Kratom has become increasingly popular in recent years, used by those looking for an alternative to prescription painkillers or to wean off opioids. This botanical supplement offers a variety of benefits, including pain relief, improved mood, increased energy, and relief from opioid withdrawal symptoms.
Kratom is available in several forms, but the two most common are powder and extract. Both provide the desired effects of kratom, but there are some key differences between the two.
This article will explain what kratom powder and extract are, where they come from, their key differences, and how to take each one.
What is Kratom Powder?
Kratom powder is made from the leaves of the Mitragyna speciosa tree, which is native to Southeast Asia. This is valuable knowledge when understanding how to take kratom powder. The leaves are dried and ground into a fine powder. This powder can then be ingested directly by mixing it with water or juice and drinking it.
Kratom powder provides the benefits of the natural kratom leaf. It contains over 40 different alkaloids, including mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine.
which are believed to produce analgesic and psychoactive effects. Since it consists of the whole leaf ground into powder, it offers a broad spectrum of these alkaloids.
Kratom powder comes in several varieties based on the color of the leaf veins and stem. The three main types are red vein, white vein, and green vein powders.
Red vein kratom – Red vein kratom powder produces analgesic and sedative effects. It helps relieve pain and can induce feelings of calm and relaxation.
White vein kratom – White vein kratom is more energizing and stimulating. It can increase focus, motivation, and mental clarity.
Green vein kratom – Green vein provides a balance between stimulation and pain relief. The effects are moderate compared to red and white strains.
No matter the color, kratom powder provides a wide range of benefits by delivering a diverse profile of alkaloids from the natural leaf. It offers an affordable and accessible way to experience the effects of kratom.
What is Kratom Extract?
Kratom extract is a concentrated form of kratom made by boiling down kratom leaf powder into a thick resin or powder. Through this process, all the moisture is removed, leaving behind the most potent concentration of alkaloids possible in a solid extract form.
Extracts are enrichments of kratom’s natural alkaloid profile. By removing the plant matter through extraction, you’re left with a product that contains a higher concentration of active compounds per gram. This allows you to take a much smaller dose to achieve the desired effects.
Extracts are commonly sold in viscosities ranging from 15x to 50x strength. A 15x extract means that 15 grams of raw kratom leaf was boiled down into 1 gram of extract. The higher the x number, the more powerful the product.
Taking an extract provides more concentrated kratom effects in a much smaller dose. You may only need 1-2 grams of a 15x extract to equal 5-7 grams of powder. This makes extracts useful for those who want potency in a small, easy-to-take dose.
Where Does Kratom Come From?
All kratom originates from the Mitragyna speciosa trees native to Southeast Asia. Kratom trees thrive in the rich, humid jungles of Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and other regions. Kratom has been used in traditional medicine in these areas for centuries.
The majority of kratom powder and extracts sold today are sourced from Indonesia. Indonesian farmers harvest kratom leaves and powder them or use specialized extraction methods to produce extracts. These raw materials are exported worldwide to vendors who sell them in their natural powder or extract forms.
Some kratom vendors further process raw kratom materials when they are imported. They may grind the leaves into finer powders or make enhanced extracts using proprietary methods. However, almost all kratom originates from mature Mitragyna speciosa leaves grown and harvested in Southeast Asia, mainly Indonesia.
What Makes Kratom Special?
Kratom’s unique alkaloid profile is what makes this plant family special. The cocktail of compounds found naturally in kratom leaves has stimulating, sedative, analgesic, and euphoric effects throughout the body and brain. Two of the main active alkaloids are:
Mitragynine – This is the most abundant alkaloid found in kratom, making up about 66% of total alkaloid content. Mitragynine binds to opioid receptors in the brain, causing analgesic and sedative effects. It acts similar to opioid pain medications.
7-Hydroxymitragynine – This alkaloid is a minor constituent but has much higher potency. It acts on opioid receptors with up to 30 times higher affinity than morphine. Even in small amounts, it adds pronounced analgesic activity.
In total, over 40 different compounds have been identified within kratom leaves. They produce unique synergistic effects when consumed together. This diverse cocktail of natural chemicals gives kratom its psychoactive properties.
Kratom: The Common Denominator
Whether it is powdered leaf or concentrated extract, all forms of kratom come from the Mitragyna speciosa tree. The alkaloid composition does not change based on the form it is consumed in. So what is the difference between kratom powder and extract then?
It comes down to concentration. Extracts simply contain a higher concentration of alkaloids per gram compared to raw powder. This means you need less material to get the desired effect when using extracts. The total alkaloid profile remains consistent.
For example, a 10x extract is essentially just a concentrated form of the leaf powder it came from. The extracts allow you to achieve the same benefits of kratom powder but in a smaller dosage.
Why People Choose One or the Other
With both kratom extracts and powders available, many consumers wonder which form is best. The answer depends on your individual needs and preferences. Here are some of the factors that can help determine which form of kratom is right for you:
Cost – Kratom powder tends to be significantly cheaper than extracts. You can purchase high-quality powder for as little as $10-20 for a 28g pouch. Extracts are more expensive with pricing starting around $30-40 for 3g of a 15x extract. If cost is a concern, powder offers superior value.
Convenience – Extracts require much smaller doses (1-2g) compared to powder (3-7g). The lower volume makes extracts convenient to take. You can swallow a small amount easily or take capsules. Kratom powder requires mixing larger amounts into a drink.
Potency – As discussed, extracts provide a more concentrated dose than raw powders. For experienced kratom users who have built tolerance, extracts can deliver heightened potency and effects in a small dose.
