Lately, two of the herbs have been making the headlines everywhere. Chances are you’ve already heard about CBD or cannabidiol which is a cannabis extract. Most people know CBD as a pain management tool. But, CBD is not the only natural pain relief option you have.
Another herb that’s gaining popularity in this arena is Mitragyna Speciosa more commonly known as kratom. This herb is native to Southeast Asia but didn’t gain popularity in the West until the onset of the 21st century.
Despite being a controversial herb, it’s largely legal in most US States. At least for now. A lot of users use kratom for relief from pain, anxiety, stress, fibromyalgia, opioid withdrawal, and energy.
Most people already associate all these benefits with CBD since it has been popularized by media outlets. But, is it more effective than kratom? Or is it the other way round?
This post draws an unbiased comparison between the two so you can make an informed decision as to which might be better for you.
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What is Kratom?
It’s a tropical herb/tree that grows naturally in Southeast Asia. Thai culture carries a rich history of kratom trees for being a magical herb with immense medicinal value.
Even though the plant is loaded with a lot of alkaloids, two of the most popular ones are 7‐hydroxymitragynine (7‐HMG) and mitragynine (MG). Both of these have been tightly scrutinized over the years.
While the MG appears to be therapeutic, supposedly interacting much in the same way as THC and CBD; 7-HMG seems to exhibit psychoactive properties. It is believed, the latter interacts with the same brain receptors as opiates.
While you can ingest kratom raw, it’s typical for people to use dried and ground leaves often sold as powder and capsules. There’s also the ‘extract form’ which has the highest shelf life. You can also boil kratom leaves and powder to make tea.
What is CBD?
CBD or cannabidiol is a compound that comes from the cannabis plant. It is found in both marijuana and hemp.
The CBD you will find in the markets comes from legalized hemp from which it is extracted as oil. It then goes through processing where it gets converted into products like capsules, tinctures, and infused edibles.
Popular extraction methods remain CO2 extraction which uses solvents like butane and ethanol. CBD can be extracted either as a standalone cannabinoid or with other cannabinoids like THC and terpenes.
The latter form of extraction results in full-spectrum CBD products which are seen as more effective due to the ‘entourage effect’ that is brought on by multiple cannabinoids working together rather than CBD acting on its own. By law, no CBD product can carry more than 0.3% THC.
You can buy both CBD isolates (which is pure CBD) or you can buy full-spectrum CBD. You can find both isolate and full-spectrum in products like gummies, vapes, capsules, tincture, liquids, oils, etc.
Which is Better for Pain: CBD or KRATOM?
CBD is, by far, best known for carrying natural pain management properties. Studies have well established CBD as an effective anti-inflammatory agent which is capable of reducing chronic inflammation, pain, and swelling; all the while preventing nerve damage.
Some research indicates CBD’s potential in the management of MS. Many believe CBD helps them with migraines and headaches; although there isn’t enough research/evidence for that.
While there’s plenty of research paper and evidence about CBD’s effectiveness in pain management, scientific evidence for kratom’s potential is very little.
However, that doesn’t mean it’s not effective. The anecdotal evidence is plenty. Check out this kratom review thread, for instance.
Despite there being not enough research, a 2017 review of kratom concluded that the herb can effectively manage a bunch of medical conditions and also induce relaxation.
More than 90% of participants who took part in a survey by the American Kratom Association said that kratom is ‘very effective at relieving medical issues including pain.’
Other Benefits of CBD and Kratom?
CBD’s effectiveness in reducing seizures led to its foray in the mainstream pharma industry with the introduction of first-ever CBD based FDA-approved drug called Epidiolex. The drug is designed to treat epilepsy.
If we talk about kratom, its biggest contribution (other than pain management) continues to remain as a potential management tool for overcoming opioid addiction. While it’s not medically approved, the natives did use kratom for this purpose.
Kratom’s potential in overcoming drug addiction supposedly comes from its primary compound called mitragynine. Some studies make it appear as though kratom could have antidepressant-like effects too.
With that said, it’s worth noting that the FDA warns against any vendor or manufacturer selling kratom under any medical claims. We still need proper research to establish the kratom’s safety and side-effects.
Which is Better? CBD or Kratom?
CBD is the clear winner in this race simply because there’s so much clinical evidence to support its effectiveness. Let’s not forget, it’s also the first one to officially hit the medical industry.
CBD is safe, effective, and non-addictive. It’s side-effects so far seem slim to none while the benefits are plenty.
Kratom’s safety, on the other hand, remains to be medically studied and established. But, even in the absence of any strong evidence supporting its safety; a large number of people continue to consume kratom.
The DEA has, over the years, tried to push for the banning of kratom. So far, the efforts have been futile. But, kratom’s legality continues to remain in flux while CBD is largely legal for consumption.
Users are, however, advised to exercise caution in terms of frequency and dosage of consumption. Also, always buy from a certified vendor.
When all is said and done, it is very much possible that kratom may serve your purpose better than CBD. So, feel free to explore your options and keep an open mind.