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Kratom vs CBD: Comparison and What to Know

Cannabis Nurse Medical Reviewer, Lashonda Broom
RN & HHP

The widespread and growing popularity of CBD has sparked interest in other natural herbal supplements to support a healthier lifestyle. Kratom in particular has piqued the interest of some for its similarities to cannabis. Yet, despite producing similar effects, the two plants are starkly different.  Let’s discuss Kratom vs CBD.

What is Kratom?

Kratom is a plant that has been used by indigenous populations in Southeast Asia for centuries. Kratom is in the same plant family as coffee. It is a member of the flowering plant species, Rubiaceae. However, Kratom does more than help you stay awake. As a versatile herb that is believed to provide many different benefits Kratom is a good option.

Kratom (Mitragyna Speciosa)

Kratom producers dry and crush its leaves to create a powder, which they further process into paste, pills, and capsules, among other forms, catering to various needs. This southeast Asian herb is renowned for its stimulating properties. While it originated as a recreational substance, it now serves numerous medicinal purposes. Unlike CBD, the plant exhibits intoxicating effects.

Kratom FAQs

How does Kratom Work?

Kratom is composed of two compounds, mitragynine and 7-a-hydroxymitragynine. These compounds interact with opioid receptors to produce effects of sedation, pleasure, and even pain relief. When taken in small amounts, those that consume kratom report increased energy and alertness, rather than sedation.

Is Kratom an Opioid?

Though Kratom interacts with the opioid receptors in the body, it isn’t technically an opioid. Kratom interacts with opioid receptors differently when compared to opioids. Kratom does not overstimulate the receptors, which results in a less intense high with a similar opioid sensation.

Is Kratom Addictive?

Like other compounds that produce an opioid-like effect, kratom can be addictive and a dependency can be developed. Over time, withdrawal of regular kratom consumption can cause withdrawal symptoms. Those who have experienced withdrawal symptoms have reported:

  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Muscle aches
  • Hostility
  • Aggression

The risks associated with kratom have been found to be more mild when compared to opioids, but there are still risks involved. There have been deaths attributed to the use of kratom. However, those who have died were consuming other substances as well, so it’s unclear if kratom was entirely to blame. Nevertheless, kratom is best approached with caution.

What is CBD?

The chemical compound Cannabidiol (CBD), derived from the cannabis sativa plant, naturally occurs and undergoes extraction for use in various products, including topical creams, edible gummies, and tinctures. In contrast to THC, another well-known cannabis compound, CBD lacks intoxicating properties and does not induce a high. Although the effects of CBD vary among individuals, it is generally recognized for its ability to restore the body to a neutral state.

How Does CBD Work?

The human body possesses an endocannabinoid system (ECS) comprising numerous receptors, recognized as one of the most crucial physiological systems. Responsible for maintaining homeostasis in various bodily systems such as digestive, immune, endocrine, nervous, and reproductive, the ECS plays a vital role in functions like appetite and sleep cycles. These receptors are primarily located in the Central Nervous System (CNS).

Initially, researchers believed that CBD directly targeted cannabinoid receptors. However, it’s now understood that CBD indirectly influences the ECS by inhibiting the breakdown of anandamide, also known as the bliss molecule. This results in increased levels of anandamide, which positively impacts the ECS. Additionally, CBD binds to TRVP-1 receptors, regulating body temperature, inflammation, and pain.

A study by Brightfield unveiled that CBD is primarily sought after for alleviating anxiety, sleep issues, and joint pain or inflammation among its many purported uses. Furthermore, researchers have discovered that the ECS isn’t exclusive to humans; there’s a belief that CBD may also offer benefits for pets.

CBD Oil vs Kratom

Similarities

  • Both CBD and Kratom derive from plants and offer health benefits. They’ve been utilized to alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression. These herbs can be ingested directly or in combination. CBD oil is commonly consumed through tinctures like serums and sprays, while Kratom is often ingested as Kratom tea.

Differences

CBD Kratom
Not intoxicating Kratom contains a high amount of psychotropic ingredients which makes it quite addictive.
CBD interacts with the ECS of the body.  Kratom stimulates the opioid receptors of the body.
CBD is extracted from the cannabis plant which contains around 120 cannabinoids. Kratom contains alkaloids (25) 
Well recognized studies have found CBD to have stress relieving properties for anxiety Kratom’s stress-relieving properties are based on narratives that have not yet been verified by scientific research
CBD Does not disrupt sleeping schedule and appetite. Psychoactive substances in Kratom might cause interrupted sleep and reduced hunger.
You cannot overdose on CBD. Overdosing on Kratom is possible, especially when combined with other intoxicants. 

Legality

CBD is legal across the country. As of the time of this writing, Kratom remains unregulated and is illegal in 10 states.

Side Effects

Primary side effects of taking too much CBD are nausea and drowsiness. Large doses of kratom can cause many side effects, including aggression, hallucinations, and trouble breathing. Long-term use of kratom has been associated with dependence and withdrawal symptoms akin to those of other opioids.

Which One is Better?

In terms of risks, benefits, legalization and side effects, CBD wins over kratom by a long shot. Medical studies have scrutinized CBD for over a decade. Kratom is still widely unstudied by the scientific community. Furthermore, the federal government regulates hemp to ensure the safety of CBD products you consume, particularly when purchased from reputable companies.

Kratom or CBD for Anxiety?

Preclinical evidence strongly supports CBD as a treatment for multiple anxiety disorders.  There are few other natural supplements that even come close to the reliability of CBD for anxiety. Kratom only offers mild anti-anxiety benefits and only in higher doses.  The lower dose range is more stimulating and can actually cause anxiety in some individuals.

A typical starting serving for CBD would be 10-25mg daily. To achieve the best results, take the supplement 1-2 times daily with consistency.  A 2018 study reported that taking up to 5 grams of kratom powder three times daily was sufficient to experience effects.  In both cases, starting small and working up as needed would be the recommendation.

Kratom or CBD for Sleep?

There are many different causes for insomnia.  In higher servings, CBD can act as a sedative, helping to induce sleep.  In smaller servings, CBD can help achieve a more restful sleep by calming that central nervous system that encompasses the ECS.  While Kratom is a sedative, it’s also a stimulant.  Getting the serving wrong could actually amp up that insomnia. For sleep, in Kratom vs CBD, we would advise sticking to CBD.

Kratom or CBD for Pain?

CBD works through the endocannabinoid system to regulate the volume of pain signals heading to the brain.  CBD does not block pain completely, but can assist in reducing that severity.  Kratom works very differently.  It activates the opioid receptors located in the spinal cord and brain to block signals from ever making it to the brain.  In that way, it is likely more effective than CBD, but it’s important to consider side effects.

This prompts the question: Can CBD and kratom be used together?  What results would that yield? A PubMed article indicates a potential synergistic effect when using both substances concurrently. However, further research is imperative to ascertain their safety and long-term impact.

Interested In Trying CBD?

If you’re considering trying CBD, Green Wellness Life provides a wide range of CBD products through our online store. We pride ourselves on offering only research-backed products. Rest assured, all our products undergo independent lab testing for safety.

We are not doctors at Green Wellness Life. We can’t treat, diagnose, or prescribe any ailments. Here at Green Wellness, we report on the latest bodies of scientific research in addition to providing feedback from our CBD customers. If you have questions related to Green Wellness Life, CBD, or CBD products, we’re more than happy to help. Feel free to submit a contact form or call us at 866-244-4223.

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