Kratom History

What is Kratom?

Mitragyna speciosa (ketum, kratom or kratum, Thai: กระท่อม) is a tropical deciduous and evergreen tree in the coffee family (Rubiaceae) with a long history of medicinal use in Southeast Asia, particularly in Thailand or Malaysia.

In low dosages of a few grams of leaf, kratom functions primarily as a stimulant, with effects similar to caffeine without the marked jitteriness of drinking several cups of coffee. In higher dosages, kratom functions as a neurological opiate, triggering the mu opiate receptors in the brain, even though kratom is chemically different from the opium derived medications such as codeine, morphine, hydrocodone, and oxycodone.

Researching The Power of Mitragynine

Until 2002, the alkaloid mitragynine was believed to be the primary active ingredient in kratom. Out of all the alkaloids in kratom, there is more mitragynine than any other alkaloid. In the 1970’s, the predecessor of the pharmaceutical giant GSK did research into the medicinal potential of mitragyna speciosa. They did a scientific study comparing the effects of pure mitragynine to crude extract of kratom leaf and found that mitragynine by itself was not an effective analgesic medicine. They subsequently decided that there was no medical use for kratom.

In 2002, the true active alkaloid in kratom, 7-hydroxymitragynine, was discovered by a group of Japanese researchers. These researchers have filed a patent for all possible medical derivatives of mitragynine and over the next few decades will likely bring kratom derivatives to market as patented pharmaceutical drugs.

Also see Erowid’s kratom scientific literature overview.


The Beginner's Guide To Kratom

In the United States and Europe, kratom has started to grow to be a powerhouse. As a result, the global science community has begun to study kratom closely.

Our beginner’s guide will report on those findings and provide both the kratom tea and kratom strain newbie with a balanced, comprehensive guide to kratom throughout the world. Additionally, this kratom guide will answer popular questions about the safety of kratom, its benefit, and effects.


Who Should I Buy From?

The most important consideration when purchasing kratom is to ensure that the product has been tested for chemicals and dangerous metals. You should never take kratom that has been altered in any shape or form. Make sure those who you are buying from are reputable with a good track record.


Picking the Right Strain

With so many different kratom strains, its important to understand which strain is right for you. Unlike synthetic opioids, kratom’s chemical composition is complex, and the effects of this composition are dynamic.

Research and testimonials agree that at low doses (< 1 gram), kratom “can boost energy and enhance mood,” whereas at higher doses kratom is sedating, and may have anxiolytic qualities.

The following page will guide you as a comparative base for some of the most popular strains of kratom on the market. 


Measuring Your Dose

Perhaps the most general rule of thumb in the kratom world is that, “Less is More.” That is, you do not need to take much kratom in order to receive your desired effects, especially when starting off. You can look at our dosage conversion chart by clicking the button below.

A good starting point for beginners is around 1-2 grams of powdered leaf. 2 grams is equivalent to about the amount of a teaspoon. At this amount, you can see how you react to the kratom. For some, you may find this to be too little. If that’s the case go up in .5 – 1.0 gram increments to find your desired amount. Others may find that they may need to take a little bit less. Both are okay! No two people are the same so you will have to find what works best for you. 

Taking too much kratom at first may be overstimulating or bring on nausea, so always be mindful. Factors such as body weight, genetics, food intake and age may impact someone’s recommended dosage as well.


Methods of Preparation

This is where kratom allows you to be creative. There are literally hundreds of different ways to take kratom, so make it enjoyable! Know beforehand that some do not care for kratom’s taste, so it would be a good idea to find something to easily mask it. Popular methods include:



Dose Length

When taking kratom, you should pay close attention to when you are receiving your doses. Kratom’s effects are long-lasting in nature, and can last anywhere from 2-8 hours depending on the amount taken. The average length is between 3-5 hours (if you take between 3-5 grams of powdered leaf).

You do not want to stack doses in risk of consuming too much at once and/or developing a high tolerance early on. If you want to take a second dosage for the day, do so whenever you know the kratom is out of your system. Note that consuming multiple times a day over prolonged periods of time will eventually lose your current dose’s effectiveness. Use on a per need basis.

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Should I Take With Food & Water?

