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July 2020

Kratom 101

Kratom’s popularity surge within America is quickly catching up to its herbal counterpart - CBD. According to the American Kratom Association (AKA), over 15 million people across the world are using Kratom today. While it might not size up to the 1.4 billion cups of coffee consumed everyday, it’s quickly climbing the ladder of daily consumables.  With a surge in popularity of this magnitude, questions begin to arise: What is Kratom? What does it do? Is it safe? Luckily, Club13 is here to clear the air and answer some frequently asked questions. 

What is Kratom?

What is commonly referred to as Kratom, is scientifically known as Mitragyna Speciosa. Mitragyna Speciosa is a tropical evergreen tree in the Rubiaceae Family. Another member of the Rubiaceae Family is another popular plant - coffee! Kratom leaves are dark green and glossy, with distinctive red, white, or yellow veins. The veins of the Mitragyna Speciosa leaves typically correlate to the type of Kratom, i.e., red (Bali Red), green (Green Malay), white (Indo White), etc. 

What makes Kratom unique? 

Alkaloids! Or more specifically - “nitrogenous organic compounds of plant origin which have pronounced physiological actions on humans.” In english? Natural compounds found in plants that make you feel good. The celebrated pair of alkaloids behind Kratom’s success is Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine (sometimes referred to as 7-OH). Any effects and benefits of Kratom are due to this pair of alkaloids. 

Where does Kratom grow?

Native to Southeast Asia, this plant is cultivated in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Papua New Guinea. Kratom needs heat, humidity, and the right soil pH to thrive. As such, Kratom trees thrive in their home regions where it’s hot and humid and the soil pH is just right. 

What are Kratom’s Effects?

When Kratom is consumed in small amounts its effects are quite similar to it’s cousin Coffee. At a dose of 1-5 grams, it will affect you with stimulant-like properties that keep you energized and focused throughout the day. It’s also known to decrease appetite in some people. 

When you increase your daily Kratom intake to 5-15 grams, the effects change entirely. You might begin to feel slightly euphoric and/or find a calm, dreamlike mental state. It also works as an Analgesic, or Pain reducer. 

Which strain of Kratom is right for you?

Kratom strains are classified into three different color groups: Red-vein, White-vein, and Green-vein. The color becomes the strain’s primary name. The color groups are aptly named after the color of the central stem and veins of the leaves. Each distinct color-type of Kratom produces unique effects. 

Research is pivotal when deciding on what strain, and dosage, of Kratom, is just right for you. Finding the “just right” strain of Kratom is monumental to first-time consumers. Club13 highly recommends purchasing our Grab-n-Go sample packs so you can find the right fit for you.

March 2020

Alkaloids Explained

What makes Kratom so special? It’s actually two things, and they are both alkaloids. Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine (sometimes referred to as 7-OH) is the celebrated pair of organic compounds that turn those simple leaves into something super. To better understand how these superstar alkaloids influence our friend Kratom, we need to first answer the question: 

What the heck is an alkaloid? 

According to the Oxford dictionary, and contrary to my belief that an alkaloid is an extra-terrestrial species of elk-men, Alkaloids are "any of a class of nitrogenous organic compounds of plant origin which have pronounced physiological actions on humans." Some famous alkaloids are caffeine, morphine, nicotine and quinine. While the name quinine might not sound as familiar as the others, it is a common consumable that is used in antimalarial medicines and tonic water. 

Alkaloids are naturally occurring compounds found primarily in plants. They're commonly found in individual families of flowering plants. The Rubiaceae family is the plant family that houses coffee, quinine, and Kratom. More than 3,000 different types of alkaloids have been identified in a total of more than 4,000 plant species.  

Alkaloid chemical structures vary. Generally, an alkaloid contains one nitrogen atom in something called an "amine-type structure". No not anime - aMine. An amine-type structure is derived from ammonia by replacing hydrogen atoms with hydrogen-carbon groups called hydrocarbons. An anime-type structure would probably involve a protagonist who is down and out but is ultimately thrusted into a battle of good and evil by the external forces that be. But I digress, the name alkaloid ("alkali-like") was initially applied to the substances because, like the inorganic alkalis, they react with acids to form salts. These salts…

What exactly does an Alkaloid do? 

We know alkaloids primarily exist in plants and are naturally occurring, and while we have a good sense of its effects on us humans, their function within the plant itself is somewhat of a scientific mystery. One theory is that alkaloids are a byproduct or waste of a plants' metabolic processes. Other evidence suggests that alkaloids serve specific biological functions. For example, in some plants, the concentration of alkaloids increases before seed formation and then drops off when the seed is ripe. This could mean that alkaloids play a vital role in the plants reproduction process. Another popular theory is that alkaloids like 7-OH may protect the plant pests and herbivores.

The Dynamic Duo

The primary alkaloid found in Kratom is called Mitragynine. Mitragynine is present in Kratom leaves and actually makes up over two percent of the leaves' organic structure. 

The second, more potent alkaloid, is 7-OH. 7-OH is stronger in effect but naturally occurs in much lower concentrations in Kratom leaves. 

Conclusion 

Understanding the chemical structures of the products we use is vital when trying something new. We all want to know what we are putting in our bodies. Well, when you ingest Kratom, you ingest Mitragynine and 7-OH, two superstar organic compounds, cousins of caffeine and quinine, producer of salts, or simply - alkaloids.

Kratom Strains, Veins & Varieties

Kratom strains are classified into three different color groups: Red-vein, White-vein, and Green-vein. The color becomes the strain's primary name. The color groups are aptly named after the color of the central stem and veins of the leaves. Each distinct color-type of Kratom produces unique effects. 

Red-Vein

Red-Vein Kratom contains red-colored veins and stems on the leaves. Currently, Red-Vein Kratom is the most popular and most widely available type of Kratom on the market. This popular strain grows abundantly throughout Southeast Asia. It is considered to be much more persistent than its white and green counterparts. 

Some researchers believe that the red hue of the plant's veins pertains to the maturity of the plant. If so, Red-vein Kratom is the more mature version of Green-vein or White-vein plants. No studies have been conducted to prove this fact. 

Not all red strains are created equal. Within the Red-vein Kratom group, there are sub-categories, each with their slight differences. Some strains, like Red Thai or the Red Vein Borneo, may produce relaxing effects. Other strains, like the Red Sumatra, have been said to provide a happy mood. 

White-Vein 

White-vein Kratom is widely considered the most stimulating of the Kratom strains and can be a definite mood enhancer. White Kratom, like it's cousin coffee, is great for alertness, concentration, and cheerfulness. 

Green-Vein 

The Green-vein strain can best be defined as the middle sibling in the Kratom family. If you can't decide between the "cool" red-vein or the "hot" white-vein, then perhaps your goldilocks, "just right" vein is the green. If you're looking to add some pep to your day, while maintaining a calm mood, Green-veined strains of Kratom have been called the best of both worlds. Green-vein strains include Sumatra, Bali, and Borneo. 

Secondary Names 

By now, you have probably deduced that color isn't the only way to classify Kratom. After color, strains are given a secondary name. The secondary name is a regional variation derived from the place in which the product was grown or where that strain originated.

Two popular secondary names are "Maeng Da" and "Horned". These variations can be found in every color. They are extremely popular and can be found in nearly every vendor's product list. Maeng Da is actually a translation of "pimp" in Thai, and eventually took on the meaning "pimp grade" in the Kratom industry. Horned refers to the shape of the Kratom leaf itself. These hybrid options were developed by grafting multiple strains of Kratom to emulate the desired characteristics of the parent plants. 

Conclusion 

Research is pivotal when looking into a new product. Here at Club13 we are focused on educating our customers about the products we sell. We look to sell you only the highest quality Kratom products garnered to keep you coming back for more. 

February 2020

Coffee & Kratom – Cousins in Comfort

Picture this classic scene: A mother is cooking and preparing breakfast, the table is already set. Two bouncing little children come down the stairs, they each grab an apple and run out the door to the bus stop. The father comes down the stairs next, tying his tie, “Honey, I’m running late to my meeting! I need my pick-me-up!” The pot is already boiling, and the mother pours her husband a nice, hot, to go cup of … Kratom. 

If you’re anything like myself, or millions of Americans, the first thing you do when you wake up is grab a cup of coffee. This international tradition of early morning coffee drinking has permeated every facet of society and culture. But if you’re also like me, the sugar, the milk, and the caffeine constantly has me looking for healthier alternatives. I tried “healthy” energy drinks, juices, and snacks but nothing has the same kick as coffee. So with my alternative options running out, I decided to take Don Corleone’s advice, and keep it in the family. What I found was salvation in coffee’s natural cousin - Kratom. 

The Rubiaceae Family 

The plant family that contains both coffee and Kratom is the Rubiaceae family. The Rubiaceae family is more commonly referred to as the coffee, madder, or bedstraw family. There are more than 13,500 species and within 650 genera in the Rubiaceae family, making it the fourth-largest family in the angiosperm class. Varying alkaloid combinations are one of the key distinctions between each member of the family. Plants in the Rubiaceae family grow all over the world, but the most abundant species diversity is concentrated in the tropics.

The family, which contains coffee and Kratom, has many smaller divisions. Kratom is related to some other members of the Rubicae family, like Quinine, have been used in traditional medicine. Quinine comes from cinchona bark and is an antimalarial alkaloid that has saved thousands of lives. 

What does this mean? Generally, what region Kratom plants are grown affects it very little. Whereas coffee, on the other hand, can have significant differences based on what species of the coffee bean is grown. 

Similarities and Differences 

Just like human families, members of the Rubiaceae family come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. Coffee and Kratom, for example, look very different. Kratom comes from a tropical evergreen tree. It has broad leaves with a traditional “leafy” shape, as in the leaves are whole, not needley or divided. Mitragyna speciosa trees do not create fruit, but they do create little clusters of flowers at the end of their branches. 

Coffee trees tend to be much smaller than Kratom trees and produce harvestable material per tree than their larger cousins. Coffee beans, from which coffee is derived, are seeds housed in the fruit of the plant flowers. Because coffee comes from mature fruits, harvesting the coffee beans can be tricky since the fruits need to be ripened properly before harvest.

It’s common knowledge that coffee produces stimulant-like effects called caffeine. Caffeine is an alkaloid which produces euphoric effects. Kratom produces a lesser-known alkaloid which provides similar effects as caffeine, called Mitragynine. But unlike caffeine, Mitragynine typically does not give you “the jitters” like coffee does. 

Coffee and Kratom come from two different regions. Coffee originated in Africa but later was produced all over the world. Kratom originated in southeast Asia and continues to be cultivated there. Indonesia is the world’s largest Kratom producer, and exports Kratom all over the world. It is possible that one day, since Kratom is growing in popularity in the West, more countries will start growing and exporting Kratom, as happened with coffee. 

Humans have been consuming Kratom a lot longer than they’ve consumed coffee. For many centuries, people in South East Asia have been using Kratom for it’s more stimulating qualities. Coffee on the other hand, doesn’t have the same history of traditional use and didn’t make a significant impact on the world until about the year 1500. Once coffee first started gaining popularity, it experienced similar fear-mongering that Kratom is facing now. Ethnocentric beliefs and distrust of foreigners made a lot of Europeans skeptical of the new beverage. Sound familiar? 

Conclusion 

So if you’re a coffee-bean freak trying to find an easy alternative, look no further than Club13’s invigorating strains of white Kratom. Our Indo White and Maeng Da White Kratom powders are the perfect pick me up to get your gears running. All the best parts of a Rubicaean plant, with none of the teeth staining or ulcers! 

November 2020

A Closer Inspection ~ The Terpene Myrcene

In our recent post, "What's That Smell," we discussed the function Terpenes pose to plants, insects, and, more specifically, Cannabis and Hemp CBD. With upwards of 200 terpenes existing within each Cannabis and Hemp CBD plant, it can seem daunting. While every terpene is essential to CBD's function, a few are exceptionally special and deserve a closer inspection. Such as Myrcene, one of the most therapeutic and abundantly found terpenes in Cannabis and Hemp plants!

First, let's review ~ What Are Terpenes?

Terpenes are organic compounds produced in plants and some insects. They are responsible for every plant's unique fragrance, from orchids to Cannabis, daisies to beer hops. Sometimes terpenes serve more than one purpose. For example, in Cannabis, terpenes serve both functions – protect and attract. These compounds are a vital part of producing resin, covering the plant's integrity, and providing a base for pollination.

As you know, the consumable part of the Cannabis and Hemp CBD plant is the flower. These flowers have their own recognizable and distinct smell because of the upwards of 200 terpenes that exist within them. The upwards of 200 terpenes found in cannabis plants are not alone. They are one of many organic compounds that work to make Cannabis what it is. For example, they exist alongside other organic compounds, like the cannabinoids THC and CBD.

Terpenes are not responsible for "getting you high." They instead work as helpers to fellow famous cannabinoids THC and CBD by interacting with our endocannabinoid system. Terpenes assist these cannabinoids in a process coined as the entourage effect.

While there are upwards of 200 terpenes in existence, Myrcene is the most populous terpene found in Cannabis and Hemp plants. Myrcene is described as distinctly tasting and smelling spicy, earthy, and musky. It also carries sweet, fruity undertones.

Myrcene is not limited to simply Cannabis and Hemp plants. It's also found in beer hops and is considered responsible for the peppery, balsam fragrance in beer. It's also found in lemongrass, mangoes, and banana peels.

On average, Myrcene represents over 20% of the terpene concentration in your average Cannabis or CBD strain. This dense concentration far surpasses other populous terpenes like Limonene and Caryophyllene.

This "dominant" terpene has wholly taken over the shelves of modern commercial Cannabis, and Hemp CBD strains for the time being. You're probably familiar with big-hitter strains such as OG Kush, Blue Dream, and Grand Daddy Purple. All of which owe their distinct flavors to the prolific Myrcene.

Therapeutic Benefits

Just to affirm, Myrcene doesn't "get you high". But it does have notable therapeutic benefits. For example, it's proven to work as an anti-inflammatory agent. It's also a possible muscle relaxant and, potentially, a cancer blocking agent.

Historically, lemongrass tea has been prolifically used as a folk medicine, wellness tea for anti-anxiety, and pain relief. Lemongrass, as we mentioned above, contains prolific amounts of the terpene Myrcene.

In the 1990s, scientists in Brazil published a claim after discovering the responsible agent for these wellness benefits, Myrcene. They found that this terpene worked as an anti-inflammatory agent. And even went as far as to claim that it worked as a pain reliever by increasing opioid chemicals in the brain and spinal cord. Whether or not Myrcene is, in fact, a pain reliever is still being debated and studied.

October 2020

Tinctures, Tonics, & Infusions, Oh My!

In celebration of this most witchy of holidays, I'd like to look back at our botanical history, which predates modern medicine. People's desire for wellness is nothing new. The power of plants, such as Cannabis, Hemp, and Kratom, has served humankind since the dawn of time. Our ancestors were brewing a combination of Tincture, Tonics, and Infusions to unwind, heal everyday wounds, and cure diseases for centuries. While some of what they believed was a lot of hocus pocus, they didn't have the science and technology to back their potions up. Today, we have all the luxuries at our disposal. We've honed our craft over the centuries and can now reap the benefits of what mother nature has to offer. 

Evolving with Plants 

Since the beginning, human experimentation with plants has led us to learn how they can help us heal, inside and out. For as long as people have existed, we have used plants for medicine and wellness.  Archeological evidence dating as early as 60,000 years ago have found remains of medicinal plants, such as poppies, ephedra, and Cannabis. 

In many cultures, knowledge of a plant's curative properties came through Shamanism, a kind of spirit medicine still practiced in many parts of the world. These botanical witch-doctors communicated with specific plants. They were also responsible for collecting, growing, and blending plants in early Tinctures, Tonics, and Infusions. 

As people's knowledge of plants grew, herbalists began to catalog their knowledge of medicinal plants. One of the oldest and most extensive written records on plants is called the Charaka Samhita, dated around 700 BC, in India. This document kept a history of more than 300 medicinal plants, their uses, and where to find them. 

Today, we might not believe that plants have a "spirit," charging them full of medicinal properties. We now understand that plants are made up of compounds, giving them magical-like abilities to heal.  

Kratom's Tonic History 

Mitragyna Speciosa, also known as Kratom, was first discovered in Southeast Asia. Kratom is a tropical evergreen tree in the Rubiaceae family. Kratom owes it's magical capabilities to compounds called Alkaloids, precisely two alkaloids we know as Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine (sometimes referred to as 7-OH). Any effects and benefits of Kratom are due to this pair of alkaloids. 

It found its place as a traditional household wellness botanical, usually consumed in tonic-like teas that were bitter to the taste. 

Little written history about the plant exists today, which leads researchers to believe that it was used only by the villagers and subsistence workers that made up Southeast Asia. It was probably not used by the upper classes or ruling elite. While the laboring men were chewing the bitter plant to get them through their rough days, the women were home steeping the leaves in their teas. 

Hemp and Cannabis: a History 

Scientists are still trying to pinpoint when people began to take advantage of Hemp's many properties. According to a Science Advances study, the Cannabis and Hemp plant evolved 28 million years ago on the eastern Tibetan Plateau. Archaeologists have discovered ritual Cannabis burning in Central Asian sites as far back as 5000 years ago. 

Archaeologists have discovered Cannabis plants that people burned 2500 years ago, high in the Pamir Mountains in far western China. They've uncovered skeletons and wooden plates, bowls, and wooden braziers that held the burning material so that people could consume the smoke. This group of people belonged to Zoroastrianism, which celebrated the mind-expanding properties of Cannabis in sacred texts. 

The first written history of Cannabis use in ancient Chinese medicine was recorded in the world's oldest pharmacopeia, the pen-ts' ao ching, in 2700 BC. Indications for the benefit of Cannabis included: rheumatic pain, intestinal constipation, disorders of the female reproductive system, malaria, and others. One surgeon in the pen-ts' ao ching recorded that he often mixed the plant with rice wine to anesthetize patients during surgical occupations. Historically, this is the first recorded Cannabis tincture!

While the plants have existed for millions of years, they did not have the same potent qualities we enjoy today. The Cannabis plants which existed thousands of years ago had only trace amounts of the cannabinoids we enjoy today like THC, CBD, CBC, etc. 

Over time, people began domesticating botanicals to enhance the contents they desired. 

The Difference Between Tinctures, Tonics, and Infusions

While Tinctures, Tonics, and Infusions belong to the same family of herbal remedies, they have their distinctions. 

Tinctures use raw plant material, such as Cannabis or Hemp plants, that you soak in solvents such as alcohol or glycerin. You generally want to soak the natural plant material for about 3-12 weeks, depending on what type of tincture you're creating.  

The solvent tends to act as an activator for Cannabis or Hemp CBD Tinctures, elevating the desired effects. If kept from extreme temperatures, Tinctures are also known to have a long shelf life. The alcohol or glycerin will preserve whatever plant matter's involved. 

Typically, Tinctures are ingested by the dropper-full under the tongue. You can also add tinctures to your foods and drinks. 

Tonics are similar to teas but more potent. Tonics, also known as brews, are technically created when herbs and botanical plants boil in water for ten or more hours. 

These brews are potent and hard to digest. So, adding vinegar, bone broth, wine, or honey to the mixture is recommended. I'd classify Kratom as a form of Tonic. A VERY mild tonic, at that. 

Infusions are very similar to Tinctures. Instead of preserving the raw plant material with alcohol or glycerin, Infusions typically are submerged in a lipid such as oil or wax. 

You can create Infusions with or without heat. Cold botanical Infusions use sunlight to extract the plant's properties over one to four months. Hot infusions involve slow stove-top simmers at low temperatures. 

