Mitragyna Speciosa — better known as Kratom — has a long history of use in traditional Southeast Asian medicine, namely Thailand and Malaysia. In America, this intriguing plant has been investigated for possible usefulness in a variety of different therapeutic applications. But, it’s also something of a controversial botanical, which can make finding high-quality and safe kratom more of a challenge.
Where to Find Kratom?
Kratom isn’t something you’re likely to find at your local drugstore or health foods grocery, even if they do have a natural plant section with other botanicals available.
Nor is there enough demand that you’ll likely find a kratom-specific retailer, even in places where it’s completely legal. While it’s theoretically possible for a dispensary-equivalent to exist for kratom, chances are you’ll have to resort to a head shop or smoke store if you want to buy from local vendors. But even then, you will be faced with the biggest issue of them all: Quality.
Your closest local source may seem like the best option, but it probably isn’t. That is why we have created this article to cover the best alternative: online stores.
This isn’t so much a way to find kratom near you as it is a way to have kratom delivered near you. Right now, at least in the United States, online retailers are the best and most consistent sources for kratom.
That’s because their wider customer base makes it easier to rotate through their stock consistently. They also have a greater incentive to maintain a higher quality product for much the same reason. More people purchasing increases the likelihood that someone will know the difference between high and low-quality kratom, and will post a negative review if they get low-quality products.
Purchasing from the best online kratom vendors also ensures you can get more when you need it. Smoke shops and other brick and mortar retailers are much more likely to run out and go days or weeks before getting a resupply.
The last big advantage online retailers tend to have is that they can offer significantly more selection. Online vendors don’t have to worry about shelf space, and most online kratom shops understand that different types and cultivars of kratom are better for certain customers.
That combines to make the online marketplace significantly safer and more convenient than most in-store retailers. Not to mention that nothing is more convenient or nearby than a package delivered to your doorstep.
The first website on our list proudly displays their lab-test credentials; KatsBotanicals is a good option for individuals who are interested in exploring a wide variety of kratom powder. It’s also a reasonable source for retailers who are looking to add kratom products to their inventories.
They offer a huge variety of red, white, and green varieties. This site also has the option of purchasing kratom in sample packs, which provides the opportunity to test different strains before committing to a larger order, only to realize it’s not a fit for you.
Powder is sold in 1 ounce to 250 gram weights. KatsBotancials boasts a massive product line of over 25 different strains, crushed leaf, soaps and even some specialty blends.
This website is best for experienced kratom users who are looking to keep a supply around without having to constantly re-purchase. But they also offer a good quality product at similarly good prices.
Super Speciosa is a good resource for Kratom products and also offers CBD products. Interestingly, despite their site being divided between two different types of botanical, Super Speciosa is also the best option for variety.
If you haven’t quite found the right strain of Kratom for you, or want to try several different types of strains, this is a good resource.
All of their products are tested, so you know that you’re getting a high quality and safe final product.
This retailer is also a good option if you’re looking for a range of different effects from your kratom. Because they have all three types in a variety of strains, you can get particular about which version is right for you. They also carry kratom capsules for those of you who do not enjoy the taste. And trust us, that is a huge portion of consumers.
This retailer also has the option of ordering in teabags, which can be a good choice for individuals who don’t want to make their own and don’t want to deal with the issues that come from making tea with powder.
Coastline Kratom is one of the most consistent and helpful sources for kratom in the online marketplace. They have high lab testing standards and carefully ensure that all of their products are carefully selected and maintained while in storage.
That means that this supplier is the most likely to send you fresh, leafy, high-quality kratom.
The higher quality assurance doesn’t come with a particularly higher price point either. The kratom from this supplier is still affordable, and prices are in line with other retailers for the same amount of product.
They also sell red, white, and green varieties, and you can purchase kratom though you are largely limited to purchasing the kratom in powder form. They do also offer live-plant shipping, but the plants sell out fairly often.
