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What Are The Effects Of Kratom?

effects of kratom

If you’re new to the world of kratom, you may be wondering – what exactly are the effects of kratom?

Perhaps you’ve recently read about kratom on news sites like the New York Times or the Huffington Post, and you’re curious about what kratom does for people and why so many users seem to swear by it. Or, you may be wondering about the truth behind kratom’s often controversial media representation.

Well, it’d certainly be convenient if there was a simple one-word answer to that question!

But, as it turns out – whether in the form of powdered leaf or extract – kratom seems to induce at least several distinguishable psychoactive effects in humans.

However, based on our research and the experiences of thousands of kratom users, the exact effects of kratom seem to be largely dependent on the strain or “type” of kratom ingested.

For example, it’s been observed and well-documented that white-veined kratom tends to have a stimulative effect, while on the other hand, red-veined kratom appears to be more sedating.

That said, there also appears to be a lot of overlap between the effects of various kratom strains. Rarely does one strain fall solely into the camp of being “euphoric” or “pain relieving.”

Instead, as we’ve observed, each kratom strain tends to demonstrate effectiveness in multiple categories. At Kratomaton, this lead us to begin scoring kratom strains based on four major effects categories:


Sedation (relaxation, drowsiness, calming)

Stimulation (energizing, invigorating, exciting)

Euphoria (mood lift, contentment, tranquillity, elation)

Analgesia (pain relief, numbing, anesthetic)


We like to think of these effects as the “big four” effects of kratom. You may have heard them referred to using different terminology – but in essence, we believe these four effects accurately and thoroughly encompass the psychoactive properties of kratom.

That said, as we began to research and score kratom strains based on the “big four” criteria, we realized something. It’s possible that “what are the effects of kratom?” is too broad of a question.

Because each colour and strain of kratom seems to possess unique properties, the answers become a lot clearer when you ask “what are the effects of kratom strains?” instead.

And in this post, that’s what we’ll be looking at today! We’ll be breaking down the “big four” kratom effects in more detail, as well as including examples of kratom strains throughout that seem to “shine” in specific categories.

Let’s get started!


De-stress And Decompress (Sedation)

Although kratom possesses stimulative qualities, its usage is most often associated with sedation.

That’s because kratom contains at least 40 or more alkaloids , two of which are agonists of the μ-opioid receptor in the human body . Strip away the scientific jargon, and this essentially means that ingesting kratom “activates” this receptor, leading to, among other effects, sedation.

As such, many users primarily describe kratom as “calming” or “relaxing.” They likely associate kratom with the activation of the μ-opioid receptor, which for them, brings on a sense of warmth and relaxation.

In general, red-veined kratom strains are most often cited as being the most sedating. However, both gold and green kratom strains seem to possess similarly sedative natures.

In fact, given the psychoactive mechanics of kratom, it’s generally rare for a kratom user to not perceive any sedative effect at all.

That said, some kratom users have reported that, in their experience, kratom is mostly stimulating, rather than being sedating. As we mentioned earlier, though, this is probably due to their choice of kratom strain.

In addition, one’s dosage size plays a causal role in the resulting balance of sedation and stimulation. Ingesting less kratom rather than more (0.5-2.5g) seems to tip the scales in favour of an energetic sensation while taking kratom in larger doses (2.5-5g) often leads to users feeling a heavier sense of sedation. 

The Best Kratom Strains For Sedation

Boost Your Energy And Focus (Stimulation)

Kratom is perhaps best known for its sedative qualities. However, in a strangely paradoxical fashion, kratom is also often considered stimulative or energizing.

Although kratom’s energetic effect doesn’t necessarily rival that of, say, caffeine, it’s been regularly documented that some users swear by it as a “pick-me-up.”  This could be explained in part by kratom’s pain-relieving properties, as reducing one’s physical discomfort and pain could be conducive to a feeling of well-being, and by extension, provide a sensation of rejuvenation.

However, beyond this, the exact cause or catalyst for kratom’s energetic properties remains somewhat of a mystery. Kratom’s primary psychoactive compounds 7-hydroxymitragynine and mitragynine don’t appear to possess primarily stimulative properties.

That said, kratom leaves contain at least 40 other identified alkaloids , many of which are largely underresearched or poorly understood. It’s been observed that mitragynine structurally resembles another alkaloid, yohimbine, which is often marketed for energy and focus.

