Kratom products have exploded onto the natural health scene over the past few years. But how much do you know about the origins of this powerful natural remedy?
Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) is mostly grown in Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia. Kratom is a tropical evergreen tree native to Southeast Asia – where it is sometimes called ‘Biak-Biak’ – and has been cultivated in the region for centuries.
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In this post, we will be exploring the world’s kratom hotbeds, looking at how location and growing conditions can impact a strain’s effects, and showing you how to grow kratom. Let’s get started!
What Are The Most Common Places Kratom is Grown?
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Southeast Asia is the home of kratom and has been used in the region for hundreds of years. Kratom is taken for pain, relaxation, stimulation, and more. Laborers working hard, physical jobs in brutal swampy, jungle conditions often chew kratom leaves for energizing effects. Kratom also has a long history of use in religious ceremonies, likely because of its hallucinogenic properties.
Kratom is popular throughout the region, but it’s more prominent in some Asian nations than others.
Kratom grows throughout Indonesia, a country made up of thousands of islands with a population in excess of 270 million. Indonesians have used kratom for health and wellbeing purposes for centuries. The kratom tree holds high importance for the many indigenous ethnic groups living there.
Indonesia cultivates more kratom than anywhere else and grows several of the world’s best-known strains. You’ve probably heard of Indo, Bali, and Sumatra kratom. Given nearly three-quarters of Borneo belongs to Indonesia, you could also class Borneo kratom as an Indonesian strain. Other famous Indonesian kratom strains include Ketapang, Sandai, and Hulu Kapuas.
By the way, if you’re curious about White Bali, click here to check out a review I wrote about that specific strain.
The strain names are simply a reference to where the kratom is grown – Ketapang kratom is from the region of West Kalimantan, near Borneo. Sumatra kratom is from the island of Sumatra, and so on. We’ll touch more later on how location may influence effects.
But kratom faces an uncertain future in Indonesia, with lawmakers set to make it an illegal substance from January 2022. This is alarming news. With Indonesia out of the market, much of the world’s kratom supply would dry up overnight.
But regional governments in Indonesia are not going down without a fight. The Kapuas Hulu Regency has announced it will not enforce a ban, since kratom is a crucial cash crop for many farmers in rural areas.
The American Kratom Association has claimed that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) are pushing Indonesian officials to ban kratom exports. These federal agencies have failed to crackdown on kratom in the US – an Indonesian export ban would be a way of doing so via the backdoor.
Outlawing kratom would be bad for the Indonesian economy and devastating for kratom lovers around the globe. Let’s hope it doesn’t happen.
Malaysia shares a border with Indonesia and is another substantial kratom exporter. Perhaps you’ve had a delightfully balancing Malay strain before – no surprises that Malay kratom is from Malaysia! A small section of Borneo is also controlled by Malaysia.
The conditions for growing kratom are just perfect in Malaysia. The hot, humid weather and fertile soil deliver great yields for farmers and high potency for users. The climate allows kratom trees to grow to heights of 60 feet or more!
Technically, Malaysia has banned kratom consumption and exports, but the reality is much different. For usage, the laws are simply not well-regulated or enforced and kratom remains popular among the locals.
Exports are still permitted as long as the leaves stay unprocessed — they must be sent in exactly the same condition they were in when picked.
Malaysia looked at imposing stricter laws back in 2015, before deciding the current law was good enough. Farmers in Malaysia must have a license from the government to cultivate kratom.
Kratom also has a long history in Thailand, where the industry could be about to experience huge growth. In 2021, the Thai government legalized kratom. I find that an amazing and inspiring achievement given other Southeast Asian countries are trying to ban it!
Thailand’s newly relaxed approach to kratom comes after decades of failing to restrict it. Kratom is just popular, both as a soothing painkiller and as a power-packed stimulant. No government efforts were going to be successful in getting the Thai people to give up on kratom.
Famous Thai strains include White Thai, a super stimulant, and the outrageously potent Maeng Da. The Thai people have a great sense of humor – did you know that Maeng Da stands for ‘pimp-grade’? That’s the Thai way of describing Maeng Da’s mighty potency.
Kratom is also grown in Myanmar (aka Burma), although they don’t produce anywhere near as much as Indonesia and Thailand. Kratom is indigenous to Myanmar, although sadly illegal.
But kratom is still a big deal there, with drug seizures on the rise. Like other countries in the area, just because kratom is banned doesn’t mean it’s not everywhere anyway!
Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea (PNG) is yet another Southeast Asian nation where kratom is destined to succeed. Kratom trees love heat and humidity, and they get plenty of that in PNG. The soil conditions are just perfect there, with a pH level between 5.5 and 6.5.
Compared with its neighbors, PNG doesn’t grow much kratom yet. But that could all change in the near future. While other countries are banning kratom, PNG imposes no such restrictions.
Kratom could be a very lucrative cash crop for farmers in PNG – even more so in a market with shrinking supply and sky-high demand.
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How Does The Location Affect Kratom?
If you’re familiar with kratom, you’ll know there can be some pretty big differences between strains. The vein of a strain (red, white, or green) plays a key role, but even two strains with the same vein can produce quite different effects.
The growing location and conditions do have an impact, but the manufacturing process is probably more important. Let’s discuss.
For some reason, Thai strains are very energizing, Bali strains are super relaxing, and Malay strains are beautifully balanced. The characteristics of a kratom strain are determined by its alkaloid makeup. Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine have the biggest effects, but other alkaloids can influence strains, too. For example, Thai strains are rich in mitraphylline, an alkaloid known for its stimulating properties.
For example, Bali kratom probably has a higher mitragynine content than most strains, since it’s very sedative and opioid-like.
But it’s difficult to know for sure. We have very little research on the chemical nuances of kratom strains. There’s a lot we don’t know about growing conditions, too.
Clearly, the kratom farms across Southeast Asia are cultivating different types of kratom. Slight climate differences between regions may affect what type of kratom grows.
Processing methods have a more significant impact on kratom’s effects. Take Maeng Da for example. The so-called ‘pimp-grade’ kratom is extremely strong, but the extra strength is explained by how it’s manufactured.
Maeng Da is a hybrid kratom. The genetic characteristics of two or more strains are merged to make this highly potent strain. Not even an absolutely perfect climate could produce kratom that strong.
Can I Grow Kratom in The US?
Kratom is tricky to grow, but you can cultivate it in much of the United States. With Southeast Asian countries exploring growing and export bans, this question has never been more relevant.
Where kratom is legal in the US, there do not appear to be any restrictions on how much you can grow. The challenges are more to do with climate and conditions, rather than any legal implications.
Kratom is legal at the federal level. However, there are a handful of states, counties, cities, and towns across the United States that have banned it. You are not allowed to grow kratom in the following locations:
States: Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Rhode Island, Vermont, Wisconsin
Cities: Franklin (New Hampshire), San Diego (California), Oceanside (California)
Counties: Sarasota County (Florida), Alcorn County (Mississippi), Itawamba County (Mississippi), Lowndes County (Mississippi), Monroe County (Mississippi), Tishomingo County (Mississippi), Union County (Mississippi)
Towns: Monument Town (Colorado), Parker Town (Colorado)
But providing you don’t live in any of these areas, you are perfectly within your rights to grow kratom in the US.
Want to learn more about how to grow kratom? Head over to the Kratom Krush blog, which has all the information you need on cultivating strong, high-yield trees.
Make sure you visit Kratom Krush for all your kratom requirements. Whether you’re looking for powder, capsules, tablets, or extracts, Kratom Krush has you covered!