Best Kratom For Pain Relief: Strains, Dosage & Effects

Best Kratom For Pain Relief: Strains, Dosage & Effects

Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) is a potent pain reliever. Only a few other plant species come close.

Kratom's appeal as a natural pain reliever has exploded in recent years, which is unsurprising. In the United States, it is believed that 3 to 5 million people use kratom on a regular basis [1].

We'll go over what makes kratom so effective for pain relief, how to use it properly, and which strains perform best in this guide.

Best Kratom Strains for Pain Relief

If I stated all kratom was the same, I'd be lying.

There are a variety of variants (kratom strains) available, each with its own distinct effect profile. Some strains of kratom are more soothing, while others are more stimulating.

Some are potent analgesics, while others are more euphoric and mood-enhancing.

According to the color of the leaf veins, kratom can be categorized into three categories:

Red vein kratom - these strains are thought to have the most powerful painkilling properties.
Green vein kratom — these strains have a less painkilling effect than red-vein kratom.
White vein kratom - these strains are more stimulating and nootropic, but they're not good for pain relief.

Let's look at the three types of pain management that most individuals use:

1. Red Maeng Da Kratom

Maeng da kratom is the most popular strain among those who use kratom to treat chronic pain. Maeng da is available in red, green, and white forms. All three are effective pain relievers, but the red vein variant is the most powerful overall.

Because the red vein maeng da strain is so potent, it's best to start with a lower amount than you think you'll need and gradually raise the dose once you've gotten a sense of how your body will react.

Benefits of Maeng Da Kratom:

  • Potent analgesic action
  • Improves sleep quality & onset
  • May alleviate feelings of stress & anxiety

2. Red Bali Kratom

Within the red-vein group, red Bali kratom is one of the more energetic alternatives.

The effects of most red vein kratom strains are more sedative than stimulating, making them unsuitable for use throughout the day. This strain's more stimulating nature makes it an excellent choice for managing pain during the day while working or engaging in other activities.

Benefits of Red Bali Kratom:

  • Stimulating & energizing effects
  • Moderate analgesic action
  • May alleviate feelings of stress & anxiety

3. Red Borneo Kratom

This is a great all-arounder for pain relief and helping to reduce the dosage of prescription pain drugs (with your doctor's permission, of course).

Red Borneo kratom is one of the most popular kratom strains in the world. In comparison to other strains, it offers a fantastic mix of significant painkilling action and a low risk of triggering adverse effects.

The only disadvantage of this variety is that not every red Borneo is the same. The Kona Kratom red Borneo sample we tested was around 50% stronger than the Kraken Kratom sample we tried. Make sure you get from a trustworthy provider because not all red Borneo is created equal.

Benefits of Red Borneo Kratom:

  • Moderate analgesic action
  • Alleviates symptoms of withdrawal
  • Improves the quality & duration of sleep
  • Lower chance of producing side-effects than other red-vein kratom strains

What’s The Best Dose of Kratom For Pain?

There are two types of Kratom dosages: low dose and high dose.

Low-dose kratom is energizing and has a lot in common with coffee, which is a closely related plant species. Doses of up to 5 grams of dried powder are included.

The effect of higher doses is very different. They have a sedative, euphoric, and analgesic effect. This is the most common dose for chronic pain management.

For pain relief, a common dose of kratom is 5–10 grams.

How Does Kratom Work For Pain?

There are numerous anecdotal stories of people utilizing kratom to relieve pain, but only a few research investigations.

Let's take a closer look at the data and explain how it works.

Kratom works to relieve pain in three different ways:

  1. It activates opioid receptors, which serve as a conduit for pain impulses to reach the brain.
  2. COX-2, an enzyme that produces inflammatory signals that cause pain, is inhibited.
  3. It relaxes muscular fibers, which relieves muscle discomfort and stress.


Kratom's primary analgesic impact is due to its interactions with opiate receptors. This is the same mechanism of action as morphine, Dilaudid, or OxyContin, among other pain relievers.

Opiate receptors can be found all across the spinal cord and brainstem. They serve as a point of entry for pain signals.

The body uses a group of chemicals known as endorphins to actively modulate the degree of pain it feels (natural opioids).

In the body, pain serves an important function: it alerts us when something is wrong and teaches us to be cautious around wounded areas.