Infused botanical oil has exceptional topical properties. If you've tried your hand in popular CBD or THC topical oils and lotions for muscle relief, you've already experienced the incredible relieving qualities of an Infusion.

Historically, natural botanicals have offered an endless source of relief to people. Plant-derived products have dominated human pharmacopeia for thousands of years, almost unchallenged. Even modern, synthetic medicines that we use today, like aspirin, are formulated partly from plant matter. There's nothing witchy about its longstanding history. Botanical Tinctures, Tonics, and Infusions are as helpful today as they have been throughout history.


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Kratom 101

Kratom’s popularity surge within America is quickly catching up to its herbal counterpart - CBD. According to the American Kratom Association (AKA), over 15 million people across the world are using Kratom today. While it might not size up to the 1.4 billion cups of coffee consumed everyday, it’s quickly climbing the ladder of daily consumables.  With a surge in popularity of this magnitude, questions begin to arise: What is Kratom? What does it do? Is it safe? Luckily, Club13 is here to clear the air and answer some frequently asked questions. 

What is Kratom?

What is commonly referred to as Kratom, is scientifically known as Mitragyna Speciosa. Mitragyna Speciosa is a tropical evergreen tree in the Rubiaceae Family. Another member of the Rubiaceae Family is another popular plant - coffee! Kratom leaves are dark green and glossy, with distinctive red, white, or yellow veins. The veins of the Mitragyna Speciosa leaves typically correlate to the type of Kratom, i.e., red (Bali Red), green (Green Malay), white (Indo White), etc. 

What makes Kratom unique? 

Alkaloids! Or more specifically - “nitrogenous organic compounds of plant origin which have pronounced physiological actions on humans.” In english? Natural compounds found in plants that make you feel good. The celebrated pair of alkaloids behind Kratom’s success is Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine (sometimes referred to as 7-OH). Any effects and benefits of Kratom are due to this pair of alkaloids. 

Where does Kratom grow?

Native to Southeast Asia, this plant is cultivated in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Papua New Guinea. Kratom needs heat, humidity, and the right soil pH to thrive. As such, Kratom trees thrive in their home regions where it’s hot and humid and the soil pH is just right. 

What are Kratom’s Effects?

When Kratom is consumed in small amounts its effects are quite similar to it’s cousin Coffee. At a dose of 1-5 grams, it will affect you with stimulant-like properties that keep you energized and focused throughout the day. It’s also known to decrease appetite in some people. 

When you increase your daily Kratom intake to 5-15 grams, the effects change entirely. You might begin to feel slightly euphoric and/or find a calm, dreamlike mental state. It also works as an Analgesic, or Pain reducer. 

Which strain of Kratom is right for you?

Kratom strains are classified into three different color groups: Red-vein, White-vein, and Green-vein. The color becomes the strain’s primary name. The color groups are aptly named after the color of the central stem and veins of the leaves. Each distinct color-type of Kratom produces unique effects. 

Research is pivotal when deciding on what strain, and dosage, of Kratom, is just right for you. Finding the “just right” strain of Kratom is monumental to first-time consumers. Club13 highly recommends purchasing our Grab-n-Go sample packs so you can find the right fit for you.

Alkaloids Explained

What makes Kratom so special? It’s actually two things, and they are both alkaloids. Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine (sometimes referred to as 7-OH) is the celebrated pair of organic compounds that turn those simple leaves into something super. To better understand how these superstar alkaloids influence our friend Kratom, we need to first answer the question: 

What the heck is an alkaloid? 

According to the Oxford dictionary, and contrary to my belief that an alkaloid is an extra-terrestrial species of elk-men, Alkaloids are "any of a class of nitrogenous organic compounds of plant origin which have pronounced physiological actions on humans." Some famous alkaloids are caffeine, morphine, nicotine and quinine. While the name quinine might not sound as familiar as the others, it is a common consumable that is used in antimalarial medicines and tonic water. 

Alkaloids are naturally occurring compounds found primarily in plants. They're commonly found in individual families of flowering plants. The Rubiaceae family is the plant family that houses coffee, quinine, and Kratom. More than 3,000 different types of alkaloids have been identified in a total of more than 4,000 plant species.  

Alkaloid chemical structures vary. Generally, an alkaloid contains one nitrogen atom in something called an "amine-type structure". No not anime - aMine. An amine-type structure is derived from ammonia by replacing hydrogen atoms with hydrogen-carbon groups called hydrocarbons. An anime-type structure would probably involve a protagonist who is down and out but is ultimately thrusted into a battle of good and evil by the external forces that be. But I digress, the name alkaloid ("alkali-like") was initially applied to the substances because, like the inorganic alkalis, they react with acids to form salts. These salts…

What exactly does an Alkaloid do? 

We know alkaloids primarily exist in plants and are naturally occurring, and while we have a good sense of its effects on us humans, their function within the plant itself is somewhat of a scientific mystery. One theory is that alkaloids are a byproduct or waste of a plants' metabolic processes. Other evidence suggests that alkaloids serve specific biological functions. For example, in some plants, the concentration of alkaloids increases before seed formation and then drops off when the seed is ripe. This could mean that alkaloids play a vital role in the plants reproduction process. Another popular theory is that alkaloids like 7-OH may protect the plant pests and herbivores.

The Dynamic Duo

The primary alkaloid found in Kratom is called Mitragynine. Mitragynine is present in Kratom leaves and actually makes up over two percent of the leaves' organic structure. 

The second, more potent alkaloid, is 7-OH. 7-OH is stronger in effect but naturally occurs in much lower concentrations in Kratom leaves. 

Conclusion 

Understanding the chemical structures of the products we use is vital when trying something new. We all want to know what we are putting in our bodies. Well, when you ingest Kratom, you ingest Mitragynine and 7-OH, two superstar organic compounds, cousins of caffeine and quinine, producer of salts, or simply - alkaloids.

Kratom Strains, Veins & Varieties

Kratom strains are classified into three different color groups: Red-vein, White-vein, and Green-vein. The color becomes the strain's primary name. The color groups are aptly named after the color of the central stem and veins of the leaves. Each distinct color-type of Kratom produces unique effects. 

Red-Vein

Red-Vein Kratom contains red-colored veins and stems on the leaves. Currently, Red-Vein Kratom is the most popular and most widely available type of Kratom on the market. This popular strain grows abundantly throughout Southeast Asia. It is considered to be much more persistent than its white and green counterparts. 

Some researchers believe that the red hue of the plant's veins pertains to the maturity of the plant. If so, Red-vein Kratom is the more mature version of Green-vein or White-vein plants. No studies have been conducted to prove this fact. 

Not all red strains are created equal. Within the Red-vein Kratom group, there are sub-categories, each with their slight differences. Some strains, like Red Thai or the Red Vein Borneo, may produce relaxing effects. Other strains, like the Red Sumatra, have been said to provide a happy mood. 

White-Vein 

White-vein Kratom is widely considered the most stimulating of the Kratom strains and can be a definite mood enhancer. White Kratom, like it's cousin coffee, is great for alertness, concentration, and cheerfulness. 

Green-Vein 

The Green-vein strain can best be defined as the middle sibling in the Kratom family. If you can't decide between the "cool" red-vein or the "hot" white-vein, then perhaps your goldilocks, "just right" vein is the green. If you're looking to add some pep to your day, while maintaining a calm mood, Green-veined strains of Kratom have been called the best of both worlds. Green-vein strains include Sumatra, Bali, and Borneo. 

Secondary Names 

By now, you have probably deduced that color isn't the only way to classify Kratom. After color, strains are given a secondary name. The secondary name is a regional variation derived from the place in which the product was grown or where that strain originated.

Two popular secondary names are "Maeng Da" and "Horned". These variations can be found in every color. They are extremely popular and can be found in nearly every vendor's product list. Maeng Da is actually a translation of "pimp" in Thai, and eventually took on the meaning "pimp grade" in the Kratom industry. Horned refers to the shape of the Kratom leaf itself. These hybrid options were developed by grafting multiple strains of Kratom to emulate the desired characteristics of the parent plants. 

Conclusion 

Research is pivotal when looking into a new product. Here at Club13 we are focused on educating our customers about the products we sell. We look to sell you only the highest quality Kratom products garnered to keep you coming back for more. 

Coffee & Kratom – Cousins in Comfort

Picture this classic scene: A mother is cooking and preparing breakfast, the table is already set. Two bouncing little children come down the stairs, they each grab an apple and run out the door to the bus stop. The father comes down the stairs next, tying his tie, “Honey, I’m running late to my meeting! I need my pick-me-up!” The pot is already boiling, and the mother pours her husband a nice, hot, to go cup of … Kratom. 

If you’re anything like myself, or millions of Americans, the first thing you do when you wake up is grab a cup of coffee. This international tradition of early morning coffee drinking has permeated every facet of society and culture. But if you’re also like me, the sugar, the milk, and the caffeine constantly has me looking for healthier alternatives. I tried “healthy” energy drinks, juices, and snacks but nothing has the same kick as coffee. So with my alternative options running out, I decided to take Don Corleone’s advice, and keep it in the family. What I found was salvation in coffee’s natural cousin - Kratom. 

The Rubiaceae Family 

The plant family that contains both coffee and Kratom is the Rubiaceae family. The Rubiaceae family is more commonly referred to as the coffee, madder, or bedstraw family. There are more than 13,500 species and within 650 genera in the Rubiaceae family, making it the fourth-largest family in the angiosperm class. Varying alkaloid combinations are one of the key distinctions between each member of the family. Plants in the Rubiaceae family grow all over the world, but the most abundant species diversity is concentrated in the tropics.

The family, which contains coffee and Kratom, has many smaller divisions. Kratom is related to some other members of the Rubicae family, like Quinine, have been used in traditional medicine. Quinine comes from cinchona bark and is an antimalarial alkaloid that has saved thousands of lives. 

What does this mean? Generally, what region Kratom plants are grown affects it very little. Whereas coffee, on the other hand, can have significant differences based on what species of the coffee bean is grown. 

Similarities and Differences 

Just like human families, members of the Rubiaceae family come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. Coffee and Kratom, for example, look very different. Kratom comes from a tropical evergreen tree. It has broad leaves with a traditional “leafy” shape, as in the leaves are whole, not needley or divided. Mitragyna speciosa trees do not create fruit, but they do create little clusters of flowers at the end of their branches. 

Coffee trees tend to be much smaller than Kratom trees and produce harvestable material per tree than their larger cousins. Coffee beans, from which coffee is derived, are seeds housed in the fruit of the plant flowers. Because coffee comes from mature fruits, harvesting the coffee beans can be tricky since the fruits need to be ripened properly before harvest.

It’s common knowledge that coffee produces stimulant-like effects called caffeine. Caffeine is an alkaloid which produces euphoric effects. Kratom produces a lesser-known alkaloid which provides similar effects as caffeine, called Mitragynine. But unlike caffeine, Mitragynine typically does not give you “the jitters” like coffee does. 

Coffee and Kratom come from two different regions. Coffee originated in Africa but later was produced all over the world. Kratom originated in southeast Asia and continues to be cultivated there. Indonesia is the world’s largest Kratom producer, and exports Kratom all over the world. It is possible that one day, since Kratom is growing in popularity in the West, more countries will start growing and exporting Kratom, as happened with coffee. 

Humans have been consuming Kratom a lot longer than they’ve consumed coffee. For many centuries, people in South East Asia have been using Kratom for it’s more stimulating qualities. Coffee on the other hand, doesn’t have the same history of traditional use and didn’t make a significant impact on the world until about the year 1500. Once coffee first started gaining popularity, it experienced similar fear-mongering that Kratom is facing now. Ethnocentric beliefs and distrust of foreigners made a lot of Europeans skeptical of the new beverage. Sound familiar? 

Conclusion 

So if you’re a coffee-bean freak trying to find an easy alternative, look no further than Club13’s invigorating strains of white Kratom. Our Indo White and Maeng Da White Kratom powders are the perfect pick me up to get your gears running. All the best parts of a Rubicaean plant, with none of the teeth staining or ulcers! 

A Closer Inspection ~ The Terpene Myrcene

In our recent post, "What's That Smell," we discussed the function Terpenes pose to plants, insects, and, more specifically, Cannabis and Hemp CBD. With upwards of 200 terpenes existing within each Cannabis and Hemp CBD plant, it can seem daunting. While every terpene is essential to CBD's function, a few are exceptionally special and deserve a closer inspection. Such as Myrcene, one of the most therapeutic and abundantly found terpenes in Cannabis and Hemp plants!

First, let's review ~ What Are Terpenes?

Terpenes are organic compounds produced in plants and some insects. They are responsible for every plant's unique fragrance, from orchids to Cannabis, daisies to beer hops. Sometimes terpenes serve more than one purpose. For example, in Cannabis, terpenes serve both functions – protect and attract. These compounds are a vital part of producing resin, covering the plant's integrity, and providing a base for pollination.

As you know, the consumable part of the Cannabis and Hemp CBD plant is the flower. These flowers have their own recognizable and distinct smell because of the upwards of 200 terpenes that exist within them. The upwards of 200 terpenes found in cannabis plants are not alone. They are one of many organic compounds that work to make Cannabis what it is. For example, they exist alongside other organic compounds, like the cannabinoids THC and CBD.

Terpenes are not responsible for "getting you high." They instead work as helpers to fellow famous cannabinoids THC and CBD by interacting with our endocannabinoid system. Terpenes assist these cannabinoids in a process coined as the entourage effect.

While there are upwards of 200 terpenes in existence, Myrcene is the most populous terpene found in Cannabis and Hemp plants. Myrcene is described as distinctly tasting and smelling spicy, earthy, and musky. It also carries sweet, fruity undertones.

Myrcene is not limited to simply Cannabis and Hemp plants. It's also found in beer hops and is considered responsible for the peppery, balsam fragrance in beer. It's also found in lemongrass, mangoes, and banana peels.

On average, Myrcene represents over 20% of the terpene concentration in your average Cannabis or CBD strain. This dense concentration far surpasses other populous terpenes like Limonene and Caryophyllene.

This "dominant" terpene has wholly taken over the shelves of modern commercial Cannabis, and Hemp CBD strains for the time being. You're probably familiar with big-hitter strains such as OG Kush, Blue Dream, and Grand Daddy Purple. All of which owe their distinct flavors to the prolific Myrcene.

Therapeutic Benefits

Just to affirm, Myrcene doesn't "get you high". But it does have notable therapeutic benefits. For example, it's proven to work as an anti-inflammatory agent. It's also a possible muscle relaxant and, potentially, a cancer blocking agent.

Historically, lemongrass tea has been prolifically used as a folk medicine, wellness tea for anti-anxiety, and pain relief. Lemongrass, as we mentioned above, contains prolific amounts of the terpene Myrcene.

In the 1990s, scientists in Brazil published a claim after discovering the responsible agent for these wellness benefits, Myrcene. They found that this terpene worked as an anti-inflammatory agent. And even went as far as to claim that it worked as a pain reliever by increasing opioid chemicals in the brain and spinal cord. Whether or not Myrcene is, in fact, a pain reliever is still being debated and studied.

Tinctures, Tonics, & Infusions, Oh My!

In celebration of this most witchy of holidays, I'd like to look back at our botanical history, which predates modern medicine. People's desire for wellness is nothing new. The power of plants, such as Cannabis, Hemp, and Kratom, has served humankind since the dawn of time. Our ancestors were brewing a combination of Tincture, Tonics, and Infusions to unwind, heal everyday wounds, and cure diseases for centuries. While some of what they believed was a lot of hocus pocus, they didn't have the science and technology to back their potions up. Today, we have all the luxuries at our disposal. We've honed our craft over the centuries and can now reap the benefits of what mother nature has to offer. 

Evolving with Plants 

Since the beginning, human experimentation with plants has led us to learn how they can help us heal, inside and out. For as long as people have existed, we have used plants for medicine and wellness.  Archeological evidence dating as early as 60,000 years ago have found remains of medicinal plants, such as poppies, ephedra, and Cannabis. 

In many cultures, knowledge of a plant's curative properties came through Shamanism, a kind of spirit medicine still practiced in many parts of the world. These botanical witch-doctors communicated with specific plants. They were also responsible for collecting, growing, and blending plants in early Tinctures, Tonics, and Infusions. 

As people's knowledge of plants grew, herbalists began to catalog their knowledge of medicinal plants. One of the oldest and most extensive written records on plants is called the Charaka Samhita, dated around 700 BC, in India. This document kept a history of more than 300 medicinal plants, their uses, and where to find them. 

Today, we might not believe that plants have a "spirit," charging them full of medicinal properties. We now understand that plants are made up of compounds, giving them magical-like abilities to heal.  

Kratom's Tonic History 

Mitragyna Speciosa, also known as Kratom, was first discovered in Southeast Asia. Kratom is a tropical evergreen tree in the Rubiaceae family. Kratom owes it's magical capabilities to compounds called Alkaloids, precisely two alkaloids we know as Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine (sometimes referred to as 7-OH). Any effects and benefits of Kratom are due to this pair of alkaloids. 

It found its place as a traditional household wellness botanical, usually consumed in tonic-like teas that were bitter to the taste. 

Little written history about the plant exists today, which leads researchers to believe that it was used only by the villagers and subsistence workers that made up Southeast Asia. It was probably not used by the upper classes or ruling elite. While the laboring men were chewing the bitter plant to get them through their rough days, the women were home steeping the leaves in their teas. 

Hemp and Cannabis: a History 

Scientists are still trying to pinpoint when people began to take advantage of Hemp's many properties. According to a Science Advances study, the Cannabis and Hemp plant evolved 28 million years ago on the eastern Tibetan Plateau. Archaeologists have discovered ritual Cannabis burning in Central Asian sites as far back as 5000 years ago. 

Archaeologists have discovered Cannabis plants that people burned 2500 years ago, high in the Pamir Mountains in far western China. They've uncovered skeletons and wooden plates, bowls, and wooden braziers that held the burning material so that people could consume the smoke. This group of people belonged to Zoroastrianism, which celebrated the mind-expanding properties of Cannabis in sacred texts. 

The first written history of Cannabis use in ancient Chinese medicine was recorded in the world's oldest pharmacopeia, the pen-ts' ao ching, in 2700 BC. Indications for the benefit of Cannabis included: rheumatic pain, intestinal constipation, disorders of the female reproductive system, malaria, and others. One surgeon in the pen-ts' ao ching recorded that he often mixed the plant with rice wine to anesthetize patients during surgical occupations. Historically, this is the first recorded Cannabis tincture!

While the plants have existed for millions of years, they did not have the same potent qualities we enjoy today. The Cannabis plants which existed thousands of years ago had only trace amounts of the cannabinoids we enjoy today like THC, CBD, CBC, etc. 

Over time, people began domesticating botanicals to enhance the contents they desired. 

The Difference Between Tinctures, Tonics, and Infusions

While Tinctures, Tonics, and Infusions belong to the same family of herbal remedies, they have their distinctions. 

Tinctures use raw plant material, such as Cannabis or Hemp plants, that you soak in solvents such as alcohol or glycerin. You generally want to soak the natural plant material for about 3-12 weeks, depending on what type of tincture you're creating.  

The solvent tends to act as an activator for Cannabis or Hemp CBD Tinctures, elevating the desired effects. If kept from extreme temperatures, Tinctures are also known to have a long shelf life. The alcohol or glycerin will preserve whatever plant matter's involved. 

Typically, Tinctures are ingested by the dropper-full under the tongue. You can also add tinctures to your foods and drinks. 

Tonics are similar to teas but more potent. Tonics, also known as brews, are technically created when herbs and botanical plants boil in water for ten or more hours. 