How fast you feel the effects of the kratom are dependent on factors such as weight, metabolism and whether or not there is food in your system. We recommend taking kratom with some food in your system. On an empty stomach, you will feel the effects much quicker (10-15 minutes), but you risk your stomach getting upset. On a full stomach, kratom’s effects can take up to an hour to be felt, and may not be as effective since it will be digested along with the rest of your food. You will be much more satisfied if you take your kratom with a light meal or snack.

Secondly, always make sure that you are staying hydrated when taking kratom. Common side effects of kratom are dry mouth and dehydration. Drinking plenty of water will take care of this.

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The timing at which you should take your kratom relies on the individual and certain situations. For instance, if you are taking a Green or White Vein strain, you should avoid taking it close to bed. This will keep you up and make it hard to fall asleep. Instead, use them to kickstart your day. On the other hand, Red strains can be very relaxing and effective sleep aids for those who are restless. Reviewing your purchased strain properties below can help you better understand when you should be taking your batch of kratom. 

Again, make sure that you are properly spacing out your dosages if you are taking kratom more than once a day. It may be helpful to make a chart for yourself, recording the time you took the kratom at, how long it lasted, and what kind of effects each strain brought on. 




The most important thing to monitor when taking kratom is one’s tolerance. Obviously, you are bound to build some sort of tolerance over time, and this small increase is perfectly normal. What you want to avoid however, is taking high, frequent doses of kratom over prolonged periods of time. Like it’s family mate coffee, you can gain a dependence on kratom’s alkaloids. Or in other words, it’s “caffeine.” Having a cup or two of coffee to start your morning is fine, but continually drinking numerous cups throughout the rest of the day, everyday is where you start to see cravings arise. The same goes with kratom. 

You can do a few things to counteract this. For starters, remember that, “Less is more.” Start your doses small and increase in small intervals if need be. Secondly, give ample time between doses if you’re taking within the same day (a log will help with this). Third, try different strains. Each strain contains a different combination of alkaloidal properties that will affect you differently. Instead of increasing your dosage, simply try something new at your previous amount. You can cycle strains daily or weekly. Both are extremely effective. Lastly, it is okay to take a break. Using kratom on a per need basis will not only help your tolerance stay low but also save you some money! If you’re taking kratom every day for stress/anxiety, try switching to the likes of CBD or herbal teas for a short amount of time to bring your tolerance back down.

Besides gaining a high tolerance, too much kratom can lead to addiction, withdrawal symptoms and adverse side effects. Addiction and withdrawal can occur whenever one takes over 10-15 grams per dose more than 2-3 times a day over prolonged periods of time according to recent scientific research. Be mindful and have control. Kratom is an amazing plant that needs to be taken responsibly.

You can learn more about kratom tolerance, tapering, side effects and addiction below


Keep Exploring

The kratom community is one of the most welcoming and outspoken groups you will find out there. Here is our go to picks for staying active in the community.

The kratom community is one of the most welcoming and outspoken groups you will find out there. Here is our go to picks for staying active in the community.

The Kratom Science Podcast

The Kratom Science Podcast is your source for all things kratom. Each week Brian Gallagher, writer for, talks to kratom consumers, advocates, and experts. We talk about the latest kratom research, news, legislation, and the fight to #KeepKratomLegal. #FollowTheScience and listen to the Kratom Science Podcast. Available on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher and Youtube.


On the forum you can find an abundance of kratom information, news, recipes, and personal stories waiting to be explored. 

Social Media

Lastly, stay connected with us at Kratom Science! We are active on Twitter and Facebook, and even have a Kratom Science EU site and Twitter account as well.

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31 thoughts on “What Is Kratom”

  1. 73 yr. old male, 13+ yrs on morphine sulfate,then O.D’d., clean for 1+yrs., tried kratom, pain down to 2 or3, and got a smile on my face !!!

  2. Jacqueline hertzog

    I love using Kratom , but honestly , 1/3 rd of a teaspoon is plenty for me . Every few hours . I tried at first with 1 teaspoon and was totally miserably high and it took many month for me to try again . So be careful with your dosage and start slow …I am a 120 lbs woman and definitely a bit of a lightweight .

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