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The Kratom Boom
If you’ve gotten familiar with kratom over recent years, you’ve seen that there’s been no shortage of changes in the market. Kratom as an herbal remedy has been around in the US for quite some time now (centuries in Southeast Asia), so we’re seeing a natural upward progression, as kratom’s proponents grow in numbers and make their voices heard.
As we collectively educate ourselves on the undeniable benefits inherent in kratom, we’re witnessing the industry’s blossom right before our eyes. This newly-found enthusiasm toward kratom has influenced many to learn about, use, sell, and manufacture kratom—there are even kratom advocacy groups… with a larger following than you’d think!
We’ve been hearing this rumble for years, slowly building momentum and attracting followers… The resulting spike in demand has been significant to say the least.
As we know, increased demand is met with increased supply—and so all sorts of new kratom products have come about (tablets, edibles, liquid shots).
Likewise, as expected, many businesspeople are beginning to find faith in kratom, as with each passing day they discover more and more incentives to distribute kratom of their own.
And now, in a blink, we’re seeing a dramatic influx of new kratom vendors all throughout the states. It’s absolutely a step in the right direction, but it also begs the question:
It should always be the manufacturer’s responsibility to maintain the integrity of their products, and we expect that to be the case with our favorite brands that we know to be trustworthy. Unfortunately, however, we live in an imperfect world where there are less-than-reputable players that exist in the game.
Here at GLK, we encourage all kratom users to take heed when it comes to undiscovered territory. Just as you’d educate yourself prior to using any other product, take the appropriate measures to ensure that your kratom is precisely what it should be, and nothing short of that.
With all this new Kratom on the market, how can I know I’m getting what I should be getting?
Whether you turn left, right, up, or down, there always seems to be a kratom manufacturer proudly proclaiming that their kratom is the answer—the missing piece of the puzzle. The marketing jargon sounds attractive, but don’t let it distract you from what really matters.
In this blog, we’re walking you through the all-inclusive thought process that <strong>you</strong> need to implement the next time you’re shopping for kratom.
Struggles for Newcomers
Those who are new to using kratom usually finds themselves lost in the abyss, confused about what information to seek and how to apply it. It’s no help when the clerk selling it to you cares more about accepting your money than absolving your curiosity. So, what should we really be after when buying our beloved kratom?
You want to find kratom you can trust, from a source you can trust.
If your selection is a gamble, remind yourself that you’re also gambling with your money—and possibly your body! If your questions aren’t answered sufficiently by the person behind the counter or the manufacturer, don’t take the unnecessary risk.
Instead of taking a shot in the dark, here are some tips to consider:
- Research the brand of interest, or other brands
- Seek a recommendation from an experienced friend
- Avoid unbranded/unlabeled kratom
- Go with a manufacturer that you know to be reputable
What to Look for
We can all agree that health is the most important factor here, so first and foremost we want to avoid any potential health hazards. In the second half of this article, we provide useful health & safety tips when shopping for kratom.
Moving on for now, we should be reminded of all the additional factors at play during the selection process. These are the qualities that can truly persuade us to devote our loyalty to a specific brand or type of kratom. We have some important criteria for you to use when buying kratom. Consider:
- Vein color (white, green, red)
- Potency (% Mitragynine)
- Form (capsules, powder, extract)
- Dollar value (based on brand, size, & form)
Each of these topics will have its own dedicated section. If you’re seeking answers to specific questions, feel free to zoom straight to the content that’s most important to you.
No Strain No Gain
When people mention kratom ‘strains’, they’re actually referring to the kratom’s country of origin. In other words, the environmental parameters of the region where the kratom is grown is what actually creates the difference between strains.
A strain grown in Malaysia, for example, will contain a different set of alkaloids than one grown in Bali. The plant’s alkaloid profile is dictated by surrounding conditions and is somewhat responsible for the effects induced by the plant.
Since kratom is grown throughout many Southeast Asian regions, there’s truly no shortage of strains available on the market. Here are just a few out of the many strains available today, along with where they come from:
When it comes to learning about strains, try not to bite off more than you can chew. There are too many strains to remember them all, and it’s not worth it anyways. The largely popular strain of kratom called Maeng Da is the strain preferred by the large majority today. You can typically find the most desirable kratom attributes in a high-quality Maeng Da Kratom.
Our advice: simplicity is the name of the game here. Try to stick to what you know. Don’t complicate it any more than that. If you’re indecisive and not entirely sure which strain is right for you, Maeng Da kratom is most likely the best place to start.
We can assure you that deciding on kratom has never been easier than we’ve made it. Our premium Maeng Da kratom line was designed around simplicity and quality—it’s something we like to brag about. Our stress-free selection guide is attached below.
With that being said, strain isn’t the only factor at play when it comes to kratom plant’s alkaloid content. In the case of kratom, vein color is the true all-star.
Vein Color (Ripeness?)
Let’s talk about vein color and why it’s even worth our time. Let’s say you got up from where you’re sitting and walked outside to pull a leaf from the closest tree you could find. If you examine the leaf closely, you’ll notice the veins running from the center axis to the outside borders of the leaf.
Nothing mind-blowing so far, I know…
It gets interesting when we apply the thought process to the kratom leaf. The alkaloid profile of the kratom is largely determined by the color of the veins upon harvest.
Kratom has three naturally occurring vein colors (white, green, and red vein). As the plant goes through maturation, its veins cycle through all three colors. Simply put, we can harvest the kratom plant at the stage we choose based on our desired vein color.
You might be wondering how vein color corresponds to the kratom’s characteristics, and why you’d prefer one over the other. See Table 2 below.
