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Kratom Extract vs. Powder: Comparing The Effects, Uses & Risks

Over the years, kratom has gained an extensive following because of its versatility in showcasing multiple forms with differing potencies. From kratom powder to extract, capsules, and tea bags, this botanical ensures your selections will never be boring. This guide will look into the similarities and differences between kratom powder and extracts, offering a unique spectrum of experiences.

Originating from the Mitragyna speciosa plant, kratom has undergone different traditional techniques before the modern extraction methods employed today. Whether you’re a well-experienced kratom user or a beginner in the industry, this guide aims to dive deeper into a comparison between kratom powder and extracts, including each method’s potency, preparation, and ongoing debates regarding their use.

The History of Kratom Consumption: Conventional Traditions and Emerging Trends

PeriodSignificance
Traditional UseLong before kratom's popularity today, the native Mitragyna speciosa had a history of use among indigenous tribes in Southeast Asia for its stimulating properties.  Ancient workers traditionally consumed kratom to help increase their energy, serving as a traditional herbal remedy.
19th CenturyDutch colonial botanist Pieter Willem Korthals first documented the properties of kratom in the early 19th century. Korthals observed its use among Southeast Asian communities.
20th & 21st CenturyThe interest in kratom in the Western world has increased significantly in 2010 and onwards, with more people exploring its potential as a botanical. However, its legal status varies globally and within countries like the United States because of ongoing debates about its safety and risks of abuse.

image of the variability in kratom strains

The Variability in Kratom Strains

It’s no surprise that kratom is available in various strains – with each offering a diverse range of potential effects because of the unique alkaloid composition in each. Depending on the specific strain’s vein color and origin, you may experience possible benefits like relaxation, stimulation, sedation, enhanced focus, better mental sharpness, and calmness, among others.

To make things simpler, we provided a summary table below highlighting some of the most sought-after kratom strains together with their notable characteristics and overall effects.

StrainNoteworthy Characteristics
Maeng DaKnown for its potent effects, it is often considered premium quality. It is famous for its potency and long-lasting properties.
BaliValued for its balanced profile of effects. Bali strains are among the most affordable and accessible.
BorneoIt is distinguished by its high alkaloid content and a significant variety in its effects.
IndoIndo strains are praised for their less intense effects and more prolonged duration - a preferred choice for many users.
ThaiThai kratom features variation in its effects, depending on the color of the vein chosen.
VietnamIt is unique due to its growing conditions and alkaloid profiles. Vietnam strains are known for their distinctive effects compared to kratom strains originating from other regions.
MalayMalaysian strains, often called 'Green Malay,' are famous for their balanced effects and longevity.
ElephantNamed for the large size of its leaves, resembling elephant ears, and are famous for their unique alkaloid profile.
Hulu KapuasSourced from the Kapuas River ar

Comparison: Kratom Powder vs Extract

Kratom powder and extract both offer distinct characteristics with their fair share of advantages and disadvantages. The key to choosing the best option will always depend on your lifestyle, tolerance, and personal preferences. Now that you have a brief overview of kratom, its history, and its strain varieties, let’s dig deeper into the main differences between kratom powder and extract.

Kratom Powder

Kratom powder is sourced from the ground leaves of the Mitragyna Speciosa tree. These tree leaves come in three primary vein colors: red, green, and white – each features a distinct blend of potential effects depending on the specific alkaloid concentration native to the specific strain.

Kratom powders mainly consist of mitragynine, the primary active compound comprising about 1.2% to 1.6% of the total alkaloid content. This means it’s also the frontrunner in providing the specific strain’s potential effects. The other primary compound is 7-hydroxymitragynine, coupled with over 45 other potential alkaloids—all possibly playing roles in producing a kratom variant’s overall benefit or effect.

image of kratom extract

Kratom Extract

Another potent form of kratom strains is its extract form, also composed of a high concentration of critical alkaloids. Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine are the primary compounds and other minor chemicals that provide potential benefits. Various extraction techniques enhance these alkaloid concentrations, each offering its own potential advantages. Below are some of the most popular methods of extracting kratom.

1. Aqueous Extraction

This eco-friendly method dissolves kratom in water, filters out insoluble matter, and concentrates the solution to elevate alkaloid levels.

2. Alcohol Extraction

This technique uses ethanol as a solvent to extract alkaloids by soaking kratom leaves, then straining and evaporating the ethanol to leave a concentrated extract.

3. Traditional Extractions

Traditional extractions include techniques that directly extract the alkaloid content through solvent interactions with the kratom. Some techniques include maceration or soaking, infusion or hot water soak, decoction or boiling, and percolation or the solvent passing through a material.

image of kratom extract

4. Enhanced Microwave Extraction

MAE applies microwave energy to heat the solvent and plant material mixture, speeding up the extraction process and reducing solvent use.

5. Direct Absorption Technique

SPME is a solvent-free method that employs a coated fiber to absorb alkaloids directly from the plant, offering an efficient and eco-friendly extraction.

6. Critical Fluid Method

SFE uses supercritical CO2 as a solvent under high pressure and temperature, extracting alkaloids efficiently without harmful solvents, highlighting its eco-friendly nature.

These varied extraction methods contribute to the production of kratom extracts with differing alkaloid concentrations and purity levels, affecting the overall potency and potential effects.

