Kratom Strains and Veins – What’s the Difference
If you’re new to the world of kratom, your head is likely swimming over all the different strain names and vein colors. There’s white, green, red, and yellow vein kratom broken into a host of different varieties like Maeng Da, Green Elephant, White Horn, and Red Malay. Which one is right for you? Which will produce your desired effects?
Thankfully, things aren’t nearly as complicated as they seem. The differences between strains and veins are marked but easily understood once you break the problem down to its components.
By a wide margin, vein color is kratom’s clearest delineator. If you understand the differences between colors, you’ll know almost everything you need to know to choose the best variety for your purposes.
Vein colors change based on the maturity of the leaves when they’re harvested. As the plant grows, its alkaloid profile changes. Leaves harvested when the plant is relatively young will produce different effects than leaves harvested once the plant has fully matured.
In contrast, variety names most often refer to the location the plant was grown (with a few exceptions.) These regional differences can alter a plant’s alkaloid mix (alkaloids are the biologically active compounds found in kratom) but the alterations aren’t as pronounced or as reliable as those caused by vein color.
So which color hits your sweet spot? We break it down for you below.
White Vein Kratom
White vein leaves are harvested earlier than all the other varieties, generally while the tree is still very young and the leaves are still growing. These leaves produce a ground powder with a light cream color.
Users prize white vein varieties for their bright, bubbly, stimulant properties. They focus the mind and bring clarity of thought in much the same way that a strong espresso shot might increase concentration and lift your mood.
This effect is due to the overabundance of 7-hydroxymitragynine, the second most common alkaloid found in kratom. It’s a potent stimulant that’s responsible for the plants energizing, mind-expanding effects. In other strains, this action is metered by mitragynine, kratoms most prevalent alkaloid. It produces the bulk of the plant’s analgesic and sedative effects. Mitragynine is present in lower quantities in white vein varieties.
This combination of high 7-hydroxymitragynine and lowered mitragynine levels ensures that white vein kratom is the perfect strain for people interested in a morning pick-me-up or an uplifting boost throughout their day. Pain relief is present, but the effects aren’t as pronounced as they are with other colors. If that’s what you’re interested in, you should keep reading.
Green Vein Kratom
To produce green vein varieties, growers harvest leaves just before they reach full maturity, while the leaves are still bright green. At this point, they’ve left the budding stage and are fully engaged in photosynthesis. When ground, green vein kratom carries its vibrant green color into the final product.
As kratom matures, the proportion of its two major alkaloids shifts. Unlike white vein, which is 7-hydroxymitragynine forward, green vein features a nice balance of 7-hydroxymitragynine and mitragynine. Users enjoy a boost of energy and pain relief, a pleasant euphoria, and reduced social anxiety. Green vein varieties are excellent for social occasions, promoting bright, joyful conversations and easy socializing.
Because the alkaloids in Kratom are balanced in green strains, the effects are generally mild, as the sedation that mitragynine promotes mutes the excitatory effects brought on by 7-hydroxymitragynine, and vice versa. As a result, green strains are an excellent choice for those interested in a mild but full-featured kratom experience.
Red Vein Kratom
If you’re more interested in sedation and pain relief, red vein kratom is your best choice. These varieties sit on the opposite side of the spectrum from white, containing a greater proportion of mitragynine to 7-hydroxymitragynine.
Growers harvest red vein leaves once the tree has reached full maturity. At this point, the green leaves take on a reddish hue, particularly around the veins, hence the name. This hue doesn’t tint the final product much, with most red vein powders running a darker, more muted green.
Due to their higher mitragynine content, red vein varieties promote a deep sense of relaxation. While white varieties get you up and moving, red strains plop you right into your couch with a deep euphoria coupled with pleasant pain relief.
Yellow Vein Kratom
White, green, and red are the most common, and in many cases, the only officially recognized strains. Yellow vein varieties are the product of marketing more than anything else. That’s not to say there aren’t differences, but outside of subjective personal accounts, there’s no compelling reason to think yellow vein kratom offers a unique experience.
Yellow vein products are created through a novel small-batch drying process. Green vein leaves are scattered across a drying rack and exposed to direct sunlight for some number of days. As the leaves’ chlorophyll breaks down, they begin to yellow, creating the variety’s eponymous hue.
Reports vary, but most people seem to agree that yellow vein’s effects parallel green vein’s fairly closely. This makes sense given that the product is created using green vein leaves. It’s unclear whether the unique drying process has any notable effect on user experiences, but it’s certainly something you should try if you’re curious.
As we mentioned at the top, kratom comes in many different sub-varieties, many of which are named for the region where the plant is grown, like Malay, Thai, and Bali. Growing location can have subtle effects on kratom’s chemical composition due to variations in moisture and soil composition, but. for the most part, these varieties share the qualities of the vein color they carry. Try them all and see which you like best.
Notable exceptions are the Maeng Da strains. These hybrids are the Cadillacs of the kratom world. In Thai, the term means “pimp grade.” Found in white, green, and red varieties, Maeng Da sports higher alkaloid levels than other types, meaning that while the effects will be similar, you’ll need less to produce the same result.
Which strain is right for you? Start with the color that best suits your desired results, and then refine it by name. Last but not least, enjoy!