The Truth About Kratom Strains
June 29, 2021

The Truth About Kratom Strains

If you take even a brief look into the world of kratom you will see that there are many different stains with some vendors claiming to have over 30 different strains in stock. For this article we took a closer look at kratom strains only to find out that the concept is mostly marketing nonsense designed to sell more kratom. Read the rest of the article to discover the truth behind kratom strains

Kratom Strains

If you are looking for our list of trusted vendors then click here

First, What Are Kratom Strains Claimed To Be?

Kratom strains are claimed to come in three main varieties: red, green and white. It is said that the vein color of the leaf is what determines the kratom type. Kratom leafs that have green veins will become green kratom and kratom leafs that have red veins will become red kratom, ext. Red strains are claimed to be more relaxing, green to be stimulating, and white to be in between.

Kratom Strains

After color, kratom stains are claimed to be sorted based on where they come from. Common strains include Borneo, Thai, and Milay, all of which come in either red, green or white veined varieties. 

You would think that a kratom strain would be referring to information about the genetics of the plant or maybe a history of cultivation techniques but this turns out to be not true as it looks like at best, kratom strain refers only to the color of the vein. 

The Real Kratom Market

99% of all kratom is grown and harvested in the Borneo wilderness. Bali kratom is not grown in Bali. It's possible that it is being processed in Bali but even that you should be skeptical about. Most kratom is grown and cultivated on farms in a controlled environment in the jungle of western Borneo. Specifically the Kapuas River valley as to where the most and the highest quality kratom comes from. Because there is no industry standard it is possible for kratom to come from anywhere with any number of cultivation techniques.

Kratom Strains

The truth about the Borneo kratom industry is that it is far too unregulated to claim that any vendor supplies what would be considered a reliable “kratom strain”. While some vendors might grow controlled batches with a detailed sorting process, most kratom is grown and harvested in mass and then sorted afterward based on arbitrary batch color.

Chris, owner of CrispKratom says-

“One single farmer might have a system to create differences between his strains, but when you go across the broad spectrum of the industry, you cannot expect all strain names to have the same effect. This is an unregulated industry with thousands of vendors. They will slap a label on any batch and call it whatever they need to in order to sell.”

What is Quality Kratom?

Industry experience says that the best kratom is going to be a bright green color and the fresher the better. Brown kratom is sometimes an indication of age and growers have been known to claim their low quality kratom as red veined in order to give it more value on the market. Kratom connoisseurs report mitragynine as smelling similar to Yerba Mate tea and they claim to be able determine the potency of kratom with nothing more than their nose. 

Scientifically, Kratom has been shown to contain over 30 known alkaloids each with their own unique effect. The two primary alkaloids are Mitragynine and 7-Hydroxymitragynine. Kratom vendors test mostly for these two alkaloids and judge quality based on the findings. Quality kratom contains between 1%- 2% mitragynine. Some vendors claim to sell kratom that is over 2% but this has never been proven.

As the kratom plant ages the alkaloid content has been shown to shift to higher in 7-hydroxy and lower in mitragynine. This would be a sought after effect for users that are more interested in treating pain and getting relaxation more so than getting stimulated. This is the idea behind red veined kratom. 

Red veined kratom is kratom that comes from older and more mature plants. It's highly unlikely that a standardized method for sorting kratom based on age is held across the entire industry but as a general rule this is what is meant by the term “red veined kratom”.

What is Poor Quality Kratom?

In 2017 kratom contaminated with salmonella infected over 200 people in America. This is evidence that foreign kratom leafs are sometimes gathered with minimal sanitation concerns. Potentially from the backyard of a farm somewhere deep in the jungle of Kapuas there was kratom left out to dry only for a bird or insect to come by and leave some salmonella behind. Since then kratom vendors test their products much more so as to not let something like that happen ever again.

AKA GMP Certification

Today the easiest way to be sure that you are not getting contaminated kratom is to make sure that your vendor is American Kratom Association GMP certified. AKA GMP certification requires companies to do third party heavy metals, microbes, and salmonella testing. They also require vendors to label their kratom with the specific amount of each alkaloid so that you know exactly what you are getting. 

