Kava vs Kratom

Kratom Vs. Kava

 Overview of Kava vs Kratom:

  • Kava and Kratom are similar in benefits
  • Kava is more widely accepted and believed to be a safer option
  • Kratom has less data and appears to be addictive
  • Due to concerns about more severe side effects and dangers, Kratom is becoming illegal in some areas


With so many products on the market proclaiming to be helpful or healthy, wise consumers spend more time researching to find the truth than they ever actually use the product. We all know that most of what we read is secondary information and, often, inaccurate. While this may seem trivial regarding the safety and effectiveness of human consumption and the dollars spent, buyers want to know precisely what they are getting.

One such situation is with Kratom and Kava. Our goal is to compare Kava vs. Kratom, providing consumers with a realistic and factual recording. This results in an informed decision rather than groundless spending. It is important to note that we do not carry kratom, only noble kava root.

What is Kava?

Kava comes from a shrub in the pepper family, originating in the Pacific Islands. Orthodox uses include a ceremony to achieve a relaxed state, welcoming guests, or celebration. With over 2,000 years of use in the region, the tradition of Kava is still prevalent.

What is a Kava Drink?

Today's Kava application is the root of the plant made into tea by kneading it in water or other liquid inside a cloth st rainer. These powdered kava roots contain compounds called kavalactones. Research shows there are 18 different kavalactones present in the the root. 

Kava Kava Uses

Recreational use of Kava is typically the same as alcohol. However, the kava tea often provides more than simple social drinking. Kava, sometimes known as Kava Kava, yields specific psychotropic merits. These effects are commonly known as heavy, heady and balanced. It is also sometimes referred to as the feel free drink, because it can reduce social anxiety while still in control of your decision making faculties. 

Studies show that Kava can be valuable in reducing Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). GAD is when an individual experiences worry for six months or more on most days. 

Additionally, clinical trials in Germany determined that Kava can be advantageous in lowering insomnia. In this study, sixty-one patients received Kava extract or a placebo over four weeks. The results were favorable for significant decreases in sleep disturbances. Participants also cited an overall sense of well-being. The evaluation rated Kava as an excellent therapeutic option.

Is Kava Safe?

In recent years some information has indicated various side effects related to Kava. Users need to weigh Kava benefits and side effects side by side. 

Side Effects of Kava include dry skin or possibly a rash, indigestion, nausea, loss of appetite, headache, mouth numbness, and drowsiness. Some studies imply that liver enzymes increase and that liver damage may occur. However, this is a controversial subject with little scientific proof. Liver damage is generally related to subjects with existing liver issues, and combined heavy alcohol use.

So, to answer the question, is Kava safe?, Yes, Kava is generally safe. The normal caviat however is "within normal use". If anything is abused (including water) it can be bad for you. When consumed as normal, there are a small amount of people that may have allergic reactions but is generally considered safe by the World Health Organization.

After 2,000 years of use, there is little to no evidence of lasting health issues among users. Professionals recommend limited use, avoiding alcohol, consulting your doctor on using other psychotropic medications with Kava, and getting your liver function tested regularly.

Is Kava Addictive?

Based on years of scientific data, Kava is not a physically addictive product. It doesn't contain opioids and it doesn’t affect opioid receptors. The use of Kava is gaining popularity throughout the world as a safe alternative to alcohol and drug use.

Kava Legality USA and Abroad

Kava is legal to use in most areas of the world. A 15-year ban on Kava in most of the world was lifted in 2015 when study findings were dubbed unfounded. Some countries however, like the UK, are lagging behind the science. 

What’s Kratom?

Kratom comes from Southeast Asia. It is an evergreen tree with leaves that, when chewed, enhances mood, increases energy, and provides pain relief. 

The Kratom drink involves using the leaves that are ground up and used to make tea. Many people drink Kratom socially, much like alcohol. In fact, you might see a Kratom bar on your street corner.

Health Benefits of Kratom 

If used in larger doses, this psychoactive drug is an excellent producer of euphoria. This makes it an great remedy for depression. Lower doses may help treat social anxiety. Kratom health benefits are often weighed against the dangers. Other Kratom uses and benefits include helping with other addiction withdrawals. 

Best Kratom for Pain and Depression or Sleep

Kratom, like many other natural products, comes in different strains. The best kratom for depression and pain may be Maeng Da, Green Malay, and Red Bali. Red Maeng Da can be the best Kratom for sleep problems.

