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Kava vs Kratom - Which is better?

  • Kava and Kratom - How do They Compare?
  • The Origins of Both
  • What is the legality of Kava and Kratom in the USA?
  • Kava Effects vs Kratom effects?
  • Can You Mix Kava and Kratom?
  • Kava and Kratom and Alcohol Withdrawal?
  • Can Kava be Used Instead of Kratom?
  • Is kava addictive compared to kratom?
  • Conclusion
  • Kava vs Kratom

    What is the difference between kava and kratom?
    What is the difference between kava and kratom?

    Kava and Kratom - How do They Compare?

    Kava and Kratom are two different plants that are often mistaken to be the same. They are often sold next to each other in headshops and online, and both offer similar psychotropic effects of euphoria and sedation. Although their names both start with the same letter, Kava and Kratom are different plants of different origins, chemical contents, and benefits or effects. Kava is a very popular drink from the Pacific Islands. Polynesians and other surrounding tribes have long had the root in their tradition and enjoy and share this ceremonial brew. It is also now widely popular for recreational use. Kava is now widely consumed all over the world and is gaining popularity in exports. The trend of kava has more recently crossed into North America. Kava bars are now very popular in some American cities. This growing trend is most likely due to the the fact that kava is backed by research to have interesting effects and medicinal uses. It is also known to be a relief source for anxiety. Over the years, people have enjoyed kava, and it seems the trend isn't slowing down anytime soon. Apart from kava, there is another plant, kratom, native to Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and other areas, which have gained attention in the mainstream.

    Kratom is a leaf and is also usually prepared in a powdered form. You probably won't find this one at your local pharmacy. Still, some herbalists have adopted it, and it is easy to get from online stores. You'll often find pain relief and kratom in the same sentence. There has been much controversy about this plant. Health officials are still researching it to see if they will completely ban it or if they will regulate it as a dietary supplement.

    Kava (Piper methysticum) belongs to the piperacaea family and is native to Western Pacific Island nations such as Micronesia, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Fiji, and the state of Hawaii. Kava is into a beverage usually made from the raw kava root, usually as part of religious rituals or as an alternative to alcohol.

    Kratom (Mitragyna Speciosa) belongs to the tropical evergreen coffee family of trees that is native to Southeast Asian countries like Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia and Myanmar. It is traditionally consumed by chewing its leaves to provide pain relief, boost mood, and increase energy levels. Note, however, that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which included the countries mentioned above, have banned or made kratom illegal as traditional medicine or a dietary supplement. *Update* Thailand, which was the first to make this plant illegal has currently made it legal to use for medical use.

    What is the legality of Kava and Kratom in the USA?

      Legality of Kava?

    Kava is fully legal for export and public consumption all around the USA. The kava plant has supporting government laws all over the world. Some countries that were skeptical about kava have now lifted their bans. For example, Canada has now accepted applications for companies seeking to market it as a natural health product.

      Legality of Kratom?

    Kratom remains a plant of controversy, and there are a few states that have made the sale and consumption illegal. Non-profit organizations like the American Kratom Association (AKA) continue to fight hard to keep this plant from becoming regulated. They fight for the people who claim it has changed their life for the better. Kratom advocates say that it is part of the solution for the opiate crisis in the United States, while FDA and DEA are unsure about the safety of this plant. Currently, the kratom on the market does not necessarily come from suppliers who adopt the Good Manufacturing Process, and the AKA is trying to convince the government to regulate it as a dietary supplement. Regulating it would make kratom adopt the same manufacturing and labeling rules as kava and other herbal supplements that are acceptable for consumption.

    The major similarity of kava and kratom is with their effects, which make both plants commonly used as a recreational beverage or as natural medicine. Both plants have anesthetic properties that can help provide pain relief. They have soothing effects that help people relax, thereby reducing anxiety and relieving stress. Excessive consumption also has a similar downer effect that results in dizziness or sleepiness. Finally, both plants also have a euphoric effect by triggering the release chemicals that produce feelings of pleasure, which reduces social inhibitions and thus enhancing social interactions. This psychotropic effect makes both kava and kratom popular for recreational consumption.

      Differences in Chemical Composition

    While kava and kratom can may appear to create similar effects, they affect our bodies and brains differently on the inside because of differing alkaloid contents. Kava mainly contains the kavalactone compounds which react with the limbic system of our brain, specifically in the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors (e.g., serotonin), which account for the feelings of happiness.

    Kava root produces a relaxing effect on the mind. Kava is known to help the brain receptors relax and promote better protection from anxiety helping to preserve mental health. It is also often sold as a muscle relaxant. Extended usage of kava in moderation and with proper direction, has also been known to have almost no adverse effects on health.

      The Brain and Kratom Effects

    Kratom, on the other hand, contains Mitragynine and other alkaloids. These compounds are what serve as agonists or binders to opiate receptors (e.g., dynorphins and endorphins), which in small amounts results in excitation and stimulation. Although it not an opiate, in larger amounts, it acts similarly, and as such, can result in substance addiction and dependence with prolonged use.

