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Kratom vs. CBD: Understanding Their Similarities & Differences

A cannabis leaf and a bottle of CBD oil

Kratom and CBD are emerging as some of the most medically beneficial herbal extracts out there. Although these compounds are yet to make their way into the mainstream global pharmaceutical industry, recent trends paint a positive picture. 

So, it’s only a matter of time before you’ll be able to legally possess, use, or distribute kratom and CBD products, regardless of your location. 

However, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with everything there is to know about these potent extracts. This post offers more insights into the primary similarities and differences between kratom and CBD.

About CBD

Cannabidiol, commonly abbreviated as CBD, refers to one of the 480+ compounds in cannabis. It is one of the two widely-studied compounds in the plant, the other being tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). 

CBD and THC’s main difference is that THC produces psychoactive and intoxicating properties, whereas CBD doesn’t.

About Kratom

Kratom is an evergreen tree in the coffee family, which is native to Southeast Asia. Also known by its scientific name Mitragyna speciosa, kratom has received immense popularity over the last century for its opioid-like properties. Thanks to its opioid properties, kratom can help numb pain and wean off opioid withdrawal symptoms.  There are various types of kratom strains available like red vein kratom, maeng da kratom, etc.

One of the main reasons medical experts recommend kratom for opioid withdrawal is that it is a partial opioid agonist. This basically means that it binds partially to your opioid receptors, unlike conventional opioid drugs that bind fully to those receptors. Since kratom is a partial opioid agonist, the herb carries lower risks of addiction.
Kratom tree

Similarities Between CBD and Kratom

1. Both are herbal extracts.

As we’ve already pointed out, cannabidiol comes from cannabis, whereas kratom is a distinct tree. That makes both CBD and kratom herbal extracts, which means they come with fewer side effects compared to synthetic medication. 

The fact that both kratom and CBD are herbal compounds also means that you can safely consume them in their raw form.

2. Both are based on strains.

Another notable similarity between CBD and kratom is that both substances deliver their distinctive effects depending on their strains. The cannabis plant contains several strains, including Sativa, indica, ruderalis, best marijuana seeds of USA, etc. CBD mostly comes from indica strains, the same that produce hemp cultivars.  

On its part, kratom produces several strains that broadly fall under three categories, including Red Vein, White Vein, and Green Vein. There are several other kratom strains, some of which are named depending on their countries of origin. For instance, we have Bali and Indo strains (from Indonesia), Maeng Da strains (from Thailand), etc. 

You must familiarize yourself with the different kratom strains out there. That will allow you to order kratom online or other popular kratom strains as per your needs.

Differences Between Kratom and CBD

1. Conditions they can treat.

Kratom contains two active ingredients, 7-hydroxy mitragynine, and mitragynine, which are highly effective against pain and anxiety. Kratom extracts can also help to wean off symptoms of opioid withdrawal. 

Cannabidiol also comes with potent analgesic and anxiolytic properties. But besides treating pain and anxiety disorders, there’s a long list of other medical conditions that CBD can help with, including;

  • Inflammatory diseases like cancer
  • Skin problems like acne
  • Gastrointestinal complications like nausea
  • Mental disorders like schizophrenia
  • Sleep disorders like insomnia
Pain, Back, Model, Adult, Backache, Body

Lower back pain


2. Effects

CBD delivers its effects by interacting with the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is a complex cell-signaling system in the body of all animals, whose primary role is regulating homeostatic balance. The system contains its endogenous cannabinoids, and endocannabinoid receptors (including CB1 and CB2 receptors) and various essential chemicals. 

When CBD enters your body, it alters your endocannabinoid receptors’ chemical structure, particularly CB2 receptors that are found farthest from your brain. That explains why CBD doesn’t cause significant mind-altering effects.  

On the other hand, kratom mostly interacts with the opioid receptors located in your brain. The substance partially binds to these receptors and affects how they transmit signals of pain, anxiety, etc. 

3. Legality

The United States federal government considers all cannabis  extracts as Scheduled one substances, hence illegal. However, the 2018 Farm Bill made CBD legal in all fifty states, provided that it contains at most 0.3% concentration of THC. CBD is also legal in several other countries, including Canada, India, and European Union countries. 

The legality of kratom is still a complicated affair globally. There have been widespread calls by the DEA in the US to declare kratom a Schedule 1 drug.  

4. Delivery method

Most kratom products are available in powder form. To consume them, you’ll need to dissolve the powder in water, smoothies, or your favorite beverage drinks. Kratom is also available in capsules. You can even make kratom edibles at home, such as steeping kratom leaves in water or tea. Although uncommon, you could also stumble upon kratom-infused vape juices. 

CBD was initially available in oil tinctures. But with the growth of the vape industry came CBD-infused vape juices. Today, there are many other ways to consume CBD, including edible, smokable, and topical products.

Kratom powder and capsules

Source: Adobe Stock

Both CBD and kratom share a few similarities and differences. Before choosing either substance, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with its benefits, effects, mode of administration, and legal status. Not to mention the side effects.  


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