Kratom Dangers

Is Kratom bad for you? The fact is that Kratom contains opioid receptors. Researchers found that this product creates various problems, such as weight loss, muscle pain, constipation, urine changes, nausea and vomiting, chills, dry mouth, and liver damage. Drowsiness, dizziness, depression, delusion, hallucination, suppressed breathing, seizures, coma, and even death can also occur.

It is not known the level of consumption that causes the toxicity of Kratom. The drug affects a child's development and results in withdrawal symptoms if used during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. 

Salmonella poisoning is also a problem with Kratom. With no apparent contamination signs, Salmonella poisoning found in the drug makes it even more dangerous. As of April 2018, 130 people became infected with Salmonella after the use of Kratom. The FDA reports 35 deaths linked to Salmonella in tainted Kratom to date. 

There are more and more products being produced and put into the market that are marketed as kava but contain kratom. This is generally ok, but these companies are not mentioning kratom in their marketing. They say its kava "with other botanicals". The problem here is that kratom can be physically addictive, along with the other issues listed above, makes these products much more dangerous for kava and the kava industry as a whole. 

Due to the lack of informed data, there is concern about the safety of Kratom

Is Kratom Addictive?

With a smaller amount of data available than Kava, it is unknown if Kratom is physically addictive. Many studies show it has the potential to become addictive because its compound activates the same receptors in the brain as other addictive medications. The initial findings indicate addiction is more likely in individuals who consume at least 15 grams a day. 

For a drug to be considered addictive, the American Psychiatric Association states:

  • After multiple attempts, an inability to discontinue the use
  • Developing tolerance for a drug, therefore, needing more to achieve the same results
  • No control over how often or how much is consumed
  • Losing interest in activities and social events
  • Decreasing interest in responsibilities, relationships, school, work, or home 
  • Engaging in risky behaviors
  • Although aware of the dangers, continuing to use the drug
  • When attempting to become sober, experiencing withdrawals

Kratom Legal Status

Kratom is legal in the United States, but its current status is a 'drug of concern. Many other areas of the world have banned or restricted the use of Kratom. 

Botantic Tonic Feel Free Shot Concerns

In May 2023 the FDA released this information provided to them by the U.S. Department of justice about Botanic Tonic and their "Feel Free" Shot. A shot that as of that statement contained kratom:

  • On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Justice announced the United States Marshals, acting with investigators from the FDA, seized nearly 250,000 bottles of liquid product containing kratom, 1.0 tank of liquid product containing kratom, more than 1,200 cartons of capsules containing kratom, and over 1000 kilograms of bulk powder kratom. The seized articles containing kratom were manufactured by Botanic Tonics, LLC of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma and are marketed under the brand name “Feel Free Plant Based Herbal Supplement.” The seized products are estimated to be worth more than $3 Million. The bulk kratom and articles containing kratom were seized after the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of Oklahoma filed a civil forfeiture complaint on behalf of the FDA. The complaint alleges that kratom is a new dietary ingredient for which there is inadequate information to provide reasonable assurance that it does not present a significant or unreasonable risk of illness or injury. The complaint further states that dietary supplements containing kratom are adulterated under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

New FDA Legal Statement

In July 2023 the FDA released a statement here that in many ways says that kratom is no longer marketed for legal sale.

Here's a bulleted summary of the legal implications mentioned in the statement:

Legal Considerations:

  • There are no drug products containing kratom or its two main chemical components that are legally on the market in the U.S. The FDA has not approved any prescription or over-the-counter drug products containing kratom.
  • If a new drug application (NDA) is submitted for kratom to treat a specific medical condition, the FDA will review the scientific data to determine if the product is safe and effective.
  • The FDA will continue to warn the public against the use of kratom for medical treatment until they can evaluate its safety and effectiveness.
  • Kratom is not appropriate for use as a dietary conventional supplement. The FDA has concluded that it presents a significant risk of illness or injury.
  • Kratom cannot be legally added to conventional foods, and is not lawfully marketed in the U.S. as a drug product, a dietary supplement, or a food additive.

Understanding the Difference between Kava and Kratom

As you can see, there are many differences between the two products. Of the two, Kratom is the least recommended as so little verifiable information is available. That said, Kratom is a tool and can be very valuable for those trying to manage withdrawal symptoms from discontinuing other drugs. Using it outside of this purpose has little benefit.

With ancient roots, Kava is a fantastic option with minimal risk compared to its benefits and advantages. 

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