These brews are potent and hard to digest. So, adding vinegar, bone broth, wine, or honey to the mixture is recommended. I'd classify Kratom as a form of Tonic. A VERY mild tonic, at that. 

Infusions are very similar to Tinctures. Instead of preserving the raw plant material with alcohol or glycerin, Infusions typically are submerged in a lipid such as oil or wax. 

You can create Infusions with or without heat. Cold botanical Infusions use sunlight to extract the plant's properties over one to four months. Hot infusions involve slow stove-top simmers at low temperatures. 

Infused botanical oil has exceptional topical properties. If you've tried your hand in popular CBD or THC topical oils and lotions for muscle relief, you've already experienced the incredible relieving qualities of an Infusion.

Historically, natural botanicals have offered an endless source of relief to people. Plant-derived products have dominated human pharmacopeia for thousands of years, almost unchallenged. Even modern, synthetic medicines that we use today, like aspirin, are formulated partly from plant matter. There's nothing witchy about its longstanding history. Botanical Tinctures, Tonics, and Infusions are as helpful today as they have been throughout history.

2020 Update: Kratom’s Legal Limbo

Kratom's legal limbo hasn't become any easier to navigate. In fact, with the many hurdles of 2020, we have quite literally fallen into a legal limbo2020 has closed our courts and town halls, forcing people to confer over zoom calls and social media forums. In a lot of ways, this internet connection has brought communities together more than ever before. The internet isn't inhibited by the constraints of distance. But, as court cases continue to be pushed back, it has also slowed the fight for Kratom legitimacy with the FDA. 

Our Pre-2020 Wins 

In 2017, the FDA lifted the federal ban on Kratom, solidifying its legality on a national level. The fight was taken to the states. By 2019, all but six of our fifty states legalized the sale, purchase, and consumption of Kratom. Today, in the United States, you can freely purchase Kratom almost anywhere. From your local head shops to wellness stores, to the internet. You can even find Kratom bars popping up in major cities in the United States. 

In 2018, Thailand finally lifted their Kratom ban, allowing the plant to return to its seat among the region's cash crops. For now, Thailand's Kratom suppliers, producers, and researchers can manufacture Kratom as long as they have the government's proper licenses. Users must obtain a prescription to use Kratom medicinally, so Kratom is finally legal for those who genuinely need it. 

The Impending Indonesian Kratom Ban 

In 2019, the American Kratom Association (AKA) sent a delegation to Indonesia that included Congressman Matt Salmon, Senator Curt Bramble, and Dr. Jack Henningfield. These representatives were sent in an attempt to dissuade Indonesian officials from the impending Kratom ban. This regulation must be lifted so that Kratom growers in Indonesia do not convert their land to other crops. 

While AKA's representatives were able to make some headway, connecting with advocates overseas and educating those in Indonesia's Ministry of Health, they could not stop the FDA from pushing the ban through. 

The Ministry of Health initially set the ban to be implemented in 2024. This was to allow farmers enough time to find a new means of subsisting. Advocates hoped to utilize this time to continue the fight for Kratom in Indonesia and find a new home for their favorite botanical to be produced. 

Unfortunately, all other trips to Indonesia were canceled as a result of Covid-19. 

The Limbo Year

March of 2020 saw the beginning of the Coronavirus, which shut down courts and town halls across the country. With people confined to their homes, advocates were unable to gather as they once had.

Not all was negative in this limbo year. As the world slowed down, people were able to find new methods of gathering and communicating. This shift pushed people to web-based advocacy, connecting people who had not been connected previously. People were tuning in to AKA's webinars, dialing in to combat local governments from home, and finding their advocacy communities on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. 

In May of 2020, the American Kratom Association proclaimed that they were in the final stages of crafting the Kratom Consumer Protection Act (KCPA). This monumental piece of legislation is paramount to keeping Kratom legal across the nation. Sometimes, life slows down just enough for you to catch up. 

Mostly, this year hasn't seen much in terms of passing legislation. Most proceedings have been put on the back burner while the country regains its footing and gets used to working from home and zoom calls. At least not in the United States. 

While the AKA was reaching out to Indonesia's officials via zoom calls and updating and educating advocates with consistent posts, the Indonesian Kratom ban was pushed forward from 2024 to 2022. This is an unfortunate move, undoubtedly secured by the FDA. This time constraint is a huge blow to the Indonesian farmers growing Kratom, but also to advocates here in the states. 


Masonry

Kratom 101

Kratom’s popularity surge within America is quickly catching up to its herbal counterpart - CBD. According to the American Kratom Association (AKA), over 15 million people across the world are using Kratom today. While it might not size up to the 1.4 billion cups of coffee consumed everyday, it’s quickly climbing the ladder of daily consumables.  With a surge in popularity of this magnitude, questions begin to arise: What is Kratom? What does it do? Is it safe? Luckily, Club13 is here to clear the air and answer some frequently asked questions. 

What is Kratom?

What is commonly referred to as Kratom, is scientifically known as Mitragyna Speciosa. Mitragyna Speciosa is a tropical evergreen tree in the Rubiaceae Family. Another member of the Rubiaceae Family is another popular plant - coffee! Kratom leaves are dark green and glossy, with distinctive red, white, or yellow veins. The veins of the Mitragyna Speciosa leaves typically correlate to the type of Kratom, i.e., red (Bali Red), green (Green Malay), white (Indo White), etc. 

What makes Kratom unique? 

Alkaloids! Or more specifically - “nitrogenous organic compounds of plant origin which have pronounced physiological actions on humans.” In english? Natural compounds found in plants that make you feel good. The celebrated pair of alkaloids behind Kratom’s success is Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine (sometimes referred to as 7-OH). Any effects and benefits of Kratom are due to this pair of alkaloids. 

Where does Kratom grow?

Native to Southeast Asia, this plant is cultivated in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Papua New Guinea. Kratom needs heat, humidity, and the right soil pH to thrive. As such, Kratom trees thrive in their home regions where it’s hot and humid and the soil pH is just right. 

What are Kratom’s Effects?

When Kratom is consumed in small amounts its effects are quite similar to it’s cousin Coffee. At a dose of 1-5 grams, it will affect you with stimulant-like properties that keep you energized and focused throughout the day. It’s also known to decrease appetite in some people. 

When you increase your daily Kratom intake to 5-15 grams, the effects change entirely. You might begin to feel slightly euphoric and/or find a calm, dreamlike mental state. It also works as an Analgesic, or Pain reducer. 

Which strain of Kratom is right for you?

Kratom strains are classified into three different color groups: Red-vein, White-vein, and Green-vein. The color becomes the strain’s primary name. The color groups are aptly named after the color of the central stem and veins of the leaves. Each distinct color-type of Kratom produces unique effects. 

Research is pivotal when deciding on what strain, and dosage, of Kratom, is just right for you. Finding the “just right” strain of Kratom is monumental to first-time consumers. Club13 highly recommends purchasing our Grab-n-Go sample packs so you can find the right fit for you.

Alkaloids Explained

What makes Kratom so special? It’s actually two things, and they are both alkaloids. Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine (sometimes referred to as 7-OH) is the celebrated pair of organic compounds that turn those simple leaves into something super. To better understand how these superstar alkaloids influence our friend Kratom, we need to first answer the question: 

What the heck is an alkaloid? 

According to the Oxford dictionary, and contrary to my belief that an alkaloid is an extra-terrestrial species of elk-men, Alkaloids are "any of a class of nitrogenous organic compounds of plant origin which have pronounced physiological actions on humans." Some famous alkaloids are caffeine, morphine, nicotine and quinine. While the name quinine might not sound as familiar as the others, it is a common consumable that is used in antimalarial medicines and tonic water. 

Alkaloids are naturally occurring compounds found primarily in plants. They're commonly found in individual families of flowering plants. The Rubiaceae family is the plant family that houses coffee, quinine, and Kratom. More than 3,000 different types of alkaloids have been identified in a total of more than 4,000 plant species.  

Alkaloid chemical structures vary. Generally, an alkaloid contains one nitrogen atom in something called an "amine-type structure". No not anime - aMine. An amine-type structure is derived from ammonia by replacing hydrogen atoms with hydrogen-carbon groups called hydrocarbons. An anime-type structure would probably involve a protagonist who is down and out but is ultimately thrusted into a battle of good and evil by the external forces that be. But I digress, the name alkaloid ("alkali-like") was initially applied to the substances because, like the inorganic alkalis, they react with acids to form salts. These salts…

What exactly does an Alkaloid do? 

We know alkaloids primarily exist in plants and are naturally occurring, and while we have a good sense of its effects on us humans, their function within the plant itself is somewhat of a scientific mystery. One theory is that alkaloids are a byproduct or waste of a plants' metabolic processes. Other evidence suggests that alkaloids serve specific biological functions. For example, in some plants, the concentration of alkaloids increases before seed formation and then drops off when the seed is ripe. This could mean that alkaloids play a vital role in the plants reproduction process. Another popular theory is that alkaloids like 7-OH may protect the plant pests and herbivores.

The Dynamic Duo

The primary alkaloid found in Kratom is called Mitragynine. Mitragynine is present in Kratom leaves and actually makes up over two percent of the leaves' organic structure. 

The second, more potent alkaloid, is 7-OH. 7-OH is stronger in effect but naturally occurs in much lower concentrations in Kratom leaves. 

Conclusion 

Understanding the chemical structures of the products we use is vital when trying something new. We all want to know what we are putting in our bodies. Well, when you ingest Kratom, you ingest Mitragynine and 7-OH, two superstar organic compounds, cousins of caffeine and quinine, producer of salts, or simply - alkaloids.

Kratom Strains, Veins & Varieties

Kratom strains are classified into three different color groups: Red-vein, White-vein, and Green-vein. The color becomes the strain's primary name. The color groups are aptly named after the color of the central stem and veins of the leaves. Each distinct color-type of Kratom produces unique effects. 

Red-Vein

Red-Vein Kratom contains red-colored veins and stems on the leaves. Currently, Red-Vein Kratom is the most popular and most widely available type of Kratom on the market. This popular strain grows abundantly throughout Southeast Asia. It is considered to be much more persistent than its white and green counterparts. 

Some researchers believe that the red hue of the plant's veins pertains to the maturity of the plant. If so, Red-vein Kratom is the more mature version of Green-vein or White-vein plants. No studies have been conducted to prove this fact. 

Not all red strains are created equal. Within the Red-vein Kratom group, there are sub-categories, each with their slight differences. Some strains, like Red Thai or the Red Vein Borneo, may produce relaxing effects. Other strains, like the Red Sumatra, have been said to provide a happy mood. 

White-Vein 

White-vein Kratom is widely considered the most stimulating of the Kratom strains and can be a definite mood enhancer. White Kratom, like it's cousin coffee, is great for alertness, concentration, and cheerfulness. 

Green-Vein 

The Green-vein strain can best be defined as the middle sibling in the Kratom family. If you can't decide between the "cool" red-vein or the "hot" white-vein, then perhaps your goldilocks, "just right" vein is the green. If you're looking to add some pep to your day, while maintaining a calm mood, Green-veined strains of Kratom have been called the best of both worlds. Green-vein strains include Sumatra, Bali, and Borneo. 

Secondary Names 

By now, you have probably deduced that color isn't the only way to classify Kratom. After color, strains are given a secondary name. The secondary name is a regional variation derived from the place in which the product was grown or where that strain originated.

Two popular secondary names are "Maeng Da" and "Horned". These variations can be found in every color. They are extremely popular and can be found in nearly every vendor's product list. Maeng Da is actually a translation of "pimp" in Thai, and eventually took on the meaning "pimp grade" in the Kratom industry. Horned refers to the shape of the Kratom leaf itself. These hybrid options were developed by grafting multiple strains of Kratom to emulate the desired characteristics of the parent plants. 

Conclusion 

Research is pivotal when looking into a new product. Here at Club13 we are focused on educating our customers about the products we sell. We look to sell you only the highest quality Kratom products garnered to keep you coming back for more. 

Coffee & Kratom – Cousins in Comfort

Picture this classic scene: A mother is cooking and preparing breakfast, the table is already set. Two bouncing little children come down the stairs, they each grab an apple and run out the door to the bus stop. The father comes down the stairs next, tying his tie, “Honey, I’m running late to my meeting! I need my pick-me-up!” The pot is already boiling, and the mother pours her husband a nice, hot, to go cup of … Kratom. 

If you’re anything like myself, or millions of Americans, the first thing you do when you wake up is grab a cup of coffee. This international tradition of early morning coffee drinking has permeated every facet of society and culture. But if you’re also like me, the sugar, the milk, and the caffeine constantly has me looking for healthier alternatives. I tried “healthy” energy drinks, juices, and snacks but nothing has the same kick as coffee. So with my alternative options running out, I decided to take Don Corleone’s advice, and keep it in the family. What I found was salvation in coffee’s natural cousin - Kratom. 

The Rubiaceae Family 

The plant family that contains both coffee and Kratom is the Rubiaceae family. The Rubiaceae family is more commonly referred to as the coffee, madder, or bedstraw family. There are more than 13,500 species and within 650 genera in the Rubiaceae family, making it the fourth-largest family in the angiosperm class. Varying alkaloid combinations are one of the key distinctions between each member of the family. Plants in the Rubiaceae family grow all over the world, but the most abundant species diversity is concentrated in the tropics.

The family, which contains coffee and Kratom, has many smaller divisions. Kratom is related to some other members of the Rubicae family, like Quinine, have been used in traditional medicine. Quinine comes from cinchona bark and is an antimalarial alkaloid that has saved thousands of lives. 

What does this mean? Generally, what region Kratom plants are grown affects it very little. Whereas coffee, on the other hand, can have significant differences based on what species of the coffee bean is grown. 

Similarities and Differences 

Just like human families, members of the Rubiaceae family come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. Coffee and Kratom, for example, look very different. Kratom comes from a tropical evergreen tree. It has broad leaves with a traditional “leafy” shape, as in the leaves are whole, not needley or divided. Mitragyna speciosa trees do not create fruit, but they do create little clusters of flowers at the end of their branches. 

Coffee trees tend to be much smaller than Kratom trees and produce harvestable material per tree than their larger cousins. Coffee beans, from which coffee is derived, are seeds housed in the fruit of the plant flowers. Because coffee comes from mature fruits, harvesting the coffee beans can be tricky since the fruits need to be ripened properly before harvest.

It’s common knowledge that coffee produces stimulant-like effects called caffeine. Caffeine is an alkaloid which produces euphoric effects. Kratom produces a lesser-known alkaloid which provides similar effects as caffeine, called Mitragynine. But unlike caffeine, Mitragynine typically does not give you “the jitters” like coffee does. 

Coffee and Kratom come from two different regions. Coffee originated in Africa but later was produced all over the world. Kratom originated in southeast Asia and continues to be cultivated there. Indonesia is the world’s largest Kratom producer, and exports Kratom all over the world. It is possible that one day, since Kratom is growing in popularity in the West, more countries will start growing and exporting Kratom, as happened with coffee. 

Humans have been consuming Kratom a lot longer than they’ve consumed coffee. For many centuries, people in South East Asia have been using Kratom for it’s more stimulating qualities. Coffee on the other hand, doesn’t have the same history of traditional use and didn’t make a significant impact on the world until about the year 1500. Once coffee first started gaining popularity, it experienced similar fear-mongering that Kratom is facing now. Ethnocentric beliefs and distrust of foreigners made a lot of Europeans skeptical of the new beverage. Sound familiar? 

Conclusion 

So if you’re a coffee-bean freak trying to find an easy alternative, look no further than Club13’s invigorating strains of white Kratom. Our Indo White and Maeng Da White Kratom powders are the perfect pick me up to get your gears running. All the best parts of a Rubicaean plant, with none of the teeth staining or ulcers! 

A Closer Inspection ~ The Terpene Myrcene

In our recent post, "What's That Smell," we discussed the function Terpenes pose to plants, insects, and, more specifically, Cannabis and Hemp CBD. With upwards of 200 terpenes existing within each Cannabis and Hemp CBD plant, it can seem daunting. While every terpene is essential to CBD's function, a few are exceptionally special and deserve a closer inspection. Such as Myrcene, one of the most therapeutic and abundantly found terpenes in Cannabis and Hemp plants!

First, let's review ~ What Are Terpenes?

Terpenes are organic compounds produced in plants and some insects. They are responsible for every plant's unique fragrance, from orchids to Cannabis, daisies to beer hops. Sometimes terpenes serve more than one purpose. For example, in Cannabis, terpenes serve both functions – protect and attract. These compounds are a vital part of producing resin, covering the plant's integrity, and providing a base for pollination.

As you know, the consumable part of the Cannabis and Hemp CBD plant is the flower. These flowers have their own recognizable and distinct smell because of the upwards of 200 terpenes that exist within them. The upwards of 200 terpenes found in cannabis plants are not alone. They are one of many organic compounds that work to make Cannabis what it is. For example, they exist alongside other organic compounds, like the cannabinoids THC and CBD.

Terpenes are not responsible for "getting you high." They instead work as helpers to fellow famous cannabinoids THC and CBD by interacting with our endocannabinoid system. Terpenes assist these cannabinoids in a process coined as the entourage effect.

While there are upwards of 200 terpenes in existence, Myrcene is the most populous terpene found in Cannabis and Hemp plants. Myrcene is described as distinctly tasting and smelling spicy, earthy, and musky. It also carries sweet, fruity undertones.

Myrcene is not limited to simply Cannabis and Hemp plants. It's also found in beer hops and is considered responsible for the peppery, balsam fragrance in beer. It's also found in lemongrass, mangoes, and banana peels.

On average, Myrcene represents over 20% of the terpene concentration in your average Cannabis or CBD strain. This dense concentration far surpasses other populous terpenes like Limonene and Caryophyllene.

This "dominant" terpene has wholly taken over the shelves of modern commercial Cannabis, and Hemp CBD strains for the time being. You're probably familiar with big-hitter strains such as OG Kush, Blue Dream, and Grand Daddy Purple. All of which owe their distinct flavors to the prolific Myrcene.

Therapeutic Benefits

Just to affirm, Myrcene doesn't "get you high". But it does have notable therapeutic benefits. For example, it's proven to work as an anti-inflammatory agent. It's also a possible muscle relaxant and, potentially, a cancer blocking agent.

Historically, lemongrass tea has been prolifically used as a folk medicine, wellness tea for anti-anxiety, and pain relief. Lemongrass, as we mentioned above, contains prolific amounts of the terpene Myrcene.

In the 1990s, scientists in Brazil published a claim after discovering the responsible agent for these wellness benefits, Myrcene. They found that this terpene worked as an anti-inflammatory agent. And even went as far as to claim that it worked as a pain reliever by increasing opioid chemicals in the brain and spinal cord. Whether or not Myrcene is, in fact, a pain reliever is still being debated and studied.

Tinctures, Tonics, & Infusions, Oh My!

In celebration of this most witchy of holidays, I'd like to look back at our botanical history, which predates modern medicine. People's desire for wellness is nothing new. The power of plants, such as Cannabis, Hemp, and Kratom, has served humankind since the dawn of time. Our ancestors were brewing a combination of Tincture, Tonics, and Infusions to unwind, heal everyday wounds, and cure diseases for centuries. While some of what they believed was a lot of hocus pocus, they didn't have the science and technology to back their potions up. Today, we have all the luxuries at our disposal. We've honed our craft over the centuries and can now reap the benefits of what mother nature has to offer. 

Evolving with Plants 

Since the beginning, human experimentation with plants has led us to learn how they can help us heal, inside and out. For as long as people have existed, we have used plants for medicine and wellness.  Archeological evidence dating as early as 60,000 years ago have found remains of medicinal plants, such as poppies, ephedra, and Cannabis. 

