Best Kratom for Pain – How it Works, Dosage & Top Strains

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The Best Kratom Strains For Pain – a Comprehensive Guide

Is your body tense from all the stress you’re under? Feeling wound up like a Jack in the Box while also suffering from ongoing aches and pains? If any of that sounds familiar, you’re not alone, not by a long shot. In the words of renowned philosopher, author, and poet Friedrich Nietzsche, ‘To live is to suffer…”.

Of course, life is a wonderful blessing, but in today’s fast-paced modern world, more of us are ‘feeling the pain’ as our body’s try to keep up with the demands of daily life.

That’s where Kratom comes in.

For thousands of years, humans have sought out natural remedies and homeopathic means to soothe their mind, body, and soul, with one such plant standing head and shoulders above the rest.

For centuries, the Mitragyna Speciosa, an evergreen tree native to Southeast Asia, has offered the people of Indonesia and around the world a soothing remedy for aches and pains known as Kratom.

People seeking out alternatives to alcohol, cannabis, or pharmaceuticals may find that Kratom offers the pain-relieving, analgesic effects they desire, all without the harsh side effects and risks associated with other options.

In this guide we explore the best Kratom strains for pain, helping you find the perfect strains to ease your body into a state of blissful comfort.

Pain: A Silent Epidemic that Kratom May be Able to Tame

Most of us are suffering from some type of ache, pain, strain, or soreness. From strenuous blue-collar jobs, to hunching over an office chair in a cubicle, or simply tending to the needs of rambunctious children, we put our bodies through a lot.

According to a Georgetown University study, nearly 65 million Americans report a recent episode back pain and aches, with nearly 8% of the entire population suffering from chronic back issues.

Similarly, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), reports that nearly 20% of the US adult population suffer from chronic pain of all types, with 8% suffering from debilitating pain.

Add to that the general wear and tear we put on our bodies in our daily lives, from work to sports, and it’s no wonder so many people seek out ways to relieve strain and pain, including various Kratom strains.

For those seeking natural alternatives to aid with relief from daily living, Kratom may provide both the physical and psychological effects necessary to enjoy life to the fullest.

The Best Kratom for Pain – Understanding Strains

Kratom is a plant-based product made entirely from the leaves of the Mitragyna Speciosa tree. It contains no additives or harsh chemicals, and is an all-natural botanical that has been used for hundreds of years for its analgesic (pain-reducing) abilities.

The leaves of the Mitragyna Speciosa tree are carefully hand-picked throughout the tree’s growing cycles, after which they are dried and processed under temperature and light-controlled conditions.

While all strains of Kratom share some basic characteristics, nuances, and effects can vary widely from one strain to another.

The most common strains of Kratom include:

  • Red
  • White
  • Green; and
  • Yellow

Each strain is grown using time-honored traditions passed down by generational farmers throughout Indonesia. The location of the farms can have a dramatic impact on the final product, attributable to biodiversity, soil composition, and weather conditions.

Similarly, each strain is unique, made from leaves harvested at differing stages throughout the growth cycle, and processed in specific ways that result in various concentrations and profiles of naturally occurring alkaloids.

It is these alkaloids and their respective concentrations that result in Kratom’s effects.

Kratom For Pain Relief: How Kratom Strains Work to Reduce Pain?

Prior to choosing a Kratom strain for pain, it’s important to understand how and why Kratom produces its pain-relieving effects when consumed. This background on how Kratom works to alleviate pain can help you better determine which Kratom strain is ideal for your own needs.

For example, some strains that tackle pain lean towards a deeply relaxing and sedative effect, while others are soothing yet uplifting and mood-enhancing, making them more ideal for social occasions rather than crashing on the couch after a long day’s work.

What makes each strain better or worse for pain? The concentration and combination of plant alkaloids found in the Kratom leaves of each strain are responsible for each strain’s independently unique effects. With more than 40 identified alkaloids, there can be a significant difference between strains of Kratom, making it difficult for consumers to find the right one to help manage chronic pain.

