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Kratom vs. CBD: Similarities, Differences and Which One Is Better for You

Kratom vs CBD: Similarities, Differences, and Which One Is Better for You
Kratom vs CBD: Similarities, Differences, and Which One Is Better for You

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Both kratom and CBD are being scooped up by millions of people who want a natural solution for pain, anxiety and more.

And for good reason: Both are considered bonafide plant medicines with legitimate scientific research to back their healthy qualities.

Not to mention, the internet and social media networks are brimming with happy users whose anecdotal testimony on the whole is pretty promising.

Kratom and CBD are now both popular supplements that are said to help with a variety of health issues, including pain, insomnia and stress. They both come from plants, and they both come with a boatload of social proof. But the big question is: Which one should you take?

Here’s everything you need to know about kratom vs CBD. You’ll see in our explanation that they share a lot in common, but there’s also some marked differentiators that can make one more appealing than the other, depending on the person.

We also took the liberty of choosing the top 5 kratom & CBD products this year based on quality, effectiveness, and user experience. Check them out below to get your plant-based wellness on:

2023 Best Kratom and CBD Products

  1. Best Energy Boosting Kratom: K-Tropix 2K Energy Capsules
  2. Best CBD for Calm: Jupiter Oasis Organic CBD Calm Drops
  3. Best Kratom for Sleep: Top Extracts Kali Red Horn Kratom Powder
  4. Best Kratom for Dealing with Chronic Pain: Kingdom Kratom Boost White Blend Capsules
  5. Best CBD Roll-On for Pain Relief: Absolute Nature CBD Roll-On Cooling Effect

What Is CBD?

CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of many phytochemicals known as cannabinoids that are naturally present in the hemp plant. Unlike THC, another popular cannabinoid, CBD will not get you high and has been declared safe by the World Health Organization.

In order to make a CBD product or supplement, the CBD must be extracted from the raw cannabis plant material. This can be done in a variety of ways, including oil extraction and using supercritical CO2.

How CBD Works

At the biological level, CBD works by acting upon what’s called the endocannabinoid system. All mammals have an endocannabinoid system, which is really a network of cannabinoid receptors that reside in the body. This network is responsible for regulating some of the body’s most major processes, like homeostasis.

CBD works by binding with the body’s endocannabinoid receptors, a union that activates the endocannabinoid network to have positive effects on mind and body.

Uses for CBD

Most commonly, people seek out CBD for help with pain, anxiety, and sleep. Because CBD is a natural anti-inflammatory, there are many applications for use that wellness junkies all over the world swear by. Here are the most common uses for CBD:

  • Pain relief
  • Stress & anxiety
  • Sleep
  • Seizures
  • Mood
  • Acne and skin health
  • Overall wellbeing
  • Pet health & wellness

Side Effects of CBD

CBD is known to present minimal side effects, even at high doses, which are not offered by legitimate CBD companies. However, here is the current, official list of CBD side effects provided by the US Food & Drug Administration: changes in alertness or drowsiness, gastrointestinal distress, and changes in mood (aka irritability and agitation).

What Is Kratom?

Kratom, aka Mitragyna speciosa, is a plant that is indigenous to Southeast Asia, specifically Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. Its leaves contain an alkaloid called mitragynine and have a long history of therapeutic use in the area. People living in the region have ground up kratom leaves into tea for some hundreds of years to treat fatigue while working in the elements all day. Kratom has also traditionally been used to treat pain and diarrhea.

Kratom comes in various strains, the most popular of which are red, white, green, and yellow kratom. Each genetic variety comes with a slightly different effect. For example, white kratom is known for its energy-enhancing properties, while red kratom usually provides a more calming, restful experience.

How Kratom Works

Kratom is considered by many to be a natural opioid, in that at a molecular level, its components bind to opioid receptors — which is why it can sometimes be used to help those going through opioid withdrawal. In lower doses, kratom is known for its energizing effects, while higher doses are more linked to relieving pain and promoting relaxation.

Unlike prescription opioids, kratom only inactivates specific signals between receptors, so it doesn’t come with the side effects typically found from prescription opioid use. However, the FDA still has not approved kratom for use and says it is still evaluating available information about safe use of kratom.

