Natural Stimulation: Kratom Vs. Coffee
It would be a titanic task to find people who haven’t at least heard of the coffee bean and the distinctly aromatic beverage made from its grounds. It is no wonder, considering that caffeine, its main alkaloid, is the most widely used psychoactive drug in the world and has been such since the inception of the global trade. Obviously, the unprecedented popularity of the substance hinges on far more than its dietary pros. An effective and relatively safe psychostimulant, a cup of coffee is an instantly recognizable staple of the modern-day breakfast which jumpstarts the morning routine by infusing it with a tad of excitement and promoting much needed wakefulness. Unfortunately, not many in the Western world are familiar with the coffee’s distant ‘cousin’, Mitragyna Speciosa. The tree is primarily grown in the developing Southeast Asia, hence its relative obscurity, and the preparation made from its dried and powdered leaves is called Kratom.
Despite their genetic similarity, the plant boasts an entirely different set of alkaloids with their own unique and seemingly amorphous psychopharmacology. Mitragynine, 7-hydroxymitragynine and their various chemical derivatives produced by the plant have been identified as the caffeine’s counterparts. Limited basic scientific research, as well, as the anecdotal evidence collected from the community of Kratom enthusiasts suggests that their physiological and psychological effects are largely dose-dependent; although, because the powder contains more than one psychoactive ingredient, relative concentrations of the alkaloid spectrum varied by strain and cultivation conditions may also play a role, resembling the “entourage effect” observed with the active components in cannabis. Currently, it is generally accepted that central nervous system (CNS) stimulation occurs with a low dose, which forces a bleary eyed, yawning face to suddenly burst with energy and enthusiasm for a new day. On the other hand, high quantities produce CNS depression, reportedly, resulting in pain relief, relaxation, and even euphoria most commonly associated with opioids. While both, coffee and Kratom, have the capacity to be utilized for natural stimulation by the lethargically challenged, the potential suitability depends on the preferences and concerns of an individual, as they dramatically differ in their respective mechanisms of action.