What Is Liquid Kratom?
Liquid kratom is kratom extract in liquid form, often combined with additives. It’s not a single product from a single source; rather, multiple suppliers manufacture liquid kratom, and the products vary a great deal depending on the type of kratom used, the additives included, and the potency of the final solution.
Some people make liquid kratom themselves by steeping it to make kratom tea. The consumer who purchases liquid kratom may do so because it’s easier and more convenient to buy it prepackaged than it is to make it. That said, the consumer who buys liquid kratom shots is at the mercy of the manufacturer. Many liquid kratom products contain a number of other chemicals. The consumer searching for pure, unadulterated kratom extract may be disappointed by the prepackaged liquid kratom products currently available.
Liquid Kratom Extract
Kratom extract is a refined form of kratom made by extracting the alkaloids mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine from kratom leaves or powder. Making kratom extract is simple: leaves or powder are boiled to create a solution, which is then strained to remove the solid particles. Next, the remaining solution is simmered down, which causes the water to evaporate. Once the solution is a paste, it dries, and then the resulting substance is ground down into a powder.
The difference between kratom extract and regular kratom powder is that kratom extract is a refined concentration of alkaloids and other active ingredients, while the powder is simply dried leaves that have been ground into powder. The liquid form of kratom extract should be unadulterated, merely consisting of the pure extract combined with water. However, some manufacturers take the opportunity to combine liquid kratom extract with other things to create a cocktail of sorts, or liquid kratom shots. We’ll cover that in the “Kratom Shot” section at the end of this article.
Kratom tincture is another option for someone looking for kratom in liquid form. A tincture is distinguished from a liquid extract by the creation process.
Kratom tincture is a liquid created by soaking the plant in a solvent (typically ethanol), after which the solid particles are removed. To understand kratom tincture, it helps to look at the recipes and uses for other herbal tinctures. As per a typical herbal tincture recipe, a person creating kratom tincture would take the leaves, chop them coarsely, and place them in an airtight container. Then, they would pour alcohol in the container. The amount of alcohol would depend on how fresh the kratom leaves are. If they’re fresh, the person could create a 1:1 solution, i.e. one ounce of kratom for every one ounce of alcohol. If the leaves are dried, this recipe calls for a 1:4 solution.
After adding the alcohol, the jar is sealed and allowed to sit for six or more weeks, which gives the alcohol time to absorb the active components in the kratom. Once enough time has elapsed, the solution is strained, and the remaining liquid can be placed in a dropper.
A person who prepares a kratom tincture would do so because of the relative ease-of-use and effectiveness. A dropper can make for a fast, easy way of measuring kratom compared to having to weigh and portion out the powder.
You’ve probably seen “kratom shots” at convenience stores or smoke shops. A liquid kratom shot is like an energy drink, only with kratom included. Unfortunately, consumers are running a bit of a risk when they buy and consume kratom shots.
According to a study from the Journal of Medical Toxicology, some commercial liquid kratom products are adulterated with unnatural levels of mitragynine, which is one of the active ingredients in kratom. The researchers found that a standard natural kratom leaf contains 23.8 micrograms of mitragynine, while a liquid kratom shot contains 190.7 nanograms of the alkaloid. Since a nanogram equals 1000 micrograms, the kratom shot contains over 8 thousand times more mitragynine than a natural kratom leaf.
Since the FDA does not regulate kratom, there’s no telling whether such a high concentration of mitragynine combined with the other chemicals in a liquid kratom shot is healthy or safe to consume. The Journal of Medical Toxicology did conclude that such a formulation is likely to be more addictive than natural kratom would be by itself. Additionally, the journal warns that nine people in Sweden died from consuming a kratom product adulterated with O-desmethyltramadol, which the journal identifies as “a potent opioid analgesic.”
Many suppliers take pride in their kratom and are transparent about what ingredients go into their products. However, even if they are transparent and the kratom is adulterated or altered, it presents a risk that may not be worth taking, just as cheap kratom is problematic because it may lack potency and consistency.
Your best bet is to stick with natural, unadulterated kratom from a reputable supplier. Good kratom does not need any additives.