While kratom has been used for its therapeutic benefits for centuries in Southeast Asia, more and more people in the US are starting to show an interest in this plant.
For now, much about it remains relatively unknown, including the different consumption methods.
In this article, we’ll discuss the two main forms in which kratom is available – capsules and powder – outlining the benefits and downsides of each to help you decide which is best for you.
What is kratom?
First off, what exactly is kratom?
Kratom, otherwise known as mitragyna speciosa, is a tall evergreen tree that grows in the tropical forests of Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Papua New Guinea.
Kratom is the leaf from a tropical evergreen tree.
Its dark green leaves contain two primary psychoactive compounds – mitragynine and 7-hydroxymytragynine – which, when consumed at low doses, have stimulant effects. At high doses, however, the effect profile flips and it produces more euphoric sedative effects.
The leaves can be chewed, which is how manual laborers traditionally consumed the plant to boost focus and relieve pain.
The leaves can also be dried and then crushed into a fine powder. This can then be consumed in various ways, which we will outline in this article.
Traditionally, kratom leaves were dried in the sun for several days to remove all moisture and then ground down with a mortar and pestle. This ensured the plant could be stored for long periods without rotting or losing its effects.
The kratom powder is then mixed with a liquid to drink. While it is possible to just use water, many people prefer to use a beverage containing sugar to counteract the bitter taste of kratom. Alternatively, some choose to brew the powder in water just below boiling point to make a kratom tea with lemon and honey.
Kratom powder, therefore, is a flexible way of using kratom but it can be tricky to get the doses right, and managing quantities can be complicated. On the plus side, you can adjust doses easily depending on the effect you’re looking for.
Instead of mixing kratom powder with a liquid, some prefer the ‘toss and wash’ method. This means putting kratom powder in your mouth and then swallowing it down in one with a liquid. Straightforward, but not the most pleasant. The effects, however, come on quickly.
Kratom powder benefits
- Flexible – can be used in various ways
- Doses can be adjusted
Kratom powder downsides
- Unpleasant taste
- Requires dosage calculations, and it can be messy
Kratom capsules are simply the powder form of kratom contained in measured gelatine capsules. This is one of the most popular methods of using kratom largely due to its ease of use. There is no need to measure doses, just swallow the pills with water.
Kratom capsules benefits
- Convenient, no mess, and portable
- Easier to track dosage
- No bitter, unpleasant taste
Kratom capsules downsides
- More expensive per gram
- Slower onset of effects
How much do capsules contain though and what are the dosage guidelines for kratom? This should give you an idea:
Low dose (1 to 3 grams)
Akin to a strong coffee, kratom at this dose has mild stimulant effects.
Moderate doses (3 to 5 grams)
More energizing, helps sharpen focus, and offers mild painkilling properties.
High doses (5 to 8 grams)
Strong painkilling effects and acts more as a sedative.
Heavy doses (8 to 12 grams)
Not for beginners. Only recommended for severe issues, such as insomnia and acute pain.
In general, the maximum dose of a kratom capsule is one gram. So, if you are only taking low to moderate doses, then kratom capsules make sense. It is also easier to keep track of how much kratom you’ve consumed. However, if you are targeting stronger effects, then you’d need to take a lot of capsules and this may be inconvenient.
Regardless of doses, the main benefit of capsules is that you don’t taste the kratom powder since it is encased in a capsule. This also means the effects take longer to kick in.
Additionally, there is no mess involved and they are more portable than carrying around loose powder.
In general, you will pay more for kratom capsules than you will for their equivalent weight in powder.
Kratom Powder vs Capsules Comparison Table
Kratom powder vs capsules: Which is better for you?
At first glance, for those on a budget, kratom powder is the better choice simply because it is less expensive. However, you also need to factor in the money you spend on beverages to consume it with. That is unless you opt for the toss-and-wash method. There is also a greater likelihood of wastage since it is very easy to spill the kratom powder.
Perhaps the biggest criteria for many people is taste. Many will simply want to avoid kratom’s bitter flavors and the best way to do this is to opt for the capsules. This has the added benefit of portability and no mess. Just make sure you source your kratom capsules from a reputed seller as it is harder to verify the purity and quality of capsule contents than it is with powder before consumption.
Assuming you find a trusted vendor, kratom capsules are the better choice for most people for these reasons. Kratom is never going to win any flavor contests, and capsules are the best way to avoid its unpleasant taste while enjoying the benefits of its effects.