Kratom vs Kava-What are the differences?

by | Nov 3, 2022 | Christopher's Kratom Blog, Kratom Advocacy, Kratom Science

Kratom vs Kava-What are the differences?

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.

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. Recently, certain countries prohibited kratom out of worry for possible dependency, but recently changed thier mind and allowed kratom to be grown and exported for medicinal purposes. The plant is still exported worldwide. Manufacturers grind the leaves and prepare them for sale as a dietary supplement.

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 can be taken in large amounts. This is used for pleasure or to address physical and mental health problems and foster good health.

What Is kava piper methysticum?

Kava is derived from the roots of the pepper family plant, native to Fiji and Indonesia. It is used to make various teas 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.

In the U.S., kava is used as a tea, a supplement or even an extra ingredient in certain baked goods. Because of its relaxing qualities, it is often used by those experiencing anxiety or insomnia.

Differences Between Kava and Kratom

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


Kratom’s effects are connected to strain. For example, Bali induces relazation, 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.

Kratom can cause intoxication, dizziness, tiredness, and nausea. 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.


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. Where legal, kratom is usually sold in smoke shops or specialty stores.

In contrast, kava is legal in all states in the U.S. and has not been the subject of controversy in the way kratom has since documentation has proven kava 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.

Dangers of Kratom and 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 kratom with other illicit drugs. Additionally, no FDA regulation means no purity guarantee. Dangers include:

FDA reported Kratom risks 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:

FDA reported Risks of Kava:


  • Breathlessness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • skin issues


Can one become dependent on Kratom and Kava?


Kratom’s potential for addiction is related to its similarity to opioids and the effect it has on the brain. Feeling euphoric is an important factor in addiction, as some people may depend on the emotion it evokes. Individuals with a history of substance misuse are more likely to become addicted. Using it frequently, especially in high doses, 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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