Kratomites, powder-puffers, wake n' shakers, green-meanies, flour-fiends...
It's been quite the month for us! With all this fda firing, life-saving legislation, and better-than-average news coverage, we've been growing! So I'm taking this opportunity to welcome everyone and provide a little mass education to you oxymorons. This was written in response to a lively discussion about kratom strains and colors earlier today. I think it's well-worth sharing, especially if you are an information person like myself. Enjoy! :)
To start, I should introduce myself. I won't tell you my name because of my questionable reddit history (joke), but I'm one of the foremost (self-proclaimed) experts in the world on kratom processing and the industry. I study it daily and collect obscure but critical knowledge. I'm an information guy. I thrive on kratom data, kratom news, kratom studies, and kratom powder. I've been working on clearing up misinformation for years, and In October I had the opportunity to travel to Indonesia to take samples and to study the different natural forms of speciosa. I will be going again this year. My purpose, as always, is to inform about the medicine and plant I love.
First, in response to a message I got about the now-common 'strain' name called 'Sunda'. Sunda refers to all of Indonesia and Malaysia, and includes all islands of the Indo region. It's an awful descriptor for kratom, and we should stop using it, especially in reference to effects. It has no consistency. It's like referring to Columbian coffee as South American coffee. It's not helpful, and it devalues Columbian coffee and it's producers by misnomer.
What about Vietnam? Vietnam kratom is rare in Vietnam, and non-existent US side. I highly doubt more than 5 people on r/kratom have ever tried it. I've tested and tried more kratom samples than anyone I've ever known, and I'm still not one of those people. So again, we are assigning the origin of good Borneo kratom to 'Vietnam' as a marketing tactic. It's needless. The suppliers in Borneo should be representing their own region and by name and quality, rather than having their work attributed to a bunch of fictitious Vietnam kratom suppliers. To add to this, Cambodia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, and Thailand have virtually no kratom exports.
Where does it all come from then? I estimate that ~98% of kratom comes from Borneo and ~2% comes from Sumatra. Regardless of that exact ratio, practically 100% comes from these two Indonesian Islands. There have been very very small amounts of Javanese and Thai kratom exported to the US, but they are negligible. I've tried Javanese (and it was bad) but I have yet to get ahold of a single gram of true Thai. Emphatically, Borneo has the best kratom on earth. The kratom forests are vast and healthy, the leaves get as bigger than a baby. The kratom is cheap, plentiful, and easily exported. In short, Borneo outcompetes.
What about vein colors? ~99.99% of kratom is red-veined. Grind up a red-veined leaf and it will end up matcha-green, not red or tan. The end color of kratom comes from the drying and oxidation process. This can be done under the sun, in a small amount of ethanol, sealed off and fermented, or in an open or closed drying room. The sun damages kratom alkaloids if left too long and along with high moisture content, is the culprit for most bunk kratom. High quality kratom is dried quickly and ground soon after, being careful that the grinder doesn't heat up and scorch alkaloids. When this is done, the suppliers analyze the color and name it that. Oftentimes they will blend to achieve a specific or uniform color.
'Strains' in their entirety, are a myth made up by Indonesians and Americans who prioritize marketing tactics and money above honesty and regional-pride. Personally, I advocate that kratom is labelled as:
The correct region it is from. This is like coffee, tea, wine, etc. This develops a sense of pride and competition between regions and suppliers that promotes quality and cleanliness.
The color of the ground product or oxidation process (as with bentuangie). If it is yellowish, someone will be selling it as gold. If it's bright green, someone will be selling it as "super green". This is acceptable because it's a measurable standard. Vendors should not be deciding their own names. They should demand correct naming from suppliers.
Oxidation was shown in one study to convert 8% of mitragynine into 7ohm. As far as I have found, that has not been replicated. In theory, yes, oxidation should cause a slight bump in 7ohm and alkaloid change that would cause a more sedating effect. We should know this fully within a couple of years, especially with new nida study funding.
So why is everyone so confused? There are hundreds of sources about strains, veins and whatnot that are spun out by underpaid content writers who have no clue what kratom is really about. They get paid to take existing marketing content and write it in their own words with their own theories. Buying leaf that is marketed this way creates a vicious circle of misinformation paying off, pitting profits against education. A huge number of kratom companies fall for this nonsense. They bastardize every aspect of the plant, effects, and regions until there is zero consistency among them. It's the Babel of the kratom community.
We have the ground-breaking opportunity in this sub to educate the world. We are the forefront of a massive medicinal revolution. The veterans here have spent countless combined years ensuring that the future of kratom is less gimmick and more fact, less legal-high and more natural medicine, less mystery and more consistency. These are the people we can trust, because they have no other motive than to help. They know that we can save lives through correct kratom education, we just have to do it right.
In that spirit of education, please let me know if you have questions. If I don't know something, I can probably find it for you.
Thank you, and have a wonderful week!
Edit: ma heart ma soul! Thank you for the gold, friend!
Edit 2: silver after my own heart! Thank you, you two!