Kratom Strains Guide: What are the Differences in Popular Strains?

kratom strains

For anyone new to the culture of Kratom, a visit to an online Kratom shop can leave you with more questions than answers. With so many different Kratom strains for sale, you may find yourself overwhelmed by the amount of choice in the marketplace. It can be difficult to get a handle on the many different types of Kratom available today and to decide which one is right for you. Some strains have developed a higher level of recognizability in the community – like Maeng Da or Red Bali – while other strains are downright obscure and may only be marketed by a single vendor.

To complicate the matter, what defines a particular strain is not always a clear concept. Sometimes, different strains are named based on geographic distinctions such as where the particular tree it comes from is grown. Other strains may be named based on the physical qualities of the tree or the particular alkaloid content of the tree. As an example, Maeng Da is famous for being a highly potent strain of Kratom that also goes by the name “Pimp Grade”. While there is science that backs up the enhanced potency of Maeng Da over other strains, many names are given purely for commercial branding purposes and do not actually represent distinctions in the properties of the leaves. Some companies will make up their own names to market specific blends or particular leaves like “Cajun Kratom” or “Golden Leaf Kratom”. But the fact that not all companies follow the same labeling practices makes it even more imperative that you pick a high quality vendor

In spite of this lack of a uniform naming scheme, we can generally specify some key strains that are common today. How many different types of Kratom are there actually? When purchasing Kratom, different products are usually categorized by three distinct features: the color, the grade and the strain of leaf. The color of a leaf is determined by the central vein which can either be reddish, green or white. Color has a significant impact on the type of effects that you will experience when using Kratom as red leaves are considered more sedating while green and white leaves can increase your energy levels.

The grade of a leaf refers to the potency of the product as determined by the harvesting method and alkaloid content from a specific tree. You will see grades labelled from weakest to strongest as Commercial, Premium, Super, Enhanced, and Ultra Enhanced. Again, due to a lack of uniformity in applying these titles, it matters far more that you buy from a high quality seller than that you purchase a supposedly higher quality grade.

Usually the last part of the name will refer to the Kratom strain that it comes from. (For example, you may encounter the labels Premium Red Bali Kratom or Super Green Malay Kratom at some online stores.) In most cases, the strain name correlates to the place of origin of the tree. Different strains of Kratom will have distinct alkaloid make-ups which means that they will affect you in different ways. You can try a few to pick the best one for your needs or consider blending one or two together which is how indigenous Thai populations prefer to consume their Kratom. Below are some of the most popular strains of Kratom along with the characteristics of each strain.

Popular Kratom Strains
The ratings below are interactive and we would appreciate you submitting your votes! Just click on the stars to rate the effects of strains you have tried based on their Energizing, Relaxing, Euphoric, and Analgesic (Pain Relieving) properties as well as their Potency.

Bali Kratom:
This strain is actually grown in Borneo and not on the island of Bali which is its namesake. It was dubbed “Bali Kratom” because it is shipped out to international markets from ports in Bali. Bali and Borneo Kratom are usually interchangeable as names and in most cases generic Red Kratom also comes from this strain. Bali is considered to be a more relaxing strain that can produce euphoric sensations and aid in pain relief. It only offers a mild degree of energy enhancement compared to other varieties.

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Thai Kratom:

This strain is often compared to Bali and is described as being slightly more energizing and not as strong of a relaxer. It is also effective as an analgetic or natural pain reliever. Thai Kratom is relatively cheap, but it is often mislabeled and is another catch-all name for generic strains. Most Thai Kratom does not in fact grow in Thailand where it has been illegal to cultivate and sell for many years.

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Malaysian or Malay Kratom:

Malay is a Kratom strain that is seen as more stimulating, offering a lot of cerebral benefits. It is not as powerful for alleviating pain and anxiety, but it can help you release tension without inducing drowsiness or fatigue. Malay is also one of the longer-lasting strains that is often combined with other types to balance out the effects. Users say that mixing this leaf with other green or white strains can limit over-stimulation and restlessness. Reviews cite that Malay Kratom can put you in a positive state of mind and increase your focus and attentiveness.

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Indo Kratom:

Indonesian Kratom is on the more relaxing end of the spectrum, providing intense analgesia and helping to reduce anxiety and depression. It has been used as a replacement for opiate drugs and to assist individuals experiencing withdrawal from heroin and opium. The Indo strain is effective at relieving stress, eliminating muscle tension and enhancing your mood. In larger doses, it is described as causing euphoric feelings, deep empathy, happiness, tranquility and a powerful sense of well-being. There are various grades of Indo sold such as Premium Indo, Super Indo and Ultra Enhanced Indo Kratom which is considered one of the highest quality products available.

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Maeng Da:

This famous strain of Kratom originates from Thailand and is consistently rated as one of the strongest available. It is highly uplifting in terms of both energy and mood and is commonly used as a productivity booster to replace caffeine. Maeng da roughly translates to mean Pimp’s Grade in Thai – a name reserved for the strongest of Kratom strains. It has a shorter duration of more intense effects and most users need a smaller dosage to see the same results. While it is not as strong of an analgesic at low doses, in high doses it can be very sedating and prove effective for reducing pain and controlling anxiety. Because this strain is so potent, it is common to blend it with one or more other strains to balance the effects and give you a more well-rounded experience. You can purchase Maeng Da on its own or in certain fusion products which combine different Kratom strains together.

