Drug Use

Types of Kratom: The Risks of Red vs. Green vs. White Vein Kratom

Kratom is gaining in popularity among Americans as an herbal supplement to ease pain and anxiety, but its effects and dangers are not well known. When consumed in low doses, users may experience stimulant effects similar to drinking coffee, whereas higher doses are associated with sedation and pain relief.

Kratom Varieties

Achieving the desired effects with kratom may not be as straightforward as dosage. There are different categories and types of kratom, referred to as varieties or strains, and each kratom strain is chosen for its different effects.

All kratom products come from the Mitragyna speciosa tree native to Southeast Asia. The three primary types of kratom are identified by the color of the center vein of the kratom leaves - red, green, and white. Further distinctions are made by the country of origin, like Green Malay (Malaysian) or Bali Red (Indonesian), and their drying and processing methods.

Red Vein Kratom

What is It?

Red kratom, harvested from mature red-veined leaves, is the most popular among kratom users. The long drying process results in a dark color indicating a higher concentration of mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine alkaloids, the active ingredients that interact with receptors in the body for the varied effects of kratom use.

Red kratom is versatile and, depending on the dosage and tolerance of the individual, helps manage issues such as low energy and pain. Red Maeng Da is the most potent kratom, with effects comparable to those of opioids. Red Borneo and Bali Red are other well-known red strains. Beginners should start with low doses to minimize the risk of adverse effects.

Red kratom is potent and fast-acting, making it popular for relief from migraines, arthritis, and other painful chronic conditions. People most often take red kratom as part of their night-time ritual due to its strong sedative effect.

Common Uses

  • Energizing
  • Management of opioid withdrawal
  • Pain relief
  • Sleep aid (sedation)
  • Stress relief and relaxation
  • Feelings of euphoria

Side Effects

  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Rashes and itching
  • Constipation
  • Loss of appetite/weight
  • Seizures
  • Nausea
  • Dehydration
  • Insomnia
  • Hot flashes

Since the red kratom experience is the most sought-after and most similar to opioid usage, the list of side effects is the most extensive. The potential for dependence and addiction to red kratom is high.

Green Vein Kratom

What is It?

Green vein kratom is harvested before the leaves are fully matured, and it undergoes minimal processing. The alkaloids in the plant have not yet fully developed, leading to a balanced alkaloid profile, providing a blend of energizing and relaxing effects.

Unlike red strains, which are best known for sedation, and white strains, which are associated with stimulation, green kratom is considered a more middle-of-the-road homeopathic supplement.

Traditional consumption involves preparing tea from powders of varieties such as Green Bali and Green Maeng Da.

Common Uses

  • Calming
  • Enhanced sense of well-being

  • Increased energy
  • Increased concentration and focus

  • Improved mood
  • Reduced anxiety

Side Effects

  • Insomnia
  • Jitters
  • Lightheadedness
  • Nausea
  • Nervousness

White Vein Kratom

What is It?

The kratom plant is a relative of the coffee family, and white vein kratom provides the uplifting, stimulating effects most often associated with drinking a cup of coffee. White kratom is differentiated from red and green kratom by its unique mix of natural compounds not found in mature leaves. Grinding of white kratom leaves begins after the leaves start to germinate.

The popularity of white vein kratom is a close second to red kratom. White kratom gives energy like caffeine, providing alertness and stamina, and is a popular morning or daytime energy boost and pick-me-up.

White kratom products include White Thai (from Thailand), White Maeng Da, and White Borneo. Maeng da is the best kratom for its superior quality and consistency.

Common Uses

  • Increased alertness
  • Increased energy
  • Increased outgoingness and sociability

Side Effects

  • Jitteriness
  • Insomnia
  • Rapid heartbeat

Which Type of Kratom is Most Addictive?

All of the different kratom strains have the potential for dependence and addiction when used regularly and in high doses. However, because of the popularity of the red strains and their similarities to opioids, dependence on red kratom is more likely. Many people use a combination of the strains for different effects, increasing the potential for reliance on the botanical.

Factors that can influence an individual’s dependence on kratom include dosage, frequency of use, form and strength of kratom, and the person’s health.

Withdrawal Treatment for Each Type of Kratom

Primarily, withdrawal treatment for kratom is the same regardless of the type of kratom used. However, the withdrawal process may be longer for individuals with a more severe dependence.

Kratom withdrawal symptoms can be mild (runny nose and restlessness) or more severe (aggression and abdominal cramps), mimicking an opioid withdrawal. For that reason, seeking guidance from a healthcare provider is advisable if you are considering discontinuing kratom. Medical professionals can help minimize the risk of relapse and ensure the safe management of withdrawal symptoms.

Kratom Safety Warning

Kratom is tempting to use to self-medicate for pain and anxiety, but no form of the botanical is approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA warns Americans against using kratom for any purpose, and the U.S. Department of DEA has listed kratom as a Drug and Chemical of Concern.

Six states (Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin) and several cities (including San Diego and Denver) ban mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine and have made it illegal to buy, possess, use, or sell kratom. Other states, cities, and counties are considering kratom regulations.

Only buy kratom from reputable vendors that follow safety standards to minimize the risk of unintended exposure to harmful substances. The American Kratom Association (AKA) maintains a list of GMP-qualified vendors that adhere to good manufacturing practices to ensure consistent quality and purity of products.

Caron Treatment Centers for Recovery from Kratom

Regardless of your addiction - kratom, alcohol, or another substance or behavior - Caron has outpatient or inpatient rehabilitation programs to help you recover. Caron’s team of experts creates comprehensive and individualized treatment programs, including medical detox and individual, group, family, and behavioral therapy.

To learn more about the effects of Kratom and substance use, contact Caron Treatment Centers today.

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