This is an excellent question, though not always the right one.
Whether you're curious about kratom or are a regular user, you will soon find the "where" question to be overly simple. The question of where to get kratom has many facets, and a careful answer may not merely provide you with consistent, nearby supply.
It can also help you find the highest quality product at the best price, through the foreseeable future.
Asking the right questions can also help you assess the easiest, fastest, safest, fastest. and even the least expensive way to obtain the kratom you need at the highest possible quality. So, bear with us a bit before you rush to plug "kratom near me" into your Google or Bing search bar.
But there are many other matters to consider in getting you exactly what you need when it’s your kratom order.
First of all, what is kratom? A drug? An herb? A hallucinogen?
There are many myths out there about kratom, and they are further muddied by the way state laws have chosen to define the substance. Put simply, Kratom is evergreen and a distant cousin of the coffee plant.
In its natural form, it is a naturally-occurring tree indigenous to the southeast Asian regions of Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar (formerly Burma), Papua New Guinea, Thailand, Borneo, and more recently Vietnam. It thrives in the hot, wet, tropical climates of these countries, growing up to 100 feet in height. In these regions and conditions, it is ubiquitous, meaning it does not necessarily have to be cultivated. It is often simply harvested from the wild.
What does kratom do? Why take it?
Although there are centuries-long claims that it is a "cure-all," kratom is no panacea. What makes it so popular is its ability to treat a broad number of symptoms (when used responsibly) with minimal side effects. This video is one of the best online sources describing kratom's effects and biological mechanisms of action.
People have used it for centuries to treat fatigue, pain, and diarrhea. Starting in the late 19th century, it began to be used to assist with opium withdrawal. In modern southeast Asia, it has been used as a treatment for opioid addiction with documented success. It is important to note, however, that these studies have not been replicated in the United States, nor have their conclusions been verified by American or European medical organizations.
Still, others use it as a mood elevator, either to treat anxiety and depression or to attain a "mild high" that makes social interaction easier. There is very little literature on the negative effects of kratom, and even evidence of benefits is largely anecdotal. However, one curious side effect is that it has a stimulant effect at lower doses and a sedating one at higher doses.
The reasons for taking kratom are varied, and your reason will no doubt inform where you will look for your kratom supply.
Why is it sometimes so hard to find kratom, let alone the right strain for me?
Neither the Food and Drug Administration, the Drug Enforcement Administration, nor any other US agency has agreed to oversee kratom as a nutritional product or supplement. At times, the FBI or FDA has seized shipments if there was suspicion of bacterial or other drug contamination. For example, on April 4, 2018, the FDA issued its first and only compulsory recall of kratom products after it was linked to over 100 cases of salmonella poisoning in the United States.
So, does that mean kratom is illegal in the US?
The answer is complicated. It is banned in some states and cities. The federal government has not made a position clear, and for the most part, has avoided legislating it. Below is a list of US states that have legal standing on kratom.
Based on the informational sites kratomwave.com and kraoma.com, kratom is a banned controlled substance that cannot be sold, possessed, or used in…
- Alabama - As of 2016, this state has banned mitragynine and 7-hydroxy mitragynine, the two active alkaloids in kratom, making it illegal to manufacture, sell, distribute, or possess in any way.
- Arkansas- As of 2015, this state has labeled kratom a highly-addictive substance with no medical use, classing it as an "opioid derivative."
- Indiana - As of 2014, this state has labeled kratom a banned "hallucinogenic substance." However, laws about shipping the substance to Indiana are ultimately unclear.
- Rhode Island - The two active alkaloids in kratom were banned in Rhode Island in 2107 through a secret legislative ballot. However, there is hope that a bill introduced in January of 2020 will reverse the ban in favor of close regulation. As it stands, even possession of kratom is currently illegal.
- Vermont - In 2016, both active alkaloids of kratom were labeled both hallucinogenic agents and synthetic cannabinoids (though neither categorization is scientifically accurate). This has led to an ongoing debate about whether kratom or simply synthetic forms of it are illegal in the state. Without a clear answer, most vendors refuse to ship to Vermont.