In many cultures, knowledge of a plant's curative properties came through Shamanism, a kind of spirit medicine still practiced in many parts of the world. These botanical witch-doctors communicated with specific plants. They were also responsible for collecting, growing, and blending plants in early Tinctures, Tonics, and Infusions. 

As people's knowledge of plants grew, herbalists began to catalog their knowledge of medicinal plants. One of the oldest and most extensive written records on plants is called the Charaka Samhita, dated around 700 BC, in India. This document kept a history of more than 300 medicinal plants, their uses, and where to find them. 

Today, we might not believe that plants have a "spirit," charging them full of medicinal properties. We now understand that plants are made up of compounds, giving them magical-like abilities to heal.  

Kratom's Tonic History 

Mitragyna Speciosa, also known as Kratom, was first discovered in Southeast Asia. Kratom is a tropical evergreen tree in the Rubiaceae family. Kratom owes it's magical capabilities to compounds called Alkaloids, precisely two alkaloids we know as Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine (sometimes referred to as 7-OH). Any effects and benefits of Kratom are due to this pair of alkaloids. 

It found its place as a traditional household wellness botanical, usually consumed in tonic-like teas that were bitter to the taste. 

Little written history about the plant exists today, which leads researchers to believe that it was used only by the villagers and subsistence workers that made up Southeast Asia. It was probably not used by the upper classes or ruling elite. While the laboring men were chewing the bitter plant to get them through their rough days, the women were home steeping the leaves in their teas. 

Hemp and Cannabis: a History 

Scientists are still trying to pinpoint when people began to take advantage of Hemp's many properties. According to a Science Advances study, the Cannabis and Hemp plant evolved 28 million years ago on the eastern Tibetan Plateau. Archaeologists have discovered ritual Cannabis burning in Central Asian sites as far back as 5000 years ago. 

Archaeologists have discovered Cannabis plants that people burned 2500 years ago, high in the Pamir Mountains in far western China. They've uncovered skeletons and wooden plates, bowls, and wooden braziers that held the burning material so that people could consume the smoke. This group of people belonged to Zoroastrianism, which celebrated the mind-expanding properties of Cannabis in sacred texts. 

The first written history of Cannabis use in ancient Chinese medicine was recorded in the world's oldest pharmacopeia, the pen-ts' ao ching, in 2700 BC. Indications for the benefit of Cannabis included: rheumatic pain, intestinal constipation, disorders of the female reproductive system, malaria, and others. One surgeon in the pen-ts' ao ching recorded that he often mixed the plant with rice wine to anesthetize patients during surgical occupations. Historically, this is the first recorded Cannabis tincture!

While the plants have existed for millions of years, they did not have the same potent qualities we enjoy today. The Cannabis plants which existed thousands of years ago had only trace amounts of the cannabinoids we enjoy today like THC, CBD, CBC, etc. 

Over time, people began domesticating botanicals to enhance the contents they desired. 

The Difference Between Tinctures, Tonics, and Infusions

While Tinctures, Tonics, and Infusions belong to the same family of herbal remedies, they have their distinctions. 

Tinctures use raw plant material, such as Cannabis or Hemp plants, that you soak in solvents such as alcohol or glycerin. You generally want to soak the natural plant material for about 3-12 weeks, depending on what type of tincture you're creating.  

The solvent tends to act as an activator for Cannabis or Hemp CBD Tinctures, elevating the desired effects. If kept from extreme temperatures, Tinctures are also known to have a long shelf life. The alcohol or glycerin will preserve whatever plant matter's involved. 

Typically, Tinctures are ingested by the dropper-full under the tongue. You can also add tinctures to your foods and drinks. 

Tonics are similar to teas but more potent. Tonics, also known as brews, are technically created when herbs and botanical plants boil in water for ten or more hours. 

These brews are potent and hard to digest. So, adding vinegar, bone broth, wine, or honey to the mixture is recommended. I'd classify Kratom as a form of Tonic. A VERY mild tonic, at that. 

Infusions are very similar to Tinctures. Instead of preserving the raw plant material with alcohol or glycerin, Infusions typically are submerged in a lipid such as oil or wax. 

You can create Infusions with or without heat. Cold botanical Infusions use sunlight to extract the plant's properties over one to four months. Hot infusions involve slow stove-top simmers at low temperatures. 

Infused botanical oil has exceptional topical properties. If you've tried your hand in popular CBD or THC topical oils and lotions for muscle relief, you've already experienced the incredible relieving qualities of an Infusion.

Historically, natural botanicals have offered an endless source of relief to people. Plant-derived products have dominated human pharmacopeia for thousands of years, almost unchallenged. Even modern, synthetic medicines that we use today, like aspirin, are formulated partly from plant matter. There's nothing witchy about its longstanding history. Botanical Tinctures, Tonics, and Infusions are as helpful today as they have been throughout history.

2020 Update: Kratom’s Legal Limbo

Kratom's legal limbo hasn't become any easier to navigate. In fact, with the many hurdles of 2020, we have quite literally fallen into a legal limbo2020 has closed our courts and town halls, forcing people to confer over zoom calls and social media forums. In a lot of ways, this internet connection has brought communities together more than ever before. The internet isn't inhibited by the constraints of distance. But, as court cases continue to be pushed back, it has also slowed the fight for Kratom legitimacy with the FDA. 

Our Pre-2020 Wins 

In 2017, the FDA lifted the federal ban on Kratom, solidifying its legality on a national level. The fight was taken to the states. By 2019, all but six of our fifty states legalized the sale, purchase, and consumption of Kratom. Today, in the United States, you can freely purchase Kratom almost anywhere. From your local head shops to wellness stores, to the internet. You can even find Kratom bars popping up in major cities in the United States. 

In 2018, Thailand finally lifted their Kratom ban, allowing the plant to return to its seat among the region's cash crops. For now, Thailand's Kratom suppliers, producers, and researchers can manufacture Kratom as long as they have the government's proper licenses. Users must obtain a prescription to use Kratom medicinally, so Kratom is finally legal for those who genuinely need it. 

The Impending Indonesian Kratom Ban 

In 2019, the American Kratom Association (AKA) sent a delegation to Indonesia that included Congressman Matt Salmon, Senator Curt Bramble, and Dr. Jack Henningfield. These representatives were sent in an attempt to dissuade Indonesian officials from the impending Kratom ban. This regulation must be lifted so that Kratom growers in Indonesia do not convert their land to other crops. 

While AKA's representatives were able to make some headway, connecting with advocates overseas and educating those in Indonesia's Ministry of Health, they could not stop the FDA from pushing the ban through. 

The Ministry of Health initially set the ban to be implemented in 2024. This was to allow farmers enough time to find a new means of subsisting. Advocates hoped to utilize this time to continue the fight for Kratom in Indonesia and find a new home for their favorite botanical to be produced. 

Unfortunately, all other trips to Indonesia were canceled as a result of Covid-19. 

The Limbo Year

March of 2020 saw the beginning of the Coronavirus, which shut down courts and town halls across the country. With people confined to their homes, advocates were unable to gather as they once had.

Not all was negative in this limbo year. As the world slowed down, people were able to find new methods of gathering and communicating. This shift pushed people to web-based advocacy, connecting people who had not been connected previously. People were tuning in to AKA's webinars, dialing in to combat local governments from home, and finding their advocacy communities on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. 

In May of 2020, the American Kratom Association proclaimed that they were in the final stages of crafting the Kratom Consumer Protection Act (KCPA). This monumental piece of legislation is paramount to keeping Kratom legal across the nation. Sometimes, life slows down just enough for you to catch up. 

Mostly, this year hasn't seen much in terms of passing legislation. Most proceedings have been put on the back burner while the country regains its footing and gets used to working from home and zoom calls. At least not in the United States. 

While the AKA was reaching out to Indonesia's officials via zoom calls and updating and educating advocates with consistent posts, the Indonesian Kratom ban was pushed forward from 2024 to 2022. This is an unfortunate move, undoubtedly secured by the FDA. This time constraint is a huge blow to the Indonesian farmers growing Kratom, but also to advocates here in the states. 

CBD and the Pursuit of Happiness

The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, more commonly referred to as the Farm Bill, blew the gates wide open for CBD across the nation. The CBD craze is potent nationwide. Today, you can find it everywhere, from beauty products to gas stations, to your local craft brewery. As waves of cabin fever are sweeping the nation during this year of quarantine, you might be reaching for your CBD products more than ever. So today, we'd like to take a closer look at its benefits concerning your happiness and mental health. 

What is CBD

If you're a reader of Club13's blog, you're already well aware of what makes CBD so unique. But, just in case, I'd like to give a quick overview. 

Cannabidiol, more commonly known as CBD, is a compound found in hemp plants. CBD is one of the upwards of 150 unique compounds found in hemp and cannabis plants known as cannabinoids. 

These compounds work hand in hand in our body's endocannabinoid systems, sometimes referred to as the ECS. Together, these cannabinoids keep us healthy by regulating and balancing numerous parts of the body, including our immune system, communication between cells, appetite, metabolism, gut health, and mental health. 

So, how does CBD work for your mental health?

CBD's Bliss Molecule

The endocannabinoid system which lives in all of our bodies came out of scientists' attempts to understand the effects of cannabis and hemp on the human body. It was discovered that cannabinoids actually exist outside of our bodies (exogenously), like THC and CBD, found in cannabis. Our bodies actually produce cannabinoids of their own (endogenously). 

Endogenous cannabinoids act as keys to a network of receptors within us and can unlock some impressive properties. 

In the 1960s, a chemist named Dr. Raphael Mechoulam discovered the molecule known today as Anandamide. Anandamide comes from the Sanskrit word Ananda, which means "happiness, pleasure, joy, and bliss." Hence the nickname, the "bliss molecule." 

Anandamide is a neurotransmitter produced in our bodies that can bind to the CB1 and CB2 receptors. Dr. Mechoulam found that Anandamide helps maintain our general homeostasis and improves mood by reducing anxiety. 

CBD as an Anxiety Treatment

In 1993, a study was published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology about the use of CBD and anxiety. In this study, 40 subjects were asked to complete a public speaking simulation. Public speaking simulations are typically situations that can quickly induce extreme stress. Each person was given either CBD or an antidepressant or an anti-anxiety medication like Valium or ipsapirone. This was to see what kind of effects the substances would have on their anxiety. 

The subjects of this study were evaluated using the Visual Analogue Mood Scale and State-trait Anxiety Inventory. They found that while the antidepressant and anti-anxiety medications did work to decrease the anxiety of the public speakers, they also impaired the subjects. The medicines caused the speakers to forget their lines and slur their speech, despite showing no stress. Whereas the subject given a dose of CBD could control their anxiety while maintaining perfect clarity. 

Which begged the question, why take harmful pharmaceuticals when you could turn to a natural botanical like CBD?

It took a long time for our nation to catch up with what researchers already knew. It took even longer for our government and FDA to catch up with mainstream opinions.

What’s That Smell?

If you've been around cannabis or hemp at all, the first thing you probably noticed was the unique odor. Some people find it pleasant, like a flower, others overwhelming, like a skunk. And some people, cannabis and hemp connoisseurs, can pick up the distinct smells of individual strains.

For example, the popular strain "Sour Diesel" is infamous for its pungent citrus odor mixed with kerosene notes. Banana Kush smells and tastes like the name suggests - a smooth blend of bananas and good Kush. Other strains are known to smell like pine, berry, mint, even cheese. 

So, why do different strains smell different? It's a simple question with a relatively simple answer.

Oh, the Terps! 

Terps! Or, more specifically, terpenes. Terpenes are organic compounds produced in plants and some insects. They are responsible for every plant's unique fragrance, from orchids to Cannabis, daisies to beer hops. Depending on the plant, terpenes can serve different functions. Sometimes they manifest as protective odors, like in the skunk cabbage, that deter sensitive-nosed herbivores. In other plants, they serve the exact opposite purpose and act as a seducing or attracting agent, like the smell of a rose. These smells attract pollinators like bees, birds, and butterflies.

Sometimes terpenes serve more than one purpose. For example, in Cannabis, terpenes serve both functions - protect and attract. These compounds are a vital part of producing resin, covering the plant's integrity and providing a base for pollination. As you know, the consumable part of the Cannabis and Hemp plant is the flower. These flowers have their own recognizable and distinct smell because of the upwards of 200 terpenes that exist within them. The upwards of 200 terpenes found in cannabis plants are not alone. They are one of many organic compounds that work to make Cannabis what it is. For example, they exist alongside other organic compounds, like the cannabinoids THC and CBD. 

So even though they are responsible for some of our favorite smells, they also serve these practical purposes for the plant which produces them. But the scents are really terpenes' claim to fame. Without terpenes, there would be no perfumes, aromatherapy, or essential oils. 

Just as terpenes make plants, and thereby our world, smell better, they make us humans smell better. And only as terpenes serve practical protective purposes for the plants, terpenes can help practical, and even medicinal, purposes for humans. 

Terpenes are used in conventional and alternative medicine. They can be found in the steroids prescribed to you for colds and asthmatics inhalers. 

Terpenes explained further..

Humans have a lot going on in our endocannabinoid system. This system is responsible for regulating and balancing numerous parts of the body, including our immune system, communication between cells, appetite, metabolism, gut health, and more. 

Organic compounds like terpenes help by interacting with our endocannabinoid system. They assist cannabinoids in entering the bloodstream. This process is called the entourage effect. 

The entourage effect is the process at which cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds that exist within the cannabis plant work better when used in conjunction with one another. In other words, neither THC, CBD, or any particular terpene act alone. Terpenes interact with CBD, THC, and more than 400 trace compounds, creating what's known as the entourage effect. 

To complicate things further, each type of terpene creates distinct smells, tastes, and effects that make your cannabis experience unique. 

One of the most abundantly found terpenes is called Myrcene. Myrcene is described as tasting and smelling spicy, earthy, and musky. It also carries sweet, fruity undertones. This terpene increases cell mobility and allows cannabinoids to be absorbed faster than they would otherwise. There is a long list of Myrcene's potential therapeutic benefits. To name one, researchers have found that Myrcene has anti-inflammatory effects on cells. 

Another prominent terpene is called Limonene. This compound is associated with fruity, citrusy aromas. Limonene is also known to have numerous therapeutic benefits, like increasing your serotonin levels and helping relieve stress. This means that these compounds can influence neurotransmitters in our brain.

The Bitter Truth About Kratom

Let's be honest, Kratom doesn't taste like sugar plums or cherry pie. I personally don't mind the earthy, sharp taste, but many people have trouble stomaching the bitter botanical. Kratom was first consumed centuries ago by southeast Asian laborers who were known to chew on the leaves to keep themselves energized and capable of continuing with backbreaking work. We should thank the memory of these overworked laborers who discovered the mystical properties of our favorite botanical. But, considering we have 21st-century luxuries, we don't need to harden our taste buds to consume it. 

A lot of effort goes into making our leafy friend go down easy. Whether it's encapsulated in pill form or a steeping hot tea. Here are some tips on how to cut through the bitterness and enhance your experience. 

Kratom Tea 

Not long after Kratom was discovered in Southeast Asia, it found its place as a traditional household wellness botanical. Little written history about the plant exists today, which leads researchers to believe that it was used in the rural villages of the subsistence workers and Southeast Asia farmers, not by the upper classes or ruling elite. While the laboring men were chewing the bitter plant to get them through their rough days, the women were home steeping the leaves in their teas. 

Today, consuming Kratom in Tea form remains one of the most popular ways to destroy the plant. It's easy to brew Kratom Tea from the comfort of your home, and the tasty additives are endless. 

So, let's talk about preparation! 

You'll want to choose your favorite strain of Kratom to start. This is entirely dependent on your individual journey and the results you're looking for. While Kratom strains may vary in effects, the plant consistently tastes the same. 

Once you've chosen a strain, you'll want to portion out the powder intended for your tea. The recommended dosage for one to two cups of tea is 1-2 grams of Kratom. 

Next, you'll want to steep your Kratom leaves. You'll handle this process just as you'd take any loose leaf tea. Once you've gathered your dose, you can then fill the leaves in either fillable tea bags, a mesh strainer, or a cheesecloth. Once you've done this, it's recommended that you place the portion in simmering hot water, as boiling water can affect Kratom's natural alkaloid content. Adding lemon to the brew is also a sure-fire way to enhance the alkaloid content and enhance the tea's flavor. The longer you steep your tea, the stronger and more potent it will be. 

Now that your tea is piping hot, it's ready for some fun flavor additives! 

Lemon and Honey are a classic flavor combination. The acidity of the lemon not only cuts through the bitterness, but it also enhances the alkaloid content of the Kratom. And honey coats and sweetens the distinctly earthy taste. 

Coco-Kratom 

If Kratom tea doesn't strike the right cord, perhaps you need to step it up a notch. The smooth, bold taste of chocolate is the perfect pairing for bitter, earthy Kratom. 

Kratom Capsules 

If you're aiming for efficiency, look no further than the Kratom Capsule. Capsules are tasteless and pre-portioned.


No Margins

Kratom 101

Alkaloids Explained

Kratom Strains, Veins & Varieties

Coffee & Kratom – Cousins in Comfort

A Closer Inspection ~ The Terpene Myrcene

Tinctures, Tonics, & Infusions, Oh My!

2020 Update: Kratom’s Legal Limbo

CBD and the Pursuit of Happiness


Medium

Kratom 101

Kratom’s popularity surge within America is quickly catching up to its herbal counterpart - CBD. According to the American Kratom Association (AKA), over 15 million people across the world are using Kratom today. While it might not size up to the 1.4 billion cups of coffee consumed everyday, it’s quickly climbing the ladder of daily consumables.  With a surge in popularity of this magnitude, questions begin to arise: What is Kratom? What does it do? Is it safe? Luckily, Club13 is here to clear the air and answer some frequently asked questions. 

What is Kratom?

What is commonly referred to as Kratom, is scientifically known as Mitragyna Speciosa. Mitragyna Speciosa is a tropical evergreen tree in the Rubiaceae Family. Another member of the Rubiaceae Family is another popular plant - coffee! Kratom leaves are dark green and glossy, with distinctive red, white, or yellow veins. The veins of the Mitragyna Speciosa leaves typically correlate to the type of Kratom, i.e., red (Bali Red), green (Green Malay), white (Indo White), etc. 

What makes Kratom unique? 

Alkaloids! Or more specifically - “nitrogenous organic compounds of plant origin which have pronounced physiological actions on humans.” In english? Natural compounds found in plants that make you feel good. The celebrated pair of alkaloids behind Kratom’s success is Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine (sometimes referred to as 7-OH). Any effects and benefits of Kratom are due to this pair of alkaloids. 

Where does Kratom grow?

Native to Southeast Asia, this plant is cultivated in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Papua New Guinea. Kratom needs heat, humidity, and the right soil pH to thrive. As such, Kratom trees thrive in their home regions where it’s hot and humid and the soil pH is just right. 

What are Kratom’s Effects?

When Kratom is consumed in small amounts its effects are quite similar to it’s cousin Coffee. At a dose of 1-5 grams, it will affect you with stimulant-like properties that keep you energized and focused throughout the day. It’s also known to decrease appetite in some people. 

When you increase your daily Kratom intake to 5-15 grams, the effects change entirely. You might begin to feel slightly euphoric and/or find a calm, dreamlike mental state. It also works as an Analgesic, or Pain reducer. 

Which strain of Kratom is right for you?

Kratom strains are classified into three different color groups: Red-vein, White-vein, and Green-vein. The color becomes the strain’s primary name. The color groups are aptly named after the color of the central stem and veins of the leaves. Each distinct color-type of Kratom produces unique effects. 