Types of Kratom Extracts

Classical Extracts

Natural extracts provide potent kratom concentrations, which are produced from significant amounts of kratom powder to produce smaller and more potent forms. For instance, when you see a specific kratom product labeled with “50x“, this indicates that 50 grams of regular kratom was used to create a single gram of extract. While this features potency and ensures you feel the effects, there’s a risk that the original kratom has an unknown potency or that it’s processed from a pure or low-quality source with no standardization data.

Standardized Extracts

Standardized extracts are more specific in their mitragynine content by percentage, which provides more consistency in their potency. When you see a 40% extract, it should (hopefully) guarantee that 40% of its weight is composed of mitragynine or whichever alkaloid it is standardized to (mitragynine being the most common).

image of ultra enhanced kratom

Ultra-Enhanced Kratom

Ultra Enhanced is not an extract per se but is made by soaking kratom leaves in a potent extract and then grinding them into powder. This process aims to create a more potent product, depending on the leaves’ absorption of the extract’s alkaloids.

Resins

Resin kratom extracts are semi-solid and highly concentrated forms of kratom. They are quicker to process and produce than water-based extracts but can be more challenging. The process involves acidifying a water-kratom mixture and then freezing, boiling, and simmering the mixture to concentrate the alkaloids into a resin.

Isolates

Isolates are refined to offer a single, isolated alkaloid, typically in powder form. This type of kratom product provides a straightforward approach to utilizing specific kratom effects, focusing on a particular alkaloid’s impact without the plant’s full alkaloid spectrum.

A General Comparison of the Effects of Powder and Extracts

Kratom PowderKratom Extracts
EffectsVaries with strain; generally milder than extracts ranging from 1.2% - 1.6% mitragynine in general.More potent and intense due to higher alkaloid concentration
ProsEasier to manage dosage for new users; wider variety of strains available; less expensive than extracts.Requires smaller doses for effects; more convenient for those seeking stronger effects; longer-lasting
ConsLarger doses may be needed for desired effects; effects vary significantly between batches and suppliers.Higher risk of tolerance, dependency adverse effects, and misuse due to potency can be more expensive; precise dosing is critical.

Risks: Kratom Powder and Extracts

Kratom powder and extracts also come with risks and possible side effects that can appear with either.

Extracts

Kratom Extracts are more potent, significantly increasing the risk of overconsumption and adverse effects. Their concentrated nature can lead to a rapid development of tolerance and potential dependency.

image of risks kratom extracts and powder

Standard Powder

Kratom Powder, while also carrying risks of overuse, generally poses a lower risk of severe side effects due to its lower potency. Tolerance may develop over time but at a slower rate compared to extracts.

Both forms contain the same primary alkaloids, implying similar inherent risks related to these compounds. However, the risks may be intensified with extracts due to their higher concentration of alkaloids.

Common Kratom Adverse Effects

  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Changes in Bowel Movement
  • Headaches
  • Drowsiness
  • Stomach Ache/GI Discomfort
  • Constipation
  • Sweating
  • Irritability/Mood Changes
  • Changes in Blood Pressure
  • “Eye Wobbles”
  • Vomiting
  • Tolerance/Habit Formation

The table above lists the most common side effects associated with kratom use, which means that rare and more atypical adverse effects can still occur, especially with improper dosing. It’s also crucial to note that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has already warned the public regarding kratom use due to safety concerns, potential for abuse, and severe health risks.

Additionally, you should also be aware that the risk of experiencing such side effects may increase when combining kratom with other substances like medications, drugs, over-the-counter drugs, and even some supplements. This is why consulting a healthcare professional is critical before beginning your kratom consumption, especially in the presence of pre-existing health conditions. With a physician on your side, he can help monitor your health history, current health condition, and any form of medication to ensure a safer kratom consumption experience.

It’s important to note that the propensity for side effects may be heightened when kratom is combined with other medications, substances or in individuals with pre-existing health conditions.

image of legal and regulatory consideration

Legal and Regulatory Considerations

Kratom powder and extracts, which both contain the primary alkaloids mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, face the same legal status across the United States. These alkaloids are the focus of bans in certain areas, affecting the legality of kratom products. Here’s an overview of the legal landscape:

Federally, kratom is legal. This means there are no national laws prohibiting the use, sale, or possession of kratom.

States Where Kratom’s Primary Alkaloids Are Illegal:
StateNotes
AlabamaKratom is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance.
ArkansasKratom is classified as a controlled substance.
IndianaSpecific ban on mitragynine and 7-hydroxy mitragynine.
Rhode IslandDirect ban on the alkaloids, not the plant itself.
VermontClassified as a regulated drug, explicitly targeting its alkaloids.
WisconsinAlkaloids are listed as Schedule I substances.

In states where kratom is legal, some cities and counties have implemented their regulations on kratom use. It’s vital to consult local laws to understand the specific restrictions that may apply. This map offers detailed information on kratom’s legal status in various locales.

Given the complex legal landscape, individuals interested in kratom should conduct thorough research on its legality in their specific area before purchasing or possessing any kratom products. Staying informed is crucial to ensure compliance with local laws and regulations.

Our Final Thoughts

While kratom offers dynamics and variability in the potential of natural botanicals, caution is advised, especially with kratom extracts. Given their higher potency, cost, and the increased risk of adverse effects, misuse, tolerance, and dependency on kratom extracts, it might be best to avoid such kratom forms. Opting for traditional kratom powder may provide a safer, more controlled experience.


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.

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