In ye days of yore, when I was first told about kratom, I met salutations with skepticism. It sounded too good to be true; a medicinal salve that could treat a variety of symptoms while lacking noticeable side effects? But kratom is one of the few things in this world that is as advertised. For a long while, and still persisting to an extent today, it has been advertising – or a lack thereof – that has kept kratom in the dark. In this post, we will review the main differences between Kratom vs. CBD vs. Kava.
Many people have still not heard of kratom. It falls into a niche of herbal medicinals that have not yet been endorsed by the medical community and are generally not native to the Americas, but that command substantial community devotion. Considering this, as I have been many things in these dreary days of quarantine, I began to think of herbals and such that have had little exposure, and then began to consider their relationship to kratom. As kratom users typically have a predilection for nature’s bounty, I felt that examining some other herbal alternatives with rough similarities to kratom may be ample enough an excuse to drag out the ol’ keyboard.
Cannabis and CBD
–And how they relate to kratom
(Please follow your local laws regarding cannabis use, just or otherwise.)
Were we some 10 years in the past, I would dedicate a section to informing about cannabis and its medicinal potential, etc… However, as cannabis has entered the public consciousness – in more than one way – I feel that no lengthy explanation is needed. Its relevance exists as I’ve seen significant overlap between cannabis users and kratom consumers, likely due to their all-natural enticements. What is worth noting is that cannabis and kratom are safe to consume together, but can be quite inebriating if taken in large doses simultaneously. In the course of experimenting – a noble sacrifice for the good of science, obviously – I can observe a few small factoids regarding the interaction between cannabis and kratom.
Recalling, of course, that cannabis and kratom effects everyone differently, and that different strains further add modulation to the user experience, these observations may not be universal. In conducting interviews, supplemented by my own data gathering, it appears that cannabis can offer an interesting interaction with kratom use. Some strains of kratom may impact the user like so: upon taking the kratom, the user receives the trademark energy and focus boost. It is not uncommon for kratom’s more sedative effects to be noticeable some time after these effects manifest, whether by the cessation of the energy boost being more noticeable in contrast, the individual’s reaction to kratom, or the effects of the strain. But it appears that consuming cannabis catalyzes the function of kratom towards its more sedative effects, and away from its energizing boost. This is interesting for a number of reasons. For one, not all cannabis strains induce drowsiness; indeed, some are bred specifically to energize the user (These strain types are known as Sativa). Additionally, cannabis that does act as a sedative does not generally cause drowsiness for at least 45 minutes after consumption. The rather sudden onset of sedation – seemingly a synergistic effect caused by the combination of both substances potential as a sleep aid – seems to be more than the sum of its parts. In other words, they seem to be working in conjunction, and not a combination of two separate additions to sedation.
I would strongly advise that an individual interested in consuming kratom and cannabis in the same time frame be very familiar with the effects of both. I would also strongly encourage the user to have no plans to drive or professional commitments, as the combination of the two substances can induce a somewhat potent inebriation. While it is still a long ways away from the clumsy cacophony of drunkenness, cannabis and kratom seem to feed off of each other in some ways. This is in no way proven, mind you – but I share this as I have collected this data anecdotally and feel that a kratom user should be aware of the potential interaction between the two substances, as again, the crossover between communities is notable.
CBD has already seemed to pass its zenith as a fad in some regions, but confusion still abounds. The newest organic medicinal to enter into a honeymoon phase with America’s herbal alternative crowd (and serving to bolster the ranks of this group), CBD is found in cannabis and hemp. Cannabidiol, or CBD for short, is one of the chemicals in cannabis that contributes to its medicinal value. But CBD does not cause inebriation. In fact, it is thought and near-proven that CBD reduces the effects of THC, the substance in cannabis that causes the ‘high’.
