From MMA to politics to the cosmos, the range topics that Joe Rogan covers on his podcast platform, The Joe Rogan Experience, is extremely expansive. Among this diverse range of subjects, alternative wellness topics like supplements, psychedelic medicines, and kratom frequently take center stage on The Joe Rogan Experience.
“Joe Rogan treats kratom like that mystery ingredient in your grandma’s secret recipe; some say it’s this, some say it’s that, but really, who knows?”
In fact, in the ever-evolving world of alternative wellness practices, few figures have brought as much attention to unconventional health approaches as Joe Rogan has. So what exactly has Joe Rogan said about kratom, and why does it matter?
Joe Rogan treats kratom like that mystery ingredient in your grandma’s secret recipe; some say it’s this, some say it’s that, but really, who knows? Spoiler alert: we do!
Whether you’re a fan of Joe Rogan’s podcast, curious about kratom, or both, you’ll find the intersection of this popular media figure and an age-old plant pretty intriguing.
Don’t Take Joe Rogan’s Kratom Analysis at Face Value
Joe Rogan’s lack of deep knowledge about kratom’s origins, serving sizes, and pharmacology makes for a number of interesting and slightly off-the-rails conversations about kratom. Even some of his guests who you’d expect to thoroughly understand the topic leave a little something to be desired when they chat with Rogan about kratom.
So we encourage you to take the comments made about kratom on JRE with a large grain of salt. Additionally, pay close attention to the questions Joe Rogan’s guests don’t ask him, (which we wish we could ask to make things a whole lot clearer).
Here are the Joe Rogan kratom episodes we cover below, as well as the other topics we explore to better understand Joe Rogan’s experience with this tropical tree leaf:
- JRE #876 with Chris Bell, November 2016
- JRE #1101 with Chris Bell and Mark Bell, April 2018
- JRE #1136 with Hamilton Morris, June 2018
- JRE #1296 with Joe List, May 2019
- JRE #1844 with Tom Segura, July 2022
- Why does Joe Rogan use kratom?
- What brand of kratom does Joe Rogan take?
Never Heard of it Before?
If you listened to any of The Joe Rogan Experience episodes that cover kratom without ever having heard of kratom before, here’s a quick explanation of what it is. Kratom products come from the leaves of kratom trees (Mitragyna speciosa). These trees grow in wetland forests throughout Southeast Asia.
Millions of people around the world (from Southeast Asia to Europe to Joe Rogan’s recording studio in Austin, Texas) use kratom for motivation, relaxation, socializing, and more. The effects vary depending on the amount you consume as well as other factors like the vein color. Many people also think effects are related to strains, but kratom strains may not be a good indicator of kratom’s effects.
Still a relatively unknown plant and natural product, kratom has been brought into the mainstream via discussions held on popular channels such as The Joe Rogan Experience or the Hamilton Morris Podcast.
Joe Rogan Tries Kratom for the First Time With Chris Bell
One of the earliest and most comprehensive conversations Joe Rogan has had about kratom on The Joe Rogan Experience was in November of 2016 with documentarian and weightlifter Chris Bell.
When the interview starts, Joe Rogan hadn’t ever consumed kratom. However, he was pretty curious and tried two kratom capsules while he and Bell were recording.
JRE Episode #876
From the get-go, Chris opens up about his personal battles with substance abuse, highlighting the many challenges and misconceptions that surround addiction. Throughout their discussion, a recurring theme emerges: the need for more responsible and informed use of psychoactive substances.
To explore these issues, Bell was creating a documentary, A Leaf of Faith. In it, he traverses his own kratom story, then interviews researchers and politicians who support or oppose keeping kratom legal.
Chris Bell’s Slightly Misleading Explanation of How Kratom Products Work
Rogan is confused about how kratom can be not just motivating and elevating, but also relaxing and relieving. We don’t blame him; Bell doesn’t do a perfect job of explaining kratom’s features and mechanism(s) of action. Plus, there wasn’t a lot of research available at the time for Bell to reference.
