Kratom and Weed

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Increasingly, people in the west are turning more and more to natural, herbal treatments. Most originate from parts of the world like Asia and the East, where locals have used herbs and plants medicinally for many years. Kratom is relatively new to the herbal treatment market in the west, whereas weed has taken a firm hold in our societies. Used either recreationally or medicinally, both offer great benefits, as well as side effects and drawbacks that should be considered before mixing the two substances. This article looks into the similarities and differences of Kratom and weed

A comparison of Kratom and Weed

Many people wonder if the two have similarities and if they should be mixed to achieve enhanced results. Used recreationally, both offer feelings of happiness, relaxation, and can induce feelings of euphoria. Weed in particular is used recreationally in social situations, often between friends. To better understand the effects of both, it’s important to know what the science is behind these two pleasure inducing plants. 

Marijuana comes from the Cannabis plant, and is said to have originated originally from Asia. It is often used for its calming effects, as well for pain relief.  Bronze Age relics would suggest that weed has been used by humans for centuries. Kratom has been widely used in Southeast Asia for thousands of years to boost productivity and reduce fatigue, and has more recently become known in the western world. Both have traditionally been used for medicinal purposes but have very different effects on the body. 

Chemical Differences 

Kratom is made up of alkaloid compounds known as mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine. These compounds cause effects in the brain similar to opioids, as they affect the opioid receptors and increase dopamine and serotonin. Weed contains a compound called cannabinoids. The chemical which makes people high is called delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The second most common cannabinoid, cannabidiol, is popularly known in the form of CBD. Weed also affects the receptors in the brain, causing feelings of pleasure or pain reduction. 

Consumption 

Although both start as plants, consumption can vary. Kratom is often taken in the form of powders, capsules or mixed in with tea. Weed is most commonly smoked, however many enjoy eating weed treats and edibles. Cannabidiol substances are often taken in the form of oil and are placed under the tongue and swallowed. Unlike weed, Kratom does not need heat to release its chemical compounds. 

Addiction and Withdrawal

Although studies into Kratom are relatively few compared with other natural treatments, addiction and withdrawal symptoms have been noted especially in chronic users. The DEA reports that the following symptoms may be observed[1]

  • Runny nose
  • Muscle aches
  • Joint or bone pain
  • Jerky movements of arms and legs
  • Hostility
  • Aggression
  • Mood swings

Weed is also an addictive substance, and according to one study, approximately 30% of marijuana users exhibit some form of disorder. Some of the side effects include:

  • Irritability
  • mood swings
  • sleep problems
  • Cravings
  • Restlessness
  • lack of appetite

Kratom vs Marijuana – Which has the strongest effects?

Due to the nature of each substance, it is hard to calculate which one is stronger. The effects are based on the dosage, the potency and each individual’s tolerance. Studies have shown that Kratom users can build up a tolerance, meaning they require more intake to feel the effects over time. In a study of 150 regular Kratom users in Malaysia, 87% reported tolerance to the substance. 

Cannabis users can also build up a tolerance when used regularly.[2] Alongside this, the effects take different lengths of time to be felt. When smoking weed, the user can physically feel the changes to mental and physical state almost immediately, however Kratom users can expect to wait at least 10-15 minutes, depending on the strain. 

How are Kratom and weed used medicinally?

Both plants act as pain relief when the chemical compounds bind to the receptors in the brain. Kratom is often used to treat chronic pain, fatigue and even RLS  (Restless Leg Syndrome). When taken in small doses, and depending on the strain, Kratom reduces pain without altering cognitive functions. There are three main strains of Kratom, red, green and white. Each offers different purposes, for example the white strain is best at sedating and treating insomnia, whilst the red strain is better suited for pain relief. 

Medicinally, Kratom is used for:

Cannabis is often consumed for chronic pain, depression, PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), social anxiety, cancer and epilepsy. [3] However, smoking weed can cause cognitive functions to lower significantly. The research into using cannabis or CBD oils are a lot more comprehensive than with the use of Kratom vs CBD. Many countries have now legalized the

use of cannabis, whereas Kratom lacks medical findings and is not approved for human consumption. 

Can you smoke Kratom with Weed?

The consumption of each plant triggers very different biochemical processes and effects in the brain, so smoking Kratom and weed, the two together may not be the best combination. Adverse side effects can take place, although some users enjoy using both one after the other.[4]

One method of combining the two is called KFC, which stands for Kratom, Food, Cannabis. Taken in that order users shouldn’t feel overwhelmed or experience negative side effects. This also stops the two substances from having to compete with each other. Users should start off with light dosages of both and gradually increase if needed.[5] 

It is always tempting to mix substances, whether it is for recreational purposes or medicinal, but caution should be taken as the reactions of two substances like weed and Kratom can be unpredictable. Used individually, however, both offer benefits and drawbacks. In small, controlled dosages, they can be used to maintain health issues such as chronic pain, anxiety and stress, however in large amounts and over prolonged periods of time, users may find that due to tolerance build up, they form dependency habits which may not be easy to overcome. 

References 

[1]https://americanaddictioncenters.org/withdrawal-timelines-treatments/kratom

[2]https://drug.addictionblog.org/tolerance-to-marijuana/

[3]https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320984#What-are-the-medical-benefits-of-marijuana?

[4]https://www.reddit.com/r/kratom/comments/8nr53t/kratom_and_weed/

[5]https://merryjane.com/health/should-you-mix-cannabis-and-kratom

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