Best Kratom for Depression & Anxiety: Top Strains of 2023

Illustration for Use of Kratom for Anxiety & Depression
Written by Nina Julia | Last updated: January 9, 2023

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 25 Americans lives with a severe mental illness, including major depression. With this statistic sweeping over the nation, it’s no wonder pharmaceutical companies are constantly selling depression and anxiety medication.

But what if there was an alternative way to ease anxiety and depression?

Many Americans opt for a more organic and natural way to soothe their symptoms, like kratom.

This plant-based supplement has become popular because of its variety of benefits, including relieving anxiety and depression. Here’s how it works and where to find the best kratom strains for anxiety.

Best Kratom Strains for Anxiety & Depression

There are many different kratom strains, each with a unique chemical makeup. The result is a wide range of effects.

To make finding the best kratom strains for anxiety and depression easier, we’ve researched them for you. These three strains are known for stimulating and soothing effects, which are ideal for managing the mood and energy lows that come with these conditions.

1. Maeng Da Kratom

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This strain grows in various countries of Southeast Asia, especially in Indonesia. It’s the product of a unique process called grafting, in which farmers pair several individual strains together.

The result is a kratom that’s much more potent than the average strain, which means Maeng Da can combat your anxiety and depression with the intensity you need. Having farmed this plant for many years, Indonesian plant farmers know when Maeng Da is ready for harvest, making it as potent as possible.

Maeng Da comes in different color variations: red, white, and green. All Maeng Da strains are popular amongst online vendors. However, you’ll want to stick with either red or green strains for anxiety and depression.

Red is famous for its calming effect. Depression causes feelings of sadness or guilt, and this strain offers calm and peace, bringing the mind back to a healthier and positive state. Similarly, the relaxing sensation helps anxiety take the edge off frazzled nerves, especially following an anxiety attack.

Another symptom of depression is the loss of energy, with some people finding it impossible to complete daily tasks or even get out of bed. Green Maeng Da can give feelings of strength and energy.

Overall, the versatility of this strain makes for the perfect combination of a pick-me-up and relaxed sensation.

Benefits of Maeng Da Kratom

  • Comprehensive and potent effects
  • Calming effect for anxiety
  • Mood enhancement and peace of mind for depression
  • Energizing to offset lethargy due to depression

2. Green Malay Kratom

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Green Malay is popular because of the versatility that different dosages deliver. It’s not considered one of the most potent kratom strains, but it’s versatile.

Low and higher doses bring you different effects, from easy stimulation to full sedation.

During the day, it can help increase focus, concentration, and euphoria, which make any day easier to get through.

You can also take it in the evening when you’re ready for your mind to stop spinning from that to-do list you didn’t tackle. Sit back and enjoy the body relaxation this strain provides. Keep in mind that you’ll need a higher dose to achieve this state of sedation. If this effect is what you’re looking for, you might be better off with a low dose of a red strain, like Red Maeng Da.

Overall, this strain can help your depression and anxiety either through energy and euphoria or relaxation. You have a lot of room to experiment with Green Malay, depending on the effects you desire.

Benefits of Green Malay Kratom

  • Calming sensation relieves anxiety.
  • Motivating energy makes the day seem more manageable
  • The stimulating effect at lower dosages makes it great for mornings
  • A peaceful sensation helps to relax after a bout of anxiety
  • Higher dosages enable more sedative effects for unwinding

3. Red Bali Kratom

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With a high-alkaloid content, this product is a popular choice. The color is green-red due to the harvesting process, and when plucked properly, the plant leaves reward the farmer with this rich, beautiful color.

As magical as the island of Bali, Red Bali kratom is a strain that provides soothing benefits to its loyal following. If you’re looking for that joyful feeling associated with euphoria, this is where your shopping stops. One of the main benefits is that this strain will kick in and target your uncontrollable emotions when you’re feeling uptight.

This strain’s high-alkaloid content works with the body to provide a leisurely feeling, but not to the point of sedation. Depending on your dose, you may experience improved concentration, but you can guarantee relaxation that also relieves pain.

A troubling symptom of depression is difficulty sleeping. When consumed at the correct dosage, this strain can serve as a sleep aid.

Benefits of Red Bali Kratom

  • Joyful feeling to offset negative feelings of depression
  • Relaxation to counter anxiety-related nerves and jitters
  • Improved concentration due to higher levels of alkaloid content
  • Sleep aid for countering anxiety or depression-related insomnia

How to Use Kratom for Anxiety & Depression

Kratom can be taken in a number of ways, but it’s important to know the dosage for anxiety first. Kratom’s effects change depending on the amount used.

Don’t worry — you don’t have to guess and hope for the best. Once you understand how kratom works and the general dosage guidelines, you’ll be able to figure it out, even if it takes a few tries.

