Whether you’re new to the world of kratom or a seasoned kratom connoisseur, knowing the different types of kratom is key to having a positive experience.
That’s because kratom comes in many strains, each with its own set of distinctive effects. Some kratom strains have more stimulating effects, some more relaxing, and still others offer a balanced, middle-of-the-road approach.
Choosing the wrong strain won’t mean you have a bad experience, but it does mean that you may not get the set of effects you’re hoping for. As such, knowing what makes each strain unique is the first step towards getting the most out of your kratom treatment.
In this article, we give you everything you need to know about the most common kratom strains. We start out by going over the basics of how different types of kratom are classified, then dive deep into the specifics of what makes each of the most common strains distinct.
How The Different Types of Kratom Are Classified
Most kratom strains are classified based on two features: a color and a geographic area. Both of these features have an impact on the strains’ effects.
Strain color is the most impactful feature. As kratom trees mature, the balance of kratom alkaloids (natural chemicals responsible for kratom’s effects) shifts. As a result, the veins of the kratom leaf gradually shift in color — from white to green to red.
The geographic area in a strain’s name refers to the region where the strain originated. Each region has a unique set of ecological conditions and agricultural practices; combined, these cause subtle differences in the resulting kratom crop. The difference won’t make as much of an impact as the strain color, but it can add a distinctive twist that will subtly change the way your chosen kratom strain works.
Some distinct strains follow a different naming convention. We’ll cover those separately later on in the article.
Strain Colors And Their Effects
Because strain color has the biggest impact on the effects you’ll experience, you should always start by choosing the right strain color for your desired experience. Here’s what you need to know about each of the three kratom colors.
Effects: Uplifting, energizing
Alkaloid Profile: High mitragynine, very low 7-hydroxymitragynine
Ideal For: Daytime use, mood boost, energy, and focus
White vein strains are harvested at the earliest stage of the kratom tree’s maturity. As a result, they have the highest concentration of mitragynine, the uplifting alkaloid that makes some strains energizing.
Some users take white vein strains as a mood, energy, or concentration booster. Many take it in place of their morning cup of coffee.
Some users find white vein strains to be a bit too energizing. If you’re sensitive to “caffeine jitters”, consider starting with a green vein strain or choosing a white vein with a more relaxing geographic region (covered below).
Effects: Balance of energizing and relaxing
Alkaloid Profile: Balanced mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine
Ideal For: Mild focus and energy, daytime pain relief
Green vein strains are harvested at the middle of the kratom tree’s maturity. They have a balanced level of kratom’s two primary alkaloids, which gives green vein strains a “middle of the road” effect.
Users typically enjoy green vein kratom for its ability to provide a gentle energizing effect without causing uncomfortable jitters.
Green vein strains arguably benefit the most from your choice of geographic region. That’s because the regional differences help to tilt green vein strains’ effects gently towards energizing or relaxing, creating a mild effect that’s tailored to your needs.
Effects: Relaxing, pain-relieving
Alkaloid Profile: Moderate mitragynine, high 7-hydroxymitragynine
Ideal For: Nighttime pain relief, sleep boost
Red vein strains are harvested at the latest point in the kratom tree’s maturity. This results in the highest levels of 7-hydroxymitragynine, the kratom alkaloid that causes relaxing, sedative, or even pain-relieving effects.
Users typically take red vein kratom to promote a sense of calm, fight anxiety, or prepare for sleep at the end of the day. Many users who take kratom for pain relief also report the best results with red vein strains.
Taking a smaller dose of red vein kratom may create a more balanced effect, similar to moderate doses of green veins. More on dosage below.
Strain Regions And Their Effects
Although strain color is the most important factor, a strain’s region also subtly changes the resulting effects. Here’s what you need to know about the most common and popular kratom regional strains.
Effects: Mood enhancing, relaxing
Bali kratom is one of the most popular regional varieties, and it’s easy to see why. These strains are prized for their balance of gentle mood enhancement and relaxation. They’re not the most energizing strains, but they excel at blending many aspects of the kratom experience into a single pleasant strain.