Research is pivotal when deciding on what strain, and dosage, of Kratom, is just right for you. Finding the “just right” strain of Kratom is monumental to first-time consumers. Club13 highly recommends purchasing our Grab-n-Go sample packs so you can find the right fit for you.

Alkaloids Explained

What makes Kratom so special? It’s actually two things, and they are both alkaloids. Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine (sometimes referred to as 7-OH) is the celebrated pair of organic compounds that turn those simple leaves into something super. To better understand how these superstar alkaloids influence our friend Kratom, we need to first answer the question: 

What the heck is an alkaloid? 

According to the Oxford dictionary, and contrary to my belief that an alkaloid is an extra-terrestrial species of elk-men, Alkaloids are "any of a class of nitrogenous organic compounds of plant origin which have pronounced physiological actions on humans." Some famous alkaloids are caffeine, morphine, nicotine and quinine. While the name quinine might not sound as familiar as the others, it is a common consumable that is used in antimalarial medicines and tonic water. 

Alkaloids are naturally occurring compounds found primarily in plants. They're commonly found in individual families of flowering plants. The Rubiaceae family is the plant family that houses coffee, quinine, and Kratom. More than 3,000 different types of alkaloids have been identified in a total of more than 4,000 plant species.  

Alkaloid chemical structures vary. Generally, an alkaloid contains one nitrogen atom in something called an "amine-type structure". No not anime - aMine. An amine-type structure is derived from ammonia by replacing hydrogen atoms with hydrogen-carbon groups called hydrocarbons. An anime-type structure would probably involve a protagonist who is down and out but is ultimately thrusted into a battle of good and evil by the external forces that be. But I digress, the name alkaloid ("alkali-like") was initially applied to the substances because, like the inorganic alkalis, they react with acids to form salts. These salts…

What exactly does an Alkaloid do? 

We know alkaloids primarily exist in plants and are naturally occurring, and while we have a good sense of its effects on us humans, their function within the plant itself is somewhat of a scientific mystery. One theory is that alkaloids are a byproduct or waste of a plants' metabolic processes. Other evidence suggests that alkaloids serve specific biological functions. For example, in some plants, the concentration of alkaloids increases before seed formation and then drops off when the seed is ripe. This could mean that alkaloids play a vital role in the plants reproduction process. Another popular theory is that alkaloids like 7-OH may protect the plant pests and herbivores.

The Dynamic Duo

The primary alkaloid found in Kratom is called Mitragynine. Mitragynine is present in Kratom leaves and actually makes up over two percent of the leaves' organic structure. 

The second, more potent alkaloid, is 7-OH. 7-OH is stronger in effect but naturally occurs in much lower concentrations in Kratom leaves. 

Conclusion 

Understanding the chemical structures of the products we use is vital when trying something new. We all want to know what we are putting in our bodies. Well, when you ingest Kratom, you ingest Mitragynine and 7-OH, two superstar organic compounds, cousins of caffeine and quinine, producer of salts, or simply - alkaloids.

Kratom Strains, Veins & Varieties

Kratom strains are classified into three different color groups: Red-vein, White-vein, and Green-vein. The color becomes the strain's primary name. The color groups are aptly named after the color of the central stem and veins of the leaves. Each distinct color-type of Kratom produces unique effects. 

Red-Vein

Red-Vein Kratom contains red-colored veins and stems on the leaves. Currently, Red-Vein Kratom is the most popular and most widely available type of Kratom on the market. This popular strain grows abundantly throughout Southeast Asia. It is considered to be much more persistent than its white and green counterparts. 

Some researchers believe that the red hue of the plant's veins pertains to the maturity of the plant. If so, Red-vein Kratom is the more mature version of Green-vein or White-vein plants. No studies have been conducted to prove this fact. 

Not all red strains are created equal. Within the Red-vein Kratom group, there are sub-categories, each with their slight differences. Some strains, like Red Thai or the Red Vein Borneo, may produce relaxing effects. Other strains, like the Red Sumatra, have been said to provide a happy mood. 

White-Vein 

White-vein Kratom is widely considered the most stimulating of the Kratom strains and can be a definite mood enhancer. White Kratom, like it's cousin coffee, is great for alertness, concentration, and cheerfulness. 

Green-Vein 

The Green-vein strain can best be defined as the middle sibling in the Kratom family. If you can't decide between the "cool" red-vein or the "hot" white-vein, then perhaps your goldilocks, "just right" vein is the green. If you're looking to add some pep to your day, while maintaining a calm mood, Green-veined strains of Kratom have been called the best of both worlds. Green-vein strains include Sumatra, Bali, and Borneo. 

Secondary Names 

By now, you have probably deduced that color isn't the only way to classify Kratom. After color, strains are given a secondary name. The secondary name is a regional variation derived from the place in which the product was grown or where that strain originated.

Two popular secondary names are "Maeng Da" and "Horned". These variations can be found in every color. They are extremely popular and can be found in nearly every vendor's product list. Maeng Da is actually a translation of "pimp" in Thai, and eventually took on the meaning "pimp grade" in the Kratom industry. Horned refers to the shape of the Kratom leaf itself. These hybrid options were developed by grafting multiple strains of Kratom to emulate the desired characteristics of the parent plants. 

Conclusion 

Research is pivotal when looking into a new product. Here at Club13 we are focused on educating our customers about the products we sell. We look to sell you only the highest quality Kratom products garnered to keep you coming back for more. 

Coffee & Kratom – Cousins in Comfort

Picture this classic scene: A mother is cooking and preparing breakfast, the table is already set. Two bouncing little children come down the stairs, they each grab an apple and run out the door to the bus stop. The father comes down the stairs next, tying his tie, “Honey, I’m running late to my meeting! I need my pick-me-up!” The pot is already boiling, and the mother pours her husband a nice, hot, to go cup of … Kratom. 

If you’re anything like myself, or millions of Americans, the first thing you do when you wake up is grab a cup of coffee. This international tradition of early morning coffee drinking has permeated every facet of society and culture. But if you’re also like me, the sugar, the milk, and the caffeine constantly has me looking for healthier alternatives. I tried “healthy” energy drinks, juices, and snacks but nothing has the same kick as coffee. So with my alternative options running out, I decided to take Don Corleone’s advice, and keep it in the family. What I found was salvation in coffee’s natural cousin - Kratom. 

The Rubiaceae Family 

The plant family that contains both coffee and Kratom is the Rubiaceae family. The Rubiaceae family is more commonly referred to as the coffee, madder, or bedstraw family. There are more than 13,500 species and within 650 genera in the Rubiaceae family, making it the fourth-largest family in the angiosperm class. Varying alkaloid combinations are one of the key distinctions between each member of the family. Plants in the Rubiaceae family grow all over the world, but the most abundant species diversity is concentrated in the tropics.

The family, which contains coffee and Kratom, has many smaller divisions. Kratom is related to some other members of the Rubicae family, like Quinine, have been used in traditional medicine. Quinine comes from cinchona bark and is an antimalarial alkaloid that has saved thousands of lives. 

What does this mean? Generally, what region Kratom plants are grown affects it very little. Whereas coffee, on the other hand, can have significant differences based on what species of the coffee bean is grown. 

Similarities and Differences 

Just like human families, members of the Rubiaceae family come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. Coffee and Kratom, for example, look very different. Kratom comes from a tropical evergreen tree. It has broad leaves with a traditional “leafy” shape, as in the leaves are whole, not needley or divided. Mitragyna speciosa trees do not create fruit, but they do create little clusters of flowers at the end of their branches. 

Coffee trees tend to be much smaller than Kratom trees and produce harvestable material per tree than their larger cousins. Coffee beans, from which coffee is derived, are seeds housed in the fruit of the plant flowers. Because coffee comes from mature fruits, harvesting the coffee beans can be tricky since the fruits need to be ripened properly before harvest.

It’s common knowledge that coffee produces stimulant-like effects called caffeine. Caffeine is an alkaloid which produces euphoric effects. Kratom produces a lesser-known alkaloid which provides similar effects as caffeine, called Mitragynine. But unlike caffeine, Mitragynine typically does not give you “the jitters” like coffee does. 

Coffee and Kratom come from two different regions. Coffee originated in Africa but later was produced all over the world. Kratom originated in southeast Asia and continues to be cultivated there. Indonesia is the world’s largest Kratom producer, and exports Kratom all over the world. It is possible that one day, since Kratom is growing in popularity in the West, more countries will start growing and exporting Kratom, as happened with coffee. 

Humans have been consuming Kratom a lot longer than they’ve consumed coffee. For many centuries, people in South East Asia have been using Kratom for it’s more stimulating qualities. Coffee on the other hand, doesn’t have the same history of traditional use and didn’t make a significant impact on the world until about the year 1500. Once coffee first started gaining popularity, it experienced similar fear-mongering that Kratom is facing now. Ethnocentric beliefs and distrust of foreigners made a lot of Europeans skeptical of the new beverage. Sound familiar? 

Conclusion 

So if you’re a coffee-bean freak trying to find an easy alternative, look no further than Club13’s invigorating strains of white Kratom. Our Indo White and Maeng Da White Kratom powders are the perfect pick me up to get your gears running. All the best parts of a Rubicaean plant, with none of the teeth staining or ulcers! 

A Closer Inspection ~ The Terpene Myrcene

In our recent post, "What's That Smell," we discussed the function Terpenes pose to plants, insects, and, more specifically, Cannabis and Hemp CBD. With upwards of 200 terpenes existing within each Cannabis and Hemp CBD plant, it can seem daunting. While every terpene is essential to CBD's function, a few are exceptionally special and deserve a closer inspection. Such as Myrcene, one of the most therapeutic and abundantly found terpenes in Cannabis and Hemp plants!

First, let's review ~ What Are Terpenes?

Terpenes are organic compounds produced in plants and some insects. They are responsible for every plant's unique fragrance, from orchids to Cannabis, daisies to beer hops. Sometimes terpenes serve more than one purpose. For example, in Cannabis, terpenes serve both functions – protect and attract. These compounds are a vital part of producing resin, covering the plant's integrity, and providing a base for pollination.

As you know, the consumable part of the Cannabis and Hemp CBD plant is the flower. These flowers have their own recognizable and distinct smell because of the upwards of 200 terpenes that exist within them. The upwards of 200 terpenes found in cannabis plants are not alone. They are one of many organic compounds that work to make Cannabis what it is. For example, they exist alongside other organic compounds, like the cannabinoids THC and CBD.

Terpenes are not responsible for "getting you high." They instead work as helpers to fellow famous cannabinoids THC and CBD by interacting with our endocannabinoid system. Terpenes assist these cannabinoids in a process coined as the entourage effect.

While there are upwards of 200 terpenes in existence, Myrcene is the most populous terpene found in Cannabis and Hemp plants. Myrcene is described as distinctly tasting and smelling spicy, earthy, and musky. It also carries sweet, fruity undertones.

Myrcene is not limited to simply Cannabis and Hemp plants. It's also found in beer hops and is considered responsible for the peppery, balsam fragrance in beer. It's also found in lemongrass, mangoes, and banana peels.

On average, Myrcene represents over 20% of the terpene concentration in your average Cannabis or CBD strain. This dense concentration far surpasses other populous terpenes like Limonene and Caryophyllene.

This "dominant" terpene has wholly taken over the shelves of modern commercial Cannabis, and Hemp CBD strains for the time being. You're probably familiar with big-hitter strains such as OG Kush, Blue Dream, and Grand Daddy Purple. All of which owe their distinct flavors to the prolific Myrcene.

Therapeutic Benefits

Just to affirm, Myrcene doesn't "get you high". But it does have notable therapeutic benefits. For example, it's proven to work as an anti-inflammatory agent. It's also a possible muscle relaxant and, potentially, a cancer blocking agent.

Historically, lemongrass tea has been prolifically used as a folk medicine, wellness tea for anti-anxiety, and pain relief. Lemongrass, as we mentioned above, contains prolific amounts of the terpene Myrcene.

In the 1990s, scientists in Brazil published a claim after discovering the responsible agent for these wellness benefits, Myrcene. They found that this terpene worked as an anti-inflammatory agent. And even went as far as to claim that it worked as a pain reliever by increasing opioid chemicals in the brain and spinal cord. Whether or not Myrcene is, in fact, a pain reliever is still being debated and studied.

Tinctures, Tonics, & Infusions, Oh My!

In celebration of this most witchy of holidays, I'd like to look back at our botanical history, which predates modern medicine. People's desire for wellness is nothing new. The power of plants, such as Cannabis, Hemp, and Kratom, has served humankind since the dawn of time. Our ancestors were brewing a combination of Tincture, Tonics, and Infusions to unwind, heal everyday wounds, and cure diseases for centuries. While some of what they believed was a lot of hocus pocus, they didn't have the science and technology to back their potions up. Today, we have all the luxuries at our disposal. We've honed our craft over the centuries and can now reap the benefits of what mother nature has to offer. 

Evolving with Plants 

Since the beginning, human experimentation with plants has led us to learn how they can help us heal, inside and out. For as long as people have existed, we have used plants for medicine and wellness.  Archeological evidence dating as early as 60,000 years ago have found remains of medicinal plants, such as poppies, ephedra, and Cannabis. 

In many cultures, knowledge of a plant's curative properties came through Shamanism, a kind of spirit medicine still practiced in many parts of the world. These botanical witch-doctors communicated with specific plants. They were also responsible for collecting, growing, and blending plants in early Tinctures, Tonics, and Infusions. 

As people's knowledge of plants grew, herbalists began to catalog their knowledge of medicinal plants. One of the oldest and most extensive written records on plants is called the Charaka Samhita, dated around 700 BC, in India. This document kept a history of more than 300 medicinal plants, their uses, and where to find them. 

Today, we might not believe that plants have a "spirit," charging them full of medicinal properties. We now understand that plants are made up of compounds, giving them magical-like abilities to heal.  

Kratom's Tonic History 

Mitragyna Speciosa, also known as Kratom, was first discovered in Southeast Asia. Kratom is a tropical evergreen tree in the Rubiaceae family. Kratom owes it's magical capabilities to compounds called Alkaloids, precisely two alkaloids we know as Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine (sometimes referred to as 7-OH). Any effects and benefits of Kratom are due to this pair of alkaloids. 

It found its place as a traditional household wellness botanical, usually consumed in tonic-like teas that were bitter to the taste. 

Little written history about the plant exists today, which leads researchers to believe that it was used only by the villagers and subsistence workers that made up Southeast Asia. It was probably not used by the upper classes or ruling elite. While the laboring men were chewing the bitter plant to get them through their rough days, the women were home steeping the leaves in their teas. 

Hemp and Cannabis: a History 

Scientists are still trying to pinpoint when people began to take advantage of Hemp's many properties. According to a Science Advances study, the Cannabis and Hemp plant evolved 28 million years ago on the eastern Tibetan Plateau. Archaeologists have discovered ritual Cannabis burning in Central Asian sites as far back as 5000 years ago. 

Archaeologists have discovered Cannabis plants that people burned 2500 years ago, high in the Pamir Mountains in far western China. They've uncovered skeletons and wooden plates, bowls, and wooden braziers that held the burning material so that people could consume the smoke. This group of people belonged to Zoroastrianism, which celebrated the mind-expanding properties of Cannabis in sacred texts. 

The first written history of Cannabis use in ancient Chinese medicine was recorded in the world's oldest pharmacopeia, the pen-ts' ao ching, in 2700 BC. Indications for the benefit of Cannabis included: rheumatic pain, intestinal constipation, disorders of the female reproductive system, malaria, and others. One surgeon in the pen-ts' ao ching recorded that he often mixed the plant with rice wine to anesthetize patients during surgical occupations. Historically, this is the first recorded Cannabis tincture!

While the plants have existed for millions of years, they did not have the same potent qualities we enjoy today. The Cannabis plants which existed thousands of years ago had only trace amounts of the cannabinoids we enjoy today like THC, CBD, CBC, etc. 

Over time, people began domesticating botanicals to enhance the contents they desired. 

The Difference Between Tinctures, Tonics, and Infusions

While Tinctures, Tonics, and Infusions belong to the same family of herbal remedies, they have their distinctions. 

Tinctures use raw plant material, such as Cannabis or Hemp plants, that you soak in solvents such as alcohol or glycerin. You generally want to soak the natural plant material for about 3-12 weeks, depending on what type of tincture you're creating.  

The solvent tends to act as an activator for Cannabis or Hemp CBD Tinctures, elevating the desired effects. If kept from extreme temperatures, Tinctures are also known to have a long shelf life. The alcohol or glycerin will preserve whatever plant matter's involved. 

Typically, Tinctures are ingested by the dropper-full under the tongue. You can also add tinctures to your foods and drinks. 

Tonics are similar to teas but more potent. Tonics, also known as brews, are technically created when herbs and botanical plants boil in water for ten or more hours. 

These brews are potent and hard to digest. So, adding vinegar, bone broth, wine, or honey to the mixture is recommended. I'd classify Kratom as a form of Tonic. A VERY mild tonic, at that. 

Infusions are very similar to Tinctures. Instead of preserving the raw plant material with alcohol or glycerin, Infusions typically are submerged in a lipid such as oil or wax. 

You can create Infusions with or without heat. Cold botanical Infusions use sunlight to extract the plant's properties over one to four months. Hot infusions involve slow stove-top simmers at low temperatures. 

Infused botanical oil has exceptional topical properties. If you've tried your hand in popular CBD or THC topical oils and lotions for muscle relief, you've already experienced the incredible relieving qualities of an Infusion.

Historically, natural botanicals have offered an endless source of relief to people. Plant-derived products have dominated human pharmacopeia for thousands of years, almost unchallenged. Even modern, synthetic medicines that we use today, like aspirin, are formulated partly from plant matter. There's nothing witchy about its longstanding history. Botanical Tinctures, Tonics, and Infusions are as helpful today as they have been throughout history.


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Kratom 101

Kratom’s popularity surge within America is quickly catching up to its herbal counterpart - CBD. According to the American Kratom Association (AKA), over 15 million people across the world are using Kratom today. While it might not size up to the 1.4 billion cups of coffee consumed everyday, it’s quickly climbing the ladder of daily consumables.  With a surge in popularity of this magnitude, questions begin to arise: What is Kratom? What does it do? Is it safe? Luckily, Club13 is here to clear the air and answer some frequently asked questions. 

What is Kratom?

What is commonly referred to as Kratom, is scientifically known as Mitragyna Speciosa. Mitragyna Speciosa is a tropical evergreen tree in the Rubiaceae Family. Another member of the Rubiaceae Family is another popular plant - coffee! Kratom leaves are dark green and glossy, with distinctive red, white, or yellow veins. The veins of the Mitragyna Speciosa leaves typically correlate to the type of Kratom, i.e., red (Bali Red), green (Green Malay), white (Indo White), etc. 

What makes Kratom unique? 

Alkaloids! Or more specifically - “nitrogenous organic compounds of plant origin which have pronounced physiological actions on humans.” In english? Natural compounds found in plants that make you feel good. The celebrated pair of alkaloids behind Kratom’s success is Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine (sometimes referred to as 7-OH). Any effects and benefits of Kratom are due to this pair of alkaloids. 

Where does Kratom grow?

Native to Southeast Asia, this plant is cultivated in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Papua New Guinea. Kratom needs heat, humidity, and the right soil pH to thrive. As such, Kratom trees thrive in their home regions where it’s hot and humid and the soil pH is just right. 

What are Kratom’s Effects?