This is a good site to order from if the quality is your highest concern, you want to try a variety of different strains and types, or you’re looking for a smallish package to try before buying in quantity.
Google Maps is one of the best resources for finding local stores that sell kratom. The app will quickly pull up any stores that advertise kratom in their stocks. Chances are, especially if you live in a metro area, you’ll get a selection of head shops and smoke stores.
You may also get the occasional new age store or another resource, but smoke stores are by far the most common. (we’ll talk about the other options in detail, don’t worry.)
The biggest problem with Google Maps is that it’s hard to get reviews specifically related to kratom selection and quality.
Headshops / Vape Shops / Gas Stations:
These retailers are generally the most common local source for kratom. These kratom stores are widely available, generally offer reasonable prices, and sell the other supplies you’ll want if you intend to smoke kratom. Admittedly though, smoking is one of the least popular and least controlled ways to ingest kratom.
There are other problems with smoke stores, however, especially if you don’t already patronize these stores for other products.
The biggest issue when it comes to local kratom is quality. All too often, smoke stores order a large bulk supply of kratom without a good sense of market demand or how much kratom they can reasonably sell quickly.
With some other products, anything that is truly shelf-stable, ordering that way poses no problem. But kratom is best fresh, and quality can quickly decline if it’s kept in packaging and on shelves for too long.
That doesn’t necessarily impact sales though, so kratom sellers have few incentives to keep a high-quality rotating stock instead of simply making another bulk order when they run out.
The other quality issue is that smoke shops have an incentive to look for good deals when they order from kratom suppliers. That means that they might opt for a lower quality product, to begin with, making it even more likely you’ll receive less effective kratom if you purchase from a smoke store.
It’s also hard to evaluate the quality of the product. Shiny packaging and other marketing tricks can make it difficult to see powdered kratom, the most commonly available variety, and prevents you from evaluating the product. You won’t be able to see the common signs of age or tell whether the powder is mostly leaves (good) or contains a high percentage of stems (bad).
If you want to find kratom near you, and you want to buy from a brick and mortar store, see if you know anyone who uses kratom. Ask which store they use. The best recommendations come from experienced kratom users who’ve patronized the same store for 3-6 months or longer.
You should also check the store website and see if they have lap testing numbers posted. Retailers are required to have their product tested, so the visibility of their test results can be an important indicator of quality.
New Age Stores and Other Retailers:
The last place you can often find kratom is new age stores and apothecaries/herb suppliers. These stores are a fairly natural place to find kratom since it’s both a naturally occurring botanical and has been considered a plant-teacher for seeking greater enlightenment.
While these stores can have a high-quality product, they can also have the same weaknesses and product problems as smoke stores. But, they might be a little more forthright if you ask how long their kratom has been in stock/storage.
Still, kratom purchased from this kind of store is slightly more likely to be poor quality or older than fresh kratom online.
Different Varieties of Kratom:
We’ve mentioned that there are different varieties of kratom a few times now, but if you haven’t tried kratom before you might not know that there are different types of the plant in addition to different strains of kratom.
The different types are based on the coloration of the veins in the leaves. While they are largely the same plant, the different minerals and plant compounds can change the effect of the plants.
Red-veined kratom is the most popular version of kratom. It grows widely throughout Southeast Asian, making it one of the more plentiful varieties rich in alkaloids, and also generally the type that is recommended for new kratom users since it’s generally calming.
Like other kratom strains, it can produce stimulating effects at low doses and acts more like a sedative at higher doses. Throughout, though, red-veined kratom is considered calming with mild euphoria in addition to analgesic, or painkilling, properties. If you think this is the type for you consider a Borneo strain.
Green-veined is often described as the middle ground between red and white varieties of kratom. It’s relatively mild, has the same pain-relieving effects, and can be stimulating or a sedative depending on the dose.
Interestingly, people who prefer green kratom often note that the plant helps them feel more focused, motivated, and energized, at least in smaller quantities. A great option to consider would be Bali.
