According to a 2019 Gallup poll, one in seven American adults has tried CBD products, and, according to some estimates, between 10 and 15 million Americans use kratom.

These drugs have both risen to prominence in the last several years, going from being practically unheard of to showing up on the shelves of gas stations and corner stores around the country.

What’s the deal with CBD and kratom, though? What is similar about them and how are they different?

Let’s take a look at everything you need to know

What Is Kratom?

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Mitragyna speciosa is a plant that is commonly known as “kratom.” In the coffee family, this tropical evergreen tree is indigenous to Southeast Asia. It has been used as an herbal medicine since at least the 1800s in countries where it is native, including Indonesia, Thailand, Papua New Guinea, Myanmar, and Malaysia.

Uniquely, kratom has both some stimulant-like effects and opioid properties. Traditionally, kratom was made into a tea or chewed. People would chew the leaves in order to increase appetite, energy, and sexual desire, as well as to relieve musculoskeletal pain.

Kratom was also used traditionally as a local anesthetic and to heal wounds. Intestinal infections, diarrhea, and coughs were also treated with kratom. In Thailand, kratom is also used as intestinal deworming agents.

It is common for this plant to be used by people who work in monotonous jobs or manual labor. This is because it can act as a mood enhancer, painkiller, and can stave off exhaustion.

Kratom was also used in Thailand as a part of the ritual worship of gods and ancestors as well as a snack to share with guests.

This drug has become popular in recent years because of its ability to produce euphoric effects at low doses and opioid-like effects at higher doses. People often use this plant to alleviate anxiety, pain, depression, or to aid with opioid withdrawal.

As of 2015, kratom has become available on the internet and in head shops around the United States and there are even resources online, like, to help people learn more about this powerful herb so they are able to make an informed decision about whether it could be a good option for them. The use of the drug has increased dramatically between 2011 and 2017. Some people use kratom as a coffee alternative at lower doses and as a pain killer alternative at higher doses.

What Is CBD?

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CBD stands for cannabidiol, which is a cannabinoid (active compound) found in the cannabis plant. Cannabis has been used for medicinal, spiritual, and recreational purposes for millennia. However, the plant became stigmatized and illegal in many countries in recent centuries.

The tides do seem to be turning, though. In the U.S., many states have legalized the medicinal use of cannabis while a healthy handful has legalized the recreational use of the plant by adults.

With the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, it became legal at the federal level to cultivate and sell industrial hemp, which led to the explosive rise of CBD in American markets.

There are tons of cannabinoids in cannabis, though by far the most famous one is THC. Known as the cause of marijuana’s mind-altering effects, THC products are only legal in some U.S. states.

CBD, on the other hand, is not a psychoactive cannabinoid. It does, however, have a number of medicinal benefits attributed to cannabis as a whole. This means that people who want to benefit from the health effects of cannabis without the side effect of the high find CBD to be the perfect solution.

What are some CBD benefits?

CBD is used for a wide variety of reasons, including:

  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Pain
  • Inflammation
  • Addiction
  • Schizophrenia
  • Depression
  • Cancer treatment-related symptoms
  • Acne and skin disorders
  • Sleep disorders

CBD products are available in a wide variety of forms online and in many U.S. states. Because it can be extracted from industrial hemp, it is legal to produce and sell CBD except for a handful of states that have legislation against it.

Comparing CBD Products to Kratom: What’s the Difference?

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Both of these plant medicines are used to help treat some of the same issues, including anxiety, pain, and insomnia. However, beyond the similarities in the conditions that people use them for, there are not many more similarities between these two popular substances.

Each of these plants has completely different active ingredients that interact with the body in completely different ways. Kratom targets the opioid system and the adrenergic system, while CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system.

CBD is considered to be more effective at treating chronic pain, anxiety, and inflammation. In low doses, kratom is thought to be better as a stimulant or nootropic, while in higher doses it’s thought to be better for acute pain.

These two substances are also not the same in terms of their legality and perceived risks. CBD is considered to be a relatively safe substance that has very few side effects.

The safety information of kratom, though, isn’t as straightforward. Kratom can be habit-forming, so it’s important to not use it long-term. There is a lot of buzz around kratom and whether or not it is safe for people to use.

If you’re interested in learning more safety information about kratom, check out this article entitled “Is Smoking Kratom Safe?”

Always Do Your Research Before Taking New Substances

It can be hard to find reliable information on non-regulated medicinal products online. It’s important to do your research before taking new substances, because even something as seemingly harmless as CBD can have some negative interactions with other medications. Talking to your doctor before trying CBD or kratom to help treat a medical condition can give you the opportunity to learn more and make an informed decision.

Did you find this article on CBD products and kratom interesting? If so, be sure to check out the rest of our blog for more fascinating and informative content!

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