    Lets look at what is going on in the USA and places where you can often find them together.

    The Kava Bar Scene

    As we have more kava bars opening up in the USA, we find that the menu often comes with a variety of different options. The menus are often a mix of healthy snacks, vegan snacks, fruit smoothies, kombucha, herbal teas, coffee, and kratom. Many online posts describe their kratom and kava experience. In general, it appears that they potentiate each other since they are reacting to different centers in the brain. There is not enough research to see what is happening to the brain and may be dangerous both in the short and long run. There is a definite danger of the mixture is very habit forming and in our opinion, mixing the two takes out the traditional ceremonial part that is deeply rooted in the kava culture.

      Kava and Kratom and CBD Oil in Head Shops

    We associate head shops with smoking and vaping articles, hemp clothing, and patchouli. Still, today's head shops sell much more than products surrounding cannabis culture. Even states where cannabis is illegal, it is now legal to sell CBD oil products without a license. You will also find kava products like kava shots, raw powders and kava extracts. Next to these products, you'll often find kratom products. It appears that there are many cases where people are experimenting with CBD oil and kava for anxiety.

    Kava vs kratom and mixing with alcohol

      Kava and Alcohol

    There are many discussions regarding whether or not kava helps with alcohol withdrawal. There is no treatment program using kava to help with withdrawal. It is not recommended to self diagnose yourself because alcohol withdrawal can range from mild symptoms to severe cases where it is life-threatening. It is also not recommended to mix kava and alcohol since it can create an overload on the liver and other negative reaction.

    It seems that kava is becoming more mainstream, in part due to a growing trend of kava bars opening their doors around the country. Many have said that the ancient plant is a great replacement for alcohol, with its mild euphoric properties being at the root of this growing social scene.

      Kratom and Alcohol

    People may claim that kratom has kept them away from their drinking habits. Still, self-diagnosing alcohol withdrawal with kratom can be hazardous. There seems to be a lack of research about kratom and alcohol and their use for withdrawal. Doctors will most likely use benzodiazepines for alcohol withdrawal. Since kratom will affect completely different receptors in the brain, it will not help the negative withdrawal symptoms. Heavy drinkers need to seek medical attention to get the proper help they need to stop alcohol consumption safely.

    Kava has been used to relieve many ailments, including muscle tension, stress, and is sometimes used to help with some of the negative effects caused when stopping kratom. Although it is not good to change one habit for another, many have claimed that kava has changed their life in very positive ways.

    There is no clinical studies made regarding this matter at the moment. Both of these plants will affect pleasure centers in the brain, but they will affect in different ways. For this reason, we can observe that both plants are potentially habit-forming. It does appear that in general, kratom is the more habit-forming of the two. People consuming kava and kratom together for long periods are at higher risks of creating an addiction. There is one incident with a person visiting their local kava bar a little too much. Their favorite brew was a mix of kava and kratom. They soon found themselves visiting the establishment daily for an extended period, and the consumption turned into a serious uncontrollable habit.

    People that take kava as a treatment for social anxiety disorder are also at higher risks of becoming dependant on kava. Users should refrain from long term(3 months) excessive usage of the plant. After three months, a 2-3 week break is essential before consuming kava tea or supplements again. Although kava seems to be more mentally addictive than physically addictive, a person can also show symptoms of mild physical addiction. One should stop taking kava if they find themselves continually increasing their kava consumption to achieve the same effect. They should be aware that it is one of the many signs of uncontrolled habit, and should seek help from a professional.

    Kratom appears to be very popular for opiate withdrawal. The people who use the leaf often say that it has changed their lives and seem to be taking it daily. It also appears that people build tolerance quickly and need to take more to reach the same effect. Many people say that stopping a long habit of kratom tea was difficult. Conversations on Reddit often discuss tapering off, which is to decrease consumption to minimize possible negative side effects. Tapering off is also a method used by doctors who prescribe opiates and benzos and even cortisone. The negative effects are far less than the intense physical addiction of an opiate. There are clear signs that it is more addictive than kava.

    Kava is a plant that has been enjoyed by many people for ages as a ceremonial, medicinal, and recreational plant, while kratom has been more for medicinal and recreational use. Kava has little or no damaging health effects in the Noble Kava variety. Kava continues to be massively exported and produced. It is now one of the major sources of income for the islands where the plant grows. Kava is also now regarded as a good choice instead of alcohol. The benefits of kava are numerous. However, users should refrain from long term(3 months) excessive usage of the plant. Kratom, on the other hand, is another story entirely. Kratom has a lot of negative side effects. It is also possible that kratom may interfere with the functions of the brain. Kava is now widely served in many American cities, and there are now kava bars everywhere. Merchants often sell kratom and kava alongside, but they should not be mixed. One of the reasons why kava is constantly gaining popularity is because of the sense of fellowship that follows its consumption. It is regarded as a social drink to improve connections between people. Kava is available in many varieties and through many suppliers but makes sure that you buy only noble kava from a trusted source.

    kava vs kratom - The verdict is to stick to kava tea