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The Differences Between Mitragyna Javanica & Kratom

Mitragyna Javanica

Kratom, also known as mitragyna speciosa, is gaining popularity in the US, but it’s hardly a household name. Still, it’s far better known than some of its cousins. But one kratom cousin is getting more attention these days: mitragyna javanica.

Is it the new must-try? A kratom toppler? Or just another alternative suited for some users?

In this article, we do a side-by-side comparison of these two botanical nootropics, giving you the run-down on how they compare and, ultimately, why kratom is probably still the preferable option for you.

What Is Mitragyna Javanica?

Kratom and mitragyna javanica have a lot in common. Both come from trees native to Southeast Asia and are members of the Rubiaceae family (making them cousins of coffee, as reflected in the latter’s “javanica”). Moreover, both kratom and mitragyna javanica are used for a variety of beneficial effects, including energy and mood boosts. 

Speaking very broadly, mitragyna javanica can be thought of as a less potent form of kratom, but the differences are worth noting and taking into consideration when choosing which is right for you.

Key Differences Between Kratom and Mitragyna Javanica

Even though they’re sometimes used for similar purposes, kratom and mitragyna javanica are very different botanicals with distinct chemistry, legal status, and more. Here are a few of the most notable differences:

Alkaloid Content

First and foremost, kratom and mitragyna javanica contain different alkaloids (the natural compounds responsible for their unique effects).

Kratom’s main alkaloids are mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, which appear in various proportions based on each kratom strain. Mitragynine is principally responsible for the uplifting effects of some strains, while 7-hydroxymitragynine is responsible for the sedative effects of others.

Mitragyna javanica does not contain either of these alkaloids. Instead, its principal alkaloids are mitrajavine and 3-isoajmalicine. Some users report that these alkaloids create an experience similar to kratom’s.

But little is known about mitrajavine and 3-isoajmalicine, leading us to our next point.

Available Research

Kratom has been the subject of reasonably significant clinical research worldwide. While US research lags behind, an increasing number of clinical studies are looking into kratom’s safety, effectiveness, and potential for therapeutic applications.

But the same can’t be said of mitragyna javanica, which has received virtually zero clinical attention to date. As such, very little is known about mitragyna javanica, nor about its safety, effectiveness, or legitimate applications. As such, available information is based almost purely around word-of-mouth user testimonials.

That relative obscurity is one reason to be wary of mitragyna javanica, but it also leads to one of its main draws.

US Legality

Kratom is available throughout the vast majority of the United States — although the FDA continues to talk about bans, both at the federal and international levels. Several states have implemented local bans, however. These are:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Indiana
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • Wisconsin

But despite that virtually no research has been done on it, mitragyna javanica is legal throughout the entirety of the US. That’s not because it’s believed to be safer, but only because almost no one is currently talking about it.


Put simply, mitragyna javanica is significantly weaker than kratom.

Given that they have entirely different alkaloid profiles, it’s virtually impossible to quantify the difference in potency. Moreover, the two will never offer identical effects, making any such effort futile.

Nonetheless, users looking for an experience similar to kratom will find that they need a meaningfully larger dose and will go through their supply more quickly. And speaking of going through your supply…

Price, Availability, and Quality Vendors

Here’s a big one. Because mitragyna speciosa is virtually unknown, there are very few sources for it online. That means worse prices, minimal strain selection, and less competition to provide a quality product.

All of that? It’s bad news for anyone looking to try mitragyna javanica, especially coupled with the fact that you’ll be going through your supply more quickly than with kratom.


But this is the absolute distinction between kratom and mitragyna javanica. Neither is fully regulated at the federal level, but several states have rallied around the kratom industry’s internal efforts to establish hard-and-fast quality standards.

With mitragyna javanica, no such standards have been established. It’s a Wild West out there, with virtually no testing, no quality standards, and no transparency throughout the mitragyna javanica industry.

In short: while several well-established, reputable kratom vendors are out there, there’s virtually no way of knowing what you’ll get with mitragyna javanica.

Which Is Right For You?

Based on the above similarities and differences, there’s a fairly clear winner here.

Kratom is more potent and effective, offers a better bang for your buck, is far better understood, and has far superior established quality standards.

The only place where mitragyna javanica wins out is in legality. Kratom is banned in six states, while mitragyna javanica is legal throughout the entirety of the US.

It’s a fairly clear cut decision tree:

  • Live in Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Rhode Island, Vermont, or Wisconsin? Then mitragyna javanica is the choice for you (if the above factors haven’t dissuaded you from even trying).
  • Live anywhere else in the US? Kratom is the right choice based on virtually every other metric.

Kratom and Mitragyna Javanica, In Closing

Between kratom’s cousins, mitragyna javanica is the one that’s getting a bit more attention. But despite the fact that they share some similarities, kratom and mitragyna javanica are very different plants.

Of note to consumers weighing the two, kratom is better researched, better regulated, more potent, and more cost effective. However, kratom is banned in six US states, while mitragyna javanica is legal throughout the US.

Weighing the differences, it’s difficult to make an argument in favor of mitragyna javanica. Users looking for a quality experience should look to established, reputable vendors like Kratom Spot, or one of the American Kratom Association’s other GMP Certified Vendors.

But regardless of which you choose, remember the golden rule: it’s important to speak with your doctor before adding any new supplement into your health and wellness regimen.