Bell tries to explain that kratom may have varying effects based on the strain. He says that Bali kratom is great for relaxing and Green Malay is a good pre-workout, but that, “they’re all kind of the same thing.” This final concession seems to be the most accurate, as researchers have found that the effects of different kratom strains may be determined far more by marketing and perception than by chemical differences in the kratom leaves.
Chris Bell also tells Rogan that kratom has 27 alkaloids. However, over 40 alkaloids have been identified in kratom leaves. Additionally, each kratom tree may only produce a small subset of these.
Bell makes comparisons between kratom, cannabis, and opiates that are a bit reductive. He then summarizes why the DEA was unfairly trying to ban kratom, as kratom doesn’t meet the criteria for listing a compound as a Schedule I substance.
Bell illustrates how kratom was consumed in Thailand as an alternative to legal opium during WWII. During the war, Thai people couldn’t afford to buy opium because it was heavily taxed by the government. On the other hand, kratom grew freely on trees throughout the region. Rogan is shocked to hear that the Thai government prohibited kratom purely because opium use decreased and they were losing significant tax revenue.
Importantly, Bell encourages listeners to submit a comment online to the DEA to prevent kratom from being prohibited.
JRE Episode #1101
In episode #1101 of The Joe Rogan Experience—after a couple hours spent discussing steroids, professional fighting, and dieting—Joe Rogan, Mark Bell, and Chris Bell land on the topic of kratom.
The trio acknowledges that the FDA has raised legitimate concerns about kratom, especially related to poor kratom product labeling and packaging and a lack of testing for contaminants. However, Chris highlights that some companies do have thorough labels and ensure that their kratom products undergo rigorous 3rd-party lab testing.
Rogan follows up about A Leaf of Faith, which Bell says will be released at the end of that month.
Bell thanks Joe for his role in preventing a federal kratom ban. He had hoped to gather around 10,000 comments to oppose the DEA ban attempt, and over 20,000 people ended up submitting.
Joe Rogan and Hamilton Morris Discuss Kratom
While Joe has discussed kratom with many guests, the chemist and documentarian Hamilton Morris stands out as the one with the most expertise on the subject.
In 2017, Hamilton filmed The Forbidden Leaf, a kratom documentary that was part of the Vice series Hamilton’s Pharmacopeia. In the episode, he travels to Thailand to learn about traditional kratom practices. Today, Hamilton has his own podcast that covers similar topics to those in the Vice series. On it, he promotes kratom tea bags made by Top Tree Herbs.
JRE Episode #1136
Hamilton Morris and Joe Rogan start their conversation by pointing out how complex topics get misconstrued when they’re discussed on talk shows or panels. They’re both disappointed with how people have to produce meteoric sound bites in these settings instead of having long-form conversations that would be more productive. It’s no surprise that Rogan resonates with this issue, as most episodes of the JRE podcast are over two hours long.
Hamilton then explains to Rogan that he had recently been part of a publicized discussion about kratom, and asks Joe if he’s heard of kratom before. Unexpectedly, Joe reveals that he’d taken kratom capsules right before they started recording.
“Oh, this will f*** you up, this stuff”
Joe Rogan says that he gets mild energizing effects from 2-4 kratom capsules, but, “then, when you get to the range of eight to ten pills, it’s like, Oh, this will f*** you up, this stuff.”
But how much kratom did Rogan actually consume to get these effects, and what was the serving size?
He reveals that he isn’t aware of the amount of kratom leaves (or alkaloid concentration of the leaves) in the capsules he takes. He also isn’t certain of what the recommended serving size is.
How Much Kratom Does Joe Rogan Consume?
Hamilton takes a close look at the package to identify the weight of each capsule: 750mg. The recommended serving size is two capsules (1.5 grams total), so Joe’s 10-capsule/7.5-gram serving was five times the recommended amount.
“…when it comes to compounds and plants like kratom or cannabis, people shouldn’t promote them as faultless plants or a panaceas. Rather, they should focus on understanding the risks and making informed decisions.”
While discussing the safety of kratom, Hamilton mentions that kratom is rarely harmful in and of itself, but reminds Joe that virtually anything can be damaging in certain quantities or contexts.
