Is Kratom About to Have Its Own High-End Moment?

Its appeal is picking up steam

Kratom leaf
A leaf of the plant from which Kratom comes.
ThorPorre, CC BY 3.0

For some people, kratom is an essential part of their day. For others, it’s the mysterious substance found near CBD in various health food stores. But while certain substances that fall into a similar category — Delta-8, we’re looking at you — are relative newcomers to the scene, kratom is very much the opposite. It has a much longer history, as this 1975 study on kratom consumption in Thailand shows. But its versatility gives it a unique position, both in how it’s ingested and how it’s used.

At Air Mail, Jensen Davis offered a good overview of the many uses of kratom. Davis spoke with people who use kratom for effects resembling everything from Adderall to alcohol. Kratom has also come up in the treatment of opioid addiction; a 2017 Vice article detailed that aspect of its usage.

Kratom has plenty of enthusiasts in the United States. A 2019 Discover Magazine article cited the figure of two million Americans consuming it in the span of a year. The tree from which kratom is derived, Mitragyna speciosa, is part of the coffee family, and is found in Thailand; it’s there that kratom consumption first began.

The Air Mail article cites a growing number of bars and shops specializing in kratom in New York and Los Angeles. In light of the news that many college students are drinking less alcohol and trying more cannabis, it’s not all that surprising to see kratom gaining ground as well. It’s also not that strange to see why the range of experiences offered by kratom would be appealing to many people — or why it might not be grounds for a more premium experience.


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