Finding the Right Dose

One of the unique aspects of kratom is how different the effects can be depending on the dose used.

Low doses are energizing, while higher doses are more calming, euphoric, and sedating. So if the goal is to induce a state of calmness to alleviate anxiety, higher doses are usually preferred.

In fact, small, stimulating doses may even make anxiety worse.

The usual dose range for managing anxiety with kratom is between 4 and 12 grams. If this is your first time, it’s wise to start with the lower end of this range at just 4 grams.

For depression, this can change slightly. Lower doses are a good option for people who feel a lack of energy is one of the driving forces behind their depression. Higher doses are better for inducing euphoric states to offset the feelings of depression, but these higher doses can also make sedation worse in these individuals.

Finding the right balance for your body is key.

Start with around 4 grams, see how it makes you feel, and then increase or decrease the dose as needed.

It’s wise to use kratom at home or in a place where you feel comfortable for the first time. If kratom makes you feel more anxious or more lethargic, you’ll want to avoid being somewhere like work or school when this happens. Only once you’ve gained an understanding of how kratom affects you should you start taking it during your normal routine.

Common dosage recommendations are as follows:

  • Microdose: Less than 2 g (creativity, energy, focus)
  • Small dose: 2-5 g (energy and focus)
  • Large dose: 6-9 g (anxiolytic, euphoric)
  • Extra large dose (not recommended for new users): 10-15 g (sedative, intoxicating)

Choose The Right Strain

There are four main types of kratom strains — red, green, white, and yellow.

Virtually all kratom strains will work for anxiety and depression, but some are much better than others.

A) Green Vein Strains (Best Overall)

In general, green strains are the best “all-arounders” in terms of effects. They’re energizing, calming, euphoric, and sedating — it all just depends on the dose. Most people who have anxiety settle for a good green strain like Green Malay. Once the right dose is worked out, these strains provide reliable anxiolytic and mood-boosting effects when you need them.

B) Red Vein Strains (Best For Anxiety)

Red vein kratom is the most sedative and painkiller of the bunch. Higher doses of this kratom are usually best for people with chronic pain or those who want strong sedative and euphoric effects. This strain isn’t ideal for people suffering from depression who feel like their inability to self-motivate is a key driver of their condition.

C) White Vein Strains (Best For Depression)

White vein kratom is the most stimulating in lower doses and the most euphoric in higher doses. Even high doses of white vein kratom aren’t going to carry the same sedative effects as red strains or some green strains. This is a good option for people who feel depressed and unmotivated because it provides both euphoria and energy-boosting effects.

What’s the Best Way to Take Kratom?

You can find kratom in a variety of forms, from capsules to powder and extracts. Each method has pros and cons, so how do you know which one to pick?

A) Kratom Powder

Kratom powder is the most common and versatile way to use kratom. Many people simply stir it into a drink, but you can also make a tea, “parachute” it or swallow it with the toss-and-wash method.

To parachute kratom, take the dose and wrap it in a small piece of toilet paper, then swallow it with a drink. To toss and wash it, take a mouthful of water or juice, put the dose into your mouth with the drink, and swallow them down.

The downside to kratom powder is its taste. Kratom is quite bitter, and some people can’t handle it.

B) Kratom Capsules

Capsules are great if you need something portable and convenient. You can keep them in your desk or pocket if you need kratom on hand, and they’re easy to travel with. However, they also tend to be more expensive and can be a challenge when dosing since they’re premeasured.

C) Kratom Extracts

Kratom extracts are hard to find and pricey but are another alternative for anyone who wants to avoid messing with powder. These usually stir into drinks easily and have little to no taste. If you’re adventurous, try making your own. Look for the directions online.

How Does Kratom Work for Anxiety?

The best kratom for anxiety & depression all share one benefit in common: relaxation. You can expect a sense of calm and a positive outlook.

The reason these strains produce relaxing effects is because of their alkaloids. Alkaloids are naturally occurring organic compounds that trigger physiological reactions in the body.

Once you take kratom, you unleash these alkaloids into the body. They interact with the brain’s receptors and release endorphins, such as dopamine. As a result, you get to experience uplifting sensations and relief from your burdening anxiety and depression.

In a 2017 study, scientists realized that kratom has the potential to work for anxiety by reducing cortisol, which is responsible for stress.

A 2020 study determined that kratom’s indole alkaloids target D2 dopamine, serotonin (5-HT2C and 5-HT7), and alpha-2 adrenergic receptors. These are the same receptors antidepressants hit.

Kratom’s interaction with opioid receptors also plays a large role in its effectiveness.

Its two main alkaloids — mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine — modulate opioid receptors in a variety of ways. They are mu-opioid partial agonists and kappa- and delta-opioid competitive antagonists.