Uses for Kratom

Kratom’s history as a stimulant and natural remedy for various other ailments in Southeast Asia has made it a popular choice in the modern world. Most commonly, people use kratom for the following issues:

  • Relieving pain
  • Energy
  • Stress & anxiety
  • Sleep
  • Mood

Side Effects of Kratom

Kratom users who stay at lower doses tend to report less experiences of side effects. Here is the official list of kratom side effects from the DEA: nausea, sweating, dry mouth, itching, constipation, increased urination, vomiting, drowsiness, and appetite loss. There have also been user reports of weight loss, insomnia, seizures, and hallucinations at high doses.

Similarities Between Kratom and CBD

They both come from plants.

Kratom is sourced from plants cultivated in Southeast Asia, while CBD comes from hemp. While you can easily get CBD made from US-grown hemp, kratom is not currently commercially cultivated in the US and Canada. Therefore, all kratom plants and plant material must be imported from Southeast Asia.

They both are documented to relieve pain.

Although there are less scientific studies on kratom as a treatment for pain versus CBD, current research is promising. At this point, most of the documentation of kratom as a pain reliever is anecdotal. On the flip side, CBD has been specifically studied for its benefits as a natural anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving substance.

They both are taken for calming effect.

CBD has been researched to have a positive effect on anxiety symptoms and sleep. Plus, there are neverending testimonials from CBD users that back this up. Kratom also has documented use for anxiety and even depression, but to this point, most of that research is based on surveys and self-reporting. Note, however, that kratom can cause psychoactive effects, depending on which strain you’re taking.

They are both largely unregulated supplements.

Both CBD and kratom are largely unregulated among governing bodies in the US, though CBD can only be sold legally with 0.3%-or-lower THC by dry weight. This means that finding trustworthy growers and manufacturers is critical to having a good experience. With both CBD and kratom, vendors should be transparent by disclosing their geographic sourcing and their processing. They should also conduct third-party tests for potency and contaminants, and these results should be made available to consumers before purchase.

Kratom vs CBD: Which One To Use

A lot of this comes down to personal tastes (both literal and figurative). Since we already talked about the similarities between CBD and kratom, let’s touch on a few things that make them different. Here’s some guidance:

If you want relief from pain: Both CBD and kratom may help you get some natural relief. However, both the scientific and anecdotal evidence is more abundant to support CBD’s natural pain-relieving properties compared to kratom.

If you want a palpable energy boost: This is definitely the kratom realm. If you want all-day energy that you can feel, kratom is the way to go, as its energizing effects are more well-documented than CBD. While most people take CBD to relax, people like to take kratom for natural energy.

If you’re worried about drug testing: For those who need to pass a drug test, kratom may be the better choice, as it most likely will not be tested. However, if your heart is set on CBD, never fear. Simply opt for a 0% THC option if you need to be drug tested for work. This includes products made from broad spectrum CBD or CBD isolate.

How do you like your plant medicine? To take kratom, you’ll need to either take capsules, make tea with kratom leaves, or use kratom powder to make something you can eat or drink. CBD comes in way more varieties; we’re talking capsules, edibles, tinctures, creams, vapes, and more. It’s all about how you want to take your natural plant meds.

Best CBD and Kratom Products in 2023

1. Best Energy Boosting Kratom: K-Tropix 2K Energy Capsules

Kratom vs CBD: Similarities, Differences, and Which One Is Better for You

Kratom’s energy-boosting effects have long been felt by its historical users in Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia. Now, you can feel the awesome, natural energy you need to calm the day in pill form, thanks to K-Tropix 2K Energy Capsules. These little power pills contain mitragynine, aka pure kratom powder, natural caffeine, and the brand’s proprietary blend of teacrine and dynamine.

The result is energy like you’ve never experienced before. Think of how you felt as a child with a sugar rush — extend that and take away the crash. That’s the feeling these kratom powder capsules deliver.