How Does Kratom Work For Pain?

Although clinical trials on how Kratom works to manage or reduce pain are slim, a lot of scientific research has been done on the pharmacology of Kratom’s alkaloids, both in invitro and in vivo (in live animal models and in test tube studies). Further, we can draw on anecdotal and case information from the tens of millions of Kratom consumers worldwide.

Let’s take a closer look at how Kratom helps to alleviate pain.

1. Stimulation of Opioid Receptors – acting similar to morphine (but to a lesser degree)

2. Inhibition of COX-2 – an inflammatory enzyme

3. Muscle Relaxant Properties – reducing muscle fiber and joint tension

4. Euphoria and Mood – Similar to cannabis, Kratom indirectly reduces pain through its ability to produce euphoria and a state of soothing well-being and uplifted mood. This acts as a type of distraction, with consumers reporting the pain exists but is ‘background noise’ and doesn’t bother them nearly as much.

We’ll explore these mechanisms in greater detail later on. For now, let’s look at which Kratom strains are best for pain relief.

The Best Kratom for Pain Relief in 2022

Red Strains – the Best Vein for Physical Soothing

Arguably the best Kratom strain for soothing chronic aches and pains are red strains. Red Kratom is well-known for exerting a strong relaxing, soothing, relieving, and sedating effect.

More than that, red vein Kratom is euphoric, mood-enhancing, and analgesic (pain-relieving).

Red vein Kratom is made from Mitragyna Speciosa leaves picked further along in the plant’s growth cycle (when the veins turn a deep red in color). The red veins, from which the strain gets its namesake, is indicative of a high concentration of Mitragynine and 7-a-hydroxymitragynine. These two prominent alkaloids have potent analgesic and muscle-relaxing properties.

After the first growth season, the tree often endures a period of drought, during which these alkaloids build up and concentrate in the tips of the leaves. When the next rainy season hits, these alkaloids are deposited into the veins of the leaves, turning them red and indicating they are ready to use in making red-veined Kratom.

Accounting for up to 66% of the alkaloid content in red Kratom strains, Mitragynine has been clinically and/or scientifically proven to be:

  • Analgesic
  • Adrenergic
  • Antitussive
  • Antidiarrheal
  • Antimalarial
  • And act as a possible psychedelic (5-HT2A antagonist)

The primary effects are a deeply soothing and relaxed state of being that many find optimal at the end of a long day, before bed, or when they want to unwind.

Sources:

Journal of Pain Therapy. Pain Ther. 2020 Jun; 9(1): 55–69. Published online 2020 Jan 28. doi: 10.1007/s40122-020-00151-x

Journal of Frontiers in Pharmacology. Front. Pharmacol., 24 February 2022. Sec. Ethnopharmacology. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2022.805986

Other Alkaloids in Red Vein Kratom that May Contribute to a Soothing Effect

Paynantheine – May act as a muscle relaxer. Muscle tension is a major contributing factor for pain and discomfort. According to the journal of Current Top Behavioral Neuroscience, between 11-24% of the world’s population suffers from chronic pain due to muscle tension and soreness.

Speciogynine – Similar to Paynantheine, Speciogynine may act as a smooth muscle relaxer to relieve muscle-related pain and discomfort. Its mechanism of action is still being researched.

Speciociliatine – May aid in inhibiting acetylcholine release from presynaptic nerves through a mechanism other than opioid receptor stimulation. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that (in part) helps keeps muscles in balance. Muscle contraction is partially controlled by muscle cell membrane receptors reacting to acetylcholine released by localized motor neurons. Speciociliatine’s influence on inhibiting acetylcholine is able to reduce contraction of muscle fibers, alleviating tension and potentially reducing pain.

The Best Red Kratom Strains for Pain

1. Red Maeng Da Kratom

Out of all Kratom strains available on the market, none is as potent as Red Maeng Da Kratom. Originating in Thailand, Maeng Da Kratom is now cultivated throughout Southeast Asia, where it is known for its highly concentrated alkaloid content. In fact, the Thai word ‘Maeng Da’ can be roughly translated in English to ‘pimp grade’, meaning strong.

