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Kratom Vs. CBD Guide
  • Kratom 101

Kratom Vs. CBD Guide

Published 18th Apr 2023

By Valerie Orta

Estimated Read Time: 11 min

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By Valerie Orta on April 18, 2023

Trying to choose between kratom and CBD? The two have their unique effects and potential health benefits. Discover how kratom and CBD compare.

If you love botanical supplements, it's quite the time to be alive. The market has expanded exponentially, with numerous options for you to choose from. The most dominant options in the market are kratom and CBD.

Although the compounds come from different plants, their benefits and uses are intertwined. You might find yourself in a fix on whether to pick one over the other. Getting as much information as possible about each product will help you identify which is perfect for you and when you should take it.

What is Kratom?

Kratom is a tropical tree native to Southeast Asia. Scientifically, it's known as Mitragyna Speciosa and is in the same family as the coffee plant. The tree is found in Malaysia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and Thailand.

Kratom use dates back hundreds of years. Its most common applications are to encourage natural relief, boost energy, and enhance endurance. Studies show that there are 40 active compounds in kratom. But two alkaloids are worth noting: mitragynine and 7-hydroxy mitragynine. These are thought to produce the effects and benefits that kratom is known for.

For many years, kratom has been used the same way as cannabis but didn't become mainstream until recently.

What Can Kratom Be Used For?

Kratom has multiple applications. Historically, natives have used kratom for natural wellness purposes and to help with stimulation and natural relief.

On a wider scale, laborers used kratom to boost strength and endurance. They would chew the leaves to extract the juice and then spit them out.

Currently, kratom's energizing, stimulating, and stress-relieving effects are why many people are paying attention to this unique plant. There are reports it can also help with discomfort and sleep support. The specific effects of kratom may vary slightly from person to person, depending on the quantity of kratom you take and other physiological factors.

How Does Kratom Work?

There are multiple ways to take kratom. Its natural form can be chewed, steeped in tea, or smoked. But the most common form of kratom is kratom powder. Kratom doesn't need to be heated to release its active ingredients, so it can be taken in raw form.

Kratom has over 40 compounds and 25 individual alkaloids that have been identified. Experts say Mitragynine is the primary alkaloid in kratom, which is more potent for delivering stimulation and encouraging natural relief. It is said to have strong, body-soothing effects.

Studies have shown that kratom exerts its effects through neurotransmitter systems. Kratom also interacts with opioid receptors, although it is not an opioid, and its effects differ from those of pharmaceutical opioids. Some other receptors that kratom affects are dopamine, GABA, and serotonin.

Potential Side Effects of Kratom

Kratom is largely well-tolerated. Most people have no problems or reactions after taking kratom. However, there have been some mild and temporary side effects that new kratom consumers have reported. The most common kratom side effects include dizziness, stomach upsets, and diarrhea.

What is CBD?

Unlike kratom, which is a plant, CBD is a plant-derived compound. It's naturally in the hemp plant. It is also available in other variations of the cannabis plant, like the marijuana plant. However, it is most abundant in the hemp plant.

CBD is closely related to THC, another cannabinoid in the limelight for ages for its psychoactive properties. However, CBD doesn't seem to produce mind-altering psychotropic properties like THC.

CBD is mainly extracted from hemp plants because of its abundance and the plant's naturally low concentration of THC. Once extracted, it is infused into various products, such as tinctures, capsules, edibles, and CBD vapes.

Some CBD products may also contain other kinds of cannabinoids, which make the product more effective. But it is also possible to get products that contain CBD alone with no other cannabinoids or terpenes.

What is CBD Used For?

Like kratom, CBD has a wide range of applications. It is widely available and is used for its various wellness benefits.

Some studies indicate CBD might have some exciting potential because of its positive influence on keeping the body's systems balanced and running optimally.

CBD today is mostly thought to help you relax and calm racing thoughts. However, its healthy sleep habits and discomfort support benefits have also been highlighted as part of its popularity.

How Does CBD Work?

CBD encourages homeostasis in the body by interacting with the body's endocannabinoid system. Instead of binding to the endocannabinoid system's CB1 and CB2 receptors like THC, CBD acts on them indirectly to support the system in maintaining balance.

But CBD is also thought to work through numerous non-cannabinoid ion channels and receptors. Moreover, evidence shows it also produces effects by activating receptors like TRPV1 and using them to manipulate specific bodily functions.

CBD also exerts some of its other effects by positively influencing the amount of anandamide in the body.

Potential Side Effects of CBD

CBD is also well-tolerated. It has a strong safety profile, and any potential side effects are likely mild, moderate, and temporary. Some commonly reported CBD side effects include dry mouth, nausea, fatigue, and diarrhea.

Differences and Similarities of Kratom and CBD

From the description and uses of each compound, it's clear that they share similarities and, most importantly, have differences. Most of their similarities are in their effects and benefits. Some other areas you can consider when comparing kratom and CBD include:


CBD and kratom come in different types and forms. These forms can distinguish the kind of experience that consumers get and the effectiveness of the results.