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Sumatra Kratom:
Grown on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia, this strain does share many commonalities with the leaves that go by the Indo name. Red Veined Sumatras are excellent stress relievers and sleep aids, with effects that tend to last longer than typical strains. The White Veined Sumatra Kratom is equally potent and offers a balanced energy profile that makes it ideal for all-day long focus and stimulation. While not as strong as other strains, the effects do have a longer duration and are quite pleasant.

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Vietnam Kratom:

Vietnam Kratom capsules are a newcomer to the North American market and are not stocked by all vendors. However, that is changing quickly as this strain is rapidly growing in popularity. It is highly potent with leaves reported to contain as much as 25% more alkaloids per gram than other varieties. The effects are similar in profile to Maeng Da with intense focus, energy and drive being common reports from users.

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Riau Kratom:

Another rare strain, Riau is grown in the Southwestern region of Sumatra and possesses similar characteristics with the Borneo and other Indo strains. It is considered to be more relaxing and sedating while providing some pain relief and mood enhancement as well. According to reviews, Riau Kratom has a sweeter taste than other strains which makes it perfect for those who do not like the bitter flavors of Mitragyna Speciosa leaves.

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Mitragyna Javanica:

Mitragyna Javanica is a species of tree closely related to the Mitragyna Speciosa plant. In Thailand, it has been cultivated and used as a legal alternative to Kratom following the 1943 ban on this substance. It is able to produce somewhat similar effects to M. Speciosa, but lacks the mitragynine alkaloid that generates the characteristic Kratom experience. Instead, it contains mitrajavine which does cause pain relief, relaxation and euphoria but it is much weaker compared to real Mitragyna Specisoa.

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Kratom Stem and Vein

A few vendors now carry Kratom Stem and Vein which is composed of the parts of the Kratom leaf that were previously discarded during harvesting. Recently, users have begun experimenting with the stems and veins due to the unique alkaloid combinations in this organic material. The effects of crushed stems and veins are said to be highly sedating and uplifting to one’s mood. This variety also features a longer onset period and duration of effects. It can be used on its own or mixed with other strains as a potentiator.

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Popular Kratom Extracts

The products listed below are not strains of Kratom, but rather different types of extracts. They are all processed in some way to increase the concentration of alkaloids and thereby the potency. This allows for a smaller dosage to be used while providing stronger effects. New users are advised to start out with regular strength powders or capsules as listed above before trying the following options.

8x Kratom Resin
Kratom resin is made by boiling raw leaves to extract the alkaloids and allowing the remaining solution to harden. The 8x resin extract denotes that for every 8 grams of leaves used, 1 gram of resin brick is produced. This roughly means you can reduce your dosage to 1/8th of the standard quantity. Resins are typically highly sedating and effective for alleviating anxiety and pain. Most vendors will only carry one strain of resin and it will usually be a blend of either Bali or Thai leaves.

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15x Kratom Extract

The standardized 15x Kratom Extract is made by grinding resin down into a powder. Like the resins, high potency extracts of this nature tend to be very calming and euphoric while exhibiting powerful anxiolytic qualities. Extracts may be used on their own, but it is also common to add them to regular strength powders as a cost-savings method to reduce the required dosage.

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Kratom Full Spectrum Tincture (Liquid FST):

A tincture refers to any form of Kratom liquid extract that can be purchased for easy consumption in beverages such as Kratom tea. When shopping for extracts, it is important to seek out Full Spectrum Alkaloid Kratom to ensure that the naturally balanced profile of alkaloids in this plant is preserved. Some extracts will attempt to achieve too great a potency or use improper techniques that result in certain alkaloids being underrepresented in the final composition. Kratom FST provides a proper representation of alkaloids to deliver all of the benefits with less risk of tolerance and side effects.

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Ultra Enhanced Indo Kratom (UEI)

UEI Kratom is often cited as one of the strongest strains you can buy today. This enhanced form of Kratom powder combines natural Indo leaves with highly concentrated extract powder containing pure alkaloids. The UEI experience is described as providing intense euphoric feelings and a deep sense of well-being and motivation. While stimulating at very low doses, it is sedating and promotes relaxation at normal dose levels. This strain is often sought after as an alternative to pain medication and for treatment of opiate addiction withdrawal.

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Gold Reserve Kratom

Gold Reserve is another enhanced Kratom powder that has developed a positive reputation among experienced users. It is made by blending a 90% pure alkaloid extract with powdered Indonesian Kratom. It is one of the fastest acting strains available with effects setting in within 5 to 10 minutes. Users describe it as producing an acute sensation of warmth, tranquility and blissfulness. This product is effective in dosages between 1/2 to 1 gram, but may be too strong for inexperienced users. It can lead to irritability, anxiety and other side effects if used in excess amounts.

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