Kratom is classified based on where the plant was grown and what “color” the leaf and veins of the leaf are. Anecdotal evidence from kratom users has arisen attributing different effects and benefits to different strains and vein colors. To date no scientific studies have been completed comparing the actual effects of the different strains and veins.
The most common kratom strains seen on the marketq are Bali, Indonesian, Malaysian (Mala), Morneo, Sumatra and Thai.
The strains of kratom are typically in reference to a geographic region from which the kratom was grown. The thinking goes that soil conditions and climate affect how the plant grows just like wine, grapes and terroir
(Terroir is how a particular region’s climate, soils and aspect (terrain) affect the taste of wine.)
In reality, the actual strains probably couldn’t be differentiated by a trained botanist and there are no studies showing different strains have consistent profiles of active ingredients.
Unlike cannabis in which sativa and indica strains have actual genetic variations, kratom “strains” do not. M. Speciosa plants are M. Speciosa plants with M. Speciosa leaves. This isn’t to say all kratom is exactly the same and all producers make the same quality of kratom but the differences are likely overstated.
Another reality is that 90% + of kratom originates from Indonesia. This means most kratom strain information is branding. The Indonesian island where most kratom is grown is called Borneo. This means the most accurate and true brand names of kratom are likely Borneo and Indo
Maeng Da is another common strain type. Maeng Da may have referenced kratom leaves with “horns” in the past. This was said to be a sign of potent leaves with high mitragynine content. Maeng Da was thus highly desirable and more expensive. There is no test or definition of maeng da kratom and it is not monitored.
Maeng Da strains found on the internet are generally a vendors highest quality and most expensive kratom variety.