Kratom vs. Delta-8 – How Do They Compare?

kratom vs. delta-8: how do they compare?


DISCLAIMER: This content has not been reviewed by a medical professional. The content on this page is for entertainment purposes only. The FDA has stated warnings about kratom. Please visit the fda.gov site for more information.


Although some shops and websites focus solely on kratom products, more businesses have begun diversifying their offerings. Case and point: It’s common to find headshops and vape stores selling kratom alongside cannabinoids like delta-8 THC. While there’s some crossover between kratom and delta-8 extracts, customers need to keep these items separate in their minds. Using kratom for delta-8 (or vice versa) won’t deliver your desired effects.

What is Kratom?

The word “kratom” refers to an evergreen plant in the same family as coffee beans. Scientifically known as Mitragyna speciosa, kratom flourished in many Southeast Asian nations for centuries. Countries like Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia still account for most of the world’s kratom cultivation. Typically, farmers will grow kratom strains and dry the leaves before grinding them into a powder.

Although kratom has a long history of use in Southeast Asia, it has only recently attracted attention in the Western world. Many people in fields like homeopathy, supplements, and natural healing are most interested in kratom’s unique properties.

image of how kratom works

How Kratom Works

It’s unknown how kratom affects people, but most research suggests this plant has unique compounds known as “alkaloids.” Alkaloids naturally bind with the body’s receptors, which could trigger multiple physiological responses. The two most commonly reported alkaloids in kratom include mitragynine and 7-hydroxy mitragynine. Different strains and color varieties of kratom may contain distinct traces of mitragynine and 7-hydroxy mitragynine, which may account for their slightly different effects.

What is Delta-8?

Delta-8 THC is a rare compound present in some cannabis strains. Technically, delta-8 is a “phytocannabinoid,” which means it’s a cannabinoid derived from hemp plants. So, what is a cannabinoid? Simply put, cannabinoids are special chemicals that interact with the body’s “endocannabinoid system” (ECS). Although our bodies naturally produce cannabinoids like anandamide, there are some cannabinoids in plant sources like cannabis.

Delta-8 THC is related to the more famous (and more notorious) cannabinoid delta-9 THC. However, due to a slightly different chemical structure, delta-8 isn’t identical to delta-9.

image of how delta 8 works

How Delta-8 Works

Like delta-9 THC, delta-8 THC lands on the brain’s CB1 receptors to trigger a physiological response. While delta-8 may influence other aspects of the ECS, its primary method of interaction is via these CB1 receptors.

Kratom and Delta-8 Compared

It can be easy to confuse kratom vs. delta-8, but these chemicals have a few easy-to-spot differences.

Kratom Delta-8 History

Kratom is a Southeast Asian plant that has been grown for centuries. Nobody’s sure when kratom first emerged in the region, but it has a long history of cultivation in nations like Indonesia and Malaysia.

Interest in delta-8 only picked up after the 2018 US Farm Bill legalized hemp. While some cannabis strains have always had small traces of delta-8 THC, it wasn’t until the US legalized hemp that more people could study, extract, and use this cannabinoid.

Active Constituents

Kratom has two primary active alkaloids: mitragynine and 7-hydroxy mitragynine. The ratios and potency of these alkaloids play a crucial role in determining a kratom strain’s effects.

Delta-8 THC is its active constituent. Labs typically extract CBD from hemp and modify it to have delta-8’s structure before putting it into products like vape pens. Delta-8 has been shown to land on the brain’s CB1 receptors.

image of uses of kratom and delta 8 uses

Uses

Many customers say they use kratom powders for pain relief, stress, sleep health, or mental clarity.

Delta-8 THC is most commonly associated with sleep health, anxiety relief, and deep relaxation.

Main Types

Dozens of kratom strains fall into one of three categories: red, white, or green vein. A few examples of kratom strains include:

  • Red Bali
  • Red Indo
  • White Sumatra
  • Maeng Da

There’s only one cannabinoid known as delta-8 THC. No matter what strain an extractor uses to make delta-8 products, they will always create the same cannabinoid. Delta-8 THC is available in various products, including vape pens, tinctures, and fortified hemp flowers.

Effects

Kratom could have relaxing qualities or energizing effects. People react to kratom depending on the strain they’re taking, their dosage, and how their body responds to this herb.

Delta-8 is a psychoactive cannabinoid that induces a sensation. Many people report that delta-8 isn’t as intense as delta-9, but it may have effects similar to sedating cannabis strains.

Side Effects

The most commonly reported side effects of kratom include digestive issues, nausea, fatigue, and appetite changes.

Like other psychoactive cannabinoids, delta-8 can provoke paranoia in people prone to anxiety. Other common side effects of delta-8 include increased hunger, sleepiness, red & itchy eyes, body shivers, and dry mouth.

Side Effects
KratomDelta-8
Digestive issues, nausea, fatigue, and appetite changesIncreased hunger, sleepiness, red & itchy eyes, body shivers, and dry mouth

Safety

There’s not enough research on the long-term effects of kratom to determine its complete safety profile. However, most healthy adults that consume low doses of this herb don’t seem to report too many adverse effects.

Delta-8 can cause paranoia and panic attacks if people are prone to anxiety. People who don’t respond well to THC should avoid using delta-8. However, healthy adults who take low doses of delta-8 may not experience adverse reactions.

