FAQs I Frequently Asked Questions



Mitragyna Speciosa, more commonly known as kratom, is a tropical evergreen tree in the coffee family (Rubiaceae) native to Southeast Asia. As a large evergreen tree, kratom can grow upwards of 80 feet tall while producing lustrous leaves and budding flowers. The veins and leaves are distinct and vary in color from a light yellow to deep green and brownish red.

People across Southeast Asia have been using kratom leaves for centuries to restore natural energy levels and alleviate occasional discomfort. Kratom has also been used as a local anesthetic, help with coughs, and with intestinal issues like diarrhea. People would chew on kratom leaves and spit out the leaves after a few moments allowing the juices to flow into their system. Another popular way to enjoy kratom would be to brew some leaves in hot water to make a kratom herbal tea. This is particularly popular in the morning before strenuous labor and in the evening during a meal with friends and family.

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Today, kratom products have made their way around the world where millions of people enjoy and rely on it. There are over 40 known alkaloids that makes up this amazing plant. Alkaloids are a class of basic, naturally occurring organic compounds that contain at least one nitrogen atom. Some of the most well researched alkaloids in kratom are mitragynine, paynantheine, speciogynine, and 7-hydroxymitragynine. These alkaloids are researched for their potential to restore natural energy levels, alleviate occasional pain, improve mood, and support a healthy response to stress.

Kratom is still enjoyed in the traditional way by brewing leaves with hot water to make a kratom herbal tea. Kratom is also used as a powder, capsules, and pressed tablets. Kratom is being added to wide range of form factors and consumable products from drinks to food additives.

In 2016, the University of Florida conducted an anonymous survey of 8,049 kratom users and concluded that the majority of people used kratom to alleviate pain and relieve mood disorders like anxiety and depression. Some also used kratom to reduce withdrawal symptoms from opioid abuse.

In 2020, Johns Hopkins Medicine survey of 2,798 kratom users supported the findings from the University of Florida. Their findings concluded that 91% of people used kratom for pain relief, 67% to treat anxiety, 64% to treat depression, and 41% to treat opioid dependence.

Kratom is also gaining popularity as an alternative to coffee and energy drinks. Some of kratom's alkaloids promote clean energy without the crash making it a great option to start the day and keep people going. 

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In 2016, the University of Florida conducted an anonymous survey of 8,049 kratom users. Their conclusion is kratom is primarily used by a middle-aged (31-50 years), middle-income ($35,000 and above) population for purposes of self-treating pain (68%) and emotional or mental conditions (66%). 

In 2020, Johns Hopkins Medicine survey of 2,798 kratom users supported the findings from the University of Florida. Their findings concluded that 91% of people used kratom for pain relief, 67% to treat anxiety, 64% to treat depression, and 41% to treat opioid dependence.




Kratom naturally produces nitrogen-based chemicals called Alkaloids that can have pronounced physiological actions on humans.  Alkaloids are a class of basic, naturally occurring organic compounds that contain at least one nitrogen atom. While kratom produces over 40 known alkaloids, the most researched are mitragynine, 7-hydroxymitragynine, speciogynine, mitraphylline, and paynantheine.


  • Mitragynine can make up the majority of the total alkaloid content in kratom.  Researchers study it for its potential analgesic (pain relief) effects and for its potential antitussive, antidiarrheal, adrenergic, and antimalarial effects. Mitragynine also acts as a vasodilator.
  • 7-hydroxymitragynine makes up less than 1% of the total alkaloid content, but is a potentially powerful analgesic alkaloid. 7-hydroxymitragynine may have some concerns similar to opioids, however, it only occurs in trace amounts in nature. 
  • Mitraphylline is researched as a vasodilator, muscle relaxer, immunostimulant, and antihypertensive.
  • Speciogynine and paynantheine alkaloids are  studied for their impact on serotonin receptors as well as potential smooth muscle relaxers.
  • Other researched alkaloids in kratom include: ajmalicine, epicatechin, speciociliatine, rhynochophyline, and isorhynchophylline.






At ETHA Natural  Botanicals, we use well-established laboratory procedures to test our botanicals. We use solvent-extraction and purification techniques to analyze bulk plant alkaloids. We also partner with 3rd-party, independent testing laboratories and universities to provide confidence and transparency in our botanical analysis. Our partner labs specialize in mitragyna speciosa (kratom) analysis and help us to identify adulterants, harmful microbiological pathogens, and heavy metals to ensure your kratom is safe. They also measure active ingredients to make sure our kratom is of the highest quality. These labs utilize high-performance liquid chromatograph and other state of the art lab equipment to analyze our botanicals. Testing done internally at ETHA Labs as well as through third-party, independent labs means we ensure the highest quality kratom.




