Kratom has exploded in popularity in recent years due to its touted benefits like physical discomfort relief, improved mood, and reduced stress. While kratom is legal in most states, there are still questions surrounding its safety, especially when purchased from dubious sources like gas stations. Gas station kratom has become increasingly common, with shiny packaging and promises of potent effects.
But is this gas station kratom of reputable quality? There are a few significant risks to consider before purchasing kratom from gas stations or other non-specialty retailers. Gas station kratom may be improperly labeled, list inaccurate dosages, or could potentially be contaminated or cut with other substances. Additionally, gas stations are not held to the same quality standards or rigorous lab testing procedures as reputable kratom vendors.
Why do Gas stations Offer Kratom?
Kratom’s increasing mainstream popularity has led to it being sold in gas stations across the country, even though it remains unregulated by the FDA and unscheduled by the DEA, meaning it is legal on the federal level and not considered a prohibited Controlled Substance; this lack of oversight allows gas stations to offer kratom as a profitable new addition to inventory despite questions surrounding product quality control and potential health risks to consumers.
- Increased Popularity – As kratom has surged in popularity in recent years as an herbal supplement, gas stations are capitalizing on this growing demand by offering it to customers.
- Lack of Regulation – Kratom remains largely unregulated in most jurisdictions, allowing gas stations to sell it legally without oversight on product quality, safety, etc.
- Profit Motive – Markups on kratom can be substantial, making it a potentially lucrative product for gas stations to sell. Less overhead than specialty stores.
- Impulse Purchases – Gas station locations are convenient, high-traffic areas that lend themselves to impulse buys. Kratom packages can attract attention at the counter.
- Lack of Access – In some rural/suburban areas, gas stations may be the only nearby option to purchase kratom locally as opposed to online.
- Appealing to Regular Customers – Gas stations may offer kratom to appear responsive to what regular customers have requested or shown interest in buying.
- Minimal Investment – Adding kratom to existing retail displays represents a relatively low-risk investment for gas stations seeking additional revenue streams.
Is Gas Station Kratom of Good Quality?
There are several risks to keep in mind when it comes to gas station kratom:
- Contamination – There is a higher risk of contamination, whether accidental or intentional when kratom originates from gas stations. Kratom is mainly unregulated, so gas stations are not held to high-quality standards, and they may not vet their sources properly.
- Inaccurate Labeling – Gas station kratom often has incorrect or exaggerated labeling, like inflating the mitragynine content. This makes it difficult to take the proper dosage.
- Lack of Lab Testing – Reputable kratom vendors lab test for contaminants, but gas station suppliers may not. Consumers have no way to verify the purity or safety of gas station kratom.
- Questionable Sourcing – The source of gas station kratom is usually unknown. It may be imported cheaply and quickly, which increases risks around farming, handling, and manufacturing processes.
- Inconsistent Purity – There have been instances where gas station kratom was found to contain higher amounts of alkaloids than in the natural Mitragyna speciosa plant.
Overall, the lack of regulation and transparency around gas station kratom means there is an increased risk to the consumer. It is impossible to verify the contents and safety.
Potential Side Effects
Here are some of the most common potential side effects that can occur from using kratom products purchased from gas stations:
- Nausea and vomiting – Poor quality or contaminated kratom is more likely to cause nausea and vomiting due to irritant substances or higher concentrations of alkaloids.
- Constipation – Kratom is already known to cause constipation as a side effect, but this can be exacerbated by higher alkaloid contents in unregulated products.
- Respiratory depression – Very risky side effect involving slowed breathing. More likely, with gas station kratom contaminated with synthetic additives.
- Liver damage – Contaminants like heavy metals, bacteria, or mold can increase the risk of liver injury when using low-quality or adulterated kratom.
- Tachycardia – Abnormally rapid heart rate as a result of adulterants or alkaloid levels well beyond a regular kratom dosage.
- Dependency – Varying alkaloid concentrations can make dependence and withdrawal more likely when using uncontrolled kratom sources.
- Sedation – Potent sedative effects and drowsiness could signal that kratom has been adulterated with substances.
Overall, the risks of contaminants, additives, mislabeling, and improper storage mean gas station kratom carries more potential for harmful side effects than regulated products from licensed vendors.
Why is It Better to Buy From Online Shops?
When it comes to purchasing kratom, dedicated online shops are overwhelmingly a safer and smarter option compared to gas stations. Here are some key differences:
- A more comprehensive selection of high-quality kratom strains, varieties, and extracts
- Vendors specialize in kratom, so they have more knowledge and focus on quality.
- Reputable vendors lab test products for contaminants
- Better storage practices maintain freshness compared to gas stations
- Products come directly from the source, avoiding middleman markups
- Detailed product descriptions help match strains to your needs
- Customer reviews help identify top-performing, trusted vendors
- Reasonable, competitive pricing with discounts and sales
- There is usually a very limited kratom selection
- Products might be improperly stored, losing potency
- It might come from questionable sources and an opaque supply chain
- The risk of contamination and adulteration is higher
- There is no way to assess the expertise or qualifications of the supplier
- Lack of customer service for guidance on strains or usage
- Higher prices due to convenience store markups
Clearly, carefully vetted online kratom shops are the best option for consumers and have the most excellent chance of a positive experience through transparent sourcing, testing, and expert guidance.
Alternative Local Shops that Sell Kratom
Instead of taking the risks involved with buying kratom from gas stations, there are typically better local options for purchasing quality, lab-tested kratom:
- Smoke shops – Established specialty smoke shops (not gas station affiliated) often have a decent kratom selection. They tend to take more care sourcing and handling it than gas stations.
- Vape shops – Similar to smoke shops, reputable local vape shops frequently sell various strains of bulk kratom and packaged products.
- Herbal shops – Botanical herbal medicine shops, especially ones focused on alternative ethnobotanicals, often stock high-quality kratom powder and capsules.
- Supplement stores – Stores selling workout supplements, nootropics, vitamins, etc, may also carry kratom, especially in metro areas, as it has gained mainstream appeal.
- Tea shops – Specialty tea shops have been known to carry kratom for blending with herbal teas. Their suppliers tend to be vetted for quality.
- Kratom-specific retail chains – Several chains sell kratom as a specialty in multiple states. These are often sources of high-quality kratom.
Ask staff detailed questions when sourcing locally and always request to see lab certificates if available. Properly stored kratom should be shielded from moisture, sunlight, and extreme heat, which degrade potency. With some due diligence, better quality kratom can be found locally.
CONTENT DISCLAIMER: The content on this page is strictly for entertainment purposes only. The content below has not been medically reviewed and is not intended to offer advice for use or intended use. For more information about kratom and its potential dangers, please visit the fda.gov site.