Difference Between Kava and Kratom: What You Need to Know

kratom powder green

Kratom and Kava although it seems like these two natural substances are similar, they have quite a lot of differences. Whereas kratom originates from Southeast Asian soil, kava, on the other hand, comes from the Pacific Islands.

Both are derived from plants, which have made a significant revolution in treating minor and even major ailments. People are choosing these natural products over conventional medicines. Kratom strains, such as red Bali, etc., have helped users get relief from their chronic pain similarly, kava has helped people struggle with insomnia and other sleep disorders.

In this article, we will discuss the major differences between kava and kratom and also share other relevant information.

What are Kratom and Kava?

Kratom and kava are two botanical substances with origins in Southeast Asia and the South Pacific, respectively, each possessing unique properties and cultural significance.

Kratom is scientifically known as Mitragyna speciosa. It is a tropical evergreen tree native to countries like Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea. The leaves of kratom consist of alkaloids such as mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine. These alkaloids interact with the opioid receptors in the brain and produce effects ranging from stimulation to sedation, depending on the dosage.

In recent years, it has gained popularity in the West as an alternative remedy for various ailments. Usually, individuals purchase kratom online to get the best quality kratom from various reputable vendors available in the online stores. Their products are tested by third-party labs, and they provide genuine products.

Kava, conversely, comes from the root of the Piper methysticum plant, native to the Pacific Islands. Kava is prepared by grinding or pounding the root into a powder, which is then mixed with water to create a beverage known for its calming and anxiolytic effects. 

The active compounds in kava, called kavalactones, interact with neurotransmitter receptors in the brain, particularly GABA receptors. Interaction with these receptors produces feelings of relaxation and euphoria.

In Western societies, kava has gained popularity as a natural remedy for stress, anxiety, and insomnia, though concerns have been raised about its potential hepatotoxicity and interactions with certain medications.

Kratom Vs Kava: What is the Difference

Kratom and kava are often mentioned together due to their botanical origins and their potential for altering mood and perception. Still, they have distinct differences in their effects, cultural backgrounds, and chemical compositions.

Psychoactive Properties

The primary difference lies in their psychoactive properties. Kratom contains alkaloids that interact with opioid receptors in the brain, leading to effects ranging from stimulating to sedating. Kratom can produce effects similar to opioids, including pain relief, euphoria, and relaxation. 

In contrast, kava contains kavalactones, which primarily interact with GABA receptors, resulting in a calming, anxiolytic, and muscle-relaxing effect without causing sedation or impairment in cognitive function.

Cultural Background

Their cultural backgrounds and traditional uses differ significantly. Kratom has a long history of conventional use in Southeast Asian countries like Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia. It has been utilized for centuries as folk medicine. People use it to alleviate pain, boost energy, and alleviate opioid withdrawal symptoms. It is often consumed by chewing the leaves or brewing them into tea. Nowadays, users prefer consuming kratom in the form of powder or as kratom capsules for hassle-free consumption. 

In contrast, kava has its roots in the Pacific Islands, where it has been used ceremonially and socially for thousands of years. Kava ceremonies are integral to many Pacific Island cultures, where the beverage is prepared and consumed during rituals, social gatherings, and important events.

Legal Status

There are differences in the legal status and regulatory scrutiny of kratom and kava. While kratom has faced increasing regulation and legal challenges in various countries, kava has generally enjoyed a more favorable regulatory environment. 

However, concerns about kava’s hepatotoxicity and its potential interactions with medications have prompted regulatory authorities in some countries to impose restrictions on its sale and consumption.

What are Kratom and Kava Used for?

Kratom and kava are botanical substances with a long history of traditional use for various purposes. Their uses range from medicinal to ceremonial and social, with each plant offering a unique set of effects and benefits.


1. Pain Management: Kratom has been traditionally used in Southeast Asia as a natural pain reliever. Its alkaloids interact with opioid receptors in the brain, providing relief from conditions such as chronic pain, arthritis, and migraines. Many individuals widely use kratom for pain to ease discomfort.

2. Mood Enhancement: Kratom is known for its mood-enhancing effects, which can range from feelings of euphoria to increased sociability and well-being. Many users report improved mood, reduced anxiety, and enhanced motivation after consuming kratom.

3.Energy Boost: Certain strains of kratom possess stimulating properties, making them popular among individuals seeking a natural energy boost. Users often consume kratom to increase focus, productivity, and stamina throughout the day. Strains like White Maeng Da and White Thai are best for boosting energy and mental clarity.

4. Anxiety and Depression: Some individuals use kratom as a natural remedy for anxiety, depression, and stress. The calming and uplifting effects of certain kratom strains can help alleviate symptoms of mood disorders and promote relaxation.


1. Relaxation and Stress Relief: Kava is renowned for its ability to induce a state of relaxation and tranquility. The kavalactones in kava interact with neurotransmitter receptors in the brain, particularly GABA receptors, leading to its anxiolytic and muscle-relaxing properties.  

2. Social and Cultural Practices: Kava plays a central role in social gatherings and ceremonies in Pacific Island cultures. Kava ceremonies, where the beverage is prepared and shared among participants, are a symbol of hospitality, friendship, and cultural identity. The ritualistic consumption of kava fosters a sense of community and connection among individuals.

3. Sleep Aid: Due to its calming effects, kava is often used as a natural remedy for insomnia and sleep disorders. Consuming kava before bedtime can promote relaxation and improve sleep quality, helping individuals achieve a restful night’s sleep.

4. Muscle Relaxation: Kava’s muscle-relaxing properties make it beneficial for relieving tension, muscle spasms, and physical discomfort. Many people use kava to unwind after a long day or to alleviate muscle soreness and stiffness.

Final Words: What is the Difference Between Kava and Kratom?

In conclusion, we talked about the major differences between kava and kratom. These botanicals differ in their effects, cultural backgrounds, and legal status. These substances react with different receptors in the body and produce different effects. 

Moreover, it is also gaining popularity in the Western world. People use them for various ailments, including chronic pain, anxiety, sleep disorders, etc. 

Both Kratom and kava have their own set of benefits, and users can choose any of the natural supplements according to their preference. We hope that this article will help you understand the basic differences between kava and kratom.