In truth, all three vein colors are pretty popular. We find that kratom lovers tend to lean toward our Green and Red vein kratom for their neutralizing effects. Personally, I prefer cycling between all three based on the effects I’m after. This method is also an effective way to keep your tolerance in check.
So, the vein color in combination with the strain dictates the name. A green vein kratom plant native to Bali is called…say it with me…Green Bali!
I know right? Mind = blown. Try not to marvel for too long, we still have more to cover!
Nobody likes being lied to, so before you comment “You said there were only three vein colors but I found far more than that when I shopped for kratom!” I’d like to clarify; it’s not because I want to watch the world burn, and I promise I’m not misinforming you. Those other strains you’ll find are actually not naturally occurring.
Kratom veins labeled Gold or Trainwreck are custom combinations of the three original vein colors; there is no actual gold vein kratom. Our house-mixed Gold Maeng Da & Gold Premium are prime examples of these unique creations. These can vary from brand to brand.
Potency & Quality
What’s the main differentiator between high vs low quality kratom? For a batch of kratom to be considered ‘high quality’, it must not only meet a minimum standard for purity (free of contaminants), but also potency.
Potency refers to the proportion of alkaloids within the plant, and is typically communicated as a percentage. There’s one specific alkaloid in kratom that everybody is talking about: Mitragynine (Mih-traah-jin-een), and it’s majorly responsible for the effects that most kratom users want.
Our advice is to seek a kratom that’s rich enough in Mitragynine (MIT) to be sufficiently effective, without hurting your wallet.
Our rule of thumb is to go with 1.2% MIT or higher. Any branded kratom you have access to should have its Mitragynine percentage displayed someplace on the label.
Forms (Capsules, Powders, Extracts, & More)
Pioneers in the kratom game have derived all sorts of creative kratom variations to make their kratom brand the star of the show. All these forms of kratom bring something of their own to the table whether it comes down to convenience, price, strength, or a combination of these things.
Deriving the processes to formulate these new forms of kratom is no easy feat. Industry leaders are in constant competition to release the newest, most awe-inspiring form of kratom that can truly captivate the market.
The objective in the R&D process is coming up with an end product that is effective, economical, practical, and bioavailable.
Available forms of kratom include (but are not limited to):
- Powder (duh)
- Extracts (liquid shots, powder, or capsules)
- Chewable gummies
As mentioned, each of these forms offers something unique. We’ll cover the pros and cons to each form in a future blog, so stay tuned and follow our newsletter. For now (especially if you’re a beginner) stick with powder and capsules. The majority of users prefer capsules, as they’re most convenient and don’t have a taste.
Bang for Your Buck
It’s always a good idea to experiment with what’s out there and discover what’s most valuable to you. Sure, it’s easier to take the lazy route, but that doesn’t always ensure the desired outcome. Consider comparing different brands and forms of kratom to find out what works best for you at a price that you can live with.
Most unique forms (such as extract shots or gummies) incur additional costs through experimentation, raw materials, waste, marketing, and a number of other things. So naturally, unique forms of kratom like extract shots or chewable gummies are preferred for reasons other than cost-effectiveness.
If you’re a regular kratom user, you may find that buying extracts on a daily basis might not fit within your budget. In this case, stick with powder & caps most of the time, keeping other variations as a second option for special occasions.
Lab Testing/Certificate of Analysis
When it comes to health measures, your most reliable safety net will be lab testing. As unlikely as it may be, products can become contaminated when people get careless. For your own health & safety, confirm that the kratom brand you select is indeed lab-tested at each necessary interval throughout the manufacturing process.
Lab testing is a very standard routine throughout the kratom industry. Any brand that’s worth their salt is most likely lab-testing their kratom products. These tests are designed to detect alarming concentrations of any entity that can be harmful to the human body, including:
- Heavy Metals (Arsenic, Cadmium, Lead, Mercury)
So, does this mean you’ll have to hunt down the original lab-testing paperwork for each bottle of kratom you buy? Of course not, that’s the manufacturer’s job. The point being that you want to find a brand that’s transparent and ethical in their practices. In the section below, we’ll be covering some useful tips for making this happen.
Contaminations—Reason for Panic?
Of course not. There’s nothing to be afraid of. Even if you forget everything from this article, it is still pretty [very] unlikely to come across a harmful interaction with kratom as long as you use basic common sense. Most brands stay on top of it, but that doesn’t mean consumers like us should ever get reckless.
Instead of panicking, prepare yourself by knowing what to look for and how to spot something that should raise question marks. Preparation is the antidote to chaos, and you don’t want to be the one to find out the hard way—so be a pro by letting us steer you clear of red flags!
If you’d like to confirm that the kratom you’re buying is safe, here are some tips:
- Request lab-test/COA (Certificate of Analysis) from seller
- Check kratom bottle/bag for lab-testing claims
- Only buy sealed packaging that can’t be opened or tampered with
- Check contents for small debris, may look like mini wood chips or dirt
Those of our readers beginning your kratom journey can find plenty of utility in online content about kratom. The internet is vast and overflowing with useful information that can provide value to your life; all you have to do is look!
Staying active in the online kratom community will give you a place to address your concerns and join groups of likeminded people who are looking to learn more about truly making the most out of their kratom experience in the safest way possible.
Still curious on where to search? One of my favorite places to have my questions answered by people just like me is the Reddit community, where you’ll find many kratom enthusiasts with their own interesting experiences to share.
Love Kratom? Us too! If you’ve made it this far, there is nobody better than you to let us know how we’re doing. Share your feedback in the comments and stay tuned for future blog posts to catch up with our unique take on the latest kratom news and, most importantly, what it means for you going forward.