Availability – While kratom powder can be found in local headshops in some areas, extracts are less common. The easiest way to source quality extracts is through reputable online kratom vendors who specialize in these botanical products. Powders are more widely available.
Dosing Flexibility – With powder, you can precisely measure any dosage amount you want. Extract dosing is restricted based on the product strengths available (5x, 15x, etc.). Powders allow more versatility for finding your ideal dose.
As you can see, there are pros and cons to both forms of kratom. For many, powder is the best option as an affordable way to regularly experience kratom’s broad benefits. However, extracts have their place for potency when you want added strength in acute situations.
Identifying Kratom Extract vs. Powder
If you purchase kratom from a vendor, how can you identify whether a product is an extract versus a plain leaf powder? Here are some ways to differentiate:
Color – Extracts tend to be much darker and thicker in texture compared to powders. A shiny black or caramel brown color is common for quality extracts. Powders retain a greenish hue.
Texture – Extracts have a thick, sticky consistency resembling a resin or paste. Powders are finely ground but maintain a loose, flour-like texture.
Dosing – On the package, extracts will list a very small dosage recommendation such as 0.5-2 grams. Powders are dosed higher at 3-7 grams per serving.
Price – As mentioned earlier, extracts cost significantly more per gram compared to kratom powder products.
Name – Product names may include terms like “resin”, “tincture”, “liquid extract”, or “isolate” to signify an extract. Powders are simply labeled as the strain name (e.g. Red Maeng Da powder).
Looking at these characteristics can help determine whether a product is a potent kratom extract or a milder powder form. When in doubt, contacting the vendor directly can clarify what you’re purchasing.
The Ratio is the Reason
Understanding the ratio of raw leaves to the final product is key to identifying how strong an extract will be.
A 10:1 extract means that 10 grams of leaves were boiled down into 1 gram of final extract powder or resin. The higher this ratio, the fewer raw leaves are needed to make each gram of finished extract.
For example, a 20x extract is twice as concentrated as a 10x extract, requiring only half as many leaves to make the same amount of end product. The higher the x factor, the more potent the extract.
Ideally, you want at least a 10:1 extract for noticeable potency benefits. Extracts with a lower ratio may not provide effects much beyond what you’d experience from plain leaf powder. Look for 10x, 20x, 30x or higher for the best results.
Premium Kratom Products
When shopping for kratom online, you’ll find a wide range of powder and extract products from different vendors. High-quality, premium kratom has a few hallmarks to look for:
Lab-tested – Reputable vendors test kratom for purity and potency. This ensures no contamination and verifies the strength of active alkaloids. Lab reports should be available for each batch.
Specialty strains – Rather than plain commercial grade leaves, premium kratom consists of unique strains like Maeng Da, Bali, or Malay that offer targeted effects.
Crafted extracts – Top vendors use specialized extraction methods to create extremely refined and concentrated extracts in house. These are higher quality than generic extracts.
Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) – Premium vendors follow strict GMP standards in their facility for quality and consistency. Look for GMP on the label.
Money-back guarantee – A guarantee provides the confidence to try a new kratom product risk-free. Quality vendors stand behind their products 100%.
Seeking out premium kratom powders and extracts can provide a noticeably better experience compared to low-cost, mass-produced products you may find locally.
What are the Key Differences Between Kratom Extract and Powder?
To summarize, here are the main differences between kratom extract versus powder:
Concentration – Extracts contain a higher concentration of alkaloids per gram than kratom powder. This leads to enhanced potency and effects.
Dosage – Due to higher concentration, extracts are dosed much lower (1-2g) compared to powders (3-7g) to achieve similar effects.
Cost – Extracts tend to cost more per gram than powders, but the total cost per use may be lower due to lower doses needed.
Convenience – Smaller volumes make extracts convenient to take and easily portable. Powders require mixing larger amounts into a drink.
Availability – Powders are widely available online and locally. Extracts tend to be found mostly through specialty online vendors.
Onset – Since they’re highly concentrated into an alkaline, extracts can kick in faster than standard powders.
Experience – Extracts offer intense kratom experiences perfect for advanced users. Powders provide milder effects great for beginners.
So in essence, extracts offer a more potent shot of kratom’s key alkaloids while powders provide a smoother, sustained experience. Having both available can be useful depending on your needs.
How Do I Take Kratom?
Kratom powder is commonly ingested by mixing it into fruit juice, tea, or smoothies and drinking it.
Start with no more than 2 to 3 grams for your first time taking kratom powder. Increase the dose by 0.5 to 1 gram increments until the desired effects are achieved. Effects manifest within about 20 to 30 minutes and can last for several hours.
For extracts, the dosing is much lower due to the higher alkaloid concentrations. Start with no more than 1 gram of a 15x extract (or 0.5 grams of a 30x extract). Increase slowly by 0.25 to 0.5 grams each time.
Extracts can be taken directly by mouth or added to drinks just like powders. However, since the volume is much smaller, extracts are easier to swallow directly if preferred.
No matter which form of kratom you use, stay hydrated and pay close attention to dosing since extracts are very concentrated. Limit use to no more than once or twice weekly.
The Final Word
Kratom extracts provide a concentrated boost of this botanical’s complex alkaloid profile while powders offer a smoother pathway to experience the leaf in its natural form. Both offer their own advantages.
Kratom extracts are ideal for seasoned users who want potency in a convenient format. Meanwhile, standard powders remain the go-to daily supplement for most. By understanding these key differences, you can decide which form of kratom is right for your needs.