Kava? Kratom? What’s the difference? Is there a difference? Does one affect you more than the other? If it does, how so?
There are so many questions and maybe even confusion in this argument over these two natural remedies. We are going to dispell rumors you may have heard and present the facts on each.
We know a lot about this stuff but only you can make the decision on what is right for you and your requirements. Read on to find out which supplement wins the kava vs. kratom debate and if either will suit your needs and fit your lifestyle.
What is Kava?
Kava is actually short for kava kava and is a remedy made from the roots of plants found on islands in the Pacific Ocean. The people native to these islands have used kava for hundreds of years in religious and medicinal practices.
It is generally consumed as a non-alcoholic beverage. But don’t let it fool you just because it is non-alcoholic. This drink is actually psychoactive and causes most people to feel more focused yet relaxed.
With heavy or overuse of the root, it is possible to develop a skin rash known as kava dermopathy or kanikani if you’re in Fiji. It is reversible when usage stops, but until then, there is a possibility of scaly skin.
Conversely, kava can be used therapeutically in the treatment of addiction. Some studies have shown that using it in this way actually reduces or eliminates cravings.
What is Kratom?
Kratom comes from a tropical tree that grows in Southeast Asia. It is known by a few other names including Biak, ketum, and Thom.
There are two compounds in kratom that interact with the opioid receptors in the brain similarly to actual narcotics. These two compounds are 7-a-hydroxymitragynine and mitragynine.
Because these compounds interact with receptors similarly to the way compounds in narcotics would, you reap comparable benefits. However, with reward comes risk, so there is a chance for some less-than-pleasant side effects.
It should also be noted that in smaller doses, instead of sedation, people using this remedy have reported stimulant-like effects.
Some people use the supplement by chewing leaves, brewing a tea, or by ingesting a pill/capsule. You can also smoke it or consume it in an edible like you might other substances.
A small number of people that use this supplement report increased sweating, which leads to body odor and other malodorous problems. These odor issues are mainly in the form of chronic bad breath and offensive-smelling urine.
Luckily that oddball side effect is nothing compared to the fact that it has been shown to aid in keeping blood sugar stable. Because it reduces pain, it helps control stress eating.
Now that you know a bit about kava and kratom, you’re probably wondering what their similarities are. We’ve put together the list of similarities based on the benefits/drawbacks as well as the feeling you’d get by using either of these products.
Kratom and kava both are known to be painkillers and help treat withdrawal symptoms from other drugs. It has been noted that they are a great treatment for depression and anxiety.
It is always exciting to find a natural medicine that helps with the epidemic of addiction. Each of these has been noticed in the mental health world for the possibility of treating addiction. They both work a bit differently in the brain but the function is quite similar in that cravings are more or less ended.
Unfortunately, these supplements have a few disadvantages too. Neither is to be taken with other medications and it is unknown what dosage will affect the liver, and both can affect the stomach to varying degrees.
Generally speaking, in low doses, kratom and kava act as a stimulant. However in larger doses, they act as a sedative similar to a benzodiazepine or pain reliever; helping with sleep, stress, anxiety, and pain.
If you read the above, you might be thinking, “great, they’re pretty much the same.” While the similarities are definitely apparent, there are a few heavy differences.
Kratom actually does have addictive properties. It CAN help with addiction and aids in withdrawals. Do you remember those compounds mentioned? Those play a huge role in the addictive properties.
This means if you use kratom to come off of opioids, there is a chance you’ll deal with similar symptoms if you choose to stop taking the supplement. Not to lessen the seriousness of this problem, but remember that millions of people are addicted to nicotine and caffeine.
This clearly means that kava is not addictive and when people start and stop taking the supplement they have no annoying withdrawal symptoms.
The other huge difference is in the legality of it in the US. If you follow the news, you may have seen that the DEA is attempting to regulate or ban kratom. This hasn’t happened yet but is always a possibility.
It really depends on what side of the world you live though. In certain countries, one is banned but not the other, and in different countries the opposite is true.
Kava vs. Kratom: Who Wins?
At face value, in the kava vs. kratom debate, it may seem like for all intents and purposes, they’re the same. Both work similarly and treat many of the same ailments.
However, the two big differences listed will likely be your deciding factors. If you’ve got a history of addiction, you may want to avoid kratom because of the problems it could cause.
The legality of each will probably come into play in the coming years but one may be banned before the other.
The decision is ultimately up to you, but most people lean strongly one way or another for all types of reasons. Of course, you should never forget that there are other natural ways to get high, including exercise and meditation.
No matter what you choose or why, do it safely. Don’t drive, be honest with your doctor, and don’t let it become your number one priority. If you are interested in other natural supplements, check out other legal ways to get high.