White kratom is generally thought to be the most stimulant of the three, though it’s also calming, and some users report that it helps to reduce the symptoms of anxiety as well as acting as a painkiller. Like green kratom, white kratom is thought to help with concentration and focus. A popular white strain is Maeng Da.
White kratom is also a mood booster, although you should be careful not to take it too close to bedtime because it’s more of a stimulant and can make it hard to get a good night’s sleep.
Multiple Kratom Preparations:
This one is less a requirement than a perk. But, just like a wide variety of kratom itself can be an indication of a high-quality source, so can a wide variety of preparations of the plant. Powdered is most common, but you can also buy kratom extract, tablets, capsules, and leaves, depending on your source.
While you might not need multiple preparations of kratom, a selection is still an indication that the retailer knows what they are doing.
Signs of a Good Retailer:
Of course, even when it comes to online retailers, there are good and bad options. We’ve found three of the best online retailers, and we’ll address each of them. But first, here are some ways you can tell a good kratom resource from a bad one.
Lab Test Seals and Results are Posted:
A good retailer will make their lab result available whether they are primarily selling the product online or in stores. Online, each retailer should have some kind of lab certification displayed.
Since cutting kratom with other, cheaper, and more dangerous, substitutes have become a problem in some areas, that certification is more important than ever.
Online marketplaces are defined by their wide selection, but in this case, it’s also a sign of a quality retailer. Selection makes it possible to keep a stock on hand, even when the harvests are sparse or high demand for a particular cultivar strains supplies.
When it comes to kratom, there are also wide differences between different varieties of the plant, making it even more important to offer a selection so people can choose the option best for them.
Shows Pictures of the Actual Product:
One of the biggest problems with buying from in-person retailers is that they often don’t give customers a way to look at the actual product. Even if the kratom is sold in transparent packaging, shiny packaging, or a thick layer of plastic between you and the powder can mask color issues and other imperfections.
While you can’t personally inspect the product from an online retailer, they do generally post photos of their product that give you a better idea of what to expect. Since those pictures are supposed to help generate business, they show a high-quality product.
That transparency makes it easier to tell when the product you’ve received is the quality you were expecting.
Good Customer Reviews + Customer Support Lines:
Everyone knows that customer support isn’t always the most fun thing to contact, but the existence of a customer support line does show that your kratom retailer stands behind their product and cares about their customers. And we would consider them to be the best kratom vendors. Otherwise, there isn’t much reason to allow people to complain about bad product quality or attempt to get a refund or replacement.
Good customer reviews are another good way to measure an online retailer. A good retailer should not only have a lot of good reviews, but they should also have their customer reviews up somewhere visible and accessible to new customers.
Look for reviews that talk about the quality of the product, ease of ordering, and other indications of good service. Comparative reviews that mention other companies are also a good thing since they tend to mean that the customer writing the review is more experienced and knows what they should be getting. Another great resource for reviews is KratomLeader and a new player in the industry — Starlight is making some noise.
Lastly, look for responsiveness. Companies must reach out to their customers and say something when things go wrong. With modern shipping and a huge inventory, occasional problems are almost inevitable. Companies that take ownership and work to make a mistake right with their customers are the kind of companies you want to work with and source your kratom from.
Legality of Kratom:
Several countries in Southeast Asia and Europe have restricted the use of the plant. Kratom is currently federally legal in the United States, but several states and local municipalities across the country have passed and enforced tighter restrictions. As of May 2020, purchasing kratom is prohibited in the following locations: Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, Wisconsin. Sarasota County, Union County, Denver, San Diego.
The DEA and FDA have also talked about the possibility of regulating kratom on a federal level, which means that the legal future of the plant is still uncertain. Always make sure you know the legal status of kratom in your jurisdiction before you attempt to buy it.
Chances are, kratom will only be locally available while it’s legal, but some retailers may not be informed of changes. So, even if you choose to buy from a local head shop or smoke store, product availability does not necessarily equate to legality.