Hamilton contends that when it comes to compounds and plants like kratom or cannabis, people shouldn’t promote them as faultless plants or panaceas. Rather, they should focus on understanding the risks and making informed decisions.
Hamilton emphasizes that freedom of choice should be prioritized over 100% safety, because ensuring the latter is impossible. He feels that, “People always want to emphasize the safety of things, but in my opinion safety isn’t the point. It doesn’t ultimately matter to me whether or not something is safe; I think we should have the freedom to do dangerous things if we choose. We’re allowed to ride motorcycles, we’re allowed to shoot guns, you’re allowed to go skydiving and bungee jumping. All those things carry risks, but it’s assumed that any adult that does them is aware of those risks.”
Learning from Kratom’s History
Like Chris Bell did in 2016, Hamilton tells Rogan the story of how Thailand banned kratom to prevent the loss of opium tax revenue.
Given the fact that kratom has helped people who have detrimental relationships with other compounds, Hamilton and Joe agree that the government’s negative attitude towards kratom is disappointing.
In classic Hamilton Morris style, they reiterate the importance of personal freedom in drug consumption decisions, along with the need for people to receive proper education about the potential benefits and drawbacks of the substances they choose to take, kratom or otherwise.
Joe Rogan and Joe List Talk Kratom
In May of 2019, Rogan hosts comedian Joe List and tells him pretty much the same story that he told Hamilton in 2018.
JRE Episode #1296
Rogan describes how after taking a large amount of kratom, he feels his mental state is significantly altered. Yet, “everything moves the way it’s supposed to; it doesn’t feel like you’re uncoordinated… I could go lift weights, I could go do something.”
List and Rogan joke about how kratom is just one of many substances and activities—like being a comic—that can compel you to want to keep engaging with it in interesting and weird ways.
We won’t dig into their conversation further here, because Joe Rogan covers most of this kratom story and more with Tom Segura the following year.
Tom Segura Hears the Same Joe Rogan Kratom Anecdote
A few years later, in July of 2022, Joe Rogan and Tom Segura talk about kratom for motivation and productivity.
JRE Episode #1844
How did the Joe Rogan and Tom Segura kratom conversation start? Tom Segura was reminiscing about difficulties he had finishing his book before his printing deadline. Reluctantly, the publishers gave him one extra week to finish it.
“Did you take Adderall?” Rogan asks him. Segura hadn’t ever taken Adderall to help him focus and write faster. Rogan hadn’t either. He was pretty nervous about trying it after hearing about others’ experiences with the drug.
“I liked kratom, have you taken that?” Segura shifts the conversation to another compound he’s tried for motivation. Of course, Joe had taken kratom numerous times.
“Have you taken it as a pre-workout?” Segura asks Rogan. Joe responds that he’d tried kratom for a number of different purposes. Rogan and Segura also find out that they had both been turned onto kratom by Chris Bell.
Has Rogan Learned Anything More About Kratom Since He Tried it in 2016?
Joe then recounts to Segura what seems like the same exact story he told to Hamilton Morris in 2018 and Joe List in 2019.
He details how Chris Bell had told him that at lower serving sizes, kratom is typically energizing, “like a good cup of coffee.” Conversely, in larger servings kratom is typically more relaxing and soothing—not really the right choice for a pre-workout.
Joe is aware of this difference in effects. But Bell had apparently told Joe that he “takes 10” before his workouts. So Joe “took 10,” which resulted in him feeling considerably altered, but still physically functional. Yet he definitely did not feel energized or ready for a workout.
Let’s pause for a moment. 10 what?!
Well, we know the likely answer to this question thanks to Hamilton Morris’s detective work a couple years prior: 10 capsules, each with 750mg of kratom powder. But it’s still interesting to hear Joe repeat the story with little attention to the details.