Too much pain, or pain signals that last for an extended period of time, might be harmful.

How The Opiate Receptors Work

The pain signal is generated when an injury occurs in the body, such as an inflamed joint, an irritated segment of the digestive tract, or other ailments. Nociceptors are specialized sensors that detect damage in the area and transmit an electrical signal to the spinal cord.

Opiate receptors are found on the exterior of some nerve signals in the spinal cord. Compounds like endorphins are released to activate these receptors in order to modulate the pain signal reaching the brain. Once triggered, opioid receptors prevent the nerve cell from passing the signal on to the brain, effectively preventing the signal from reaching the brain and lowering pain perception.

The pain signal becomes weaker when more opioid receptors are activated.

Kratom For Pain: What The Research Says

The effects of kratom on pain tolerance in 26 men were investigated in a randomized, double-blind research [10]. One hour after consuming a kratom decoction, the study found a significant increase in pain tolerance. In the placebo control group, pain tolerance remained unaltered.

In a 2017 poll, 3024 kratom users were asked about their experiences with the herb [5]. The vast majority of individuals (48%) said their primary motive for using kratom was to relieve discomfort. Only 13% of trial participants reported negative side effects, and only 0.8 percent quit using the herb because of them.

As many as 10% of those who took part in the study said they used the herb to cut down on opiate use or to treat withdrawal symptoms. The vast majority of those who used kratom for opioid withdrawal (90 percent) said it helped them feel better by lowering pain and alleviating withdrawal symptoms.

Hundreds of in-vitro and animal studies have also showed promise for the usage of kratom and its alkaloids in the treatment of a variety of pains:

  1. Mitragynine activates opioid receptors (nociceptive) in vitro [6].
  2. Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine inhibit pain in vivo by activating both the delta and mu opioid receptors. [7]
  3. The mu-opioid receptors are activated by 7-hydroxymitragynine, which blocks pain. [8]
  4. In mice, alkaloid extracts increased pain response delay [9].

Active Ingredients In Kratom For Pain

In the kratom plant, there are over 40 different alkaloids, each with its own set of effects. There are two chemicals in particular that account for the majority of the plant's painkilling effects:

1. Mitragynine

Mitragynine is the major alkaloid in kratom, accounting for more than 65 percent of the total alkaloid concentration in some samples.

Although this molecule is a potent opiate receptor agonist, it has no structural resemblance to other opioids.

Mitragynine binds to mu-opioid receptors, which are implicated in pain, stress, sleep, respiration rate, blood pressure, and mood regulation. Activating these receptors prevents pain from reaching the brain, as well as contributing to the relaxing and euphoric benefits.

This substance has also been proven to inhibit COX (cyclooxygenase), which is Aspirin's major mechanism of action for reducing pain and inflammation.

Mitragynine also binds to a variety of different receptors, which explains why the effects are so varied and widespread. Adrenergic, 5HT1A (serotonin), dopamine, GABA, NMDA, and norepinephrine receptors have all been found to bind to it.

2. 7-Hydroxy-Mitragynine

In most kratom samples, 7-hydroxy-mitragynine is the second most prevalent alkaloid.

This is the plant's main painkiller, and it's up to 13 times more powerful than morphine and 36 times more powerful than mitragynine. According to some research, this alkaloid binds to mu, kappa, and delta opioid receptors [2].

Kratom vs. Prescription Pain Medications

Kratom is frequently used as a substitute for pharmaceutical pain relievers. It provides similar comfort and works through the same processes (mu-opioid receptor agonism).

Many people use kratom to help them wean themselves off pharmaceutical opiates or illegal substances like heroin. The opioid receptor activation of kratom alkaloids aids in the relief of withdrawal symptoms and the reduction of cravings.

Key Differences: Kratom vs. Prescription Pain Meds

Comparison Metrics 🍃 Kratom 💊 Prescription Opiates
Effects On Pain Moderate to strong pain-relief Strong pain-relief
Overdose Potential Very unlikely to cause overdose Moderate to high chances of overdose (depending on the substance)
Potential for Addiction Mild to moderate Moderate to high potential for addiction
Mechanism of action • Mu, delta, & kappa-opioid receptor agonism
• Dopaminergic & serotonergic effects
• NMDA agonist
• GABAergic effects
• Adrenergic receptor agonist
• Mu-opioid receptor agonist
Requires Prescription? No



What Makes Kratom Safer Than Prescription Opiates?

