Tea, wine, beer, cannabis, CBD, kratom. What do they all have in common? A learning curve of language used to describe what products are, how they are made, and how they work in your body.
Maybe you’ve mastered all the cannabis terminology and strain names and are shocked to find kratom has its own unique set of strains and definitions. For a new kratom user, this kratom industry language can make choosing and using a kratom product confusing.
That’s why we’ve created the AURA Therapeutics guide to kratom definitions. Consider this your cheat sheet to kratom.
Kratom Definitions: Modes of Ingestion
Bath Bombs & Bath Salts
Kratom is infused into bath bombs or epsom salts that dissolve into hot bath water, providing relaxation and skin-softening benefits.
A pill containing kratom powder on the inside and a gelatin or cellulose shell on the outside. Gelatin kratom capsules are not vegetarian or vegan, but cellulose capsules are.
This can be drinks or food kratom powder or kratom tincture is added to. Kratom edibles include kratom tea, kratom gummies, and kratom chocolates.
Kratom leaves are dried and ground into fine powder. Kratom powder can be added to drinks or foods, put into capsules, or swallowed via a method called toss & wash.
Kratom leaves that have been dried and ground into a fine powder, then pressed into tablets. Kratom tablets are different from capsules as they don’t have a gelatin or cellulose shell, and you don’t have to check whether or not they are vegetarian or vegan friendly. Kratom tablets are also smaller than capsules as more powder is compressed in a smaller volume, making it easier for consumers who have problems swallowing pills
Kratom tea is kratom powder added to hot water. Lemon, sugar, and other flavorings are often added to kratom tea to mask the bitter taste.
Similar to CBD oil or THC tinctures, the active alkaloids in kratom can be turned into a concentrated extract that is suspended in alcohol and available in a dropper bottle. The liquid is dropped under the tongue and held for 30 seconds, where it absorbed sublingually and enters the bloodstream within 10-15 minutes. Sublingual administration avoids the gut and liver, making a potent way to deliver kratom for those who are having problems with bioavailability. It is also one of the least studied methods of using kratom, and may put users at higher risk for addiction or unwanted side effects.
Kratom powder or kratom extract can be added to topicals including lotions, creams, balms, salves, and gel that are applied to skin on the face and body. Topical application of kratom does not enter the bloodstream and does not cause euphoria and other effects seen when eating or vaping kratom.
A vape cartridge is filled with kratom extract, and when the attached battery heats up the cartridge, and the user inhales from the vape pen, the active ingredients are absorbed in the lungs form almost immediate effects.
The act of using kratom in any form. It does not necessarily mean smoking or vaping kratom, and can refer to using kratom capsules, kratom powder, kratom tea, or any other form.
Some websites refer to kratom as incense or candles instead of powder for human consumption to stay within compliance of local laws, but kratom users are not using kratom to make their house smell nice.
A method of adding citric acid in the form of lemon juice to dissolve kratom plant material and release active alkaloids for more potent and faster effects. This method is also used to release the alkaloid psilocybin from magic mushrooms.
Toss and Wash
Similar to chugging a shot of alcohol, the toss and wash method is about getting as much of the gross tasting kratom in your body at once without spending time or money on kratom capsules or using kratom edibles. Some people merely weigh out their kratom and throw it their mouth, washing it down with a drink that masks the flavor. Others package their kratom in a damp tissue before throwing it their mouth to prevent the powders from spreading everywhere or coughing it back up.
Plant & Varietal Words
The scientific name of the kratom plant, which is a tropical evergreen tree in the coffee family and grows naturally in Southeast Asian countries including Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, and Papua New Guinea.
The scientific family that the kratom plant belongs to. There are over 13,150 plants in the Rubiaceae family, include coffee, kratom, and gardenia.
The specific cultivar of kratom, grouped under vein categories. Each strain has varying concentrations of active alkaloids and other compounds that change the taste and physiological effects. However, similar to cannabis strains, it is not clear that strains from different vendors have similar chemical properties as the industry is not regulated.
There are 3 major categories of kratom, defined by the color of the stems and veins of leaves after processing. Red vein kratom, white vein kratom, and green vein kratom all have many strains of kratom underneath them, and the categories different in their effects.
Green Vein Kratom
This category of kratom is most similar to the “hybrid” category of cannabis strains, as they tend to provide energy as well as stress reduction and mild relief.
Red Vein Kratom
This category of kratom is most similar to the “indica” category of cannabis strains, as they tend to increase relaxation, provide strong relief, and promote sleep.
White Vein Kratom
This category of kratom is most similar to the “sativa” category of cannabis strains, as they tend to provide energy, focus, and mood lift and more appropriate for morning use.
Medical & Science Kratom Definitions
The second most abundant alkaloid in kratom, 7-OH is 13 times more potent than morphine and 46 times more potent than mitragynine. The liver also metabolizes most of the mitragynine found in kratom into 7-OH. Interestingly, 7-OH is stable in animal blood, but not in human blood, and is almost immediately converted to the more potent alkaloid metabolite mitragynine pseudoindoxyl in humans.
Organic compounds containing at least one nitrogen atom and are usually basic as opposed to acidic. Plants, animals, bacteria, and fungi can all produce alkaloids, and most have pharmacological activities in the human body. Plant-based alkaloids include caffeine, cocaine, morphine, psilocybin, nicotine, and mitragynine, which is the most abundant alkaloid in kratom. Phytocannabinoids like THC and CBD are not alkaloids.
A type of neurotransmitter that activates opioid receptors in the brain and body, relieving pain. Endorphins, which are endogenous opioids, are produced and stored in the pituitary gland. Endorphins are to the opioid system what endocannabinoids are to the endocannabinoid system.
The theory, first posed by Dr. Ethan Russo, that compounds in the cannabis plant such as cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids work synergistically to deliver more medicinal benefits together than the sum of each of the isolated compounds. It is believed many botanical medicines, including magic mushrooms and kratom, also have an entourage effect whereby their numerous components work better together than an isolated extract of any active ingredient.
The alkaloid in highest concentration in the kratom plant binds to mu, delta, and kappa opioid receptors. It is converted to active metabolite 7-OH in the liver when ingested.
The alkaloid was recently discovered to be formed when the human liver further breaks down kratom alkaloid 7-OH. This alkaloid is more potent than both 7-OH and morphine, and is not produced in animals.
Chemical messenger that signals between nerve cells. Common neurotransmitters include endorphins, endocannabinoids, dopamine, serotonin, glutamate, and GABA.
Alkaloid drugs derived from the opium poppy including heroin, morphine, and codeine. Opiate is often used interchangeably with opioid, but they are different, as opioid includes both natural and synthetic opioids, and opiate refers only to natural opioid drugs.
Alkaloids that bind to opioid receptors in the brain. Endogenous opioids, or endorphins, are made in the body. Natural opioids are derived from the opium poppy, and semi-synthetic opioids such as morphine, heroin, oxycodone, and hydrocodone are synthesized from naturally occurring opium products. Fully synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, tramadol, and methadone are made entirely in the lab and do not occur in nature.
The neurotransmitter system consisting of endorphins and four types of opioid receptors including mu, delta, kappa and nociceptin receptors. The opioid system regulates pain, mood, stress, and addiction, and is present in the brain, immune system, gut, and peripheral nervous system.
A protein seated on the outside of a cell that receives a molecule such a neurotransmitter or drug and activates downstream pathways inside the cell.