What makes Red Maeng Da Kratom so potent is an alkaloid profile that isn’t just dense, but rich with Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine. Two of the strongest and most biologically active alkaloids Kratom trees produce.

Together, these alkaloids work in synergy with more than 40 other minor alkaloids to produce effects ranging from analgesic (pain relieving), to sedative, euphoric, and uplifting.

Red Maeng Da Kratom Effects:

  • Analgesic / pain-reduction
  • Euphoria
  • Stress relief
  • Muscle relaxing
  • Mood enhancing
  • Sedative
  • Calming
  • Soothing

2. Red Bali

Red Bali Kratom is one of the most popular strains of Kratom. Cultivated on the island of Bali, Red Bali is well known for its relaxed, euphoric effects, as well as for its analgesic properties. Red Bali is also one of the most sedating strains of Kratom, making it great for unwinding after work, chilling on weekends, or before bed.

The effects of Red Bali Kratom can be both stimulating and sedating, depending on the dose (more on dosing later). Stimulating effects include increased energy, alertness, and concentration. Sedating effects include increased relaxation, calmness, and a sense of peace and well-being. Red Bali Kratom is often used by consumers in an effort to relieve symptoms of anxiety, depression, and insomnia, as well as for pain management.

Red Bali Kratom is available in a variety of forms, including Kratom powder, capsules, and tea. It can also be bought as an extract or tincture, and as one of the more readily available strains, is also quite affordable.

When taking Red Bali Kratom, it is important to start with a low dose and increase gradually as needed. The effects of Red Bali Kratom can last for several hours.

Red Bali Effects:

  • Pain relief
  • Improved mood
  • Relief of stress
  • Muscle relaxing
  • Sedation
  • Sense of calm and peace
  • Soothing

3. Red Borneo

Red Borneo Kratom is known for its strong soothing effects, which make it a popular choice for those seeking relief from anxiety, stress, or pain. Red Borneo Kratom is also known for its ability to improve mood and to promote relaxation.

Red Borneo Kratom is typically harvested from Mitragyna Speciosa trees cultivated on the island nation of Borneo, where the diverse ecosystem and weather aid in helping the tree produce a robust alkaloid profile conducive to pain relief.

The effects of red Borneo Kratom can vary depending on the dose. At lower doses, red Borneo Kratom produces mildly energizing effects, including increased alertness and focus. At higher doses, red Borneo Kratom produces calming euphoria, sedative effects, and pain and muscle relief.

Red Borneo Effects:

  • Analgesic pain relief
  • Mood enhancement
  • Muscle soothing
  • Tension-reducing
  • Euphoria
  • Reduced stress
  • Sedation (at higher doses)
  • Mild stimulation (loser doses)

Green Strains – the Best Vein for Dealing with Both the Physical and Mental Aspects of Pain

Red Kratom strains are the best when it comes to tackling the physical symptoms of pain, but they have one major downside: many users find them too sedative, leaving them lethargic, tired, or in need of a nap. As you can imagine, this is anything but ideal when it comes to tackling the responsibilities of the day. Be it for work, play, or social activities, you can’t walk around all day in a ‘fog’ of sedation.

That’s why reds are best for nighttime use, after a long day at work, or on weekends when you don’t have a lot to physically do.

But what about the rest of the time? That’s where Green Kratom veins come in. Green veined Kratom is notable for its balanced effects, embodying the stimulating properties of white Kratom, but also offering much of the same soothing, muscle-relaxing, and pain-relieving properties of red strains.

In many ways, Green vein Kratom is the ‘best of both worlds’, offering a middle ground that many consumers find ideal for managing pain while still being able to carry out their daily routine.