A common theme we noticed in reviews, and something that makes K-Tropix super rad, is people getting off unhealthy energy drinks in favor of kratom. Just one capsule has so much power, you won’t need any coffee or pick-me-ups for the rest of the day. These are great for people whose jobs require them to concentrate for long periods of time.

We love that K-Tropix employs industry-exceeding test standards. They have Certificates of Analysis readily available for all their products that ensure safety and purity. What’s not to love?


  • Energy boost you can feel
  • No crash
  • Focus and concentration
  • Non-GMO

Ingredients: Mitragynine, caffeine anhydrous, proprietary blend of teacrine & dynamine
Users say: Various users describe the 2K energy capsules as basically explosions of energy, but without any crash or jitters. Most reviewers say 1 capsule is all you need for all-day energy that can effectively replace coffee and energy drinks.

Buy Now!

2. Best CBD for Calm: Jupiter Oasis Organic CBD Calm Drops

Kratom vs CBD: Similarities, Differences, and Which One Is Better for You

CBD has exploded in popularity, in part, for its beneficial effects on anxiety. Modern life has brought on a plethora of daily stress for most of us, and we think that these organic CBD drops from Jupiter are the antidote.

What makes these CBD drops so effective for relaxation? We think it’s the combination of stellar ingredients.

First up, Jupiter uses full spectrum CBD oil which contains multiple synergistic cannabinoids and terpenes. In layman’s terms, it’s really potent and as close to the raw plant as you can get.

Next, Jupiter includes more hempy goodness by infusing additional terpenes into the mix. Terpenes are what give plants their odor and taste, and they’re chock-full of natural benefits in their own right, including relaxation of the nervous system.

Finally, the experts at Jupiter have also included botanical extracts to boost the natural calm of CBD. These include lemon balm, tulsi, linden, and lion’s tail, and they’re all certified organic.

No matter how you slice it, this combo of nature’s anxiety busters is a fan favorite. It’s well-reviewed, it’s potent, and it’s just the thing to help you chill out at any time of day or night. Take at night for deep Zzz’s or take during the day to stay relaxed and balanced.


  • Organic, full spectrum CBD oil
  • Relaxing effect
  • FREE shipping & returns
  • Organic, relaxing botanicals

Ingredients: Organic hemp extract, organic hemp terpenes, organic lemon balm, organic tulsi, organic linden, organic lion’s tail

Users say: Users highlight how they prefer the natural, anti-anxiety effects from these CBD tinctures to the feeling they’ve experienced with other supplements and remedies. When taken at night, users report a restful sleep without any morning grog.

Buy Now!

3. Best Kratom for Sleep: Top Extracts Kali Red Horn Kratom Powder

Kratom vs CBD: Similarities, Differences, and Which One Is Better for You
Top Extracts

One of the cool things about kratom is that there is a lot of genetic variety. Different strains have different effects, and sometimes these effects can be super-subtle.

Red kratom strains are known to be relaxing, pain-relieving, and even sleep-inducing. But this variety from Top Extracts is a different kind of red. It’s good for anytime!

While lots of users take this ‘Kali Red’ kratom at night for relief from pain and to promote sleep, there isn’t a strong sedation like most red strains. Instead, it’s more like a relaxed vibe with a little energy and focus. You can really take it at any time of day.

As with most kratom, taking less Kali Red will give you a more energetic experience, while higher amounts will be more relaxing.

Kali Red comes from the gorgeous kratom tree that has prominent red veins. It’s different from most of its red kratom counterparts, in that many describe its feeling as energizing rather than calming. It’s great for overall wellness.

If you’re new to kratom or you just want to be healthier, Kali Red is a great choice. You can use Top Extracts kratom powder in smoothies or blended in water. You can also make your own capsules with it. Overall, most users say it contributes to an increased sense of wellbeing, something that’s always welcome in the modern daily grind.


  • Exclusive partnership with Indonesian farmers
  • Take any time of day
  • Relaxing, yet productive feel
  • Top-notch testing

Ingredients: Kalimantan Red Horn Kratom powder

Users say: We noticed a lot of verified online reviews for this product wherein people are taking it with success for pain. Most describe a subtle, energetic feel that is great for day or night. In the daytime, people are taking this red kratom to stay focused and calm under stress. Most people taking in the evening/nighttime are experiencing deep sleep, relaxation, and relief.

