Kratom is an incredibly versatile plant. In small doses, it gives you a powerful energy boost, but in larger doses, it acts as an equally powerful sedative. The plant has analgesic effects at any dose, but they’re most pronounced in conjunction with kratom’s more sedative side.
Some strains offer more impressive analgesic effects than others. Red vein strains like Red Horn Kratom tend to work best as painkillers, especially at the end of the day. Those who are new to kratom are often skeptical. How can a natural herbal remedy provide the kind of relief touted by kratom enthusiasts?
It’s not all hype. You can read on to find out how it works.
What Is Kratom?
Kratom is made by drying and powdering the leaves of Mitragyna speciosa trees. These trees are indigenous to Southeast Asia, where people have been taking advantage of their analgesic effects for centuries. Kratom has only recently become popular in the West. Since its westward migration, scientists have begun to evaluate the plant, its pharmacology, and its effects.
How Kratom Works for Pain Management
What scientists have discovered so far is that kratom’s primary pharmacological action occurs thanks to the plant’s unique alkaloid profile. Researchers have identified over 40 of these compounds so far, but just four alkaloids are responsible for its pharmacological properties.
These four key alkaloids are:
Mitragynine is the most prevalent alkaloid in kratom. Both mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine are responsible for the plant’s analgesic effects. They act on the brain’s opioid receptors, but kratom is not an opiate. Some people who struggle with opiate addiction even use kratom to help them quit.
1. Kratom and the Brain’s Opioid Receptors
The exact manner of interaction between kratom’s alkaloids and the brain’s opioid receptors is still the subject of much debate. Some researchers believe that both mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine act as agonists on opioid receptors.
Others suggest that they have more variable modes of action depending on the receptor. This theory posits that both mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine behave as both partial mu-receptor agonists and delta-receptor competitive antagonists.
2. Other Mechanisms for Pain Relief
Mitragynine may also block pain signals in the brain through other mechanisms. It shares structural features with another indole alkaloid, yohimbine, and has adrenergic properties. Some clinical evidence suggests that mitragynine activates the brain’s alpha-2 adrenergic postsynaptic receptors found in modulatory descending pain pathways. It also inhibits neuronal pain transmission by blocking the brain’s Ca2+ pathways.
3. Indirect Analgesic Action
Mitragynine also has indirect analgesic properties. It binds to certain receptors in the central nervous system (CNS), including certain serotonin, dopamine, and adenosine receptors. Mitragynine also has putative anti-inflammatory effects.
4. What Does All That Mean?
Not a fan of scientific jargon? That’s fine. You don’t need to understand every complex pharmacological action of kratom’s key alkaloids to take advantage of its effects.
Regardless of the exact pharmacological mechanisms of mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, what’s clear is that they help to reduce pain. They do this by inhibiting pain signals at the source. That makes kratom a perfect herbal supplement for managing severe or complex chronic pain conditions.
What Sets Red Kratom Apart?
Traditional categories of kratom are named for the color of the vein that runs through their leaves. They aren’t technically different strains in that they all come from the same plants. Kratom is not divided into subspecies, although trees grown in different regions do have different characteristics. Instead, the colors of the leaves’ veins change throughout the trees’ growing cycles.
When the trees are young, their leaves’ veins are white. As the trees mature, the veins turn green. Unlike white and green kratom, red vein kratom is harvested from fully mature trees. The reason this matters if you’re looking for pain relief is that alkaloid levels within the leaves change depending on the tree’s maturity.
The changing alkaloid profile affects how kratom interacts with the brain. White vein kratom is more energizing and uplifting. Green vein kratom is euphoric and mood-enhancing. Red vein kratom is relaxing and mildly sedating. These leaves’ unique alkaloid profiles also offer maximum promise when it comes to pain management.
Gold and yellow kratom are now available, as well. These strains are created by mixing red, green, and white vein kratom. They can be effective for pain relief. However, every vendor has a different mix, so it can be difficult to determine parentage and effects.
The Popular Strains
Every strain of kratom within these three primary categories has slightly different effects. The traditional strains are named for where they are cultivated. Since climate and soil conditions impact the alkaloid profiles of kratom trees’ leaves, some are more potent than others. Effects vary between harvests and farms, but the characteristics of each strain are generally stable.
1. Red Thai
Red Thai Kratom is a potent strain that has typical effects on a red vein strain. It is relaxing and sedating, which makes it perfect for pain management later in the day. If you suffer from insomnia as well as pain, you can use Red Thai an hour or two before bed.
2. Red Bali
Red Bali is a versatile strain. It’s good for pain relief, but it also offers a gentle energy boost not shared by other red strains. Its effects are euphoric and resemble those of opiates. Most users say that red Bali kratom is a good option if you need relief from severe pain during the day.
3. Red Kali
Red Kali is a sedating, relaxing strain. It’s well-known for its pain-relieving properties. It’s only moderately potent, so you may need a more substantial dose for optimal results.
4. Red Indo
Red Indo shares the dominant characteristics of other red vein strains. However, it’s much tamer than the ones described above. It’s perfect for newcomers to the wonderful world of kratom but is only suitable for managing mild-to-moderate pain.
Some newer, premium strains of kratom are made by combining one or more traditional strains. They include popular options like Red Maeng Da, often touted for its impressive potency. Keep in mind that if you’re new to kratom, you’ll need a lower Maeng Da Kratom dosage for pain thanks to its potency.
Other premium strains include:
• Red Dragon
• Red Horn
• Red Bentuangie
• And others
Dosing Red Kratom for Pain
There are no hard-and-fast dosage guidelines for using kratom. As a general rule, you’ll need to use more kratom for pain management than you would for energy.
If you’re using kratom during the day, stick to lower doses. One to three grams is a good starting point. If you’re using kratom at night, start with a larger dose for maximum analgesic effects. You should use the lowest effective dose, but that might be three or four grams instead of one or two.
What Drugs Are Used for Pain Management?
There are several classes of prescription medications used to treat chronic pain. They include opioids, corticosteroids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, anticonvulsants, and antidepressants. You can also use herbal supplements like kratom to help with pain management.
Discover Red Kratom’s Analgesic Effects for Yourself
Still not sure if you buy the hype? The best thing to do is to try kratom for yourself. You can buy it online, but make sure to find a reputable vendor. When in doubt, check for lab tests to ensure purity and potency.