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Kratom vs CBD

No doubt you’ve heard of CBD, the popular cannabis extract, but do you know about kratom? While both kratom and CBD are plant-derived products, they have very different properties. We’ll help you understand which product might be best for you by breaking down the differences between kratom and CBD. 

What is kratom?

Kratom refers to a type of leaf that is often consumed in order to experience its psychotropic effect. Made from the lead of the mitragyna speciosa tree, native to Southeast Asia, kratom is typically either chewed raw or brewed into a tea. 

Kratom’s popularity is mainly due to its intoxicating effects, inducing either stimulating or dream-like effects depending on the dose. 

What’s the difference between kratom and CBD?

The main differences between kratom and CBD are origin, active compounds, and their psychotropic nature. 


The first thing to know is that kratom and CBD are derived from very different plants. CBD is a cannabinoid found in cannabis and hemp plants, whereas kratom is made from the leaves of the mitragyna speciosa tree. Because of this, the effects of CBD and kratom are induced by different active compounds. With CBD it’s easy, the active compound in CBD is CBD.

Active compounds 

But kratom is a little more complicated. Because kratom is made up of the leaf of the mitragyna speciosa tree, you consume all the active compounds present in the plant material. The two main kratom compounds to keep in mind are 7-hydroxymitragynine and mitragynine. The differences between the active compounds in CBD and kratom account for the differences in their effects. 

Psychotropic effects

The big thing that you’ll notice between kratom and CBD is that kratom induces psychotropic effects, while CBD doesn’t. CBD may be found in cannabis, but it can’t get you high. CBD is not the compound responsible for the high of cannabis, it’s instead used for its therapeutic effects. 

Benefits of kratom 

As well as its intoxicating effects, kratom can also induce some impressive health benefits. Potential health benefits from kratom include:

Reducing pain 

Research tells us that kratom may be able to help reduce pain. Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, the two active compounds in kratom, have both demonstrated an ability to reduce pain. Mitragynine may be able to achieve this by acting on serotonin and opioid receptors, two receptor types that play a key role in the perception of pain (1, 2). 

Improving the symptoms of depression 

Another benefit that you might experience from kratom is a boost to your mood. One study found that mitragynine was able to induce significant antidepressant effects in mice models. This antidepressant effect is thought to occur by mitragynine acting on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, an area in the neuroendocrine system that can control corticosterone, a key stress hormone (3). 

Benefits of CBD 

CBD has developed a reputation for its therapeutic benefits. CBD has an impressive list of potential health benefits, with research telling us that the cannabinoid compound may be able to help:

Improve the symptoms of anxiety 

CBD has demonstrated an impressive ability to help manage the symptoms of anxiety. One study in particular found that CBD significantly reduces anxiety in teenagers with social anxiety disorder (4).

Reduce inflammation 

CBD can also act as an anti-inflammatory, with studies showing that the cannabinoid can help to improve inflammatory conditions like IBD and diabetes (5, 6). 

Improve sleep quality 

If you’re looking for a good night’s sleep, CBD may be able to help. Research tells us that CBD is able to not only improve sleep scores but also help to reduce the symptoms of sleep disorders like excessive daytime sleepiness and REM sleep behavior disorder (7, 8). 

Improve the symptoms of certain skin conditions 

CBD can also help to treat certain skin disorders. Research indicates that CBD may be able to improve the appearance of conditions like acne and psoriasis (9, 10). 

Reduce seizure frequency 

One of the more impressive abilities of CBD is its potential to treat seizure conditions. CBD is already used as a seizure treatment in the medication epidiolex and research has shown that the cannabinoid can effectively reduce seizure frequency (11). 

Is kratom legal?

Kratom is not classified as a controlled substance federally, so it is legal for purchase. However, certain states have classified kratom as a controlled (and therefore illegal) substance. States such as Alabama, Wisconsin, and Vermont have outlawed kratom possession. If you’re interested in trying kratom then it’s important to research its legal status in your state before purchasing.

Even though kratom is not federally controlled, it is not approved by the FDA for use as a medicine. In fact, the FDA specifically recommends the public not use kratom or any products that contain kratom (12).

Side effects of kratom and CBD


CBD is largely considered to have a high safety profile, but some mild side effects are possible. One side effect that you don’t have to worry about with CBD is a high, as the cannabinoid is non-intoxicating. Potential side effects from CBD include:

  • Dizziness
  • Sleepiness
  • Diarrhea
  • Reduced appetite (13)


Unfortunately, kratom does not have as secure a safety record as CBD. There is a serious risk of poisoning from kratom use, with some cases even resulting in death. Kratom use has the potential to be unsafe and you should consult with a medical professional before taking it. Possible side effects from kratom include:

  • Dry mouth 
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle pain
  • Liver damage
  • Constipation 
  • Drowsiness
  • Hallucinations
  • Slowed breathing
  • Seizures (14)

The bottom line  

While kratom and CBD are both plant-derived products, they exert very different effects. This is highlighted in the fact that kratom can cause intoxicating effects, while CBD can’t induce a high. While kratom can also induce some health benefits, it can cause some concerning side effects, and caution should be taken when consuming it.


**Standard Disclaimer: CBD is not FDA-approved. We make no such claims that using our products will guarantee relief. Moreover, research regarding CBD is still ongoing and in the early stages.**