When Kratom is consumed in small amounts its effects are quite similar to it’s cousin Coffee. At a dose of 1-5 grams, it will affect you with stimulant-like properties that keep you energized and focused throughout the day. It’s also known to decrease appetite in some people. 

When you increase your daily Kratom intake to 5-15 grams, the effects change entirely. You might begin to feel slightly euphoric and/or find a calm, dreamlike mental state. It also works as an Analgesic, or Pain reducer. 

Which strain of Kratom is right for you?

Kratom strains are classified into three different color groups: Red-vein, White-vein, and Green-vein. The color becomes the strain’s primary name. The color groups are aptly named after the color of the central stem and veins of the leaves. Each distinct color-type of Kratom produces unique effects. 

Research is pivotal when deciding on what strain, and dosage, of Kratom, is just right for you. Finding the “just right” strain of Kratom is monumental to first-time consumers. Club13 highly recommends purchasing our Grab-n-Go sample packs so you can find the right fit for you.

Alkaloids Explained

What makes Kratom so special? It’s actually two things, and they are both alkaloids. Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine (sometimes referred to as 7-OH) is the celebrated pair of organic compounds that turn those simple leaves into something super. To better understand how these superstar alkaloids influence our friend Kratom, we need to first answer the question: 

What the heck is an alkaloid? 

According to the Oxford dictionary, and contrary to my belief that an alkaloid is an extra-terrestrial species of elk-men, Alkaloids are "any of a class of nitrogenous organic compounds of plant origin which have pronounced physiological actions on humans." Some famous alkaloids are caffeine, morphine, nicotine and quinine. While the name quinine might not sound as familiar as the others, it is a common consumable that is used in antimalarial medicines and tonic water. 

Alkaloids are naturally occurring compounds found primarily in plants. They're commonly found in individual families of flowering plants. The Rubiaceae family is the plant family that houses coffee, quinine, and Kratom. More than 3,000 different types of alkaloids have been identified in a total of more than 4,000 plant species.  

Alkaloid chemical structures vary. Generally, an alkaloid contains one nitrogen atom in something called an "amine-type structure". No not anime - aMine. An amine-type structure is derived from ammonia by replacing hydrogen atoms with hydrogen-carbon groups called hydrocarbons. An anime-type structure would probably involve a protagonist who is down and out but is ultimately thrusted into a battle of good and evil by the external forces that be. But I digress, the name alkaloid ("alkali-like") was initially applied to the substances because, like the inorganic alkalis, they react with acids to form salts. These salts…

What exactly does an Alkaloid do? 

We know alkaloids primarily exist in plants and are naturally occurring, and while we have a good sense of its effects on us humans, their function within the plant itself is somewhat of a scientific mystery. One theory is that alkaloids are a byproduct or waste of a plants' metabolic processes. Other evidence suggests that alkaloids serve specific biological functions. For example, in some plants, the concentration of alkaloids increases before seed formation and then drops off when the seed is ripe. This could mean that alkaloids play a vital role in the plants reproduction process. Another popular theory is that alkaloids like 7-OH may protect the plant pests and herbivores.

The Dynamic Duo

The primary alkaloid found in Kratom is called Mitragynine. Mitragynine is present in Kratom leaves and actually makes up over two percent of the leaves' organic structure. 

The second, more potent alkaloid, is 7-OH. 7-OH is stronger in effect but naturally occurs in much lower concentrations in Kratom leaves. 

Conclusion 

Understanding the chemical structures of the products we use is vital when trying something new. We all want to know what we are putting in our bodies. Well, when you ingest Kratom, you ingest Mitragynine and 7-OH, two superstar organic compounds, cousins of caffeine and quinine, producer of salts, or simply - alkaloids.

Kratom Strains, Veins & Varieties

Kratom strains are classified into three different color groups: Red-vein, White-vein, and Green-vein. The color becomes the strain's primary name. The color groups are aptly named after the color of the central stem and veins of the leaves. Each distinct color-type of Kratom produces unique effects. 

Red-Vein

Red-Vein Kratom contains red-colored veins and stems on the leaves. Currently, Red-Vein Kratom is the most popular and most widely available type of Kratom on the market. This popular strain grows abundantly throughout Southeast Asia. It is considered to be much more persistent than its white and green counterparts. 

Some researchers believe that the red hue of the plant's veins pertains to the maturity of the plant. If so, Red-vein Kratom is the more mature version of Green-vein or White-vein plants. No studies have been conducted to prove this fact. 

Not all red strains are created equal. Within the Red-vein Kratom group, there are sub-categories, each with their slight differences. Some strains, like Red Thai or the Red Vein Borneo, may produce relaxing effects. Other strains, like the Red Sumatra, have been said to provide a happy mood. 

White-Vein 

White-vein Kratom is widely considered the most stimulating of the Kratom strains and can be a definite mood enhancer. White Kratom, like it's cousin coffee, is great for alertness, concentration, and cheerfulness. 

Green-Vein 

The Green-vein strain can best be defined as the middle sibling in the Kratom family. If you can't decide between the "cool" red-vein or the "hot" white-vein, then perhaps your goldilocks, "just right" vein is the green. If you're looking to add some pep to your day, while maintaining a calm mood, Green-veined strains of Kratom have been called the best of both worlds. Green-vein strains include Sumatra, Bali, and Borneo. 

Secondary Names 

By now, you have probably deduced that color isn't the only way to classify Kratom. After color, strains are given a secondary name. The secondary name is a regional variation derived from the place in which the product was grown or where that strain originated.

Two popular secondary names are "Maeng Da" and "Horned". These variations can be found in every color. They are extremely popular and can be found in nearly every vendor's product list. Maeng Da is actually a translation of "pimp" in Thai, and eventually took on the meaning "pimp grade" in the Kratom industry. Horned refers to the shape of the Kratom leaf itself. These hybrid options were developed by grafting multiple strains of Kratom to emulate the desired characteristics of the parent plants. 

Conclusion 

Research is pivotal when looking into a new product. Here at Club13 we are focused on educating our customers about the products we sell. We look to sell you only the highest quality Kratom products garnered to keep you coming back for more. 

Coffee & Kratom – Cousins in Comfort

Picture this classic scene: A mother is cooking and preparing breakfast, the table is already set. Two bouncing little children come down the stairs, they each grab an apple and run out the door to the bus stop. The father comes down the stairs next, tying his tie, “Honey, I’m running late to my meeting! I need my pick-me-up!” The pot is already boiling, and the mother pours her husband a nice, hot, to go cup of … Kratom. 

If you’re anything like myself, or millions of Americans, the first thing you do when you wake up is grab a cup of coffee. This international tradition of early morning coffee drinking has permeated every facet of society and culture. But if you’re also like me, the sugar, the milk, and the caffeine constantly has me looking for healthier alternatives. I tried “healthy” energy drinks, juices, and snacks but nothing has the same kick as coffee. So with my alternative options running out, I decided to take Don Corleone’s advice, and keep it in the family. What I found was salvation in coffee’s natural cousin - Kratom. 

The Rubiaceae Family 

The plant family that contains both coffee and Kratom is the Rubiaceae family. The Rubiaceae family is more commonly referred to as the coffee, madder, or bedstraw family. There are more than 13,500 species and within 650 genera in the Rubiaceae family, making it the fourth-largest family in the angiosperm class. Varying alkaloid combinations are one of the key distinctions between each member of the family. Plants in the Rubiaceae family grow all over the world, but the most abundant species diversity is concentrated in the tropics.

The family, which contains coffee and Kratom, has many smaller divisions. Kratom is related to some other members of the Rubicae family, like Quinine, have been used in traditional medicine. Quinine comes from cinchona bark and is an antimalarial alkaloid that has saved thousands of lives. 

What does this mean? Generally, what region Kratom plants are grown affects it very little. Whereas coffee, on the other hand, can have significant differences based on what species of the coffee bean is grown. 

Similarities and Differences 

Just like human families, members of the Rubiaceae family come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. Coffee and Kratom, for example, look very different. Kratom comes from a tropical evergreen tree. It has broad leaves with a traditional “leafy” shape, as in the leaves are whole, not needley or divided. Mitragyna speciosa trees do not create fruit, but they do create little clusters of flowers at the end of their branches. 

Coffee trees tend to be much smaller than Kratom trees and produce harvestable material per tree than their larger cousins. Coffee beans, from which coffee is derived, are seeds housed in the fruit of the plant flowers. Because coffee comes from mature fruits, harvesting the coffee beans can be tricky since the fruits need to be ripened properly before harvest.

It’s common knowledge that coffee produces stimulant-like effects called caffeine. Caffeine is an alkaloid which produces euphoric effects. Kratom produces a lesser-known alkaloid which provides similar effects as caffeine, called Mitragynine. But unlike caffeine, Mitragynine typically does not give you “the jitters” like coffee does. 

Coffee and Kratom come from two different regions. Coffee originated in Africa but later was produced all over the world. Kratom originated in southeast Asia and continues to be cultivated there. Indonesia is the world’s largest Kratom producer, and exports Kratom all over the world. It is possible that one day, since Kratom is growing in popularity in the West, more countries will start growing and exporting Kratom, as happened with coffee. 

Humans have been consuming Kratom a lot longer than they’ve consumed coffee. For many centuries, people in South East Asia have been using Kratom for it’s more stimulating qualities. Coffee on the other hand, doesn’t have the same history of traditional use and didn’t make a significant impact on the world until about the year 1500. Once coffee first started gaining popularity, it experienced similar fear-mongering that Kratom is facing now. Ethnocentric beliefs and distrust of foreigners made a lot of Europeans skeptical of the new beverage. Sound familiar? 

Conclusion 

So if you’re a coffee-bean freak trying to find an easy alternative, look no further than Club13’s invigorating strains of white Kratom. Our Indo White and Maeng Da White Kratom powders are the perfect pick me up to get your gears running. All the best parts of a Rubicaean plant, with none of the teeth staining or ulcers! 

A Closer Inspection ~ The Terpene Myrcene

In our recent post, "What's That Smell," we discussed the function Terpenes pose to plants, insects, and, more specifically, Cannabis and Hemp CBD. With upwards of 200 terpenes existing within each Cannabis and Hemp CBD plant, it can seem daunting. While every terpene is essential to CBD's function, a few are exceptionally special and deserve a closer inspection. Such as Myrcene, one of the most therapeutic and abundantly found terpenes in Cannabis and Hemp plants!

First, let's review ~ What Are Terpenes?

Terpenes are organic compounds produced in plants and some insects. They are responsible for every plant's unique fragrance, from orchids to Cannabis, daisies to beer hops. Sometimes terpenes serve more than one purpose. For example, in Cannabis, terpenes serve both functions – protect and attract. These compounds are a vital part of producing resin, covering the plant's integrity, and providing a base for pollination.

As you know, the consumable part of the Cannabis and Hemp CBD plant is the flower. These flowers have their own recognizable and distinct smell because of the upwards of 200 terpenes that exist within them. The upwards of 200 terpenes found in cannabis plants are not alone. They are one of many organic compounds that work to make Cannabis what it is. For example, they exist alongside other organic compounds, like the cannabinoids THC and CBD.

Terpenes are not responsible for "getting you high." They instead work as helpers to fellow famous cannabinoids THC and CBD by interacting with our endocannabinoid system. Terpenes assist these cannabinoids in a process coined as the entourage effect.

While there are upwards of 200 terpenes in existence, Myrcene is the most populous terpene found in Cannabis and Hemp plants. Myrcene is described as distinctly tasting and smelling spicy, earthy, and musky. It also carries sweet, fruity undertones.

Myrcene is not limited to simply Cannabis and Hemp plants. It's also found in beer hops and is considered responsible for the peppery, balsam fragrance in beer. It's also found in lemongrass, mangoes, and banana peels.

On average, Myrcene represents over 20% of the terpene concentration in your average Cannabis or CBD strain. This dense concentration far surpasses other populous terpenes like Limonene and Caryophyllene.

This "dominant" terpene has wholly taken over the shelves of modern commercial Cannabis, and Hemp CBD strains for the time being. You're probably familiar with big-hitter strains such as OG Kush, Blue Dream, and Grand Daddy Purple. All of which owe their distinct flavors to the prolific Myrcene.

Therapeutic Benefits

Just to affirm, Myrcene doesn't "get you high". But it does have notable therapeutic benefits. For example, it's proven to work as an anti-inflammatory agent. It's also a possible muscle relaxant and, potentially, a cancer blocking agent.

Historically, lemongrass tea has been prolifically used as a folk medicine, wellness tea for anti-anxiety, and pain relief. Lemongrass, as we mentioned above, contains prolific amounts of the terpene Myrcene.

In the 1990s, scientists in Brazil published a claim after discovering the responsible agent for these wellness benefits, Myrcene. They found that this terpene worked as an anti-inflammatory agent. And even went as far as to claim that it worked as a pain reliever by increasing opioid chemicals in the brain and spinal cord. Whether or not Myrcene is, in fact, a pain reliever is still being debated and studied.

Tinctures, Tonics, & Infusions, Oh My!

In celebration of this most witchy of holidays, I'd like to look back at our botanical history, which predates modern medicine. People's desire for wellness is nothing new. The power of plants, such as Cannabis, Hemp, and Kratom, has served humankind since the dawn of time. Our ancestors were brewing a combination of Tincture, Tonics, and Infusions to unwind, heal everyday wounds, and cure diseases for centuries. While some of what they believed was a lot of hocus pocus, they didn't have the science and technology to back their potions up. Today, we have all the luxuries at our disposal. We've honed our craft over the centuries and can now reap the benefits of what mother nature has to offer. 

Evolving with Plants 

Since the beginning, human experimentation with plants has led us to learn how they can help us heal, inside and out. For as long as people have existed, we have used plants for medicine and wellness.  Archeological evidence dating as early as 60,000 years ago have found remains of medicinal plants, such as poppies, ephedra, and Cannabis. 

In many cultures, knowledge of a plant's curative properties came through Shamanism, a kind of spirit medicine still practiced in many parts of the world. These botanical witch-doctors communicated with specific plants. They were also responsible for collecting, growing, and blending plants in early Tinctures, Tonics, and Infusions. 

As people's knowledge of plants grew, herbalists began to catalog their knowledge of medicinal plants. One of the oldest and most extensive written records on plants is called the Charaka Samhita, dated around 700 BC, in India. This document kept a history of more than 300 medicinal plants, their uses, and where to find them. 

Today, we might not believe that plants have a "spirit," charging them full of medicinal properties. We now understand that plants are made up of compounds, giving them magical-like abilities to heal.  

Kratom's Tonic History 

Mitragyna Speciosa, also known as Kratom, was first discovered in Southeast Asia. Kratom is a tropical evergreen tree in the Rubiaceae family. Kratom owes it's magical capabilities to compounds called Alkaloids, precisely two alkaloids we know as Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine (sometimes referred to as 7-OH). Any effects and benefits of Kratom are due to this pair of alkaloids. 

It found its place as a traditional household wellness botanical, usually consumed in tonic-like teas that were bitter to the taste. 

Little written history about the plant exists today, which leads researchers to believe that it was used only by the villagers and subsistence workers that made up Southeast Asia. It was probably not used by the upper classes or ruling elite. While the laboring men were chewing the bitter plant to get them through their rough days, the women were home steeping the leaves in their teas. 

Hemp and Cannabis: a History 

Scientists are still trying to pinpoint when people began to take advantage of Hemp's many properties. According to a Science Advances study, the Cannabis and Hemp plant evolved 28 million years ago on the eastern Tibetan Plateau. Archaeologists have discovered ritual Cannabis burning in Central Asian sites as far back as 5000 years ago. 

Archaeologists have discovered Cannabis plants that people burned 2500 years ago, high in the Pamir Mountains in far western China. They've uncovered skeletons and wooden plates, bowls, and wooden braziers that held the burning material so that people could consume the smoke. This group of people belonged to Zoroastrianism, which celebrated the mind-expanding properties of Cannabis in sacred texts. 

The first written history of Cannabis use in ancient Chinese medicine was recorded in the world's oldest pharmacopeia, the pen-ts' ao ching, in 2700 BC. Indications for the benefit of Cannabis included: rheumatic pain, intestinal constipation, disorders of the female reproductive system, malaria, and others. One surgeon in the pen-ts' ao ching recorded that he often mixed the plant with rice wine to anesthetize patients during surgical occupations. Historically, this is the first recorded Cannabis tincture!

While the plants have existed for millions of years, they did not have the same potent qualities we enjoy today. The Cannabis plants which existed thousands of years ago had only trace amounts of the cannabinoids we enjoy today like THC, CBD, CBC, etc. 

Over time, people began domesticating botanicals to enhance the contents they desired. 

The Difference Between Tinctures, Tonics, and Infusions

While Tinctures, Tonics, and Infusions belong to the same family of herbal remedies, they have their distinctions. 

Tinctures use raw plant material, such as Cannabis or Hemp plants, that you soak in solvents such as alcohol or glycerin. You generally want to soak the natural plant material for about 3-12 weeks, depending on what type of tincture you're creating.  

The solvent tends to act as an activator for Cannabis or Hemp CBD Tinctures, elevating the desired effects. If kept from extreme temperatures, Tinctures are also known to have a long shelf life. The alcohol or glycerin will preserve whatever plant matter's involved. 

Typically, Tinctures are ingested by the dropper-full under the tongue. You can also add tinctures to your foods and drinks. 

Tonics are similar to teas but more potent. Tonics, also known as brews, are technically created when herbs and botanical plants boil in water for ten or more hours. 

These brews are potent and hard to digest. So, adding vinegar, bone broth, wine, or honey to the mixture is recommended. I'd classify Kratom as a form of Tonic. A VERY mild tonic, at that. 

Infusions are very similar to Tinctures. Instead of preserving the raw plant material with alcohol or glycerin, Infusions typically are submerged in a lipid such as oil or wax. 

You can create Infusions with or without heat. Cold botanical Infusions use sunlight to extract the plant's properties over one to four months. Hot infusions involve slow stove-top simmers at low temperatures. 

Infused botanical oil has exceptional topical properties. If you've tried your hand in popular CBD or THC topical oils and lotions for muscle relief, you've already experienced the incredible relieving qualities of an Infusion.

Historically, natural botanicals have offered an endless source of relief to people. Plant-derived products have dominated human pharmacopeia for thousands of years, almost unchallenged. Even modern, synthetic medicines that we use today, like aspirin, are formulated partly from plant matter. There's nothing witchy about its longstanding history. Botanical Tinctures, Tonics, and Infusions are as helpful today as they have been throughout history.


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Kratom 101

Kratom’s popularity surge within America is quickly catching up to its herbal counterpart - CBD. According to the American Kratom Association (AKA), over 15 million people across the world are using Kratom today. While it might not size up to the 1.4 billion cups of coffee consumed everyday, it’s quickly climbing the ladder of daily consumables.  With a surge in popularity of this magnitude, questions begin to arise: What is Kratom? What does it do? Is it safe? Luckily, Club13 is here to clear the air and answer some frequently asked questions. 

What is Kratom?

What is commonly referred to as Kratom, is scientifically known as Mitragyna Speciosa. Mitragyna Speciosa is a tropical evergreen tree in the Rubiaceae Family. Another member of the Rubiaceae Family is another popular plant - coffee! Kratom leaves are dark green and glossy, with distinctive red, white, or yellow veins. The veins of the Mitragyna Speciosa leaves typically correlate to the type of Kratom, i.e., red (Bali Red), green (Green Malay), white (Indo White), etc. 

What makes Kratom unique? 

Alkaloids! Or more specifically - “nitrogenous organic compounds of plant origin which have pronounced physiological actions on humans.” In english? Natural compounds found in plants that make you feel good. The celebrated pair of alkaloids behind Kratom’s success is Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine (sometimes referred to as 7-OH). Any effects and benefits of Kratom are due to this pair of alkaloids. 

