What Does Kratom Do?
One of the reasons that make people so easily confused about the effects of kratom is that its effects are entirely different depending on the dose.
For example, low doses are stimulating, but high doses are sedating.
Reading all of this conflicting information can lead to people becoming confused about what kratom actually does.
On top of this, the effects can change dramatically depending on what kratom strain you’re using, how it’s been processed, and the method that you used to consume it.
With that said, there are a few generalizations we can make about how kratom feels after you use it.
1. Physical Effects of Kratom
Kratom causes a number of physical effects on the human body. In lower doses, it makes us feel more awake, more alert, and better able to focus on the task at hand. This effect is more similar to coffee than stimulant drugs like Adderall or cocaine.
Instead, we feel sharper and more reactive mentally. It feels like we’re running on an extended tank — able to work longer hours before the effects of fatigue start to settle in.
These are the most prominent physical feelings of kratom:
- More Focus & Mental Clarity — Certain strains of kratom can produce a boost of energy that can improve focus and work ethic.
- More Relaxed — Certain strains of kratom lead to physical relaxation and can fight insomnia and restless sleep.
- Less Pain — Mention the impact on pain and muscle tension and other physical body effects.
2. Psychological Effects of Kratom
There are some psychological effects you can expect as well. These effects range from feeling relaxed and mellow (usually with higher doses) or euphoric.
Kratom can also produce a number of psychological changes:
- Euphoria — Pretty much all doses of kratom produce some degree of euphoria (defined as feelings of pleasure and intense joy).
- Less Anxiety — Higher doses of kratom produce feelings best described as “floaty.” It’s as if all your anxiety dissolves away, making you feel much lighter and more relaxed.
- Promotes More Vivid Dreams — Many people report experiencing intense or vivid dreams after taking kratom.
3. The After-Effects of Kratom
Even after the effects of kratom wear off, people report feeling a sort of “afterglow,” which can range from feeling more energized, focused, and centered.
Sometimes, the opposite is true. Some people experience a bit of a hangover after using kratom — especially after taking high doses. Hangovers can involve headaches, fatigue, and lethargy lasting one to three days after taking kratom.
Each Kratom Strain Feels Different
The first thing you should be aware of is the difference in effects between the many strains of kratom. Strains, colors, and their effects constitute the most basic kratom information that you should know before even making a purchase.
The main factor that’s responsible for the varied feelings that kratom can produce is the difference in alkaloid content. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of different strains of kratom.
There are two parts to kratom strain names.
First, the color is used to describe the general effect profile of the strain:
- Red kratom — These strains are more sedative and have stronger analgesic action.
- Green kratom — These strains are well-balanced, with both stimulating and sedative qualities.
- White vein — These strains are stronger stimulants and are most often used for focus, concentration, or energy support.
The color of the leaf veins gives us a clue as to the alkaloid content contained inside, but this isn’t the definitive factor. There are a lot of kratom plants with green leaf veins that are sold as white or red vein as well. The most important factor is what effects they produce.
Next, the kratom is named after the region it originated from or was grown in — such as Malaysia, Thailand, Bali, Indonesia, or others. Some strains have a different name, such as horn or elephant, which is used to describe the appearance of the leaves on the plant instead.
Let’s cover the differences in how each type of kratom feels depending on its color:
1. Effects of Green Vein Kratom
What does green kratom feel like?
- Balance between stimulating and relaxing
- Great for feelings of anxiety or mild to moderate pain
- Can be powerfully euphoric but not always
Green Kratom is possibly the most popular form of kratom. If not the most popular, it would technically be the most abundant, simply because of the fact that any form of unprocessed kratom would technically be considered “green.”
So, if you go up to a kratom tree, pick a leaf, grind it up, and brew it into tea, you’re using green kratom. In its unprocessed form, kratom is naturally high in a number of different alkaloids, which can produce many different feelings.
The raw, green kratom leaves contain high concentrations of a compound called mitragynine, which is the primary stimulating compound in the plant. There will also be a large portion of other alkaloids, like 7-OH-mitragynine (sedative) and over a dozen others.
2. Effects of Red Vein Kratom
What does red vein kratom feel like?
- Strong sedatives in higher doses
- Stimulating effect in lower doses
- Alleviates all levels of pain
- Reliably produces feelings of euphoria
- Promotes a feeling of peace relaxation
Red kratom is the most sedating variety. It is also the only form of kratom that somewhat resembles the change in color. This change occurs naturally because of the same fermentation process that also changes the feeling of this particular type of kratom.
A typical Indonesian kratom farmer creates a red blend by fermenting kratom leaves in the sun for at least three days. This fermentation, as well as oxidation, changes the color of the leaves and the alkaloid content.
This conversion converts much of the mitragynine to a compound called 7-OH-mitragynine, which is a powerful opioid agonist and sedative.
3. Effects of White Vein Kratom
What does white vein kratom feel like?
- More stimulating than sedating
- Promotes a feeling of mental clarity
- Enhances the ability to focus or concentrate on a given task
- Can be too stimulating if used in the evenings
White kratom is the most stimulating variety of kratom. It lacks some of the opiate binding activity associated with more sedating varieties like a red vein or certain green vein strains.
Instead, white vein kratom provides users with more focus, motivation, and clarity.
White kratom, according to the Indonesian farming method, is made from a base of green kratom. The stimulating qualities are enhanced by including the stems and veins in the final powder (most green veins are processed to remove this portion of the leaf).
4. Effects of Yellow Vein Kratom
What does yellow vein kratom feel like?
