and CBD together?
Yes, and many people do. Many kratom users report that the effects of one complement the other in a synergistic effect.
However, the use of both frequently, for long periods, and/or in high doses has not been studied—so just to be safe, be cautious when using them in combination, and use the combo at reasonable doses and frequency.
Are CBD and marijuana the same?
No. CBD is a compound derived from the marijuana plant, while the marijuana plant alone contains many other compounds besides CBD (like THC).
Does CBD show up on a drug test?
No, not if it is a CBD isolate product (meaning the product only contains the compound CBD). However, if a product is made from broad-spectrum CBD from the hemp/marijuana plant, it could show up on a drug test. Full-spectrum CBD may also contain some THC and a drug test could detect this.
Is CBD addictive?
The compound CBD alone is not addictive, tolerance-building, or habit-forming. If it is consumed in full spectrum marijuana products that contain THC, however, then there is a risk you could get addicted to the TCH or marijuana, but not the CBD.
Are kratom and CBD similar?
Yes, kratom and CBD have a lot of similarities in terms of their effects and how they are consumed.
Does CBD make you tired?
It’s possible. One possible side effect of CBD is drowsiness, and another is excessive fatigue. It can make you tired, but it depends on the dosage, the person, and the situation.