Green Strains – Soothing for the Mind and the Body

Green Kratom is made from leaves picked during the first growth cycle. At this stage of growth, the ‘veins’ of the leaves are light to dark green, hence ‘green’ in the name. This color and level of maturation indicate the presence of certain alkaloids and concentrations of those alkaloids, the combination of which gives green strains its unique effects.

While white and red strains represent polar opposites of the Kratom spectrum, with whites being typically energetic and uplifting, and reds being sedative and relaxing, greens embody the best of both worlds.

Primary Alkaloids Responsible for Green Kratom’s Soothing Effects

Similar to all Kratom, 7-a-hydroxymitragynine and mitragynine are the most prevalent alkaloids in the plant. The concentration and balance of these is such that green strains tend to have a mellowing effect that ranges between relaxing and uplifting, making it a favorite for social occasions, creative activities such as hobbies and art, and even working. It’s an often-used strain of Kratom for daytime soothing and pain relief without being so sedated and relaxed that you can’t get anything done.

Heavy in 7-a-hydroxymitragynine and mitragynine, green-veined Kratom also offers moderate pain relief in addition to its mental stress-relieving and soothing capabilities.

Other Notable Alkaloids that Make Green Kratom Great for Relief

Some green varieties of Kratom, such as Green Malay, have been shown in the lab to contain significant levels of an alkaloid called Speciofoline, a proven analgesic capable of relieving pain, as well as possessing antitussive abilities. Speciofoline was seen to have so much potential that Smith Kline (of Glaxo Smith Kline), a leading global pharmaceutical R&D and drug company, patented the alkaloid back in 1964. More than 40 years later, this powerful alkaloid gained renewed interest from the University of Mississippi and the University of Massachusetts Medical School, both of which jointly patented Speciofoline for use in opiate withdrawal.

The Best Green Kratom Strains for Pain

1. Green Maeng Da Kratom

Similar to Red Maeng Da, the green variety of Maeng Da is considered the strongest of green-vein Kratom. This potent strain is well-balanced, but with a more pronounced effect in all categories, including euphoria, mood, and muscle/pain relief.

Despite being well-balanced, being neither too sedative nor too stimulating, Green Maeng Da Kratom’s effects are still dose-dependent. Higher doses will still lean more sedative, while lower doses will still trend more stimulating and energizing.

Green Maeng Da Kratom Effects:

  • Euphoric
  • Increased alertness (at lower doses)
  • Anxiety-reducing
  • Soothing
  • Mood-enhancing
  • Pain relieving
  • Relaxing

2. Green Malay

Green Malay, also known as Green Malaysian, is a strain of Kratom grown and processed in Malaysia.

Among this strain’s primary alkaloids is Mitragynine, the main biologically active alkaloid in Green Malay, and is responsible for most of its effects. 7-α-hydroxymitragynine comes in second as the most prominent alkaloid in this strain, along with minor alkaloids including paynanthine, speciogynine, and several others. Together, these work to provide relaxing effects that affect the body and mind, working synergistically together to aid with muscle relaxation, pain relief, mood improvement, and more.

Green Malay Effects:

  • Better mood
  • Relaxation
  • Pain relief
  • Muscle relaxing
  • Mild euphoria

3. Green Bali

If you are searching for a potent, yet relaxing strain of Kratom, look no further than green Bali Kratom. This particular strain originates from the island of Bali in Indonesia where it is cultivated in rich tropical soil, producing a unique alkaloid profile that many find useful for daytime pain relief, mood enhancement, and more. This strain gets its name from the green veins of the leaves it is made from, as well as the island it is grown on.

Green Bali Kratom is a reliable strain that can be used for a variety of purposes. It is one of the most popular strains available and is known for its ability to produce both stimulating and sedating effects depending on the dose taken.

Many people use it to help with anxiety, stress relief, as a mild stimulant (at lower doses) to help with focus and concentration, and is also a popular strain for pain relief.

Green Bali Kratom is typically commercially available in powder form. It can also be found in capsules or tablets. Like all Kratom, the Kratom powder can be mixed with water or juice and taken orally. It can also be brewed into a tea.

