by Kit O'Connell
CBD and kratom are two popular natural supplements, but they have very different uses and effects.
These days, many people are looking for herbal alternatives to supplement the over-the-counter, or prescription options available. People hope to find simple, natural relief from their symptoms.
Both hemp (from which CBD is made) and kratom are plants with a long history of use by humans. As people rediscover them, they’re both experiencing something of a resurgence today. As a result, some people might get confused about the differences. Let’s be clear: CBD and kratom are not interchangeable.
CBD vs. Kratom: The basics
- CBD and kratom are two different plant-based supplements with very different effects, uses and side effects.
- The 2018 Farm Act made hemp-derived CBD legal at the federal level. The Drug Enforcement Agency has repeatedly threatened to make kratom illegal..
- CBD is derived from hemp and cannabis plants, while kratom is made from a tree that's native to Southeast Asia. The active chemical compounds in each are completey different.
- Many people take CBD without feeling any side effects, and any that appear are generally mild. Kratom can cause severe side effects including vomiting, nausea, constipation, even blood pressure changes.
- Experts, including the World Health Organization, generally consider CBD to be very safe, while kratom has been linked to a few deaths.
CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a natural compound found in hemp. According to consumer reports, it’s been used by millions of people for help with inflammation and pain, symptoms of anxiety, to help regulate sleep and more.
Modern CBD oil supplements are extracted from fully legal industrial hemp plants through a process which concentrates CBD and the other active ingredients in the plant. This concentrated hemp extract gets mixed into a carrier oil, like hemp seed, MCT, or coconut oil, to create CBD oil. It also gets mixed into products like topical CBD salves, softgel capsules, candies, and much more.
CBD seems to help promote balance and equilibrium, and many users report it eases a variety of unpleasant symptoms both physical and mental. Experts like the World Health Organization have determined that CBD is very safe, with no risk of abuse. It’s also very well studied. Even though we’re still learning about CBD, a great deal of money is going into research into it and other hemp-based compounds today.
What is kratom?
Kratom is made from a tree that’s native to Southeast Asia. It’s also known by its Latin name, “mitragyna speciosa.” For thousands of years, locals from the regions where kratom grows used the plant, typically by chewing the leaves. Kratom has a long history of use as a substitute for opioid drugs, and sometimes gets used recreationally too. Nowadays, it’s usually taken in a powdered form that’s mixed with drinks or swallowed in a capsule.
The two active ingredients in kratom are mitragynine and 7-Hydroxymitragynine (7HMG). Unlike CBD, these compounds work by interacting with the opioid receptors. Right now, there’s much less research into kratom than with CBD. People seek out kratom to ease pain or anxiety, and some people report it helps with opiate addiction. For now, scientific evidence to prove these benefits is lacking.
What’s the difference between CBD and kratom? Are they legal?
One major difference between CBD and kratom is how they’re being treated by the U.S. government.
Currently, both CBD and kratom are unregulated. That means you need to be careful to research products before you buy, and only buy from reputable brands with great reputations. But the Food & Drug Administration is currently working to develop regulations for CBD and, in addition, Congress is considering a law to treat CBD as a nutritional supplement.
By contrast, the Drug Enforcement Administration and other government agencies have called for bans on kratom. On the state level, laws in at least 5 states and Washington, D.C. exist which ban sales of kratom. Even if you can find kratom now, you might think twice about starting a supplement which could disappear.
That harsh treatment may be, in part, because kratom can cause some harsh side effects. These include, but aren’t limited to, vomiting, nausea, constipation, even changes in blood pressure. Kratom may even be linked to some deaths.
While CBD can cause side effects, they are usually very rare, such as mild drowsiness or dizziness. No one has ever died from hemp or cannabis. However, it is possible that CBD could interact with some prescription drugs. When in doubt, you should always check with your doctor before adding a nutritional supplement, especially if you’re already taking prescription medications.
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We hope you’ve learned more about the differences between CBD and kratom from this article. If there’s one thing we hope you take away, it’s that CBD is largely safe for most adults and can potentially offer many benefits.
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