Kratom Strains

Currently the FDA is launching its attack on kratom on multiple different fronts. From issuing import alerts, to seizing products, and issuing mandatory recalls, the FDA has made it clear that it's out to bring down kratom. It's only because of the work done by the American Kratom Association in raising awareness and funding legal campaigns that allow kratom its current legal status. 

Check out our list for Top AKA certified vendors

The Early Kratom Pioneers

AKA GMP certification has not been around all that long and finding quality kratom has never been so easy. Most of the early American kratom pioneers report getting salmonella at one point or another in their search for quality kratom as it took time and trial and error to figure out how to source the best kratom. Today there are enough reviews out there that companies can at least make a more educated choice but even still vendors in the industry today report that it's not easy to find reliable suppliers. They say that it's the medium sized companies that are known to have the best kratom but also the medium sized companies that have the worst. It's said that it is not uncommon to order kratom by the ton only to find out that the entire batch is bad by the time it arrives.

The Best kratom Strains

The most popular strain of kratom sold goes by the name of “Maeng Da’ which theoretically was developed using grafting techniques in the late 20th century. While this is a popular theory, most experienced kratom users treat it as nothing more than a story. 

Maeng da kratom literally translates to “pimp grade” kratom. Mylasian farmers do not use “Maegn Da” to refer not to a specific strain however, and when asked about kratom that was developed using grafting techniques they do not know what this could be referring to. Instead they use the term “Maeng da” to refer to the best kratom they have in stock. There is no common strain of Maeng Da kratom to be found grown by different farmers, instead there are many different farmers that all refer to their best kratom as Maeng Da Kratom.

The problem is that Maeng Da could refer to the best or the worst kratom depending on which farmer you're talking to. To find the best of the best Maeng da you would either need to test out all the different kratom yourself or find a vendor that you trust to do this for you.

The Truth about Kratom strains

The truth is that the kratom found on the market comes from hundreds if not thousands of different kratom farmers all over Borneo. Because the market is so unregulated it's not hard to imagine all the diversity in cultivation practices and different batches of kratom that all get called by the same name. Without market regulation we can never know for sure. 

There have been many American vendors that have traveled to Borneo looking for the truth. While most of the information that comes back is murky at best, there is an active community on reddit that is sorting all of this information into easy to read bits. Click here for one vendor's story on the truth behind kratom strains. 

The general consensus is that kratom is like wine and different locations will produce different types of kratom. “Good kratom comes from Kapuas and Banjar. Kratom from Kapuas has very strong strength, while kratom from Banjar, has a high mitragyna value” says one local vendor. The problem with this is that kratom is likely not sorted after it is picked and any information about location of where the plant was grown is almost entirely lost in the shipping process. 

It is probable that farmers in different areas have similar growing and drying techniques. If this is the case then information regarding the difference in strain has not yet reached the United States and has definitely not been scientifically tested. It looks more than likely that “kratom strains” was actually a western marketing strategy that was attached to kratom during the late 19th century as a way to diversify kratom products to make them more suitable for a western styled market.

How to Find the Right Vendor

Unless you are willing to do your own experiments to find that perfect local vendor, you are going to need to trust someone else that has done this experiment already for you. Today the best companies all provide their test results on the package with a little label that says something like “1.74% mitragynine” plane as day for the world to see. 

Accurate information on the kratom alkaloid levels is going to give you more information than a kratom strain will ever be able to provide so our recommendation is to stop treating strains like it's some sort of collectors item where you need to collect them all. You only need one or two quality strains that you trust in order to get everything there is to get out of kratom.

Thailand is currently in the process of legalizing both kratom and marijuana. We are confident that after this happens that you will begin to see much more accurate information begin to arise about the exact properties of kratom.

In our Top 25 Best Most Trustworthy Kratom Vendors we name:

#1. Golden Monk

#2. Kraken Kratom

#3. PhytoExtractum


These companies are AKA GMP certified, have been around for years, and all have excellent reviews. 

Thanks for reading and have fun exploring the world of kratom.