Questions We Want to Ask Joe Rogan About His Kratom Experience
Joe had presumably consumed 10 of his 750mg capsules, but did Chris Bell also consume 750mg capsules? What if the capsules Bell had were only 250mg, so Joe actually took three times as much? Or was the alkaloid concentration of the leaves in Joe Rogan’s kratom capsules much higher than the alkaloid concentration of Chris Bell’s kratom capsules? Did Rogan try 10 capsules without having had any kratom in the past few months, whereas Bell had consumed it daily and worked his way up to 10 capsules over time?
Without answers to these questions, we’re left in the dark about how to interpret and learn from any of the kratom experiences Joe Rogan has shared.
Tom Segura’s Kratom Experience
Tom Segura then shares his kratom routine with Joe. “I take one [vial]… I’ve been doing it for a couple weeks, and I feel f***ing ready to go after that,” he said. He is presumably talking about a kratom extract shot, though like Rogan, he doesn’t share any information about the strength. To Segura’s credit, many kratom brands don’t actually indicate the exact alkaloid concentration on the vials, they just use meaningless indicators of kratom extract strength like 2x or 5x.
“Does it make you feel like you’re ready to work out, like you feel better?” Joe asks him. “I do… if I’m being totally honest, I also feel more confident on it,” Segura responds.
There is a tinge of embarrassment in Segura’s voice. He explains that it’s because the feeling of confidence he gets from the kratom liquid is often associated with highly stigmatized substances like cocaine.
“But it’s kinda like an opiate, right?” Joe asks him. Segura can’t answer this question, so we’ll answer it for him: no, kratom is not an opiate, nor is it derived from one. Opiates are natural derivatives of the poppy plant, like opium or morphine. (Chris Bell tried to explain the differences on JRE in 2016, but obviously wasn’t able to drive this point home.)
Still Stuck in a Regulatory Gray Area
Misunderstandings about what kratom is have had serious negative impacts on state and federal policy decisions about kratom.
In the years since Joe Rogan started talking about kratom on The Joe Rogan Experience, kratom has encountered big waves of support from advocates and strong attacks from prohibitionists.
Despite advocacy efforts from expert researchers and millions of people that benefit from consuming kratom, the plant remains in a regulatory gray area. This ambiguity prevents kratom companies from clearly describing the benefits and drawbacks of kratom products they sell, especially when it comes to physical discomfort or transitioning away from other substances by consuming kratom.
Why Does Joe Rogan Use Kratom?
Joe Rogan has long been known for his “no holds barred” approach to podcasting. He’s not one to shy away from disclosing the more personal aspects of his life. Joe openly discusses his good and bad experiences with kratom and other compounds on his podcast.
In many ways, Joe has developed his personality around physical fitness. So it should come as no surprise that his preferred purpose for consuming kratom is as a pre-workout, before exercising.
Joe usually takes just 1.5 grams of kratom at a time. But when Chris Bell told Joe that he usually consumes around 7.5 grams of kratom before a workout, Joe wanted to try doing the same. The effects were powerful, and Joe didn’t give the experience a glowing review.
In most of the stories he tells recounting the experience, Joe states that he was surprised by the level of mental intoxication (but unimpaired physical capabilities) the large serving caused, as kratom was pitched to him as a non-intoxicating supplement. After that experience, Joe hasn’t been interested in consuming large amounts of kratom again.
What Brand of Kratom Does Joe Rogan Take?
In the instances that he has publicly disclosed which brand of kratom he consumes, Joe Rogan reports consuming Urban Ice Botanicals kratom capsules. Chris Bell was sponsored by this company when he produced A Leaf of Faith.
Want a Safe and Mild Kratom Product? Try Crushed-Leaf Tea
Despite growing bodies of kratom research and hundreds of years of kratom consumption, the discourse on kratom continues to be polarized.
Figures like Joe Rogan bring kratom a great deal of attention. It’s essential to understand its effects, merits, and potential drawbacks to make educated choices.
Joe Rogan’s dialogues and personal experiences with kratom offer a glimpse into the diverse world of this captivating plant.
Interested in experiencing the benefits of kratom for yourself? Consider trying kratom tea bags for a convenient and more mild introduction to this natural wonder.
Cheers to better brewing and the positive impact that Joe Rogan has had on preventing kratom prohibition!