Kratom vs Kava

by | Nov 3, 2022 | Kratom Science

What Is Kratom?

Many are taken aback to discover kratom, a relative of coffee, is caffeine-free. In its homeland of Southeast Asia, locals customarily masticate its leaves to gain vigor and alleviate ache. Certain countries prohibited kratom due to worries of possible dependency.

However, Thailand has since changed their minds and now permit kratom to be grown and exported for medicinal uses.

Kratom tea is still exported worldwide. Manufacturers grind the leaves and prepare them for sale as a dietary supplement or tea.

US customers buy kratom as powder, liquid extract, or capsules. Powder is commonly made into tea or stirred into drinks, while capsules are favored for their intense flavor.

Liquid extract is a powerful concentrate and should be taken in small amounts. A tea that has been through a process of fermentation has the same effects as kratom, but is more calming. Fermented tea is most usually red.

What Is kava?

Piper Methysticum is derived from the roots of the pepper family plant, native to Fiji and Indonesia. It is used to make different types of tea and juices. In restaurants and bars, it is mixed with either water or coconut milk to create drinks for social or recreational purposes. Additionally, it has a ceremonial role.

Kava piper methysticum is one of the most commonly consumed types of tea, among many others.

Kava is a popular plant-based remedy in the United States, consumed in the form of tea, supplements, or even as an ingredient in certain baked goods. It is known for its calming effects, and is often used to help those dealing with stress, anxiety, or difficulty sleeping.

Kava vs Kratom

Kratom and kava have some similarities, but also differ greatly. They are from different plant families and create different effects. Considering kratom or kava should also include the difference in how they are used – kratom is a stimulant like coffee, and kava root is mainly for relaxation.

Kratom’s effects are connected to strain. For example, Bali induces relaxation, while Maeng Da has an energetic effect. Dosage is essential; lower dosages yield stimulating effects like coffee, while greater dosages produce relaxation. Additionally, kratom has mood-boosting effects.

Kava’s effects are more like those of a sedative or depressant, often used to help sleep or relax. Additionally, it can influence one’s mood by acting on the brain’s emotion-related region.

It is important to know how kratom and kava differ from opioids; it relaxes and boosts mood, not being addictive. Conversely, kratom produces relaxation or energy and can be habit-forming. Kratom and kava, plant-based supplements, are taken for their calming and mood-enhancing properties. They can be found in various forms, such as raw leaves, and although their effects are alike, they come from distinct plants and act differently.

Is Kava legal?

Legality of kratom depends on location. DEA classifies it as a “drug of concern,” so individual states and counties make decisions on legality. As of Oct. 2019, 6 states have prohibited it, 5 have limited it to certain counties, and more have pending legislation. In locations where it is allowed, kratom is typically bought in tobacco shops, specialty stores, or through the internet.

Kava and kratom are legal in all states in the U.S. It has not been controversial like kratom. This is because it has been documented in the food supply before the DSHEA Act was passed.

Kava is sold in specialty stores as well as more mainstream stores, including grocery stores, pharmacies and other food and beverage stores.

Kratom vs Kava

Kratom and kava are both natural plants, but they bring different effects. The DEA and FDA have been examining kratom due to safety worries. An updated 8-factor analysis has shown that the addicition potential for kratom is very low, but dependance is possible.

Debate over kratom-related overdoses continues; a CDC study of 27,000 fatalities showed 91 deaths due to kratom, more than double the FDA’s earlier statistics, but most were ruled out as poly drug interactions. Overdose risk increases when people take cheap kratom with other illicit drugs. Additionally, no FDA regulation means no purity guarantee. Kratom Side Effects Include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Seizures
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • dry mouth
  • constipation
  • frequent urination

Kava root can cause liver harm; cases of severe damage have been reported, but it is unknown how it caused it. Effects may still arise even in lower doses.

Other hazards of kava root include:

Risks of Kava

  • Breathlessness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • skin issues


Kratom’s and Kava’s risk of addiction is related to its use for relaxation and the effect it has on the brain. Feeling relaxed is an important factor in addiction, as some people may depend on the emotion it evokes.

Kratom Addiction and Kava addiction are still being studied, but these “addictions” seem to more along the lines of Coffee addiction and not opioid withdrawal.

Individuals with a history of substance misuse are more likely to become addicted. Using it frequently, especially in high doses or using extracts, increases the probability of dependency. People can be dependant upon anything and the real disease of addcition is what has to be addressed before true healing and change can occur.


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