Studies show the opioid system, the mu-opioid receptor, in particular, plays a role in emotional processing, including motivation and arousal. The emotion circuit is full of opioid receptors and is consistently associated with pleasant and unpleasant feelings. External opioid agonists seem to provoke approach-oriented feelings, like anger, and block avoidance-oriented feelings, like fear and sadness.

On a less scientific note, anecdotal reports verify kratom’s usefulness for mood disorders. Many people have switched to kratom and found relief from depression, anxiety, PTSD, etc. While we don’t suggest switching without a doctor’s oversight, you might want to consider having that conversation if you don’t like your prescription.

While it’s not an opiate, anxiolytic, or antidepressant, it works similarly by interacting with your brain’s receptors to mitigate pain and trigger positive and uplifting feelings.

How Does Kratom Work For Depression?

Many of the same benefits kratom has on anxiety also work for depression.

There are many causes of depression, so kratom isn’t going to work for everyone. People who have the best results take more than just kratom to deal with their symptoms; they also make alterations in their diet, lifestyle habits, job, living situation, and more.

Treating depression is a systemic thing — you have to make alterations to many areas of your life, not just the inclusion of a new herb or medication.

The reason kratom works so well for depression is two-fold:

Kratom Has Powerful Euphoric Qualities

Inducing feelings of euphoria even temporarily remind users what it’s like to feel “well.” This often provides the motivation to keep going, knowing that they’re capable of feeling happy.

This effect is also particularly useful when people are in a rut — feeling especially down on themselves. Kratom can offer a temporary release from this pain by giving users a dopaminergic kick.

The only caution here is to avoid over-relying on kratom for this. It can be extremely helpful in a pinch, but it’s important to try your best to get through low episodes without help from any substances — plants or otherwise.

Kratom is Energizing

One of the main side effects of depression is a lack of motivation. But this is one of those “chicken or the egg” type scenarios. When someone lacks the motivation to do anything, they become depressed. And when someone is depressed, they lack the motivation to do anything. It’s a negative feedback loop. Kratom helps to break this loop by getting you up and moving.

Is Kratom Safe?

Yes, despite the rumors, kratom is safe to use. A few US states have banned it under the assumption that it’s dangerous due to its opioid-like properties.

However, in a recent review, the World Health Organization found kratom safe and does not pose a risk.

There are some side effects and risks to be aware of, so we’ll lay out the facts on what to expect and how to stay safe.

Kratom’s Side Effects

While there are some side effects associated with kratom, they’re generally mild and short-lived. If you don’t take too much, you should be fine. Although, new users are also more likely to experience a few of these problems.

The most common side effects include:

  • Dizziness
  • The wobbles
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Lethargy
  • Addiction

Kratom can be addictive, but not in the same way opioids are. The dependence isn’t as powerful, and the withdrawal is less severe. It’s also not likely to cause an overdose or death — unless other substances are involved, but more on that later.

Does Kratom Cause Anxiety?

Ironically, kratom can help treat anxiety, and it can also cause it. We shouldn’t be surprised because the plant is somewhat contradictory in other areas, too.

Kratom can work well for treating anxiety, racing thoughts, and tension. The only time it causes anxiety is if you use too much of an energizing strain or when it’s due to addiction.

So, again, while this side effect can defeat the purpose of using kratom, it usually only happens due to misuse.

Tips for Using Kratom Safely

“Use kratom responsibly, and you’ll be fine.”

Great, but what does that mean? What does that look like? Follow these tips, and you shouldn’t have any issues with kratom use.

1. Only Buy Kratom from Reputable Vendors

Some states have passed laws that put safety measures in place, overseeing kratom sales. Most states have not, and the federal government hasn’t, either.

This gives shady vendors a foothold in the market, making it somewhat tricky to navigate. They sell weak, stale, or contaminated kratom and put the consumer in danger.

Avoid the hassle by searching out the best vendors (we suggest a few later) and only buying high-quality products.

2. Never Mix Kratom With Other Substances

Kratom is metabolized by the same enzymes that many other medications and drugs are. This can cause a dangerous drug interaction due to an increased risk of adverse side effects.

Statistics show that most of the overdose deaths involving kratom also involved other drugs. Opioids, benzodiazepines, and cocaine are the biggest culprits, but many others can put you at risk.

3. Take Breaks from Using It

To avoid addiction and other issues, take a few days off from using kratom every week. This gives your body a chance to reset and helps you avoid tolerance. Building a tolerance means the same dose doesn’t have the same effect, requiring you to increase the amount you need. This leads to addiction and — on a less crucial note — gets more expensive since you’re using more.