Borneo kratom is said to have a higher-than-usual mitragynine content. That’s the same alkaloid responsible for white vein kratom’s distinctive, purportedly energizing effects. So, it’s unsurprising: Borneo is a natural match with white vein kratom — especially for uplifting morning use. If you prefer green or white strains but wish they were just a little more on the “up” side, then Borneo may be the strain for you.
Indo kratom is one of the most popular strains on the market, especially red vein Indo. These strains tend to be milder and more relaxing. Combined with reds, these definitely make for one of the strongest kratom strains for relaxation. Combined with a green or white vein, they make a more balanced, mild, and relaxing experience than you’ll find with most other geographic varieties.
Effects: Energizing, mood enhancing
Thai kratom is often associated with greater levels of energy, focus, and mood. Legend has it that these properties made Thai kratom popular among Thai manual laborers and other workers who had to manage excruciatingly long work days. It’s a great option for balancing out more relaxing strain colors or giving your energizing strains a bit more “oomph”.
Malay strains of kratom are known for their versatility and mild, balanced effects. Much as green vein kratom tends to combine the best of both red and white, Malay rides the center by providing a middle-of-the-road effect. And just like green vein strains, Malay kratom is unlikely to be the strongest kratom strain for any particular purpose — but if you’re looking for a balanced, any-time-of-day strain, Malay is a great option.
Effects: Heightened strain color effects
Sumatra kratom is known as being somewhat more potent than many other regional strains. Some users compare it favorably with Maeng Da (described below). Whichever color strain you’re a fan of, expect a heightened experience when you shop Sumatra kratom. In short: Sumatra strains tend to amplify whatever base strain you’re using and are a great pick for a bit more of whatever you’re looking for.
Unusual Kratom Strains
The information above should give you everything you need to assess the vast majority of kratom strains you’ll encounter. However, not all strains follow the standard naming convention.
There are two such strains that are worth having on your radar: Maeng Da and Bentuangie kratom.
Effects: Very high potency, energizing, mood enhancing
Maeng Da kratom is a variation of Thai kratom, but of truly remarkable potency. In fact, “Maeng Da” translates roughly to “Pimp Grade”, a designation which farmers use to specify the best-of-the-best crop. Maeng Da is renowned for being exceptionally strong, and new users may be best off trying a more traditional strain. For experienced users, however, Maeng Da strains are coveted as some of the world’s very finest.
Effects: Very potent, relaxing, calming
Bentuangie kratom is a truly unique strain. It’s a variant of Red Vein kratom, but it undergoes a special treatment before being refined into powder: rather than traditional drying, it’s carefully and gradually fermented. The result of this process is a potent, effective strain that delivers a heightened red vein experience. It’s renowned by kratom connoisseurs as being the exemplar of what red vein strains should be: relaxing, calming, and pleasant.
Outside of these two exceptions, be wary of kratom strains that deviate from the standard naming convention. All too frequently, unusually-named strains are gimmicky marketing tricks aimed at selling inferior products. We’ve covered several such scams in our blog series, several of which can be found here:
A Note On Kratom Dosage
Choosing the right kratom strain is the first step towards having a positive kratom experience, but it’s not the only important consideration. Finding the right dosage for your needs is just as important and can have a pronounced effect on your experience.
- Generally speaking, smaller doses of kratom tend to be more energizing.
- Conversely, larger doses tend to be more relaxing.
Changing your dosage size can result in a different experience. Taking a slightly higher dose of a green vein, for instance, may result in a more calm and less energizing experience. A smaller dose of red vein, similarly, may balance out the calming effects with a bit more energy.
We always recommend starting with small doses, especially when trying a new strain. The variations between strains may surprise you, and you don’t want that surprise to be unpleasant. Once you have some idea of a given strain’s effects, you can modify subsequent doses to your liking.
Many users report great results with taking even very, very small doses of kratom. “Microdosing” kratom in this way is a great way of keeping your supply full, your kratom tolerance low, and stretching your dollar further.
Moreover, taking high doses of kratom can cause unpleasant side effects for some users. These can include nausea, constipation, dry mouth, sweating, and more. To promote a pleasant experience, it’s important you don’t take too much kratom.