That CBD does not cause any inebriation was the leading factor in its legality well before cannabis became acceptable for medical use across much of the country. CBD’s value lies in its palliative potential; as CBD accumulates in the system, it has a number of benefits, some with more evidence than others. For this reason, cannabis farmers who focus their cultivation on medicinal strains focus on growing types of cannabis with more CBD than THC – for example, the strain ‘Charlotte’s Web’, which has much more CBD than THC, is popular amongst cannabis patients. While THC shares some of these medicinal traits, CBD’s purely medicinal value – and wider array of utility – makes it a popular additive.
Cultivators have found that growing large quantities of hemp and then extracting CBD from the hemp is the most effective way to isolate CBD and thus sell it as a product separate from cannabis. Various foods, tinctures, pills, and other substances contain this CBD isolate and are sold for consumption. While not having any noticeable effect on the user when it is taken, CBD has a number of benefits. Again, there are varying levels of scientific research and certainty in these claims. The most likely benefits of CBD usage are as follow:
-As a sleep aid
-Can improve appetite
-Anti-inflammatory and pain reliever
-Neuroprotective qualities (Good for brain health)
-Treating symptoms of cancer and cancer treatment
-Can reduce nausea and lessen gastrointestinal symptoms, like IBS
-Can mitigate or eliminate the effects of epilepsy
-May aid in diabetes treatment
-May be good for skin health
-May act as an antipsychotic
-May reduce some forms of migraines
CBD has also shown tremendous promise in treating seizures and some other chronic conditions. For example, one child in the U.K was essentially on his deathbed due to seizures; CBD is credited with saving his life and eliminating his seizures. This is not the only story of such ilk.
Thus, it can be concluded that CBD does have medicinal value, though it has been exaggerated slightly by over eager marketing teams looking to capitalize on the medical marijuana boom. It is not a miracle drug, as some have touted it; it is, like any other medicinal substance, effective for some people in some instances, and can have minor health benefits for most people, comparable to that of a supplement or vitamin.
Looking over the list of medicinal qualities of CBD, you may see some crossover with kratom. As such, some kratom vendors have begun to combine CBD with kratom. While convenient, it is important to note that CBD and kratom are not shown to have any synergistic effect; in other words, taking them together offers no benefit from taking them separately. Generally, it is cheaper to purchase CBD separately from kratom. One can also be more certain of their respective quality, as testing can be performed and none of the substances can be ‘hidden’. While CBD infused kratom can be a convenient mixture, it offers no benefits that separate use would offer. Additionally, the benefits from CBD are generally cumulative. You need to consume CBD for anywhere from a few days to a few weeks consecutively for it to reach levels where it begins to aid in its desired function. A single application of CBD will likely not have a desired effect.
A few things to keep in mind regarding CBD:
Hemp does contain a small amount of THC. Regulations allow for CBD to contain up to 0.3% THC, as the extraction process is not always perfect and may capture additional chemicals. This is known as ‘Full Spectrum CBD’. Full Spectrum CBD contains an array of other chemicals that can be found in cannabis in hemp, such as CBD and CBN. The medicinal effects of these substances are not well understood, but they are thought to possess some medicinal qualities – they are somewhat similar to CBD. Alas, the amount of these chemicals is usually negligible, checking in at under 1% in Full Spectrum CBD, and combined with the uncertainty of their benefit, makes the allure of Full Spectrum CBD questionable. Additionally, because Full Spectrum CBD can have some THC in it, you may want to take care when consuming it; it is quite unlikely to inebriate you, but it would not be impossible for a trace amount of THC to exist in your system. This may be relevant for those of you in the job market or at odds with the law. If this is the case and you wish to consume CBD, ensure that the product is pure CBD. This is best done through a reliable, professional vendor.
Remember; CBD is supplementary. Do not use CBD as a replacement for doctor prescribed medicines. While CBD may be curative for some conditions, it generally only targets symptoms; CBD is not proven to cure any diseases. CBD is not known to have toxic interactions with other substances and is generally considered to be innocuous, but as always, consult with your doctor if you take a variety of medications.
The Kava root is a kindred, spiritual relative of kratom. Also originating in tropical biomes, kava has been used for thousands of years in a variety of applications, primarily recreational. Kava is widely legal and has very few drawbacks – it is quite a mild thing.
