Kratom extracts vs. powder – Which should you use?
Kratom powder is made by drying and grinding the leaves of the Mitragyna speciosa tree, which is native to Southeast Asia. The drying process helps preserve the alkaloids in the Kratom leaves that are responsible for their effects. Kratom leaves are typically dried either indoors or in the sun, then finely ground into a smooth, fine powder. Kratom powder comes in different vein colors like green, red, or white, which indicates the color of the leaf veins and stems and is related to the alkaloid content and effects.
For example, red vein Kratom powder is dried longer and contains higher levels of 7-hydroxy mitragynine, which makes it more sedating. Green and white vein powders provide more stimulation and energy. The powder is swallowed directly, but its bitter, earthy taste makes it difficult to consume. So, it’s often mixed with water, juice, or yogurt. Kratom powder is also used to make capsules, pressed pills, and extracts.
Kratom extracts are concentrated forms of Kratom made by boiling the dried Kratom leaves to extract the alkaloids, then processing it further to make a solid or liquid extract. They contain a higher concentration of alkaloids like mitragynine and 7-hydroxy mitragynine compared to plain leaf powder. Extracts are graded based on their concentration.
For example, 15x, 25x, and 50x indicate the amount of leaves used to make the extract. So, a 25x extract means boiling 25 grams of leaves to get 1 gram of extract. A higher concentration (50x) does not always mean better quality. An extract labeled as “enhanced” simply means an extract with extract added back to plain leaf to boost potency. Extracts come in solid resin form, powder, capsules, and liquid tinctures. Liquid extracts and tinctures allow precise dosing by the dropperful or milliliters. Kratom resin and powder extracts are convenient for travel but can be tricky to dose accurately.
Key differences between kratom powder and extracts
- Potency – The biggest difference lies in the potency. Extracts contain a much higher concentration of alkaloids per gram compared to plain leaves. Even a low concentration 5x extract will be 5 times more potent than powder. It allows you to use smaller doses to get the desired effects.
- Cost – Extracts cost more than plain leaf kratom per gram. While kratom powder costs around $10-20 for an ounce (28 grams), a 5x extract of the same amount of leaves costs two to three times more. The cost increases for higher concentrated extracts.
- Convenience- kratom extract are more convenient to package, carry, and consume. Capsules, tablets, and liquid extracts are easy to swallow and don’t require measuring messy powders. You take them discreetly anywhere. However, the powder is more versatile as you mix and match strains and create your blends.
- Dosage – It’s very easy to take too much extract, as even 0.5 grams provides a high dose of alkaloids. Extract dosages are measured in fractions of a gram, like 0.1g or 0.5g, instead of grams like for powders. It’s best to start low with extracts to assess tolerance. Powder dosage is measured in grams, typically starting at 1-2 grams. Therefore, plain leaf kratom dosage is easier to manage, especially for beginners.
- Effects and duration – At equivalent doses, extracts provide similar effects as powders. However, the higher potency of extracts often leads to stronger stimulation, pain relief, sedation, or opiate-like effects based on the strain and vein color. Many users report extract effects kicking in quicker but wearing off faster too. The powder effects are more mild and gradual but tend to last longer.