Green Bali Effects:

  • Stimulating at lower doses
  • Sedating at higher doses
  • Overall better sense of wellbeing
  • Reduced stress and anxious feelings
  • Lower pain
  • Body and mind relaxation
  • Mild euphoria

How Does Kratom Work For Pain?

Earlier we briefly discussed how different strains of Kratom work for pain. Here, we’ll dive even further into the science to help you understand what makes Kratom so useful for relief.

Opioid Receptors

The same receptors affected by opioids are those that Kratom also interacts with. According to the Frontiers in Pharmacology journal, the alkaloids in Kratom have been shown to produce analgesic (pain relieving) effects by way of mediating mammalian opioid receptors.

Specifically, Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine work in an agonist or antagonistic manner on ‘mu’ receptors such as µ (MOR), δ (DOR), and κ (KOR). These alkaloids do so much in the same way an opioid like morphine would, but to a lesser degree AND without limited adverse effects as compared to opioids.

According to research published in the same Frontiers in Pharmacology journal, Mitragynine specifically has been identified as a major analgesic component of Kratom, and a strong candidate for pain reduction proven through comprehensive clinical and pre-clinical studies.

COX-2 and Inflammation

A study in the journal of Medical Hypothesis claims that the origin on ALL pain is due (at least in part) to inflammatory responses. This study contends that the goal of pain management or mediation should be the suppression or inhibition of inflammatory mediators, and/or the suppression of transmission of these mediators.

As described by Mayo Clinic, inflammation can be helpful as part of the body’s natural healing mechanisms, but it can also be quite damaging, causing a host of adverse symptoms and effects including but not limited to:

  • An increased risk of developing chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and more
  • Reduced quality of life
  • Pain
  • Discomfort or tenderness
  • And more…

One such biological pathway involved in inflammatory responses is the COX-2 enzyme and along with it, expression of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2).

A study in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology looked at how Mitragynine may influence the expression of COX-2 and PGE(2) production. The findings suggest that Mitragynine was able to suppress PGE(2) production by way of inhibition of COX-2, concluding that Mitragynine could be useful for the treatment of inflammation, a major source and contributor of pain.

Muscle Relaxant

Muscle tension is a often a considerable contributor to muscle and joint pain, along with significant discomfort, reduced mobility, increased risk of accidents/injury, and reduced quality of life.

One of the ways Kratom may help to alleviate pain associated with muscle and joints is by acting as a skeletal muscle relaxant.

The Brain Research Bulletin journal published findings on clinical and scientific research that support Kratom’s ability to relax muscles. Research on the pharmacological properties of Kratom found that the vast majority of effects are mediated by opioid receptors (as noted earlier), but also through calcium channels, and expression of CREB protein and cAMP. Among a vast range of other processes, calcium channels are highly involved in muscle fiber contractility, with mediation of these channels often resulting in muscle relaxation.

This same study also found that Kratom offers anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, and antinociceptive properties. Its antinocieptive properties may also have a strong influence on reducing pain and pain perception when the body is exposed to extreme temperatures, sensory system overload, toxic chemicals or stimuli, and mechanical injury (such as muscle soreness from overworking or overexerting).

Kratom’s Effect on the Brain

Among the most highly concentrated alkaloids in Kratom are 7-a-hydroxymitragynine and Mitragynine. Studies have revealed an interesting fact about these alkaloids. Both are able to engage our body’s naturally occurring opioid receptors. These receptors, present in the brain, are capable of inducing sedation, pleasure, and pain relief (much like opioids).

In addition to these two major alkaloids, there are up to 38+ other alkaloids that may exert their own effects and/or work synergistically with Mitragynine and 7-a-hydroxymitragynine to create a soothing and relaxing effect.

Notably, Kratom increases serotonin and dopamine (the ‘feel good’ neurotransmitter). Dopamine, among other biological processes, regulates our pleasure center and rewards system. By increasing dopamine, Kratom can increase feelings of contentment, happiness, and pleasure (euphoria). Indirectly, these effects can limit or reduce the perception of pain.