- Wisconsin - While manufacturing, distribution, and possession of kratom have been illegal since 2014, pro-kratom organizations have been making headway since October of 2019, indicating that it may soon be legalized in Wisconsin.
There are also a handful of local laws and city ordinances across the US that restrict kratom.
- Kratom is illegal to possess in San Diego, California, and Denver, Colorado.
- It is also illegal in Sarasota Country, Florida, and Union Country, Mississippi.
- Kratom is only legal for those 18 and older in New Hampshire and those 21 and older in Tennessee.
In all other US states and territories, it is perfectly legal to manufacture, sell, distribute, buy, possess, or use kratom.
So, can I just grow my own kratom?
Even where this is perfectly legal in many places, most of the climate zones in the US cannot support the kratom tree. Though there has been some success in Florida and southern Texas, a mild cold snap of 50 degrees Fahrenheit can kill even a hardy, well-established tree.
Kratom thrives in hardiness zones 11, 12, and 13, though some sites claim it can survive, if carefully tended, in zones 9a, 9b, and 10a in the US.
If I can't grow it or find it nearby, how can I get kratom?
Now you're asking the right question! This goes a little deeper than "where can I find it near me?" Keep in mind that it is usually imported plant matter that grows wild, primarily in the jungle regions of southeast Asia.
Asking the following questions (of yourself, on the internet, and of kratom vendors you know) will yield far more specific and helpful answers.
- I have x condition. What is the right variety of kratom for me?
- Where can I find the safest kratom?
- Where can I find the highest quality kratom for the lowest price?
- Do I need to buy my kratom in person?
- Can kratom be shipped to my location?
- Where can I find a trustworthy merchant who really knows his or her kratom?
- Where can I find a kratom source that will be there in the long term?
- Where can I find discreetly packaged kratom?
- Where can I find a kratom merchant who will help me discover my ideal breed/mixture/dosage?
Generally Speaking, What Types of Places Sell Kratom?
You may be surprised at how many different types of places sell kratom. Each of them, however, are generally considered more or less likely to sell you a good product. While there are always exceptions to this rule, the list below goes from least to most reputable.
Gas Stations and Music Stores
Kratom from gas stations is notoriously cheap and often weak, at a low-dose of only 75 mg per capsule. At that amount, there is not a lot of efficacy (desired result) in terms of pain relief, mood elevation, or energy enhancement. Obviously, neither music stores nor filling stations specialize in selling kratom, CBD oil, or any other herbal medications they offer under the counter. They do so to make money.
That can mean they are cutting corners by buying pre-packaged versions of kratom with little question as to the source. The American Kratom Association (AKA) notes that the prepackaged herb from these sources is the most likely to be adulterated (contaminated or cut with other compounds and therefore less effective or even dangerous).
Because of this and the low-dose factor, USA Today notes a product from these sources are more likely to be abused because people tend to take more when they don't get the desired level of effect.
These types of establishments are often combined with music and ticketing stores. They specialize in the sale of marijuana and tobacco paraphernalia (such as water bowls and pharmaceutical-grade mortar and pestle sets), as well as CBD oil, herbal stimulants and sexual aids, and a variety of kratom products.
It is important to keep in mind the primary reason why establishments in these first two categories offer kratom; it is yet another way they can make money. What they are often buying (and therefore selling you) is attractive-looking, consistent packaging. They have no means of testing the purity of the product themselves. That's not to say you won't occasionally get lucky with a purchase. But what about the purchase after that, even from the same store and in the same packaging?
Local Independent Kratom Stores
These facilities are different from head shops in that they purport to sell pure, unadulterated products, either in leaf, powder, or capsule form. This means they are often more reputable and trustworthy than stores on the same tiers as gas stations and head shops.
Personal interaction with employees also adds an air of integrity to these establishments, and many of them deserve such a reputation. However, it is important to note that these types of stores are also often unregulated by any quality and safety organization. While they tend to sell a more expensive product than the previously mentioned places, it is also possible that they are the distributors for those same establishments.
