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Wild Lettuce vs. Kratom: Similarities, Differences & Legality

Wild lettuce and kratom are two herbal supplements that have been utilized by some individuals. While both substances have received scientific attention and have been used as alternatives by some, there are important distinctions between them. In this article, we will explore the similarities and differences between wild lettuce and kratom, considering the scientific evidence, potential harms, and general use they might be involved in.

Wild LettuceKratom
Wild lettuce, also known as Lactuca virosa L., is a biennial herb that is commonly found in Europe and North America. Some use it as an herbal alternative due to its properties.Kratom is a plant native to Southeast Asia. It has been traditionally utilized by some individuals.
Wild lettuce contains an active ingredient called lactucarium.Kratom contains active compounds, such as mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, which are the focus of scientific research.
Wild lettuce is available in various forms, including liquid extracts, capsules, and powders.Kratom can be consumed as a powder, capsule, extract, or brewed into tea.

image of what is wild lettuce

What is Wild Lettuce?

Wild lettuce, also known as Lactuca virosa L., is a plant native to Europe and North America. It can grow up to 6 feet in height and has distinctive fluffy plumes. The leaves of wild lettuce have a bitter taste, and when the plant is cut, it exudes a milky-white sap. This sap has been traditionally used in various cultural practices. It contains a milky-white sap, also known as lactescent juice, which has been used traditionally.

Lactucarium is a milky fluid that is extracted from several species of lettuce, particularly wild lettuce varieties such as Lactuca virosa and Lactuca serriola. It contains a number of compounds, including lactucin, lactucopicrin, and other alkaloids. Lactucarium has historically been used for medicinal purposes. However, modern scientific research on lactucarium is limited, and its biological activities and potential medicinal applications require further study.

The material can be obtained by cutting the lettuce leaves and collecting the white latex sap that oozes out. This method provides a low yield, so alternatives like solvent extraction are sometimes employed. While lactucarium has been used in folk medicine traditions, conclusive evidence for specific medicinal benefits is currently lacking. More research would need to be conducted to fully understand and characterize this plant-derived substance.

Despite anecdotal claims, solid evidence for wild lettuce’s effectiveness and safety is scarce. It has historical use for various situations. Much of the research on wild lettuce is based on animal studies and has not been extensively evaluated in human clinical trials.

Wild lettuce has been traditionally incorporated in various practices. While some historical accounts suggest various uses for the herb, it is important to note that its effectiveness is largely undocumented in contemporary research.

image of what is kratom

What is Kratom?

Kratom is a tropical tree native to Southeast Asia, specifically countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia. It is a botanical substance derived from the leaves of the Mitragyna speciosa tree. The leaves contain various active compounds, including alkaloids such as mitragynine and 7-hydroxy mitragynine, which are responsible for the plant’s effects on the body.

Kratom has a long history of use in Southeast Asia. However, in recent years, there has been increasing concern about its potential implications. The use of kratom has been associated with a range of adverse effects. The long-term implications of kratom use are still not well understood, and more research is needed.

Difference between Wild Lettuce and Kratom

Wild lettuce and kratom are two natural substances that have garnered attention. They notably differ in terms of their active compounds and benefits.

Mind and Body Effects

Both wild lettuce and kratom have long histories of traditional use and are associated with certain effects on the body and mind. Some proponents suggest that the compounds in wild lettuce, particularly lactucarium, may interact with receptors in the nervous system, leading to sedation and relaxation. Similarly, the main active compounds in kratom, are mitragynine, and 7-hydroxy mitragynine.

This potential effect on the nervous system could explain why both wild lettuce and kratom are reported to produce relieving sensations in some users. However, more research is needed to fully understand how these herbs impact the body and to substantiate claims about their psychoactive properties. At moderate dosages, both are said to provide a mild calming effect. But at higher doses, kratom is more likely to generate a stimulant effect with increased energy and sociability, while large quantities of wild lettuce are more often associated with sedation. As with any herbal supplement, the effects can vary drastically between individuals.

image of difference between wild lettuce and kratom

Calming Effects

Wild lettuce contains compounds like lactucarium, which are thought to have sedative properties that could induce relaxation. Kratom’s active alkaloids mitragynine and 7-hydroxy mitragynine are also believed to interact with receptors in the nervous system, which may explain its reported calming sensations.

Active Compounds

Wild lettuce contains compounds such as lactucin and lactucopicrin, which some believe to play a role in the plant’s effects. On the other hand, kratom contains mitragynine and 7-hydroxy mitragynine, substances with their own distinct qualities.

Safety and Side Effects


Kratom use can cause common side effects like nausea, constipation, dizziness, and sedation when taken in high doses. There are more rare but serious side effects like seizures, liver damage, allergic reactions, and withdrawal symptoms if kratom use is stopped abruptly after regular use. Due to the compounds in kratom, it may be unsafe to combine with other substances, so it is very important to consult a doctor before using kratom, especially in combination with any other drugs or herbs.

Wild Lettuce

Wild lettuce can cause side effects like drowsiness and sedation when used in high or frequent doses. Rarely, it may also cause issues like dilated pupils, irregular heartbeat, and nausea when taken in excess or combined with other herbs, medications, or supplements. Wild lettuce may interact with sedative medications in particular, so it is important to speak with a doctor before using it medicinally, especially in combination with any other substances, due to the risks of possible interactions.

image of wild lettuce and kratom legality


Kratom’s legal status is ambiguous in the United States. While it is not currently illegal at the federal level, some states have banned or regulated it. Currently, six states have banned kratom, as well as multiple counties and cities in the United States. It is important to check the legality in your area before purchasing.

Wild lettuce is legal throughout the United States. It is not scheduled as a controlled substance at the federal level. Wild lettuce can be purchased in many forms, including raw herbs, extracts, tinctures, capsules, and teas. There are no federal regulations or restrictions regarding wild lettuce other than general food and dietary supplement safety guidelines.


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