-A look at the famous kratom strain, Maeng Da.
-Pronounced “Mayng Day”
The frontman. The lead singer. The spokesperson. Everything needs a lead.
It’s no different with kratom.
We’re familiar with the three genetic variations of kratom; Red Vein, probably the communal favorite, is often reported to have the best medicinal impact. There’s Green Vein, in which kratoms’ close relation to the coffee plant is most apparent. And of course, White Vein kratom; a sort of hybrid strain with more variable effects, with the primary elements of Red and Green vein coming through to dominate depending largely on the strain.
Why, then, do we hear so much about Maeng Da?
What is Maeng Da kratom?
We’ve covered some of the elements of kratom nomenclature and designation, such as how strains exist that are technically outside the embrace of the three genetic strains; marketing tools such as ‘Yellow Kratom’ and the wild-card ‘Horned Leaf’ kratom. These types of kratom are often different enough to merit their own name, or undergo techniques which alter their appearance of effect. They can be thought of as more divergent variations than what is usual for strains differing in their geography (Red Bali vs Red Malaysian, for example). But Maeng Da often competes with Red Vein kratom as the strain that the kratom community is most enamored with.
It’s important to remember that despite all the names, the varying locales in which kratom is grown, and the different functions of production, all kratom falls under the umbrella of the Red, White, and Green triumvirate. However, some strains of kratom are divergent enough to escape their color coda and establish themselves as a separate entity. Maeng Da is one of these strains.
Maeng Da translates to “Pimp Grade” in Thai. This also indicated the origin of the plant. Thailand is famous for its energetic cultivation techniques of kratom, and Maeng Da may just be their most inspired creation yet. Made by pairing the genetics of various Red Vein and Green vein kratom plants – and the most desirable phenotypes, in the best conditions – Maeng Da has emerged as a predominantly Red Vein kratom with elements of Green. While this would suggest to some that it is a type of White Vein kratom, the community and cultivators of origin are insistent it is not; and indeed, this kratom does not have genetics that match with White Vein, even if it is ostensibly similar.
Maeng Da was made with an intent by the cultivators to maximize the effectiveness of kratom. Many kratom users concur that true Maeng Da can be more potent than even the best Red Bali, often known as the flagship kratom strain. An increased drying time is also said to increase Maeng Da’s potency, which essentially can be considered as an alteration to its curing methods. This is not unique to kratom; most plants, when harvested, can have their qualities significantly altered by the date of harvest, style, length of curation, conditions of the drying and curing process, and other variables. While many farmers simply seek to maximize yield and minimize harvest time, the additional curing time of Maeng Da, and its relative rarity and alleged high maintenance cultivation, has made Maeng Da a bit of a rarity.
An issue complicating the matter is the false flag Maeng Da. Once the popularity of Maeng Da was apparent, some less than reputable suppliers would simply pick out their highest quality -typically Red or White strain- and simply label it as Maeng Da. The average user would have no way to know, and expectations and a placebo effect could have convinced them that they had indeed received a unique strain. Or, they could have been disappointed, leaving them to doubt the hype surrounding this unique strain.
Understanding Maeng Da
But reputable farmers and vendors who pair have supplied the market with legitimate Maeng Da, and its advocates are many. These users report that Maeng Da, in effect, serves as the fullest manifestation of the kratom plant. It it said to not only contains a more potent form of the medicinal aspects of Red Vein kratom, but also the energetic and focus laden benefits given from Green Vein kratom; thus, as a kratom strain more potent than others, and representing the effects of all three strains, Maeng Da is widely favored.
But because of financial constraints, rarity, and the alleged specificity of growing conditions, Maeng Da is not as easily found as other strains. Now, its entirely possible that a manufactured scarcity exists so that Maeng Da, in lower supply, can command higher prices through its increased demand. Perhaps Maeng Da grows well in any tropical environment, yields well, has the shortest grow times, etc… But with an exploding kratom market, it would be less likely that kratom vendors are willing to concede such a robust demand for Maeng Da. While I don’t doubt that some subterfuge occurs in the marketing of Maeng Da, it does appear that the plant has a higher threshold of input and difficulty to properly put to market.
Sometimes, colors or other naming modifiers are included with Maeng Da. ‘Golden Maeng Da’ is common, and unfortunately, its translated roots – “Pimp Grade” is often trumpeted about in lower quality venues to attempt to push the damaging narrative of a ‘cheap, legal high’. Remember, this is not only a misleading and damaging perception of kratom which the vast majority of the community frowns upon, but in almost all cases, these shady marketing tricks reveal a desperation of the vendor to prop up their product. You must ask; why would they feel the need prop up a product which is already adored? I strongly advise you avoid these products, and all kratom products which present the unprofessional and seedy veneer of presenting kratom as a way to ‘beat drug tests’ or ‘get high legally’.
In almost every case, the specific target audience who purchases these products are disappointed; For one, because these products are almost always low quality products carried by a vendor with no respect, and thus no passion or understanding, of kratom or the industry, and two, because knowledgeable members of the kratom community understand that taking kratom is not simply a means to ‘get high’. Please do not support these products; they are the greatest threat to continued legalization and public support the kratom community faces. These are the products the FDA uses in their reports when they try to present kratom as a ‘street drug’ which markets to teens who want to ‘get high’.
Getting Maeng Da
I’ve written a few guides on the best way to explore and understand the kratom market. As Maeng Da, and its colorful translation, often attracts the lowest element of the marketplace – opportunists who care little for kratom and understand it even less – one must be especially watchful when searching for Maeng Da. Remember, these are the warning signs of a low quality product which not only represents harm to the community, but wastes your money and is likely less safe than consuming high quality product;
-Any kratom that is marketed as a drug or a way to get high. This is simply not accurate.
-Any kratom that equivocates kratom to another drug, such as cannabis – O.G Kush kratom (Yes, unfortunately this exists at a gas station near you), or in a product that made me cringe, ‘Purple Drank’ kratom, a disgusting low grade product which is deeply, deeply damaging to the community and represents why we need some level of representation and regulation in the market.
-Any kratom that markets itself as a cure: kratom does NOT cure any diseases. Many anecdotal reports exist of kratom treating symptoms, such as muscle inflammation, or using kratom as a sleep aid. But kratom is not a medicine that cures any diseases. Any product that is marketed as such should immediately be reported to the American Kratom Association.
Unfortunately, Maeng Da is the most popular product to be twisted into these abominations. The best way to procure Maeng Da is to use your most trusted online vendor; some of these online sources can also be found in stores, now too. Of course, we take great pride in our own Maeng Da.
Hopefully, we’ve all learned a little something today about one of kratom’s most dynamic and popular strains. It is likely that Maeng Da will not only continue to improve itself, but we’ll also see additional genetics revealed from the kratom’s genome.
And in this, we all win.