Ever since the popularity of the use of kratom has increased, people have had this question about how kratom and marijuana differ? Which herb is better and which plant has more risks involved? Both these herbs are used for recreational purposes and come in different types and forms, but how are they different from each other?
Comparing kratom and marijuana is like comparing night and day. Even if both these plants have similar effects on your mind and body, they have different safety and consumption levels and are used to resolve two different types of pain.
Kratom is the go-to drug for nociceptive pain associated with bone damage, sprains, and inflammation whereas marijuana is used to tackle neuropathic pain linked to nerve damage.
The use of kratom originates from its practice in Southeast Asian countries where it is widely used for its herbal and therapeutic properties whereas marijuana originates from Central Asia as a hemp plant that was further consumed in Mediterranean countries of Europe in the middle ages.
Both these herbs differ in nature, consumption levels, and legal statuses. Kratom is legal at the federal level but it is banned in some states and cities. As for marijuana, it is legal in most states for recreational use while in other states, it is only allowed for medicinal use.
In this article, we will address the confusion you may have regarding their uses, dosage, safety, legality, side effects, addiction levels, and other risks involved. We’ll start with an overview of kratom and marijuana, and compare how both these differ, point by point.
What is Kratom
Kratom refers to a tropical tree (Mytragina speciosa) native to Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, and Papua New Guinea. The popularity of its use worldwide may be new, but it has been used as a herbal medicine in these countries for over 200 years.
With leaves that contain psychotropic effects that alter your mood in a positive manner unlike marijuana, kratom is a widely legal substance that is available and consumed in multiple ways, some of which are pills, capsules, and liquid extracts. Moreover, its leaves are also used creatively as you can chew, brew the dried leaves as tea, smoke, or even add them to your food.
The stimulative effects of kratom are caused by two compounds in kratom leaves, which are mitragynine and 7-a-hydroxy mitragynine. When taken in small amounts, they can lead to attentiveness, increased energy, sociability, and increased appetite.
However, if taken in larger amounts, their interaction with the opioid receptors in the brain produces sedation, musculoskeletal pain relief, pleasure, and increased sexual desire.
Although kratom has some great health-related benefits, it isn’t completely safe to use especially in high doses. Some of the widely recognized side effects of kratom are sweating, dry mouth, itching, irritability, nausea, constipation, increased urination, loss of appetite, hallucinations, and seizures.
Unlike marijuana, the legality of kratom isn’t equally debated. Although federally legal, it is banned in some states and a few cities or state counties. It is a widely legal drug in most parts of the country as well as a recognized drug in other parts of the world, especially Southeast Asia.
What Is Marijuana
Marijuana, or known widely with different terms and slangs such as weed, pot, grass, Mary Jane, ganja refers to the dried leaves of the plant Cannabis indica or Cannabis sativa. It is the most commonly used drug after tobacco and alcohol. Marijuana has psychoactive and mind-altering properties since it contains THC along with other compounds.
It is an increasingly popular drug among teens and adults over the age of 20. According to a survey, its use among middle schoolers has remained steady, however, 8th to 10th graders have had an increased amount of daily use of this drug.
Since the popularity of vaping pens that have THC in them, teens have had a major inclusion in their daily use of smoking marijuana, along with a significant decrease in people who believe that marijuana has health risks involved.
It’s mostly smoked in hand-rolled cigarettes, pipes, bongs, and blunts. Some people avoid inhaling smoke so they use vaporizers, which contain liquid marijuana extracts, which means they inhale the vapor and not the smoke. There also has been a trend of mixing marijuana in food such as brownies, candies, cookies, or even brewed in tea.
Marijuana doesn’t have many health benefits if it’s taken in large doses to seek pleasure. But the prescribed use of THC may be helpful in certain situations or conditions such as nausea, insomnia, anxiety, chronic pain, glaucoma, low appetite, and muscle spasticity.
Long-term use of marijuana can have certain side effects that can affect your daily life. Some of which are red eyes, dry mouth, memory loss, anxiety, slow reactions, problem coordinating, as well as increased heart rate.
The legality of marijuana has been a wide subject of discussion for many years since there has always been a divide between people who enjoy the independence of using this drug for their relaxation and people who consider it an addictive and risky drug for the masses.
It enjoys a legal status in some states and even some parts of the world and is actively being discussed and researched constantly to make it helpful and accessible where it is still considered a risk for the environment.
Kratom Vs. Marijuana: Effects And Uses
Kratom and marijuana have similar relaxing effects however the key difference is how the compounds in kratom (mitragynine and 7-a-hydroxy mitragynine) interact with opioid receptors in the brain and produce sedative and relaxing effects which help with the pain.