Where does Kratom grow?

Native to Southeast Asia, this plant is cultivated in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Papua New Guinea. Kratom needs heat, humidity, and the right soil pH to thrive. As such, Kratom trees thrive in their home regions where it’s hot and humid and the soil pH is just right. 

What are Kratom’s Effects?

When Kratom is consumed in small amounts its effects are quite similar to it’s cousin Coffee. At a dose of 1-5 grams, it will affect you with stimulant-like properties that keep you energized and focused throughout the day. It’s also known to decrease appetite in some people. 

When you increase your daily Kratom intake to 5-15 grams, the effects change entirely. You might begin to feel slightly euphoric and/or find a calm, dreamlike mental state. It also works as an Analgesic, or Pain reducer. 

Which strain of Kratom is right for you?

Kratom strains are classified into three different color groups: Red-vein, White-vein, and Green-vein. The color becomes the strain’s primary name. The color groups are aptly named after the color of the central stem and veins of the leaves. Each distinct color-type of Kratom produces unique effects. 

Research is pivotal when deciding on what strain, and dosage, of Kratom, is just right for you. Finding the “just right” strain of Kratom is monumental to first-time consumers. Club13 highly recommends purchasing our Grab-n-Go sample packs so you can find the right fit for you.

Read more...

Alkaloids Explained

What makes Kratom so special? It’s actually two things, and they are both alkaloids. Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine (sometimes referred to as 7-OH) is the celebrated pair of organic compounds that turn those simple leaves into something super. To better understand how these superstar alkaloids influence our friend Kratom, we need to first answer the question: 

What the heck is an alkaloid? 

According to the Oxford dictionary, and contrary to my belief that an alkaloid is an extra-terrestrial species of elk-men, Alkaloids are "any of a class of nitrogenous organic compounds of plant origin which have pronounced physiological actions on humans." Some famous alkaloids are caffeine, morphine, nicotine and quinine. While the name quinine might not sound as familiar as the others, it is a common consumable that is used in antimalarial medicines and tonic water. 

Alkaloids are naturally occurring compounds found primarily in plants. They're commonly found in individual families of flowering plants. The Rubiaceae family is the plant family that houses coffee, quinine, and Kratom. More than 3,000 different types of alkaloids have been identified in a total of more than 4,000 plant species.  

Alkaloid chemical structures vary. Generally, an alkaloid contains one nitrogen atom in something called an "amine-type structure". No not anime - aMine. An amine-type structure is derived from ammonia by replacing hydrogen atoms with hydrogen-carbon groups called hydrocarbons. An anime-type structure would probably involve a protagonist who is down and out but is ultimately thrusted into a battle of good and evil by the external forces that be. But I digress, the name alkaloid ("alkali-like") was initially applied to the substances because, like the inorganic alkalis, they react with acids to form salts. These salts…

What exactly does an Alkaloid do? 

We know alkaloids primarily exist in plants and are naturally occurring, and while we have a good sense of its effects on us humans, their function within the plant itself is somewhat of a scientific mystery. One theory is that alkaloids are a byproduct or waste of a plants' metabolic processes. Other evidence suggests that alkaloids serve specific biological functions. For example, in some plants, the concentration of alkaloids increases before seed formation and then drops off when the seed is ripe. This could mean that alkaloids play a vital role in the plants reproduction process. Another popular theory is that alkaloids like 7-OH may protect the plant pests and herbivores.

The Dynamic Duo

The primary alkaloid found in Kratom is called Mitragynine. Mitragynine is present in Kratom leaves and actually makes up over two percent of the leaves' organic structure. 

The second, more potent alkaloid, is 7-OH. 7-OH is stronger in effect but naturally occurs in much lower concentrations in Kratom leaves. 

Conclusion 

Understanding the chemical structures of the products we use is vital when trying something new. We all want to know what we are putting in our bodies. Well, when you ingest Kratom, you ingest Mitragynine and 7-OH, two superstar organic compounds, cousins of caffeine and quinine, producer of salts, or simply - alkaloids.

Read more...

Kratom Strains, Veins & Varieties

Kratom strains are classified into three different color groups: Red-vein, White-vein, and Green-vein. The color becomes the strain's primary name. The color groups are aptly named after the color of the central stem and veins of the leaves. Each distinct color-type of Kratom produces unique effects. 

Red-Vein

Red-Vein Kratom contains red-colored veins and stems on the leaves. Currently, Red-Vein Kratom is the most popular and most widely available type of Kratom on the market. This popular strain grows abundantly throughout Southeast Asia. It is considered to be much more persistent than its white and green counterparts. 

Some researchers believe that the red hue of the plant's veins pertains to the maturity of the plant. If so, Red-vein Kratom is the more mature version of Green-vein or White-vein plants. No studies have been conducted to prove this fact. 

Not all red strains are created equal. Within the Red-vein Kratom group, there are sub-categories, each with their slight differences. Some strains, like Red Thai or the Red Vein Borneo, may produce relaxing effects. Other strains, like the Red Sumatra, have been said to provide a happy mood. 

White-Vein 

White-vein Kratom is widely considered the most stimulating of the Kratom strains and can be a definite mood enhancer. White Kratom, like it's cousin coffee, is great for alertness, concentration, and cheerfulness. 

Green-Vein 

The Green-vein strain can best be defined as the middle sibling in the Kratom family. If you can't decide between the "cool" red-vein or the "hot" white-vein, then perhaps your goldilocks, "just right" vein is the green. If you're looking to add some pep to your day, while maintaining a calm mood, Green-veined strains of Kratom have been called the best of both worlds. Green-vein strains include Sumatra, Bali, and Borneo. 

Secondary Names 

By now, you have probably deduced that color isn't the only way to classify Kratom. After color, strains are given a secondary name. The secondary name is a regional variation derived from the place in which the product was grown or where that strain originated.

Two popular secondary names are "Maeng Da" and "Horned". These variations can be found in every color. They are extremely popular and can be found in nearly every vendor's product list. Maeng Da is actually a translation of "pimp" in Thai, and eventually took on the meaning "pimp grade" in the Kratom industry. Horned refers to the shape of the Kratom leaf itself. These hybrid options were developed by grafting multiple strains of Kratom to emulate the desired characteristics of the parent plants. 

Conclusion 

Research is pivotal when looking into a new product. Here at Club13 we are focused on educating our customers about the products we sell. We look to sell you only the highest quality Kratom products garnered to keep you coming back for more. 

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Coffee & Kratom – Cousins in Comfort

Picture this classic scene: A mother is cooking and preparing breakfast, the table is already set. Two bouncing little children come down the stairs, they each grab an apple and run out the door to the bus stop. The father comes down the stairs next, tying his tie, “Honey, I’m running late to my meeting! I need my pick-me-up!” The pot is already boiling, and the mother pours her husband a nice, hot, to go cup of … Kratom. 

If you’re anything like myself, or millions of Americans, the first thing you do when you wake up is grab a cup of coffee. This international tradition of early morning coffee drinking has permeated every facet of society and culture. But if you’re also like me, the sugar, the milk, and the caffeine constantly has me looking for healthier alternatives. I tried “healthy” energy drinks, juices, and snacks but nothing has the same kick as coffee. So with my alternative options running out, I decided to take Don Corleone’s advice, and keep it in the family. What I found was salvation in coffee’s natural cousin - Kratom. 

The Rubiaceae Family 

The plant family that contains both coffee and Kratom is the Rubiaceae family. The Rubiaceae family is more commonly referred to as the coffee, madder, or bedstraw family. There are more than 13,500 species and within 650 genera in the Rubiaceae family, making it the fourth-largest family in the angiosperm class. Varying alkaloid combinations are one of the key distinctions between each member of the family. Plants in the Rubiaceae family grow all over the world, but the most abundant species diversity is concentrated in the tropics.

The family, which contains coffee and Kratom, has many smaller divisions. Kratom is related to some other members of the Rubicae family, like Quinine, have been used in traditional medicine. Quinine comes from cinchona bark and is an antimalarial alkaloid that has saved thousands of lives. 

What does this mean? Generally, what region Kratom plants are grown affects it very little. Whereas coffee, on the other hand, can have significant differences based on what species of the coffee bean is grown. 

Similarities and Differences 

Just like human families, members of the Rubiaceae family come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. Coffee and Kratom, for example, look very different. Kratom comes from a tropical evergreen tree. It has broad leaves with a traditional “leafy” shape, as in the leaves are whole, not needley or divided. Mitragyna speciosa trees do not create fruit, but they do create little clusters of flowers at the end of their branches. 

Coffee trees tend to be much smaller than Kratom trees and produce harvestable material per tree than their larger cousins. Coffee beans, from which coffee is derived, are seeds housed in the fruit of the plant flowers. Because coffee comes from mature fruits, harvesting the coffee beans can be tricky since the fruits need to be ripened properly before harvest.

It’s common knowledge that coffee produces stimulant-like effects called caffeine. Caffeine is an alkaloid which produces euphoric effects. Kratom produces a lesser-known alkaloid which provides similar effects as caffeine, called Mitragynine. But unlike caffeine, Mitragynine typically does not give you “the jitters” like coffee does. 

Coffee and Kratom come from two different regions. Coffee originated in Africa but later was produced all over the world. Kratom originated in southeast Asia and continues to be cultivated there. Indonesia is the world’s largest Kratom producer, and exports Kratom all over the world. It is possible that one day, since Kratom is growing in popularity in the West, more countries will start growing and exporting Kratom, as happened with coffee. 

Humans have been consuming Kratom a lot longer than they’ve consumed coffee. For many centuries, people in South East Asia have been using Kratom for it’s more stimulating qualities. Coffee on the other hand, doesn’t have the same history of traditional use and didn’t make a significant impact on the world until about the year 1500. Once coffee first started gaining popularity, it experienced similar fear-mongering that Kratom is facing now. Ethnocentric beliefs and distrust of foreigners made a lot of Europeans skeptical of the new beverage. Sound familiar? 

Conclusion 

So if you’re a coffee-bean freak trying to find an easy alternative, look no further than Club13’s invigorating strains of white Kratom. Our Indo White and Maeng Da White Kratom powders are the perfect pick me up to get your gears running. All the best parts of a Rubicaean plant, with none of the teeth staining or ulcers! 

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A Closer Inspection ~ The Terpene Myrcene

In our recent post, "What's That Smell," we discussed the function Terpenes pose to plants, insects, and, more specifically, Cannabis and Hemp CBD. With upwards of 200 terpenes existing within each Cannabis and Hemp CBD plant, it can seem daunting. While every terpene is essential to CBD's function, a few are exceptionally special and deserve a closer inspection. Such as Myrcene, one of the most therapeutic and abundantly found terpenes in Cannabis and Hemp plants!

First, let's review ~ What Are Terpenes?

Terpenes are organic compounds produced in plants and some insects. They are responsible for every plant's unique fragrance, from orchids to Cannabis, daisies to beer hops. Sometimes terpenes serve more than one purpose. For example, in Cannabis, terpenes serve both functions – protect and attract. These compounds are a vital part of producing resin, covering the plant's integrity, and providing a base for pollination.

As you know, the consumable part of the Cannabis and Hemp CBD plant is the flower. These flowers have their own recognizable and distinct smell because of the upwards of 200 terpenes that exist within them. The upwards of 200 terpenes found in cannabis plants are not alone. They are one of many organic compounds that work to make Cannabis what it is. For example, they exist alongside other organic compounds, like the cannabinoids THC and CBD.

Terpenes are not responsible for "getting you high." They instead work as helpers to fellow famous cannabinoids THC and CBD by interacting with our endocannabinoid system. Terpenes assist these cannabinoids in a process coined as the entourage effect.

While there are upwards of 200 terpenes in existence, Myrcene is the most populous terpene found in Cannabis and Hemp plants. Myrcene is described as distinctly tasting and smelling spicy, earthy, and musky. It also carries sweet, fruity undertones.

Myrcene is not limited to simply Cannabis and Hemp plants. It's also found in beer hops and is considered responsible for the peppery, balsam fragrance in beer. It's also found in lemongrass, mangoes, and banana peels.

On average, Myrcene represents over 20% of the terpene concentration in your average Cannabis or CBD strain. This dense concentration far surpasses other populous terpenes like Limonene and Caryophyllene.

This "dominant" terpene has wholly taken over the shelves of modern commercial Cannabis, and Hemp CBD strains for the time being. You're probably familiar with big-hitter strains such as OG Kush, Blue Dream, and Grand Daddy Purple. All of which owe their distinct flavors to the prolific Myrcene.

Therapeutic Benefits

Just to affirm, Myrcene doesn't "get you high". But it does have notable therapeutic benefits. For example, it's proven to work as an anti-inflammatory agent. It's also a possible muscle relaxant and, potentially, a cancer blocking agent.

Historically, lemongrass tea has been prolifically used as a folk medicine, wellness tea for anti-anxiety, and pain relief. Lemongrass, as we mentioned above, contains prolific amounts of the terpene Myrcene.

In the 1990s, scientists in Brazil published a claim after discovering the responsible agent for these wellness benefits, Myrcene. They found that this terpene worked as an anti-inflammatory agent. And even went as far as to claim that it worked as a pain reliever by increasing opioid chemicals in the brain and spinal cord. Whether or not Myrcene is, in fact, a pain reliever is still being debated and studied.

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Tinctures, Tonics, & Infusions, Oh My!

In celebration of this most witchy of holidays, I'd like to look back at our botanical history, which predates modern medicine. People's desire for wellness is nothing new. The power of plants, such as Cannabis, Hemp, and Kratom, has served humankind since the dawn of time. Our ancestors were brewing a combination of Tincture, Tonics, and Infusions to unwind, heal everyday wounds, and cure diseases for centuries. While some of what they believed was a lot of hocus pocus, they didn't have the science and technology to back their potions up. Today, we have all the luxuries at our disposal. We've honed our craft over the centuries and can now reap the benefits of what mother nature has to offer. 

Evolving with Plants 

Since the beginning, human experimentation with plants has led us to learn how they can help us heal, inside and out. For as long as people have existed, we have used plants for medicine and wellness.  Archeological evidence dating as early as 60,000 years ago have found remains of medicinal plants, such as poppies, ephedra, and Cannabis. 

In many cultures, knowledge of a plant's curative properties came through Shamanism, a kind of spirit medicine still practiced in many parts of the world. These botanical witch-doctors communicated with specific plants. They were also responsible for collecting, growing, and blending plants in early Tinctures, Tonics, and Infusions. 

As people's knowledge of plants grew, herbalists began to catalog their knowledge of medicinal plants. One of the oldest and most extensive written records on plants is called the Charaka Samhita, dated around 700 BC, in India. This document kept a history of more than 300 medicinal plants, their uses, and where to find them. 

Today, we might not believe that plants have a "spirit," charging them full of medicinal properties. We now understand that plants are made up of compounds, giving them magical-like abilities to heal.  

Kratom's Tonic History 

Mitragyna Speciosa, also known as Kratom, was first discovered in Southeast Asia. Kratom is a tropical evergreen tree in the Rubiaceae family. Kratom owes it's magical capabilities to compounds called Alkaloids, precisely two alkaloids we know as Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine (sometimes referred to as 7-OH). Any effects and benefits of Kratom are due to this pair of alkaloids. 

It found its place as a traditional household wellness botanical, usually consumed in tonic-like teas that were bitter to the taste. 

Little written history about the plant exists today, which leads researchers to believe that it was used only by the villagers and subsistence workers that made up Southeast Asia. It was probably not used by the upper classes or ruling elite. While the laboring men were chewing the bitter plant to get them through their rough days, the women were home steeping the leaves in their teas. 

Hemp and Cannabis: a History 

Scientists are still trying to pinpoint when people began to take advantage of Hemp's many properties. According to a Science Advances study, the Cannabis and Hemp plant evolved 28 million years ago on the eastern Tibetan Plateau. Archaeologists have discovered ritual Cannabis burning in Central Asian sites as far back as 5000 years ago. 

Archaeologists have discovered Cannabis plants that people burned 2500 years ago, high in the Pamir Mountains in far western China. They've uncovered skeletons and wooden plates, bowls, and wooden braziers that held the burning material so that people could consume the smoke. This group of people belonged to Zoroastrianism, which celebrated the mind-expanding properties of Cannabis in sacred texts. 

The first written history of Cannabis use in ancient Chinese medicine was recorded in the world's oldest pharmacopeia, the pen-ts' ao ching, in 2700 BC. Indications for the benefit of Cannabis included: rheumatic pain, intestinal constipation, disorders of the female reproductive system, malaria, and others. One surgeon in the pen-ts' ao ching recorded that he often mixed the plant with rice wine to anesthetize patients during surgical occupations. Historically, this is the first recorded Cannabis tincture!

While the plants have existed for millions of years, they did not have the same potent qualities we enjoy today. The Cannabis plants which existed thousands of years ago had only trace amounts of the cannabinoids we enjoy today like THC, CBD, CBC, etc. 

Over time, people began domesticating botanicals to enhance the contents they desired. 

The Difference Between Tinctures, Tonics, and Infusions

While Tinctures, Tonics, and Infusions belong to the same family of herbal remedies, they have their distinctions. 

Tinctures use raw plant material, such as Cannabis or Hemp plants, that you soak in solvents such as alcohol or glycerin. You generally want to soak the natural plant material for about 3-12 weeks, depending on what type of tincture you're creating.  

The solvent tends to act as an activator for Cannabis or Hemp CBD Tinctures, elevating the desired effects. If kept from extreme temperatures, Tinctures are also known to have a long shelf life. The alcohol or glycerin will preserve whatever plant matter's involved. 

Typically, Tinctures are ingested by the dropper-full under the tongue. You can also add tinctures to your foods and drinks. 

Tonics are similar to teas but more potent. Tonics, also known as brews, are technically created when herbs and botanical plants boil in water for ten or more hours. 

These brews are potent and hard to digest. So, adding vinegar, bone broth, wine, or honey to the mixture is recommended. I'd classify Kratom as a form of Tonic. A VERY mild tonic, at that. 

Infusions are very similar to Tinctures. Instead of preserving the raw plant material with alcohol or glycerin, Infusions typically are submerged in a lipid such as oil or wax. 

You can create Infusions with or without heat. Cold botanical Infusions use sunlight to extract the plant's properties over one to four months. Hot infusions involve slow stove-top simmers at low temperatures. 

Infused botanical oil has exceptional topical properties. If you've tried your hand in popular CBD or THC topical oils and lotions for muscle relief, you've already experienced the incredible relieving qualities of an Infusion.

Historically, natural botanicals have offered an endless source of relief to people. Plant-derived products have dominated human pharmacopeia for thousands of years, almost unchallenged. Even modern, synthetic medicines that we use today, like aspirin, are formulated partly from plant matter. There's nothing witchy about its longstanding history. Botanical Tinctures, Tonics, and Infusions are as helpful today as they have been throughout history.

Read more...

Full

Kratom 101

Kratom’s popularity surge within America is quickly catching up to its herbal counterpart - CBD. According to the American Kratom Association (AKA), over 15 million people across the world are using Kratom today. While it might not size up to the 1.4 billion cups of coffee consumed everyday, it’s quickly climbing the ladder of daily consumables.  With a surge in popularity of this magnitude, questions begin to arise: What is Kratom? What does it do? Is it safe? Luckily, Club13 is here to clear the air and answer some frequently asked questions. 

What is Kratom?