Once again, one’s dosage of kratom seems to be a large determining factor in whether the user feels more stimulated or sedated. A small dosage size (0.5-2.5g) appears to be conducive to feelings of stimulation, while a larger dosage size (2.5g+) may have the opposite effect.

The Best Kratom Strains For Energy

Elevate Your Mood And Well-being (Euphoria)

In addition to providing users with a sense of stimulation and/or sedation, kratom can also instill users with a general sense of well-being and contentment, which we refer to as “euphoria.”

Although euphoria seems to be a less-common and generally disputed effect of kratom, it’s been well-documented by researchers.

Cinosi et al. found that, at low doses, kratom users described feeling heightened “empathy and euphoria.” However, Prozialeck et al. concluded that “the euphoric effects of kratom generally tend to be less intense than those of opium and opioid drugs.” 

Given that kratom is a selective full agonist of the μ-opioid receptor, a sense of euphoria seems likely. Other agonists of this receptor – such as morphine – can also produce heightened euphoria.

Most – if not all – of the strains we’ve researched seem to demonstrate some euphoric properties. Interestingly, unlike the other psychoactive effects of kratom, euphoria can be observed across all kratom strain varieties, regardless of colour.

The Best Kratom Strains for Euphoria

Relieve Pain And Alleviate Discomfort (Pain Relief)

Kratom is often seen as a “plant-based opioid” or opiate alternative, and that association is most likely due to kratom’s potent analgesic or pain-relieving effect.

Upon ingestion (and especially at moderate-to-high doses of 2.5-5g+), most users report that kratom provides at least some relief from bodily pain. 

So why does kratom provide pain relief – and how? Well, it’s hard to explain without sparing you the scientific jargon – so bear with us!

Mitragynine – kratom’s most prominent alkaloid – is thought to be mostly responsible for kratom’s ability to alleviate pain and discomfort.  However, other researchers have concluded that a second kratom alkaloid, 7-hydroxymitragynine, is likely the primary catalyst for kratom’s analgesic effects.

This could be due to 7-hydroxymitragynine’s higher potency, bioavailability and blood-brain-barrier penetration in comparison to mitragynine.  

In general, we’ve found that both red and gold kratom strains seem to provide the most potent pain relief.

The Best Kratom Strains For Pain

Side Effects Of Kratom Use

It’s important to note that the ingestion of kratom isn’t consequence-free. Even within moderation, kratom usage may involve a number of possible side effects, while chronic, long-term kratom use can lead to adverse health effects.

Short-term side effects 

  • Nausea

  • Constipation

  • Sleep problems

  • Temporary erectile dysfunction

  • Itching

  • Sweating

Long-term side effects 

  • Anorexia

  • Dry mouth

  • Problems in diuresis

  • Darker skin

  • Hair loss

Withdrawal effects 

  • Hostility

  • Aggression

  • Muscle/bone aches

  • Spastic limbs

  • Anorexia/weight loss

  • Insomnia


Wrapping Up

While each user’s individual experience with kratom may vary, there’s enough general research and literature out there that corroborates kratom’s sedative, stimulative, euphoric, and pain-relieving effects.

And although much about the plant remains a mystery, hopefully, this post has brought you one step closer to understanding it.

Thanks for reading – and don’t forget to check out the rest of our kratom blog posts!


Works Cited

Babu, K. M., McCurdy, C. R., & Boyer, E. W. (2008). Opioid receptors and legal highs: Salvia divinorum and Kratom. Clinical Toxicology, 46(2), 146–152. https://doi.org/10.1080/15563650701241795
Cinosi, E., Martinotti, G., Simonato, P., Singh, D., Demetrovics, Z., Roman-Urrestarazu, A., Bersani, F. S., Vicknasingam, B., Piazzon, G., Li, J.-H., Yu, W.-J., Kapitány-Fövény, M., Farkas, J., Di Giannantonio, M., & Corazza, O. (2015). Following “the Roots” of Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa): The Evolution of an Enhancer from a Traditional Use to Increase Work and Productivity in Southeast Asia to a Recreational Psychoactive Drug in Western Countries. BioMed Research International, 2015. https://doi.org/10.1155/2015/968786
Prozialeck, W. C., Jivan, J. K., & Andurkar, S. V. (2012). Pharmacology of kratom: an emerging botanical agent with stimulant, analgesic and opioid-like effects. The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, 112(12), 792–799. https://kratomaton.com/citations/Pharmacology_of_Kratom_An_Emerging_Botanical_Agent.pdf