This post is a follow-up to an article I wrote on Forbes entitled, The Kratom Experiment Begins.
First, I should explain why I am publishing this piece here instead of Forbes. When I wrote the original piece, I mentioned that I would be using Lucky Kratom brand capsules for the evaluation. This set off a cascade of comments and emails telling me that I was making a mistake limiting myself to that brand, for a variety of reasons.
At the same time, several Kratom distributors contacted me offering free samples to use during my evaluation. I decided to accept samples from three of these companies:
Because I accepted these free samples, I felt it was no longer ethical to write the follow-up article on Forbes -- a venue for which I am paid to write. Instead I chose to move the follow-up here, to The Daily Brain, a blog I own and derive exactly zero compensation from.
I am grateful to each of the companies that supplied samples, because they enabled me to conduct a much more thorough evaluation than would have been possible with only one brand (Lucky Kratom – a product I paid for myself, I should add).
Having said that, I will not be comparing products from different companies in this post. That was never my intention. Rather, I will simply provide you with my personal experience with the products in general.
The two forms of Kratom I experimented with were powder and capsules. I also experimented with a variety of strains and “fusions” of different strains and extracts. Generally speaking, I took Kratom in the morning, usually mixed with a small amount of orange juice.
I did not experience a tremendous difference between strains, although the fusions that contained extracts were consistently more potent. Because the extracts lead to quicker tolerance, I spaced out my usage and tried to stick to regular strains most of the time. I especially liked Bali, Maeng Da and Green Thai.
Now for the effects.
My overall takeaway is that Kratom has a two-tiered effect. Initially it provides a burst of energy very similar to a strong cup of coffee. Unlike coffee, however, the energy I derived from Kratom was longer-lasting and level. My experience with coffee is that the initial burst is strong but it tapers and descends rapidly, leading to the well-known caffeine crash. The energy from Kratom, on the other hand, would often last for three or four hours, but was subtle enough that at no point did I feel like I was jumping out of my skin. I also did not experience an energy crash with any of the Kratom products I sampled.
The second-tier effect was relaxing, but fell short of being sedating. I never felt sleepy while taking Kratom, but I did experience a level relaxation that was pleasant, and balanced out the initial energy-boosting effects nicely.
As to side effects, I can’t say that I experienced any worth noting. A few times I noticed that my eyes were bloodshot after I used a fusion containing an extract, but that was not a consistent side effect and it never obscured my vision, nor did it seem related to any other drawbacks.
As to the difference between capsules and powder, I noticed that the powder worked faster, but the capsules seemed to be generally as effective, though with somewhat delayed effects. That makes perfect sense since it takes the stomach a bit longer to break down the gelatin containing the powder.
My biggest concern with most of the products I sampled is that it’s not easy to nail down the specific amount to take. I used “bakers spoons” that indicated how many grams a spoonful contained, but I’d strongly recommend anyone who wants to take the product long-term to invest in a decent-quality digital kitchen scale. I am indebted to several people who have sold Kratom for years for offering free advice on how to arrive at the correct amount for my body type (I'm six feet, 225 lbs with an athletic build).
In my case, about three grams was adequate to induce an effect, but I have been told by several regular Kratom users that amounts vary greatly by person. I can’t make any recommendations on the “right” amount to use. I simply experimented with amounts (guided by the advice I mentioned) until I found one that worked well for me.
My overall comment on Kratom is that it’s a lot like good coffee, but with a more even, long-lasting energy effect, and a much more pleasant “finish.”
As to the results of stopping usage, I can tell you without hyperbole that getting off coffee is a far worse experience than getting off Kratom. I was able to stop taking Kratom for three days and at most I experienced a bit of sluggishness that wore off in a day or so. Withdrawal from coffee, for me, includes at minimum two days of excruciating headaches that make me want to rip trees from the ground and toss them through store windows (something I've never actually done, mind you). Suffice to say, caffeine withdrawal is significantly worse than Kratom withdrawal, if it can even be called "withdrawal." There's no comparison whatsoever.
Having now experienced the product myself for a number of weeks, I can see no reason why it should be banned, or on what basis such a product would be banned if people can walk into a typical coffee shop and buy an enormous cup of an addictive substance that’s arguably more potent than any Kratom available anywhere.
If you have any questions about my experience or would simply like to discuss further, please feel free to email me:
disalvowrites [at] gmail.com
You can also leave a comment on this post.
*A note on quoting from or reprinting/reposting this piece: overall I am flexible on reposts, but please contact me ahead of time by email to let me know when and where you'd like to repost. Thanks in advance.