Legality

There’s nothing in the US federal statutes that outlaws kratom. However, since kratom is considered a controversial supplement, there are local bans in a few states and cities. Always double-check the legality of kratom in your area before picking up products.

According to the 2018 US Farm Bill and the Ninth Circuit Appellate Court, hemp-derived delta-8 is federally legal in the USA. However, a few states have local delta-8 bans in place.

image of kratom and delta 8 forms of consumption

Forms of consumption

Kratom is most popularly available in powder and capsule forms. However, finding alternative kratom products like liquid tinctures and teas is possible.

There are dozens of ways to consume delta-8, but here are a few standard products:

  • Edibles (especially gummies)
  • Fortified hemp flowers
  • Vape juices and pens
  • Liquid tinctures

Price Range

The prices for kratom range wildly from brand to brand. However, most average kratom powders cost about $6 – $12 per ounce.

It’s difficult to give an average price range for delta-8. However, most customers claim products that sell for about $2.30 per gram are “average.”

Kratom vs. Delta-8 – Which one is better for each use case?

Kratom and delta-8 aren’t ideal for every condition. If you’re struggling to choose between these products, please consider how well they address specific complaints.

image of kratom vs delta 8 which one is better for relaxation

For relaxation

Winner: Kratom

Although many people use delta-8 THC to relax, there’s no evidence delta-8 has these properties. Kratom has more reports of causing relaxation. Delta-8 has mixed reports, and the extract has been reported to cause anxiety in some. Kratom is much more likely to lead to relaxation, especially if the right strain is chosen. It is important to note that any substance can cause paradoxical effects in people. However, kratom takes the cake over delta-8 for relaxation effects in general.

For sleep

Winner: Delta-8

A common reason people first get into delta-8 THC is to improve sleep quality. While there are few studies examining delta-8’s impact on insomnia, there are reports that suggest delta-9 THC can make it easier to fall asleep. There are also many anecdotal testimonies suggesting delta-8 has soothing properties.

kratom vs delta 8 which one is better for mood

For Mood

Winner: Kratom

While many people use delta-8 for mood, it can worsen these issues for some users. Many placebo-controlled studies show THC can provoke paranoia symptoms in many patients. Even people who don’t have anxious tendencies can have profound panic attacks after taking delta-8 products. By contrast, it’s not common for people who use kratom to report side effects like increased anxiety or panic. Instead, kratom customers often notice they have a better mood thanks to the alkaloids. Although delta-8 THC may help some relax, it carries a greater risk of paranoia.

For focus and energy

Winner: Kratom

Not all kratom strains are associated with an energy boost, but every delta-8 product triggers sleepy feelings. Therefore, people looking for a “pick me up” during the day will have more success using a white-vein kratom strain. While there’s no science to back up these claims, many kratom customers say white-vein strains make them more alert. Plus, don’t forget that kratom is in the coffee family! By contrast, most customers strictly use delta-8 at nighttime to induce a sedative effect.

image of kratom vs delta 8 which onne is better for appetite boost

For appetite boost

Winner: Delta-8

There’s no question delta-8 is the better option for those who struggle with appetite issues. Some preliminary studies out of Israel’s Shaare Zedek Hospital suggest delta-8 could reduce nausea in patients. Like delta-9 THC, delta-8 may increase the hormone ghrelin, which is closely associated with appetite stimulation. To date, kratom shows no potential to stimulate our appetite.

Frequently asked questions

Are Kratom and Delta-8 similar?

While kratom and delta-8 can relax customers, they do so in different ways. Kratom tends to focus more on relaxation, while delta-8 is associated with sleep. Also, these products come from different plant families: kratom from the coffee family and delta-8 from cannabis plants.

Can you mix or take Kratom and Delta-8 together?

At this time, we don’t know enough about the interactions between kratom and delta-8. Therefore, it’s safest for customers to take these substances separately — combining kratom and delta 8 is not a great idea.

Is Delta-8 the same as cannabis or THC?

Delta-8 is a “THC analog,” which means it has many properties similar to the more famous delta-9 THC. Delta-8 also comes from the cannabis plant. However, this doesn’t mean delta-8 is the same as delta-9 THC. Due to the unique arrangement of its atoms, delta-8 THC is distinct from all other cannabinoids.

image of frequently asked questions about kratom and deltta 8

Is Delta-8 synthetic? 

Delta-8 is in many cannabis strains, but it’s only present in minuscule quantities. Therefore, most delta-8 products on today’s market are synthetic versions of the natural delta-8 THC product. Most labs will take hemp-derived CBD and transform its chemical structure to mimic delta-8 THC.

Will you test positive for THC while taking Delta-8?

You will test positive for THC if you take a delta-8 product. Since delta-8 is similar to delta-9, most drug tests can’t distinguish between these compounds. Also, delta-8 has a long half-life and produces many metabolites, which increases the odds a drug test will turn out positive.

Does Delta-8 make you high?

Delta-8 is psychoactive; it will make you feel “high,” but the psychotropic effects are nowhere near as intense as Delta-9.

Is Delta-8 addictive?

While THC compounds like delta-8 may not be as addictive as other drugs, there’s always a risk of developing an addiction. Cannabis abuse disorder is a medical condition that delta-8 THC may contribute to.

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