- Stimulating effects similar to white vein kratom
- Can also carry qualities of red vein kratom (sedating)
- All yellow vein kratom is unique, so the effects can change
Yellow kratom feels similar in effect to white kratom. Some farmers produce yellow kratom by adding white kratom, or simply some kratom bones (stems and veins), into a bag of red kratom. This allows for a strong, sedating experience backed by an initial burst of energy.
Other farmers will make the yellow kratom by fermenting a ‘red’ kratom for two days instead of three. They will then add some stem & vein powder for additional stimulation.
5. Effects of Gold Kratom
Despite the similarities between yellow and gold in color, these two types of kratom are not actually the same. In fact, there is reason to believe that no two strains of gold kratom are the same. The process for making gold kratom is different in virtually every country that makes it.
There seems to be no widely accepted consensus about how gold kratom is created, but most believe that it is simply the result of vendors arbitrarily mixing together different strains.
It’s this inconsistency that makes gold kratom less popular than the other options.
If you want to know what gold kratom feels like, you’ll have to read the description from whatever vendor you’re purchasing it from because it is likely to be quite a bit different from any other gold strain.
How Kratom Feels at Different Doses
The effects of kratom will also change depending on the amount you’re taking.
In fact, the effects of a high dose of kratom can be almost entirely opposite to the effect you would feel from a small dose of the same strain.
There are a few reasons for this.
There are many different alkaloids in kratom responsible for the effects that it produces. Some of these alkaloids are stronger than others, and some last longer than others.
At lower doses, some of the alkaloids tend to stimulate some of the energizing systems in our body, like adrenaline. At higher doses, the more sedative alkaloids such as 7-OH-mitragynine start to overpower everything else.
Nonetheless, kratom follows a pretty specific trend in terms of dosing. Light doses, medium doses, and strong doses consistently produce certain effects.
Related: Kratom Dosage Guide [Dosage Calculator]
1. Light Doses (1–3 grams)
If you’re taking a light dose of kratom, you can expect to feel the plant’s more uplifting benefits:
- Feelings of energy & stimulation
- Feeling more motivated
- Feeling more creative
- Feeling less fatigued or worn-out
Light doses are the best if you’re hoping to feel pumped up in the morning. Light doses are also much more manageable in terms of overall intensity.
2. Moderate Doses (3–5 grams)
Mid-range doses of kratom can produce both stimulating and relaxing effects:
- Feeling calm, but with greater levels of energy
- Feeling stronger & more motivated in the gym
- Feelings of focus & concentration
If you’re taking a green strain, you’ll get the whole experience of kratom. Generally, the first part of the experience will be stimulating in nature. As the stimulation starts to wear off, your experience will start to fade into relaxation.
White strains don’t tend to lead to relaxation at all because they are expressly stimulating through and through. Finally, at middle doses, red strains may still produce a bit of stimulation early on, but their relaxing effects are much more pronounced compared to green strains and might even overwhelm any stimulation.
3. High Doses (5–8 grams)
High doses are where you will really start to experience the sedative effects of kratom:
- Feeling calm, relaxed, & sleepy
- Feelings of euphoria & a general sense of wellbeing
- Fewer feelings of pain or anxiety
- Feeling more social despite sedative effects
The only exception to these rules is the white strains which are going to make you feel much more alert and energetic, even in the higher dosage ranges.
High doses of green and red strains tend to produce strong feelings of sedation and pain relief. Red strains are far more effective than green strains for this purpose. Red strains can be so sedating at high doses that they will put you to bed.
Will Kratom Make Me High?
Kratom can certainly produce a series of effects that would be considered a high — but it’s not going to feel like other psychoactive substances like marijuana.
The kratom high feels more lucid than anything else. You’d need to take a high dose to experience noticeable psychoactive effects, which carry strong sedative qualities along with them. People who feel high on kratom often find themselves lying comfortably on a couch as they socialize with friends or take in a movie. You’re not going to be out at a club partying under the psychoactive effects of kratom.
Kratom does have a pleasant euphoric quality to it that makes the high quite enjoyable.
The biggest problem with using kratom for its high is that in these higher doses, you’re more likely to experience side effects like nausea, which can strip most of the pleasure that comes from the euphoric qualities of the plant.
What Happens if I Take Too Much Kratom?
Kratom can be a bit finicky, and it’s very important to get your proper dosage figured out early on. Low doses can be underwhelming, but if you take too much, you might experience some unwanted negative effects.
If you’re going to be increasing your kratom dosage, or if you’re new to kratom and you’re figuring out how much to take, start slow. Increase by small amounts, as little as half a gram per dosage. Ride out the effects to be certain that you won’t experience anything negative. Once you find a dose that works, stick with it.
If you take too much kratom, you may be more prone to experience side effects such as:
- The Wobbles — The “wobbles” is a side effect specific to kratom. You can imagine it as the polar opposite of the jitters, the side effect experienced when you drink too much caffeine. Rather than causing anxiety and hyperstimulation, the wobbles are marked by dizziness, nausea, & vertigo.
- Sluggish Digestion — High doses are more likely to cause digestive upset or lead to constipation & bloating.
- Tolerance Formation — High doses can cause you to build up tolerance more quickly and can lead you down the path to kratom addiction.
Final Thoughts: What Does Kratom Feel Like?
Kratom is a useful plant with a wide variety of different effects. These effects vary depending on how much you take, what strain you’re taking, and how you consume it.
In general, when you use kratom, you’ll feel a burst of energy and euphoria that can last up to 3 hours. If you took a higher dose (more than 5 grams), this burst in energy is likely to fade into more sedative effects, gently coaxing you to sleep around 3–5 hours after you take it.