Pain has many facets such as physical pain, nerve pain, muscle tightness and even mental and emotional pain. It is very important to understand that kratom alone does not and will not cure, fix or permanently make pain go away. A regimen that may include exercise, clean diet, plenty of rest, a good social network of loved ones, and supplements is a holistic well-rounded approach to pain management. Kratom is a great addition to a comprehensive health plan. It can alleviate pain, restore natural energy levels and motivation so you can stay active, and even supports rest and recovery. Kratom allows you to get the other parts of a holistic health plan in motion. 

In terms of pain management, the opioid receptors in your brain regulate pain. In particular, the Mu-opioid receptor agonists (activates) represent mainstays of pain management. However, synthetic opioids that target the Mu and other opioid receptors can have serious side effects including potentially lethal respiratory depression (stop breathing). How kratom can be more safe is because its alkaloids are only partial agonists of the mu-opioid receptor and are competitive antagonists (blocker) at the kappa and delta opioid receptors. This reduces the risk of addiction and abuse. Mitragynine is also a G-protein-biased agonist so it does not recruit beta arrestins following receptor activation. That means there is less likelihood of tolerance buildup, constipation, dependence, and other undesirable effects commonly associated with opioids. Kratom has analgesic properties without the same levels of risk as opioids.†

Kratom also has alkaloids that act as muscle relaxers. Acute pain is pain that happens suddenly and is caused by something specific. The pain usually goes away when the injury is healed and does not lead to chronic pain which is pain that last more than 3 months even after the area has recovered. When acute pain occurs, muscle relaxers can be a good option. This is especially true when the pain is keep the person from being able to sleep as muscle relaxers can promote drowsiness. 

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Traffic jams. Job woes. Visits from the in-laws. Life is full of stress, and more often than not, people feel it physically as well as mentally. While traditionally, kratom’s common uses have been for mitigation of physical pain, kratom’s overwhelming support on non-physical distress cannot be overlooked. Such non-physical distress can present itself in several different forms including anxiety, stress, inability to focus, and even depression. Our customers continue to express and affirm how kratom is helping them not only improve their physical pain, but enhance their mood. The bio-active alkaloids within kratom contain properties that may lessen anxious feelings and, thereby, help manage stress and focus naturally.†

One of the ways this works is through the kratom alkaloid speciogynine. Studies have shown that speciogynine is an agonist to the serotonin 1A receptor. When the serotonin 1A receptor is activated, it has pronounced physiological actions on humans. It has been linked to decrease in heart rate and blood pressure, decrease aggression, increase dopamine production, and even improve REM sleep.† Each one of these effects can help people manage stress and focus naturally.

Activity of Mitragyna Speciosa Alkaloids at Serotonin Receptors

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Good sleep is just as important to health and wellness as regular exercise and a healthy diet. Don’t fall victim to sleep-related problems that affect roughly 50 to 70 million Americans of all ages and social classes. If you want to improve wellness and health, why not start by catching more zzz’s. Consider adding kratom to your evening routine and sleep better naturally.

Kratom produces over 40 known naturally occurring nitrogen-based chemicals called alkaloids. Each of these alkaloids can have different physiological effects on the body. ETHA has identified and cultivated mitragyna speciosa varieties with lower energizing alkaloids and higher relaxation alkaloids. Mitragyna speciosa’s alkaloids like speciogynine, paynantheine, and mitraphylline are researched as smooth muscle relaxers which can promote relaxation, help with muscle tension, and support the response to anxiety to potentially improve sleep.† Muscle relaxers have also been known to cause drowsiness. Pain can be a major cause for sleeplessness.  Kratom's ability to alleviate occasional pain can also help people relax and sleep.

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One of our common customer inquiries is about energy levels and how to maintain your energy naturally all day. Unfortunately, low energy levels or lack of energy affect millions of people across all genders and social classes. Thanks to kratom, you will be able to turn any day from lackluster into a great one. Whether you’re searching for a ‘clean energy’ solution for your day, an all-natural pre-workout boost, or you simply want to avoid that mid afternoon slump, kratom is here to help. It’s important to remember that not all kratom is the same and in fact has different properties depending on its alkaloid composition. While some kratom may help slow your thoughts and help you relax, others can have stimulating effects. It may make you feel more energetic and motivated to do everyday tasks more easily. In fact, many people are starting to replace coffee with a cup of kratom herbal tea.

