Although the world of kratom revolves around a single plant, mitragyna speciosa, you'll probably encounter dozens of choices when shopping for kratom online. That's because kratom vendors often sell many different kinds of kratom or kratom strains.
But don't worry: kratom strains aren't freakish organisms engineered in some lab! Instead, they're simply the result of natural variation. Just as apple farmers can grow different types of apples, kratom farmers can do the same with kratom. Using specialized growing and post-harvest processing techniques, kratom farmers can produce strains that have varying colours and effects.
Red Bali and Red Maeng Da are two great examples of the differences between kratom strains. At first glance, these two popular strains might seem virtually identical. However, according to kratom users, both strains seem to offer different properties and experiences.
Sometimes, a kratom strain's name can reveal details of its origin or properties. Other times, a strain's name doesn't offer any insights and is entirely baseless — but that's not the case when evaluating Red Bali vs Red Maeng Da.
Red Bali's strain name most likely refers to the Indonesian island of Bali. Despite its name, Red Bali isn't necessarily exclusive to Bali, though. As of this writing, farmers grow the plant all over Indonesia, the country that continues to supply the majority of the world's kratom.
Red Maeng Da's name is a little trickier to decipher. When translated from Thai to English, Maeng Da (แมงดา Mængdā) means "pimp," which often means to "improve" or "upgrade" something in western culture. As a result, some kratom vendors and enthusiasts believe that the Maeng Da name suggests high quality and potency.
As red kratom strains, Red Bali and Red Maeng Da offer a blend of sedation, pain relief, and euphoria. However, both strains are different enough to warrant distinction.
In general, Red Bali seems to be the more potent of the two. Users of Red Bali have reported that the strain is highly sedating, pain-relieving, and long-lasting. However, as a trade-off, Red Bali doesn't appear to be very stimulating, meaning that it's unlikely to provide the "energy" of white kratom strains.
In comparison to Red Bali, Red Maeng Da appears to be less potent, but more balanced. While capable, Red Maeng Da might offer slightly less sedation and pain relief than Red Bali. However, unlike Red Bali, Red Maeng Da users have reported more stimulation.
Red Maeng Da and Red Bali are both highly-popular strains, so it's not surprising that you might have to choose between them at some point. Thankfully, picking a strain ultimately comes down to personal preference.
Red Bali is ideal as a relaxing strain, pain-relieving strain, or evening red strain. Most Red Bali varieties should help you feel more relaxed and can be effective at reducing pain. However, Red Bali also tends to be very sedating, which can cause you to feel tired or even fatigued, especially in higher doses (5+ grams). As a result, Red Bali seems to be best suited for evening use.
Red Maeng Da is ideal as a balanced strain, beginner strain, or daytime red strain. Due to its supposedly balanced and well-rounded effects profile, Red Maeng Da is less likely to reduce your daytime energy levels in comparison to Red Bali. However, Red Maeng Da also doesn't excel in any particular area. If you're looking to get as much pain relief or relaxation from your kratom as possible, Red Bali might be the better option.
Choosing between kratom strains can be daunting, and there's no substitute for personal experience. However, we hope that this guide has helped clear up some of the confusion, and we wish you the best of luck in your journey with kratom!