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  • by Nicola Boulton August 31, 2022 6 min read

    What's the Difference Between CBD and Kratom?

    Most are familiar with CBD products due to their health benefits, but few people know about Kratom. However, Kratom is slowly gaining momentum in people's lives daily. People who are familiar with both remedies may wish to know their differences. The article highlights the differences between CBD and Kratom by explaining what CBD is, what Kratom is, comparison in how there interact with the body, the difference in uses of CBD and Kratom, and the differences in side effects of CBD and Kratom.

    As you explore natural ways to improve your overall health, you will eventually come across plant-based products like Kratom and CBD. At first impression, they overlap in many aspects, providing similar health benefits like alleviating chronic pain, improving sleep quality, and controlling stress and depression. Even though there are similarities, they differ in many ways. CBD is more popular than others since it has found its way into kitchen dishes to beauty and health sectors; thus, it is almost everywhere. Kratom is mostly common in Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia, where in the past centuries, it has been used as medicine, and recently it is joining the modern health regime.

    What is CBD?

    Boehnke et al. (2022) said that CBD, short for Cannabidiol, is an active health-promoting chemical compound found largely in the leaves and flowers of the hemp plant, one of the species of cannabis. It is available in the market in the form of CBD oil, topical, capsules, soft gels, vapes, edibles, and patches. CBD oil is the main ingredient of CBD products, largely used compared to the rest. CBD's main function is to create and maintain balance in the human system by interacting with the endocannabinoid system.

    There are three types of CBD compounds depending on different company extraction methods; the full spectrum is the common CBD oil product which contains all the compounds found in the hemp plant, including small traces of THC. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is responsible for the highness associated with marijuana users. Therefore it contains less than 0.3% of THC. CBD isolate is another type of CBD which is pure since it contains only CBD compound. During extraction, all cannabinoids are removed from the hemp plant leaving behind CBD compounds. Broad-spectrum CBD is the last type of CBD among the other two. It contains most cannabinoids except THC.

    What is Kratom?

    Smith et al. (2022) described Kratom as a shrub species related to the coffee plant found in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and a large part of Asia. Traditionally, Kratom leaves were chewed, brewed into coffee, and used during the cooking process; nowadays, it is ground up into capsules or pills or crushed and then smoked like marijuana or tobacco. Learn more about list of cannabinoids

    CBD and Kratom Differences in How They Interact with the Body

    Consuming CBD interacts with brain neurons and largely with the body's endocannabinoid system (ECS). ECS is responsible for maintaining internal body balances, such as alleviating pain, inflammation, stress, and anxiety, regulating mood and appetite, and boosting metabolic rate. The system consists of three components to which CBD reacts differently: body cannabinoids known as endocannabinoids bind with body receptors to take action. Receptors (CB1 & CB2) bind with body cannabinoids. Enzymes then produce and dissolve cannabinoids. CBD increases the production of body cannabinoids and prevents the dissolving by the enzyme allowing more time for the cannabinoids to work. It also regulates the binding of the two ECS components. In the brain, CBD perceives how brain receptors react to emotions like stress, increasing the serotonin hormone's production, which helps control mind stress. High concentrations of serotonin lower stress thoughts.

    Grundmann et al. (2022) said that Kratom takes 10 minutes after consumption to attach itself to nerve cells in the brain and then act on opioid receptors. It regulates the brain and how it perceives emotions such as anxiety and stress. Opioid receptors bind with Kratom compounds; it reduces brain signaling to the rest of the body resulting in a reduced feeling of pain, muscle fatigue, anxiety, and boosted personal concentration. The latter's effects become stronger as the quantity taken increases; thus, it may damage brain signaling if large doses are used frequently.

    Comparison of CBD and Kratom in Functionality

    Though both are considered herbal remedies, they have different properties. CBD is more perceived as a therapeutic remedy than Kratom due to its healthy wide range of uses and limited side effects.