My Kava Experience
You may have seen a kava bar slinking around a college campus or eccentric downtown district. Kava bars are increasing in popularity as an alternative to the traditional drinking/socializing experience. A born skeptic and ready acolyte of kratom, I was extremely skeptical when first introduced to kava. I had even had friends who had claimed to have taken it and felt nothing. But a pal of mine – a kava savant, one could say – gave me a proper introduction. And my, was I surprised.
With no expectations, I consumed the kava in a medium known as a ‘Shell’. This is because kava is typically served in halved coconut shells after being brewed into a tea of some kind, or simply strained and mixed into water or another drink (It is often ground down into a fine powder). Kava quickly provides a rather pleasant buzzing sensation with notable pro-social impact. Kava is favorable due to its non-existent addiction potential, its agreeable nature with the human body, its clean ‘come-down’ (you do not receive a hangover, or crash, after using kava) and its generally mild nature. After an enjoyable ~30 minutes, you can continue to sup upon your shell or move on. And where most mind altering substances leave some impact, whether it leaves you wanting more, or hung over, or what have you, kava just sort of… dissipates. As I researched it further, I found that it is entirely safe and non-toxic, has no side effects of long term health implications for all but the most extreme users (Kava just doesn’t compel constant consumption, which makes it very rare to find someone who consumes it heavily), and is entirely legal and simple to procure. The anecdotes I had heard about the ineffectiveness of the root were from people who had purchased gas station kava – of course they had only brewed disappointment. As with anything, you must perform some level of research and track down reputable vendors. High quality kava is an enjoyable experience, and its legality in our hyper normative culture speaks volumes to its safety.
Kava vs. Kratom
Kava does offer some of the same effects of kratom, but I would stop short of calling kava medicinal. Kava could roughly be compared to alcohol minus the many drawbacks; in other words, it is almost exclusively a recreational substance. You can only become so ‘buzzed’ off of kava before hitting a ceiling, and that level does not constitute more than the equivalent of, say, a single beer or shot. One does not become woozy or act strangely under the influence of kava, or find their inhibitions removed; merely, a bit more talkative, a bit more smiley. Thus, it could be vaguely compared to some of the more energetic kratom strains, and perhaps even some of the lightly sedative ones, as I’ve heard of kava strains that lightly induce drowsiness.
But this is where the similarities end. While kava may have some minor health benefits – as many organic substances do – it would be difficult to make an argument for kava being medicinal. While I would not argue with someone who claims they ascertain medicinal value from kava, I would also have a hard time suggesting it to someone to treat anything other than a case of, say, the Monday morning blues.
Kratom vs. CBD vs. Kava
Mother nature has, mercifully, provided mankind with a wide range of substances to treat our suspect flesh and redirect the sometimes mundane path of sobriety into something more compelling. Cannabis, CBD, and Kava all share some qualities with kratom, but it would be inaccurate to lump them into a category beyond ‘herbal alternatives’. While Kava would be the only substance on here that I would shy away from calling medicinal, you can make a significant argument for the primary utility of CBD, kratom, and cannabis as botanicals well made for self care. As always, ensure the legality of your chosen substance, and take care if you choose to mix any combination of kratom, kava, and cannabis.
And with that?
Cast open the Gaia’s treasure and sup heartily from her bosom, my dear reader.
Do not take anything on this blog as medical advice. Always consult with your doctor before making any decisions about your health. Do not stop taking any doctor prescribed medications unless you have talked with your doctor. Kratom/CBD/Kava does not cure any diseases. Further research will continue to show that kratom does not cure any diseases. Thus, do not take kratom/CBD/Kava as a cure for any diseases. Some studies show that kratom may be able to lessen some symptoms. This is not proven. The content of this blog is based on reports, is speculation and conjecture, and should not in any way be regarded as proven or medical advice. Always conduct thorough research. Never take medical advice from the internet. Always think carefully about what you put into your body. Always consult your doctor before making any changes that may affect your health.