Additional Clinical and Scientific Studies Demonstrating Kratom’s Ability to Manage Pain

YALE JOURNAL OF BIOLOGICAL MEDICINE

26 males were studied for their pain tolerance in a randomized, double-blind research. 1 hour after taking Kratom, pain tolerance increased significantly. The placebo group’s pain tolerance was unaffected.

JOURNAL OF DRUG AND ALCOHOL DEPENDENCE

3024 Kratom users were surveyed in 2017. 48% of individuals used Kratom to treat discomfort. Only 13% of trial participants had negative effects, and only 0.8% quit taking the herb.

REFERENCE:

Coe, M. A., Pillitteri, J. L., Sembower, M. A., Gerlach, K. K., & Henningfield, J. E. (2019). Kratom as a substitute for opioids: results from an online survey. Drug and alcohol dependence, 202, 24-32.

ANIMAL STUDIES ON KRATOM AND PAIN

A whole library of In-vitro and animal research indicates potential for using Kratom and its alkaloids to relieve pain.

JOURNAL OF LIFE SCIENCE

Study demonstrated that opioid receptors are stimulated by Mitragynine in-vitro, indicative of a nociceptive effect (reducing pain or pain perception).

JOURNAL OF CLINICAL TOXICOLOGY

Study showed that both 7-hydroxymitragynine and mitragynine block pain by activation of the mu and delta-opioid receptors in vivo.

JOURNAL OF LIFE SCIENCE

This study once again demonstrated Mitragynine’s antinociceptive properties, this time using a mouse model.

What’s The Best Dose of Kratom For Pain?

One of the most popular uses of Kratom is for managing pain. Kratom is nature’s answer to pain management and its benefits are becoming more and more well-known. Kratom has been used for centuries in Southeast Asia for its analgesic (pain-relieving) properties. In fact, the traditional uses of Kratom are numerous and Pain is one of the more popular reasons that people turn to this amazing plant.

The best dose of Kratom for pain will vary depending on the individual. Factors such as weight, tolerance, and the severity of pain (among other factors) will all play a role in determining the perfect dose.

For most people, a moderate dose of 2-4 grams is all that is needed for mild pain relief, however, others find that a dose between 5-7 grams really does the trick. That said, anyone new to Kratom should start with a lower dose to gauge their tolerance before tapering up or down as needed.

It is important to note that there is NO established clinical dose of Kratom, and that Kratom’s effects vary based on the dose taken. Because of this, and due to everyone’s unique physiology, you may need to experiment with different dosing protocols to find what works best for you.

And remember, lower doses tend to be more stimulating (like a cup of coffee), whereas moderate to higher doses tend to be more relaxing and sedative.

Related: How to Dose Kratom the Right Way

Summary – Finding the Best Kratom for Pain

Some Closing Thoughts on Kratom’s Effectiveness as a Pain Reliever

There are numerous claims that Kratom is beneficial for your health, but few are as scientifically and clinically supported as its ability to alleviate pain.

There are more than 40 different alkaloids that do the work, and many of them work by targeting the same receptors that drugs like OcyContin and Dilaudid use to relieve pain. That’s why Kratom has such a powerful analgesic effect, on par with the most potent over-the-counter pain relievers.

Despite the fact that Kratom, like other painkillers, may be addictive, it has been shown again and time again to be far less harmful than the alternatives.

If you’ve been suffering from pain in silence, or are looking for a natural alternative to help you manage discomfort, Kratom might just be what you’ve been looking for.

Consider shopping with one of our highly vetted vendors to ensure purity and potency. These vendors third-party test each batch to ensure customers get what’s on the label and nothing else.

Written by Daniel Recardo

Founder of Kratom IQ; a self-improvement junkie and Kratom enthusiast. I started this website in 2015 to help people avoid the common pitfalls and mistakes with Mitragyna Speciosa, and ultimately get the most out of this amazing plant. Learn More...

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