    McCance et al. (2019) established that the most striking similarities between CBD and Kratom are they reduce pain and anxiety and improve sleep and depression. Hence CBD is consumed. It interacts with ECS to maintain body homeostasis by modulating system receptors to control pain and release calming effects for sleep, anxiety, and depression. Kratom uses a very different mechanism because it is made of alkaloids; it targets the brain and spinal cord opioid receptors, which are gateways for pain, stress, and anxiety signaling. After Kratom attaches to the receptors, the gateway is closed, blocking those imbalances signals.

    However, CBD has various health benefits that Kratom doesn't aid. Clinical studies have shown that CBD is more effective in tackling chronic pains and anxiety than Kratom, thus used in treating conditions such as epidiolex, acne, arthritis, cancer, ADHD, and many more. CBD calming effects lower body blood pressure and increase insulin levels, resulting in low risks of hypertension attack and diabetes, respectively. Addictively, CBD reduces symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pains mostly associated with cancer treatment and inflammation Bowel Disease (IBD).

    Kratom is low dosages and acts as a stimulant; thus, it's very effective in boosting focus and concentration in patients with low concentration. It also boosts the immune system better than CBD since several ingredients in the plant, like saponin; clinical studies have shown they offer direct immunity to the body from attacks from microorganisms by boosting the production of more body defenses like white blood cells.

    Difference between CBD and Kratom in Side Effects

    CBD has been highly acknowledged by many health organizations, including the UN body, as a safe supplement both for humans and animals. It is non-psychoactive, anti-inflammatory, and antidepressant to users since it doesn't bind or attach with body receptors but boosts how receptors tackle various imbalances. CBD doesn't cause physical addiction or dependence to its users even under high dosages as 1500mg daily. However, people have reported a few side effects that may not be mild to many, namely; drowsiness, loss of appetite and weight, and diarrhea.

    Regarding Kratom, long-term use can cause high dependency but is not as severe as addiction to illegal drugs like heroin or cocaine. Still, the potential for both mentally and physical addiction is higher than with even marijuana users. Cases have been reported that withdrawal from the herbal makes one feel tense, fearful, angry, or sad. High dosages of these plants can result in mild effects, even death. The side effects increase with the quantity of dose; therefore, it is illegal in most countries and states due to mild effects like muscle tremors, sweating, itching, dry mouth, seizures, low blood pressure, liver damage, and dizziness. Learn more about how long does cbd last?


    CBD and Kratom have similar effects in offering remarkable relief for pain and anxiety; however, both supplements use completely different mechanisms to achieve the effects. CBD interacts with the ECS system in the body, while Kratom largely attaches itself to brain opioid receptors. The effects of Kratom are more direct and mild; therefore, it should be avoided for long-term uses because it can be addictive; Kratom CBD is safe from addiction, and long-term use doesn't have mild side effects even at a high dosage. Some people combine herbal remedies to tackle chronic pain efficiently, but mixing CBD and Kratom should be cautiously approached.


    Boehnke, K. F., Häuser, W., & Fitzcharles, M. A. (2022). Cannabidiol (CBD) In Rheumatic Diseases (Musculoskeletal Pain). Current Rheumatology Reports, 1-9.

    Grundmann, O., Hendrickson, R. G., & Greenberg, M. I. (2022). Kratom: History, Pharmacology, Current User Trends, Adverse Health Effects And Potential Benefits. Disease-A-Month, 101442.

    Mccance-Katz, E. F. (2019). Urgent And Emerging Issues In Prevention: Marijuana, Kratom, Ecigarettes. Substance Abuse And Mental Health Services Administration. Https://Www. Samhsa. Gov/Sites/Default/Files/Samhsas_15th_Annual_Prevention_Day_Aftern Oon_Plenary_Recording. Pdf.

    Smith, K. E., Dunn, K. E., Rogers, J. M., Grundmann, O., Mccurdy, C. R., Garcia-Romeu, A., ... & Epstein, D. H. (2022). Kratom Use As More Than A "Self-Treatment". The American Journal Of Drug And Alcohol Abuse, 1-11.

    Nicola Boulton
    Nicola Boulton

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