Buy Now!

4. Best Kratom for Dealing with Chronic Pain: Kingdom Kratom Boost White Blend Capsules

Kratom vs CBD: Similarities, Differences, and Which One Is Better for You
Kingdom Kratom

Kratom may have pain-relieving properties, and it’s taken by people everyday for energy without the nasty side effects of a caffeine or sugar addiction. This combination makes it potentially great for people that deal with chronic pain. Because pain isn’t just about dealing with pain– it’s about dealing with difficult fatigue that makes doing fun activities nearly impossible.

That’s why we love these capsules from Kingdom Kratom made with the ‘hype blend’, aka different strains of white vein kratom. White kratom is known for its energizing properties as well as aiding discomfort from aches and pains.

We also love that Kingdom Kratom is obsessed with testing. We found that the company goes above and beyond what we normally see, requiring extensive contaminants panels both before and after importation.

With these kratom capsules, you can stay on top of pain without staying on the couch all day. That’s what multiple users say, and the brand itself notes that these capsules are perfect to take in the morning or during an afternoon slump.

Keep in mind, white kratom will not make you sleepy, as it has energizing benefits. Take these capsules at the beginning of the day and as needed to keep pain at bay and energy high. Because one of the secrets to dealing with chronic pain is to focus on improving quality of life. And what’s a life without the energy to do the things you love?


  • No fatigue, no crash
  • Pain relief plus energy
  • Glowing reviews
  • Affordable

Ingredients: Blend White Vein Kratom powder

Users say: Pretty much across the board people describe a huge energy boost and mood lift. It looks like those with chronic pain are experiencing relief and an increase in quality of life. Also, people love the convenient capsules that are easier to take than traditional kratom powder.

Buy Now!

5. Best CBD Roll-On for Pain Relief: Absolute Nature CBD Roll-On Cooling Effect

Kratom vs CBD: What You Need to Know
Absolute Nature CBD

For localized pain– think arthritis, muscle aches, soreness– CBD roll-ons are a great option that can deliver relief fast. Unlike CBD capsules or edibles that must pass through the digestive system, a CBD roll-on gets absorbed more quickly through the skin.

We looked into it, and the best CBD roll-on for pain is a creation from Absolute Nature CBD. This Colorado company is hyper-focused both on sourcing organic hemp and on crafting it with other natural ingredients for superior effect.

Absolute Nature CBD swears by the power of full spectrum CBD — CBD in its most unadulterated form, with all the supporting cannabinoids and terpenes the cannabis plant has to offer. Thus, to help people with localized aches and pains, they’ve included organic, full spectrum CBD as the primary ingredient.

Another great anti-inflammatory in the mix is arnica, a natural flower extract that may help reduce swelling and improve discomfort.

And one of the best parts is the profound cooling sensation! Perfect for after the shower or after the gym. It has a nice scent, too, which never hurts.


  • Full spectrum CBD
  • Awesome cooling effect
  • Potent
  • Great for arthritis and joint pain

Ingredients: Aloe Barbadensis (Inner Fillet) Leaf Juice, Deionized Water, Full Spectrum CBD Extract, Glycerin, Caprylic Triglyceride, Propanediol, Menthol, Carbomer, Arnica Montana Flower Extract, Rose Extract, Magnesium hydroxide.

Users say: People with arthritis and active users who workout or play sports seem to be the biggest fans of Absolute Nature CBD’s full spectrum roll-on. People say it’s fast-acting and powerful, and we noticed a couple different people talk about how they had tried previous CBD topicals before but never experienced acute pain relief like this.

Buy Now!

Kratom vs CBD: What makes the most sense for you

At the end of the day, kratom and CBD are strikingly similar:

  • They both are all-natural remedies for pain.
  • They both are plant medicines.
  • They both are pretty much unregulated and require safety testing from manufacturers.
  • They both have calming properties.

What will make the most sense for you will depend on what you want to achieve. With the top 5 kratom and CBD products on our list, you can get the best of what both of these trendy wellsprings have to offer.

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