There are over 40 naturally-occurring alkaloids in kratom. Some of these alkaloids, like mitragynine and ryhnchophylline, are researched for their ability to be vasodilators. Vasodilation is the widening of blood vessels to allow better blood and oxygen flow. And in fact, this is what gives people the ‘clean energy’ boost. Better flow can translate to better energy so you can start the day off right and keep it going. If you want to naturally alleviate fatigue and naturally support elevated energy levels, give kratom a try.†

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Kratom is federally legal in the United States.

At the state level, there are bans on kratom in Wisconsin, Indiana, Arkansas, Alabama, Vermont, and Rhode Island. This means 44 out of 50 states have kept kratom legal.

There are a couple cities and counties that also have bans including San Diego, Oceanside, and Sarasota County Florida.

The Controlled Substance Act (CSA) requires an 8-Factor Analysis when determining the scheduling of a substance. Below is Pinney Associates’ review of kratom using the CSA 8-Factors Analysis:


In the USA, there is significant effort at the state level to pass the Kratom Consumer Protection Act (KCPA). The KCPA makes kratom legal as long as it follows common sense regulations and rules. States that have already passed the KCPA include Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Oklahoma, and Georgia.

Throughout the world, kratom is mostly legal except for the following countries: Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Moldova, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United Kingdom. 

Kratom Legality is everchanging:


The American Kratom Association (AKA) is a consumer based advocacy group focused on the legalization of kratom and the education of kratom:


At the USA federal level, efforts are underway to pass the Federal Protect Consumer Access to Kratom Act (FPCAK). The FPACK is a significant effort to secure ALL valid kratom information be available to the public. The FPCAK was filed in both the House and Senate in December 2022. ThThis is a pinnacle moment for kratom and kratom consumers and a huge step towards the protection of access to kratom for millions of Americans. 

The World Health Organization’s Perspective on Kratom:


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To determine if kratom is safe to use, we look to existing data on toxicity. We also look at parallels and comparisons to determine reasonable safety. At some point absolutely everything (even good’ole H2O) becomes too much and can be toxic.

There are a handful of research papers that reference mitragynine and kratom alkaloid extracts which were used to determine LD50 toxicity in animals. Lethal dose (LD50) is the amount of an ingested substance that kills 50 percent of a test sample. It is expressed in mg/kg, or milligrams of substance per kilogram of body weight. In other words, how much (milligrams) of a substance does it take to potentially kill you per weight (kilogram). The higher the LD50 number, the safer the substance as it takes more of it to be harmful.

A comparative safety risk assessment study for alkaloid extract of mitragyna speciosa, estimated acute toxicity at 477 mg/kg for mitragynine. For comparison, caffeine is 140 mg/KG and aspirin is 200 mg/KG. It takes more than twice as much mitragynine to be dangerous versus aspirin and 3-4 times more mitragynine than caffeine. For a person weighing about 150 lbs., the toxic amount is over 2,000 gram a day of kratom leaf. A typical person uses 2.5 to 20 grams a day…no where near a dangerous amount.



Along with kratom's main use of alleviating symptoms of pain, it is also known to have other effects. This depends on the alkaloid distribution in a particular kratom variety. People can experience an increase in energy, focus, reduction in inflammation, muscle relaxation, or tension release. While there are many positive benefits with kratom, there are some reports of minor and temporary negative side effects. According to an anonymous survey conducted by the College of Pharmacy, Department of Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Florida of 8,049 current kratom consumers, only 51 or less than 1% (.65%) of the 8,049 respondents reported any negative side effects. The side effects were temporary nausea, constipation, and drowsiness or dizziness. The side effects did not last and subsided within the first 30-60 minutes. No one reported any lasting negative impact from kratom use.

To answer the question if kratom is addictive, we look at its origin. Kratom is different in its origin, chemistry and biological effects than opioids. Kratom does not show toxicity and does not cause respiratory depression issues like opioids. When you use kratom in the common, raw, natural plant form, it does not produce hyper pleasurable euphoric effects with dopamine that can lead to abuse and addiction.

There is also a lack of tolerance buildup with kratom as the main alkaloids in the plant do not recruit beta arrestins. Beta arrestins block opioid receptors which makes the receptors harder to activate. To continue to get the same, consistent benefits of a drug that does recruit beta arrestins (opioids), the user has to continue to increase their dose which is more commonly called “tolerance buildup.” Kratom does not have this issue.

Kratom can be habit-forming, but little evidence exist that people are abusing kratom when using products made from 100% whole-leaf kratom that has been lab verified pure and unadulterated.