The Euphoric Qualities of Kratom

The anxiolytic qualities of kratom closely overlap with the herb’s euphoriant qualities. By stimulating both the opioid and dopaminergic receptors, kratom produces a sense of calmness and relaxation, as well as excitement, pleasure, and happiness or euphoria. 

As a result, many of the same strains known to help with anxiety also help induce states of euphoria.

Where to Buy the Best Kratom for Anxiety?

We have given you a summary of the best kratom for anxiety and depression. Now, we’ll share where to get kratom near you

Fortunately, most kratom sellers offer kratom for anxiety and depression. Strains like Red Bali are in high demand for those that need a mood boost and decreased stress.

Products are available in grams, from 50 to 1000 grams. You’ll also find some online merchants carrying samplers of the different strains they sell. You can order just a small portion of a few strains to try them out with these samplers. If they don’t have samplers, see if they offer the 50-gram option so that you can try smaller amounts before deciding on one. 

However, before you buy any kratom, you’ll want to keep in mind that just because a vendor claims its kratom will relieve anxiety and depression doesn’t mean it’s true. Not every vendor product tests its strains, which puts you at risk.

You’ll need to find a vendor that sells reliable products at the best prices.

Instead of leaving you to worry about research, we’ve gone ahead and reviewed our top sellers for anxiety and depression. Here are three sellers that offer products online so that you can get the best kratom for anxiety & depression conveniently shipped to you.

Kona Kratom

Kona Kratom prides itself on being a vendor that supplies the widest selection of strains. The vendor has plenty of products in stock, including the best kratom for anxiety and depression. The choice is almost overwhelming, especially if you’re new to kratom shopping. However, this inventory will open a world of possibilities to you as a kratom user. No other vendor can compete with Kona Kratom’s variety.

One thing that places this vendor at the top of this list is lab-testing their products for impurities. Not only that, but they have approval from the American Kratom Association (AKA).

This expert merchant has even traveled to Indonesia to meet with farmers. They won’t let one piece of the operation untouched by their expertise and supervision. When ordering from Kona, you can breathe easy knowing that your product went through rigorous testing, personal supervision, and solid harvesting techniques. 

Key Points:

  • Enormous selection
  • Great prices
  • A strong relationship with SE Asian farmers
  • Member of the American Kratom Association (AKA)
  • Third-party testing for all products

VIP Kratom

VIP Kratom cares about quality and consistency. The vendor has a reputation for selling kratom with” VIP” status. They refuse to sell anything less than grade-A strains.

The higher standards for quality mean the company has a smaller selection and higher prices than other vendors. That said, if you want to invest your hard-earned money into stockpiling only quality, top-shelf kratom, you cannot go wrong with VIP Kratom.

The company also has many rare and exotic strains you won’t find anywhere else, many of them coveted for incredible potency.

Key Points:

  • Stocks only premium, top-shelf strains
  • Rare strains are hard to find anywhere else
  • Member of the American Kratom Association (AKA)
  • Third-party testing for all products

Star Kratom

Star Kratom started during the pandemic when they were able to deliver products across the nation with excellent delivery timeframes. They deliver 2-3 days faster than competitors and, along with a great selection, have made a name for themselves.

Moreover, Star Kratom is an American Kratom Association (AKA) approved vendor. The AKA is an association that aims to educate folks on the use of kratom, and its approval of a vendor means a great deal in the kratom community.

Key Points:

  • Processing center near major postal hub enables multiple deliveries per day.
  • Excellent selection
  • Speedy delivery times; 2-3 days faster than most
  • Member of the American Kratom Association (AKA)
  • Third-party testing for all products

Summary: Using Kratom for Anxiety & Depression

Hopefully, you have a better idea of which strains are the best kratom for anxiety and depression. The strains we mentioned above will bring relaxation and calmness to your routine, easing stress, anxiety, feelings of hopelessness, etc.

We recommend trying our top three strains. Maeng Da kratom is arguably the best for anxiety and depression because of its high alkaloid content. However, this is the most potent strain on this list, which means it might not be ideal for beginners.

We recommend trying Red Bali or Green Malay at 1-3g if you’re new to kratom. Green Malay works well if you need a mild stimulant that will help you tackle your responsibilities. It’s best if you want an energy boost without the unpleasant side effects of most stimulants, such as jitters. Red Bali is optimal if you need deep relaxation and sedation to counter the feelings of restlessness and insomnia due to anxiety or depression.

Once you find your strain, check out our vendors above. These suppliers have customer support teams eager to help you find your favorite strain, so consider reaching out for more information on shipping, dosage, etc.

Nina created following the birth of her second child. She was a science and math teacher for 6 years prior to becoming a parent — teaching in schools in White Plains, New York and later in Paterson, New Jersey.