What is commonly referred to as Kratom, is scientifically known as Mitragyna Speciosa. Mitragyna Speciosa is a tropical evergreen tree in the Rubiaceae Family. Another member of the Rubiaceae Family is another popular plant - coffee! Kratom leaves are dark green and glossy, with distinctive red, white, or yellow veins. The veins of the Mitragyna Speciosa leaves typically correlate to the type of Kratom, i.e., red (Bali Red), green (Green Malay), white (Indo White), etc. 

What makes Kratom unique? 

Alkaloids! Or more specifically - “nitrogenous organic compounds of plant origin which have pronounced physiological actions on humans.” In english? Natural compounds found in plants that make you feel good. The celebrated pair of alkaloids behind Kratom’s success is Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine (sometimes referred to as 7-OH). Any effects and benefits of Kratom are due to this pair of alkaloids. 

Where does Kratom grow?

Native to Southeast Asia, this plant is cultivated in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Papua New Guinea. Kratom needs heat, humidity, and the right soil pH to thrive. As such, Kratom trees thrive in their home regions where it’s hot and humid and the soil pH is just right. 

What are Kratom’s Effects?

When Kratom is consumed in small amounts its effects are quite similar to it’s cousin Coffee. At a dose of 1-5 grams, it will affect you with stimulant-like properties that keep you energized and focused throughout the day. It’s also known to decrease appetite in some people. 

When you increase your daily Kratom intake to 5-15 grams, the effects change entirely. You might begin to feel slightly euphoric and/or find a calm, dreamlike mental state. It also works as an Analgesic, or Pain reducer. 

Which strain of Kratom is right for you?

Kratom strains are classified into three different color groups: Red-vein, White-vein, and Green-vein. The color becomes the strain’s primary name. The color groups are aptly named after the color of the central stem and veins of the leaves. Each distinct color-type of Kratom produces unique effects. 

Research is pivotal when deciding on what strain, and dosage, of Kratom, is just right for you. Finding the “just right” strain of Kratom is monumental to first-time consumers. Club13 highly recommends purchasing our Grab-n-Go sample packs so you can find the right fit for you.

Read more...

Alkaloids Explained

What makes Kratom so special? It’s actually two things, and they are both alkaloids. Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine (sometimes referred to as 7-OH) is the celebrated pair of organic compounds that turn those simple leaves into something super. To better understand how these superstar alkaloids influence our friend Kratom, we need to first answer the question: 

What the heck is an alkaloid? 

According to the Oxford dictionary, and contrary to my belief that an alkaloid is an extra-terrestrial species of elk-men, Alkaloids are "any of a class of nitrogenous organic compounds of plant origin which have pronounced physiological actions on humans." Some famous alkaloids are caffeine, morphine, nicotine and quinine. While the name quinine might not sound as familiar as the others, it is a common consumable that is used in antimalarial medicines and tonic water. 

Alkaloids are naturally occurring compounds found primarily in plants. They're commonly found in individual families of flowering plants. The Rubiaceae family is the plant family that houses coffee, quinine, and Kratom. More than 3,000 different types of alkaloids have been identified in a total of more than 4,000 plant species.  

Alkaloid chemical structures vary. Generally, an alkaloid contains one nitrogen atom in something called an "amine-type structure". No not anime - aMine. An amine-type structure is derived from ammonia by replacing hydrogen atoms with hydrogen-carbon groups called hydrocarbons. An anime-type structure would probably involve a protagonist who is down and out but is ultimately thrusted into a battle of good and evil by the external forces that be. But I digress, the name alkaloid ("alkali-like") was initially applied to the substances because, like the inorganic alkalis, they react with acids to form salts. These salts…

What exactly does an Alkaloid do? 

We know alkaloids primarily exist in plants and are naturally occurring, and while we have a good sense of its effects on us humans, their function within the plant itself is somewhat of a scientific mystery. One theory is that alkaloids are a byproduct or waste of a plants' metabolic processes. Other evidence suggests that alkaloids serve specific biological functions. For example, in some plants, the concentration of alkaloids increases before seed formation and then drops off when the seed is ripe. This could mean that alkaloids play a vital role in the plants reproduction process. Another popular theory is that alkaloids like 7-OH may protect the plant pests and herbivores.

The Dynamic Duo

The primary alkaloid found in Kratom is called Mitragynine. Mitragynine is present in Kratom leaves and actually makes up over two percent of the leaves' organic structure. 

The second, more potent alkaloid, is 7-OH. 7-OH is stronger in effect but naturally occurs in much lower concentrations in Kratom leaves. 

Conclusion 

Understanding the chemical structures of the products we use is vital when trying something new. We all want to know what we are putting in our bodies. Well, when you ingest Kratom, you ingest Mitragynine and 7-OH, two superstar organic compounds, cousins of caffeine and quinine, producer of salts, or simply - alkaloids.

Read more...

Kratom Strains, Veins & Varieties

Kratom strains are classified into three different color groups: Red-vein, White-vein, and Green-vein. The color becomes the strain's primary name. The color groups are aptly named after the color of the central stem and veins of the leaves. Each distinct color-type of Kratom produces unique effects. 

Red-Vein

Red-Vein Kratom contains red-colored veins and stems on the leaves. Currently, Red-Vein Kratom is the most popular and most widely available type of Kratom on the market. This popular strain grows abundantly throughout Southeast Asia. It is considered to be much more persistent than its white and green counterparts. 

Some researchers believe that the red hue of the plant's veins pertains to the maturity of the plant. If so, Red-vein Kratom is the more mature version of Green-vein or White-vein plants. No studies have been conducted to prove this fact. 

Not all red strains are created equal. Within the Red-vein Kratom group, there are sub-categories, each with their slight differences. Some strains, like Red Thai or the Red Vein Borneo, may produce relaxing effects. Other strains, like the Red Sumatra, have been said to provide a happy mood. 

White-Vein 

White-vein Kratom is widely considered the most stimulating of the Kratom strains and can be a definite mood enhancer. White Kratom, like it's cousin coffee, is great for alertness, concentration, and cheerfulness. 

Green-Vein 

The Green-vein strain can best be defined as the middle sibling in the Kratom family. If you can't decide between the "cool" red-vein or the "hot" white-vein, then perhaps your goldilocks, "just right" vein is the green. If you're looking to add some pep to your day, while maintaining a calm mood, Green-veined strains of Kratom have been called the best of both worlds. Green-vein strains include Sumatra, Bali, and Borneo. 

Secondary Names 

By now, you have probably deduced that color isn't the only way to classify Kratom. After color, strains are given a secondary name. The secondary name is a regional variation derived from the place in which the product was grown or where that strain originated.

Two popular secondary names are "Maeng Da" and "Horned". These variations can be found in every color. They are extremely popular and can be found in nearly every vendor's product list. Maeng Da is actually a translation of "pimp" in Thai, and eventually took on the meaning "pimp grade" in the Kratom industry. Horned refers to the shape of the Kratom leaf itself. These hybrid options were developed by grafting multiple strains of Kratom to emulate the desired characteristics of the parent plants. 

Conclusion 

Research is pivotal when looking into a new product. Here at Club13 we are focused on educating our customers about the products we sell. We look to sell you only the highest quality Kratom products garnered to keep you coming back for more. 

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Coffee & Kratom – Cousins in Comfort

Picture this classic scene: A mother is cooking and preparing breakfast, the table is already set. Two bouncing little children come down the stairs, they each grab an apple and run out the door to the bus stop. The father comes down the stairs next, tying his tie, “Honey, I’m running late to my meeting! I need my pick-me-up!” The pot is already boiling, and the mother pours her husband a nice, hot, to go cup of … Kratom. 

If you’re anything like myself, or millions of Americans, the first thing you do when you wake up is grab a cup of coffee. This international tradition of early morning coffee drinking has permeated every facet of society and culture. But if you’re also like me, the sugar, the milk, and the caffeine constantly has me looking for healthier alternatives. I tried “healthy” energy drinks, juices, and snacks but nothing has the same kick as coffee. So with my alternative options running out, I decided to take Don Corleone’s advice, and keep it in the family. What I found was salvation in coffee’s natural cousin - Kratom. 

The Rubiaceae Family 

The plant family that contains both coffee and Kratom is the Rubiaceae family. The Rubiaceae family is more commonly referred to as the coffee, madder, or bedstraw family. There are more than 13,500 species and within 650 genera in the Rubiaceae family, making it the fourth-largest family in the angiosperm class. Varying alkaloid combinations are one of the key distinctions between each member of the family. Plants in the Rubiaceae family grow all over the world, but the most abundant species diversity is concentrated in the tropics.

The family, which contains coffee and Kratom, has many smaller divisions. Kratom is related to some other members of the Rubicae family, like Quinine, have been used in traditional medicine. Quinine comes from cinchona bark and is an antimalarial alkaloid that has saved thousands of lives. 

What does this mean? Generally, what region Kratom plants are grown affects it very little. Whereas coffee, on the other hand, can have significant differences based on what species of the coffee bean is grown. 

Similarities and Differences 

Just like human families, members of the Rubiaceae family come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. Coffee and Kratom, for example, look very different. Kratom comes from a tropical evergreen tree. It has broad leaves with a traditional “leafy” shape, as in the leaves are whole, not needley or divided. Mitragyna speciosa trees do not create fruit, but they do create little clusters of flowers at the end of their branches. 

Coffee trees tend to be much smaller than Kratom trees and produce harvestable material per tree than their larger cousins. Coffee beans, from which coffee is derived, are seeds housed in the fruit of the plant flowers. Because coffee comes from mature fruits, harvesting the coffee beans can be tricky since the fruits need to be ripened properly before harvest.

It’s common knowledge that coffee produces stimulant-like effects called caffeine. Caffeine is an alkaloid which produces euphoric effects. Kratom produces a lesser-known alkaloid which provides similar effects as caffeine, called Mitragynine. But unlike caffeine, Mitragynine typically does not give you “the jitters” like coffee does. 

Coffee and Kratom come from two different regions. Coffee originated in Africa but later was produced all over the world. Kratom originated in southeast Asia and continues to be cultivated there. Indonesia is the world’s largest Kratom producer, and exports Kratom all over the world. It is possible that one day, since Kratom is growing in popularity in the West, more countries will start growing and exporting Kratom, as happened with coffee. 

Humans have been consuming Kratom a lot longer than they’ve consumed coffee. For many centuries, people in South East Asia have been using Kratom for it’s more stimulating qualities. Coffee on the other hand, doesn’t have the same history of traditional use and didn’t make a significant impact on the world until about the year 1500. Once coffee first started gaining popularity, it experienced similar fear-mongering that Kratom is facing now. Ethnocentric beliefs and distrust of foreigners made a lot of Europeans skeptical of the new beverage. Sound familiar? 

Conclusion 

So if you’re a coffee-bean freak trying to find an easy alternative, look no further than Club13’s invigorating strains of white Kratom. Our Indo White and Maeng Da White Kratom powders are the perfect pick me up to get your gears running. All the best parts of a Rubicaean plant, with none of the teeth staining or ulcers! 

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A Closer Inspection ~ The Terpene Myrcene

In our recent post, "What's That Smell," we discussed the function Terpenes pose to plants, insects, and, more specifically, Cannabis and Hemp CBD. With upwards of 200 terpenes existing within each Cannabis and Hemp CBD plant, it can seem daunting. While every terpene is essential to CBD's function, a few are exceptionally special and deserve a closer inspection. Such as Myrcene, one of the most therapeutic and abundantly found terpenes in Cannabis and Hemp plants!

First, let's review ~ What Are Terpenes?

Terpenes are organic compounds produced in plants and some insects. They are responsible for every plant's unique fragrance, from orchids to Cannabis, daisies to beer hops. Sometimes terpenes serve more than one purpose. For example, in Cannabis, terpenes serve both functions – protect and attract. These compounds are a vital part of producing resin, covering the plant's integrity, and providing a base for pollination.

As you know, the consumable part of the Cannabis and Hemp CBD plant is the flower. These flowers have their own recognizable and distinct smell because of the upwards of 200 terpenes that exist within them. The upwards of 200 terpenes found in cannabis plants are not alone. They are one of many organic compounds that work to make Cannabis what it is. For example, they exist alongside other organic compounds, like the cannabinoids THC and CBD.

Terpenes are not responsible for "getting you high." They instead work as helpers to fellow famous cannabinoids THC and CBD by interacting with our endocannabinoid system. Terpenes assist these cannabinoids in a process coined as the entourage effect.

While there are upwards of 200 terpenes in existence, Myrcene is the most populous terpene found in Cannabis and Hemp plants. Myrcene is described as distinctly tasting and smelling spicy, earthy, and musky. It also carries sweet, fruity undertones.

Myrcene is not limited to simply Cannabis and Hemp plants. It's also found in beer hops and is considered responsible for the peppery, balsam fragrance in beer. It's also found in lemongrass, mangoes, and banana peels.

On average, Myrcene represents over 20% of the terpene concentration in your average Cannabis or CBD strain. This dense concentration far surpasses other populous terpenes like Limonene and Caryophyllene.

This "dominant" terpene has wholly taken over the shelves of modern commercial Cannabis, and Hemp CBD strains for the time being. You're probably familiar with big-hitter strains such as OG Kush, Blue Dream, and Grand Daddy Purple. All of which owe their distinct flavors to the prolific Myrcene.

Therapeutic Benefits

Just to affirm, Myrcene doesn't "get you high". But it does have notable therapeutic benefits. For example, it's proven to work as an anti-inflammatory agent. It's also a possible muscle relaxant and, potentially, a cancer blocking agent.

Historically, lemongrass tea has been prolifically used as a folk medicine, wellness tea for anti-anxiety, and pain relief. Lemongrass, as we mentioned above, contains prolific amounts of the terpene Myrcene.

In the 1990s, scientists in Brazil published a claim after discovering the responsible agent for these wellness benefits, Myrcene. They found that this terpene worked as an anti-inflammatory agent. And even went as far as to claim that it worked as a pain reliever by increasing opioid chemicals in the brain and spinal cord. Whether or not Myrcene is, in fact, a pain reliever is still being debated and studied.

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Tinctures, Tonics, & Infusions, Oh My!

In celebration of this most witchy of holidays, I'd like to look back at our botanical history, which predates modern medicine. People's desire for wellness is nothing new. The power of plants, such as Cannabis, Hemp, and Kratom, has served humankind since the dawn of time. Our ancestors were brewing a combination of Tincture, Tonics, and Infusions to unwind, heal everyday wounds, and cure diseases for centuries. While some of what they believed was a lot of hocus pocus, they didn't have the science and technology to back their potions up. Today, we have all the luxuries at our disposal. We've honed our craft over the centuries and can now reap the benefits of what mother nature has to offer. 

Evolving with Plants 

Since the beginning, human experimentation with plants has led us to learn how they can help us heal, inside and out. For as long as people have existed, we have used plants for medicine and wellness.  Archeological evidence dating as early as 60,000 years ago have found remains of medicinal plants, such as poppies, ephedra, and Cannabis. 

In many cultures, knowledge of a plant's curative properties came through Shamanism, a kind of spirit medicine still practiced in many parts of the world. These botanical witch-doctors communicated with specific plants. They were also responsible for collecting, growing, and blending plants in early Tinctures, Tonics, and Infusions. 

As people's knowledge of plants grew, herbalists began to catalog their knowledge of medicinal plants. One of the oldest and most extensive written records on plants is called the Charaka Samhita, dated around 700 BC, in India. This document kept a history of more than 300 medicinal plants, their uses, and where to find them. 

Today, we might not believe that plants have a "spirit," charging them full of medicinal properties. We now understand that plants are made up of compounds, giving them magical-like abilities to heal.  

Kratom's Tonic History 

Mitragyna Speciosa, also known as Kratom, was first discovered in Southeast Asia. Kratom is a tropical evergreen tree in the Rubiaceae family. Kratom owes it's magical capabilities to compounds called Alkaloids, precisely two alkaloids we know as Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine (sometimes referred to as 7-OH). Any effects and benefits of Kratom are due to this pair of alkaloids. 

It found its place as a traditional household wellness botanical, usually consumed in tonic-like teas that were bitter to the taste. 

Little written history about the plant exists today, which leads researchers to believe that it was used only by the villagers and subsistence workers that made up Southeast Asia. It was probably not used by the upper classes or ruling elite. While the laboring men were chewing the bitter plant to get them through their rough days, the women were home steeping the leaves in their teas. 

Hemp and Cannabis: a History 

Scientists are still trying to pinpoint when people began to take advantage of Hemp's many properties. According to a Science Advances study, the Cannabis and Hemp plant evolved 28 million years ago on the eastern Tibetan Plateau. Archaeologists have discovered ritual Cannabis burning in Central Asian sites as far back as 5000 years ago. 

Archaeologists have discovered Cannabis plants that people burned 2500 years ago, high in the Pamir Mountains in far western China. They've uncovered skeletons and wooden plates, bowls, and wooden braziers that held the burning material so that people could consume the smoke. This group of people belonged to Zoroastrianism, which celebrated the mind-expanding properties of Cannabis in sacred texts. 

The first written history of Cannabis use in ancient Chinese medicine was recorded in the world's oldest pharmacopeia, the pen-ts' ao ching, in 2700 BC. Indications for the benefit of Cannabis included: rheumatic pain, intestinal constipation, disorders of the female reproductive system, malaria, and others. One surgeon in the pen-ts' ao ching recorded that he often mixed the plant with rice wine to anesthetize patients during surgical occupations. Historically, this is the first recorded Cannabis tincture!

While the plants have existed for millions of years, they did not have the same potent qualities we enjoy today. The Cannabis plants which existed thousands of years ago had only trace amounts of the cannabinoids we enjoy today like THC, CBD, CBC, etc. 

Over time, people began domesticating botanicals to enhance the contents they desired. 

The Difference Between Tinctures, Tonics, and Infusions

While Tinctures, Tonics, and Infusions belong to the same family of herbal remedies, they have their distinctions. 

Tinctures use raw plant material, such as Cannabis or Hemp plants, that you soak in solvents such as alcohol or glycerin. You generally want to soak the natural plant material for about 3-12 weeks, depending on what type of tincture you're creating.  

The solvent tends to act as an activator for Cannabis or Hemp CBD Tinctures, elevating the desired effects. If kept from extreme temperatures, Tinctures are also known to have a long shelf life. The alcohol or glycerin will preserve whatever plant matter's involved. 

Typically, Tinctures are ingested by the dropper-full under the tongue. You can also add tinctures to your foods and drinks. 

Tonics are similar to teas but more potent. Tonics, also known as brews, are technically created when herbs and botanical plants boil in water for ten or more hours. 

These brews are potent and hard to digest. So, adding vinegar, bone broth, wine, or honey to the mixture is recommended. I'd classify Kratom as a form of Tonic. A VERY mild tonic, at that. 

Infusions are very similar to Tinctures. Instead of preserving the raw plant material with alcohol or glycerin, Infusions typically are submerged in a lipid such as oil or wax. 

You can create Infusions with or without heat. Cold botanical Infusions use sunlight to extract the plant's properties over one to four months. Hot infusions involve slow stove-top simmers at low temperatures. 

Infused botanical oil has exceptional topical properties. If you've tried your hand in popular CBD or THC topical oils and lotions for muscle relief, you've already experienced the incredible relieving qualities of an Infusion.

Historically, natural botanicals have offered an endless source of relief to people. Plant-derived products have dominated human pharmacopeia for thousands of years, almost unchallenged. Even modern, synthetic medicines that we use today, like aspirin, are formulated partly from plant matter. There's nothing witchy about its longstanding history. Botanical Tinctures, Tonics, and Infusions are as helpful today as they have been throughout history.

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A Closer Inspection ~ The Terpene Myrcene

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Tinctures, Tonics, & Infusions, Oh My!

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