Kratom vs. Coffee: Differences and Similarities


Many people start their day with a big cup of coffee. Indeed, may coffee drinkers admit that they can’t go on without having a cup of coffee first. But did you know that kratom and coffee are close relatives? Both kratom and coffee belong to the Rubiaceae family and both have many properties and effects. But, is kratom a good substitute for coffee? Keep reading to know the differences and similarities of kratom vs coffee.


Kratom vs. Coffee: Similarities


As we said, kratom and coffee belong to the same family of plants, the Rubiaceae family. This family holds more than ten thousand species and most of them grow in tropical environments. Whilst coffee grows naturally in various parts of the world, such as Africa, South America, and Asia, kratom prefers the island countries of South East Asia.

Both kratom and coffee share stimulant and energizing properties, and both are good antioxidants and can help ease some depression symptoms. But let’s explore their common properties in more detail below.


Energizing Properties


kratom vs. coffee: energizing propertiesThere’s no secret that coffee is a great energizer in the morning. It keeps you awake and gives you an extra boost of energy to perform your daily duties. But in fact, this is not totally true: coffee doesn’t give you energy per se, it teases your brain by telling it that you are not tired.

On the other hand, kratom is well known for its energy boosting properties. The native cultures of South East Asia, have traditionally used kratom to help them going through long and exhausting working days. Today, many users take kratom just to experience this effect.

The best kratom strains for energy are Thai, Maeng Da, and, in general, the white strains.


Stimulant Properties


Coffee owes its bitter taste and stimulant effects to caffeine, its primary alkaloid, (because, yes, caffeine is an alkaloid). Moreover, caffeine is the world’s most consumed psychoactive substance. In other words, when we consume coffee, caffeine will block the adenosine receptors, preventing us from feeling drowsy. That’s the reason why we feel more alert when consuming coffee.

Kratom’s main alkaloids are mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine. These alkaloids are the ones that give kratom its energizing and stimulant effects. Obviously, the strains that are good for energy are also good stimulants, as energy and stimulation go hand in hand. In addition, remember that kratom’s energizing and stimulant properties are achieved when kratom is taken in smaller doses, as larger doses have just the opposite effect.


Anti-Depressant properties


Depression is a very difficult illness for those that must deal with it. Although neither coffee nor kratom are treatments or cures for depression, they can help ease some of its symptoms. As we’ve seen, both coffee and kratom are good stimulants and energizers, but they can also help with motivation. As you know, lack of motivation is one of the many symptoms of depression.

Moreover, coffee has stress relieving effects by blocking the dopamine receptors. When these receptors are overexcited, we can suffer a depression. On the other hand, kratom alkaloids bind to the opiate receptors of our brain. By doing so, it helps us feel more relaxed and motivated. Green Malay is considered one of the best kratom types to elevate mood.

Finally, consider that there’s no dosage guide of kratom to help with depression. As every individual is different, it is important to start with a lower dose (approx. 2 grams) and go up from there until you reach the desired effect.


Kratom vs. Coffee: Differences


Although coffee and kratom have many common properties, there are also many differences between the both. Let’s see them below:


Pain relief properties


Kratom is well-known for its pain relief properties. Many users have turned to kratom as a natural alternative to alleviate chronic pain, such as, for example, the pain related to fibromyalgia or for chronic back pain. The best kratom strains for pain are the ones that have a high content of mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, kratom’s main alkaloids. When these alkaloids attach to the mu and delta receptors of the brain, the perception of any type of pain will decrease.

Coffee also has pain relieving properties, but they are not as effective as those of kratom. Also, coffee acts differently to kratom when dealing with pain. Caffeine is a vasoconstrictor, so it helps to alleviate certain types of pain, such as those related to headaches, inflammation and muscle overload.


Effects on Memory


According to a study performed at John Hopkins University, caffeine can improve short-term memory and cognition. It also prevents cognition deterioration and cellular oxidation. This makes coffee a good aid to prevent illnesses such as Alzheimer’s.

On the other hand, there is no evidence that kratom can enhance or impair cognition. Nevertheless, users report that it can help improve focus and short-term memory when taking small doses. But others say that when using kratom to achieve sedation, it has the opposite effect on memory.


Effects on Sleep


kratom vs. coffee: differencesProbably the biggest difference between coffee and kratom is their effect on sleep. Although kratom is a good stimulant and energizer at lower doses, it is relaxing and sedating at larger doses. In fact, some people use kratom to help them achieve a good night of sleep. But, if you are considering using kratom to help you sleep, you must be very careful when choosing the strain. Users report that the best types of kratom for sleep are typically the Borneo and Bali strains, as well as the red vein varieties. But in this last case, it is advisable to avoid Maeng Da and Thai strains even if they are red vein. To achieve its anti-insomnia properties, kratom works better at larger doses. Nevertheless, it is recommended that you start with a lower dose and start increasing it until you achieve the effect that you are looking for.

On the contrary, as you probably know coffee is not good at all for sleep. In fact, caffeine is a very stimulating alkaloid that works very well when you want to stay awake.


kratom vs coffee infographic


Other Natural Stimulant and Energizers


Not only coffee and kratom have stimulant and energizing effects, there are many other natural substances that can help you achieve an extra boost of energy. Some examples include:

  • Ginseng: This is one of the most popular remedies thanks to its energizing properties.
  • Green apples: They provide the same energy boost as a cup of coffee.
  • Dark chocolate: Taking small amounts of chocolate give you extra-energy and improves motivation.
  • Regular exercise: exercising regularly can improve your mood, as it helps you release endorphins.

Finally, remember that you must not abuse coffee or kratom, as both substances can have adverse effects when the doses are too high. So, remember to use them always with moderation.