When patronizing a local kratom store, it is vital to ask many of the probing questions listed above. You can also ask, who is the business's supplier, and where does that supply come from? Is there any documentation about the provenance (source) or purity of the kratom being sold there? If employees (especially owners and managers) are reticent to answer such questions, that should be a major red flag.
Ultimately, though, you may be able to find a good, reliable local kratom shop through trial and error, if you have the time and money to spend.
Local and Regional Regulated Stores
These establishments are often the most expensive and the hardest to find, but there is a good reason for that. Regulated stores work in cooperation with national and international organizations to ensure the purity and safety of their kratom products. They should be able and willing to tell you the country (and even region) of origin) for each of their products. Most US stores of this kind function as both in-person sites and online, mail-order distributors.
The mission of the American Kratom Association (AKA) is to make safe, reliable kratom available to all Americans. To that end, they have put voluntary, regulatory guidelines in place for sellers who choose to partner with them.
Since they have yet to work in cooperation with the FDA (who has, as of 2020, refused to meet with the AKA formally), the regulation protocols are called GMP or Good Manufacturing Processes. These follow the strictest industrial guidelines for supplements and nutrition products of any kind.
To gain GMP accreditation, a distributor must test every lot of kratom for the purity of ingredients and the amount of mitragynine and 7-hydroxy mitragynine alkaloids in each lot. These are the active ingredients of kratom. Next, testing for adulteration and pathogens is undertaken.
Finally, the product must pass all guidelines identical to those of the FDA. Only then can a kratom product bear the AKA's Seal of Approval. While this process may lead to a higher cost, customers will be able to trust kratom from AKA-approved sources as the safest, strongest, and most consistent.
Trustworthy International Kratom Vendors
In these last two categories, you will generally get close to the same level of purity, safety, and quality. International online vendors have a couple of advantages over their American counterparts. First is that they are closest to the product in its natural form, which can mean you get the freshest kratom from these sources.
That proximity leads to a second advantage, in that there is no "middle man" when it comes to harvesting, grinding, and packaging. These processes can all be done in house.
The one disadvantage of international online vendors is that quality-control and food and drug regulations vary from country to country.
The safeguards against contaminated or adulterated products entering the United States lies with the FDA and the United States Customs and Border Protection Agency. Tests, by these agencies, however, are periodic at best, and usually, only occur if there is suspicion about a distributor or shipment.
Online Kratom Vendors
Many online vendors also fall under the previous category. However, there are also American vendors who order from overseas. While there is often the added expense of the "middle man," US vendors have several unique advantages. The first is that they have legal, official access to kratom in its originating countries.
It is important to understand that ordering kratom directly from Southeast Asia as an individual is extremely difficult, and often against the law. The FDA regularly inspects and seizes suspicious supplies of kratom to ensure it is safe for consumption of any kind. This is because there is a temptation among less reputable sources to dilute (or "cut") kratom with other plant matter or chemicals.
US vendors are also accountable to governmental regulations and the laws of the United States. These laws (as inconvenient as they may be at times) are among the most stringent and safest in the world.
Okay, that was a lot of information, but how do I find kratom nearby?
Here is our point: With online ordering and an inherently international product, you may not be able to find kratom near you. It may not be legal to obtain in your area. If it is, you may not even want a nearby kratom.
However, that doesn't mean that you can't get kratom. While this is truly a lot of information to digest, it will also allow you to find the best possible kratom for you, whether or not it is in a store close by.
This article has taken you through several steps, starting with what kratom is, where it typically grows, and where in the US it is legal to possess. Next, the most pertinent, useful questions about kratom were listed as the questions you should really be asking. Then, the different types of kratom vendors were explored, empowering you to choose the level of quality and safety you desire.
The best advice we can give you is to be skeptical, safe, and ask as many questions. A trustworthy vendor will not bulk at a potential customer who wants more information. They will respect a well-informed consumer.
Now you are ready for that browser search. You will find many different distributors and many different types of kratom. Finding your ideal product is still a matter of trial and error, but you are now empowered with greater knowledge. This will help you "weed out" competitors and find the kratom product and vendors you can trust in a continual business transaction.