Whereas THC in marijuana causes a chemical imbalance between mind and body as well as interferes with pain receptors to help cause a decrease in the intensity of pain.
Both these substances tackle different types of pain as mentioned earlier in the article. Kratom helps with nociceptive pain, which refers to the tissue damage caused by physical trauma to the body when it suffers from bone damage, sprains, burns, inflammation. Marijuana use helps with neuropathic pain such as nerve damage caused by various reasons.
So far it’s established that they’re both pain relievers, and if taken in sufficient doses kratom takes the win since it helps with the general mood, relaxation but unlike marijuana, it does not affect the overall cognitive functioning. Though high doses of kratom can cause loss of attentiveness and focus as well.
When it comes to combating anxiety, both kratom and marijuana have proved to be effective in improving your general health as everyday anxiety can be crippling. Sufficient amounts of kratom help you relax and avoid any thoughts that might make you anxious.
While we’ve mentioned the health-related benefits above, below are mentioned the key effects of kratom if taken in sufficient doses:
- Attentiveness/improved focus
- Reduction in anxiety
- Pain relief
If you consume unprescribed and safe doses of marijuana, the key effects it produces are:
- Pain reduction
- Loss of your surrounding
- Decline in cognitive functioning
Kratom Vs. Marijuana: Side Effects and Safety
While kratom only has side effects if taken in insufficient amounts, its long-term use can cause addiction. Like every other opioid-like drug, kratom is considered addictive. It also leads to withdrawal symptoms when consumed in large doses, or when the user is kept unchecked. Some of these symptoms include insomnia, runny nose, muscle ache, mood changes, aggression, and hostility.
Marijuana however has short-term and long-term side effects such as altered sense of time, loss of cognitive functioning, trouble focusing, slow reactions, dry mouth, red eyes, and memory loss.
If taken in high doses, it can cause hallucinations and delusions. Long-term effects can impair thinking and can cause memory loss as well as affect learning functions and how the brain originally uses these connections. Some of these changes may also have the potential to be permanent.
Another difference in terms of the side effects of kratom and marijuana is whether they cause addiction or not. A lot of people who have used marijuana have never become addicted to it. On the other hand, there is little known about whether kratom causes the same.
Now let’s talk about the overdose potential of these drugs. There hasn’t been a recorded instance where someone overdosed on marijuana. It may cause many short and long-term effects but never has someone lost their life to it.
However, there have been multiple cases of kratom overdoses be it with other substances such as alcohol, caffeine, and other over-the-counter medications or with kratom as the lone substance. Hence, it is advisable to check with your healthcare provider before you decide to mix kratom with other substances and medicines.
Kratom VS. Marijuana: Legality
Both kratom and marijuana have complex legal statuses in the United States. Kratom is federally legal but not regulated, meaning that transporting it is allowed whereas marijuana is not legal at the federal level which means you can’t transport it even if you take it to a state where it’s legalized.
Most states have their own regulations and legislations regarding the buying and selling of kratom since it is federally legal. Following are the states where buying, selling, and possessing kratom is illegal: Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin. As to the states that have it legalized, certain local counties and cities have their own laws regarding the use of kratom.
There are some states where kratom is regulated. The Kratom Consumer Protection Act (KCPA) is a bill that aims to regulate kratom trade in the United States and is passed by Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, and Utah. The purpose of this bill is to ensure that kratom consumers are protected and sold high-quality kratom that isn’t contaminated or fake, while also ensuring the kratom sellers are regulated with respect to KCPA’s guidelines.
Now that we’re aware of the legal complexities and availability of these drugs in the states, it’s recommended to be sure of where to buy and consume these products since their legality is still complicated. If you want to buy kratom or marijuana, it’s important to be aware of your local laws so that you can safely consume these substances.
So now that we finally compare both kratom and marijuana, kratom has an upper hand with its relaxing, stimulative qualities and lesser side effects, and practically no long-term conditions. They both come from plants and have similar relaxing properties, but are patently different substances.
It’s crucial to know the effects, safety, legality, and regulation of both these drugs to be aware, use these drugs safely and sustain yourself.
Kratom and marijuana both have insufficient research currently and we keep learning new information about them every day.
Since there is a lot of mixed information about kratom, people have their own thoughts and assumptions regarding the consumption of this plant. What’s best is to always check with a healthcare professional before purchasing any of these drugs.
With more ongoing research, we will hopefully get to know more about kratom’s safety and if it’s worth using in the long run.