Types of CBD and CBD Products

CBD is extracted from hemp plants. Different CBD extracts can exist depending on the extraction method and potential filtering. The three main types of CBD extracts are:

  • Full spectrum CBD - This CBD extract contains all the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids found in the hemp plant. This CBD extract doesn't need to undergo extra processing after extraction. It is widely considered the most valuable type of CBD extract. Full-spectrum CBD might also include trace amounts of THC. But these amounts are controlled and shouldn't exceed 0.3%.
  • Broad-spectrum CBD – Broad-spectrum CBD extract has the same composition as full-spectrum CBD. The only difference is that it has detectable THC removed. This is still an effective form of CBD because it contains all the other cannabinoids and terpenes, and flavonoids.
  • CBD isolate – CBD isolate contains CBD and nothing else. It doesn't have other cannabinoids, terpenes, or flavonoids. While it can deliver the highest potency of CBD, it doesn't produce the revered entourage effect that comes from all the synergistic benefits of the other compounds in the hemp plant.

With the different types of CBD available, the next question is why anyone would prefer one CBD extract over the other.

The first reason is that most people believe that CBD is more effective when taken with other cannabinoids. The theory is that cannabinoids have a symbiotic relationship with each other. This is why full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD products are the most sought-after forms of CBD.

Full-spectrum CBD is ideal for people that don't mind consuming small amounts of THC. For those that would prefer to avoid the consumption of any detectable THC whatsoever, there is broad-spectrum CBD. Finally, CBD isolate is the perfect choice for those who want CBD and nothing else.

These CBD extracts can be used to make various products:

  • CBD oil
  • CBD capsules
  • CBD tinctures
  • CBD vapes
  • CBD edibles (CBD gummies, CBD drinks, CBD chocolates)
  • CBD topicals (Creams, balms, CBD lotions)

Each CBD product appeals to a particular group of CBD users, depending on their CBD intake needs and requirements.

Types and Forms of Kratom and Kratom Products

Kratom processing is not nearly as complicated as CBD. Some people get fresh kratom leaves and chew them to extract the juice. This is common among those native to Southeast Asia.

Kratom leaves can be chewed fresh or dried and ground into a powder that can be ingested or used to make tea. Then, of course, there's also pure kratom extract.

These can be used to make various kratom products like:

Legal Status

Another factor to consider when comparing CBD and kratom is the legal status. At the federal level, both compounds are legal in the United States. But the legal situation is different when you get to the local level.

CBD Legality

The 2018 Farm Bill details the legality of CBD and other hemp cannabinoids. While both hemp and marijuana produce CBD, the 2018 Farm Bill specifies only CBD harvested from hemp plants is legal. Therefore most hemp-derived CBD products are permitted in the U.S.

Although legal at the federal level, CBD is not legal in every state. Each state has its laws on hemp cultivation, possession, and consumption. Most states have adopted their version of federal hemp regulations. But some states have stricter rules. Idaho, for instance, only allows hemp-derived products with 0% THC.

Kratom Legality

Like CBD, kratom is federally legal. There was a notice by the DEA to announce kratom as a controlled substance in 2016, but they later withdrew the statement. It remains federally legal.

At the state level, the legality of kratom varies from state to state, much like CBD and even city to city. Some states have banned kratom, while some cities have banned it despite it being legal in their state. An example is California and San Diego. Although kratom is legal in California, it is illegal in San Diego.

Because the legality of kratom can be confusing, individuals who want to try kratom should check their local laws carefully down to the city level before making the purchase.

Active Ingredients

The active ingredients in CBD and kratom vary wildly in their chemical composition and how they interact with the body.

CBD active ingredients

CBD products, on the one side, have multiple active ingredients depending on the type of CBD extract used.

The active compounds in a full-spectrum or broad-spectrum CBD product can include CBD, THC, CBC, CBG, CBN, and THCV. They also often include terpenes which influence the extract's effects.

The CBD active ingredients work through a series of receptors that include the CB1 and CB2 receptors. They can also influence other receptors, like GABA receptors, to produce the desired benefits.

Kratom active ingredients

Kratom has a different active ingredient profile. The tree's leaves contain two primary active ingredients: Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine.

The functions of kratom are not yet fully understood. More research is required to fully uncover how kratom works in the body. However, a connection has been established between some of kratom's active ingredients and opioid receptors in the brain, which is how kratom likely influences discomfort and stress relief.

Can I Consume CBD and Kratom Together?

With so much discussion about the similar effects that both compounds produce, you must wonder if it's possible to take both compounds instead of having to choose one.

People are using both together for more significant synergistic effects. However, it's worth noting that scientists have yet to investigate what happens when they're both used together.

Should you take the same approach, we recommend starting with small servings. Starting with a low serving will ensure you give your body enough time to adjust and observe how it responds to both compounds.

This approach is recommended even for experienced consumers that have tried kratom and CBD separately. Also, because both extracts are available in many forms, you can try different types until you find something that works for you.

Always ensure you wait for a few hours before taking a second serving of CBD and kratom. Sometimes the onset of effects is delayed. Giving yourself a few hours ensures you don't take another serving too early.

As an additional precaution, you also should talk with your doctor before starting any new wellness routine. That includes using CBD and kratom by themselves or together.

To Sum It Up

Neither kratom nor CBD is new at all. But they're experiencing renewed popularity these days because they appear to provide various exciting natural health benefits.

Kratom is a tree native to Southeast Asia that stimulates you and encourages natural relief. CBD is a non-psychoactive hemp-derived compound that delivers a sense of calm and promotes balance in essential functions like sleep, stress, and much more.

With both Kratom and CBD, it's important to research and purchase from reputable sources if you decide to try either. Ultimately, choosing kratom and CBD will depend on your needs and preferences.