Why is kratom considered a safer option if it has the same pain-relieving effect as prescription opiates and targets many of the same receptors? Shouldn't they both be at the same danger level?

To begin with, it is extremely difficult to overdose on kratom. This plant must be taken orally. You'll feel queasy and start throwing up if you take too much before it reaches dangerous levels.

Nobody uses kratom in extremely high dosages. This is simply due to the fact that it is extremely inconvenient. You merely use what you require and nothing more. Pharmaceuticals, on the other hand, are a different story. You can take them for as long as you want without experiencing the same uncomfortable side effects.

Other processes in kratom help to lower danger even more. Kratom is referred to as a "dirty substance." This isn't meant to be a derogatory statement; it just refers to the specificity of the active substances.

Instead of activating only one type of receptor, like most prescription painkillers do, kratom activates a variety of them. It blocks pain by targeting opioid receptors, as well as serotonin, dopamine, glutamate, GABA, and adrenergic receptors. This not only broadens the breadth of kratom's benefits, but it also disperses the effects throughout several body systems. Some of these side effects actually aid in lowering the danger of overdosing and tolerance.

Something in kratom, for example, appears to inhibit the activation of a molecule called beta-arrestin-2 [2]. This molecule is triggered by traditional opiate drugs and is responsible for respiratory depression, which is the leading cause of death in opiate overdoses.

According to some ideas, kratom's lesser propensity for addiction stems from its capacity to bind to kappa-opioid receptors, a subtype of opioid pain receptors. The majority of prescription drugs target solely mu-opioid receptors.

When compared to traditional mu-opioid agonists, kratom's dysphoria and reduced potential for addiction could be explained by activation of the kappa opioid receptors [3]. We can't be confident because the research is still in its early phases.

Is Kratom Addictive?

When it comes to kratom, this is one of the most common worries. I'm not going to sit here and tell you that kratom isn't addictive; it most definitely is. I will say, however, that kratom is far less addictive than the alternatives.

Almost any substance (herbal or pharmaceutical) has the potential to be addicted. Addiction is, at its core, a physiological and psychological attempt to obtain relief from pain. When a substance begins to have a demonstrable detrimental influence on your life, but you continue to use it regardless, the line between therapy and addiction is drawn.

Because they provide relief from a visceral form of discomfort – chronic pain — painkillers have a high proclivity for addiction.

Because kratom is such a potent pain reliever, it's simple to see how someone may become hooked to its effects. If you're constantly in pain and discomfort, your body will desire to do whatever it takes to alleviate that pain and discomfort.

Despite the risk of addiction, many individuals take kratom to relieve pain because it is less addictive than pharmaceutical opiates such as OxyContin, codeine, Demerol, Dilaudid, Percocet, and others. Nearly 10% of patients who are administered opiate medicines will develop an addiction.

These compounds are also hazardous. Every day, over 130 Americans die as a result of an opioid overdose.

One of the main reasons individuals resort to kratom instead of prescription drugs is the significant risk of addiction and death from an overdose. While there is a serious risk of addiction to this herb, it is generally believed to be much safer. Addiction to this natural chemical is far easier to avoid or overcome than to prescription opiates.

Kratom Dependency & Tolerance Formation

Psychological (behavioral) addiction is defined as the desire to use kratom to alleviate pain and suffering. Because the main consequence of avoiding the herb is that your pain returns, this sort of addiction is simple to break.

Long-term kratom use can result in dependency, tolerance, and a more serious type of addiction (physical addiction).

To get to this position, it takes several months of constant use. You'll notice that the dose required to achieve the same degree of effect gradually increases. You may experience various adverse effects such as muscular tremors, anxiety, low mood, and pain if you miss a dosage.

This tolerance and dependency can be overcome, but it requires weaning off the substance gradually until the body no longer requires it for homeostasis (balance). This is referred to as detoxification. The withdrawal symptoms you experience when you skip a kratom dose are known as withdrawal symptoms.

What Are The Signs Of Kratom Addiction?

  1. To feel the intended effects, you need a very high dose of kratom.
  2. When you don't use kratom, you feel physically ill.
  3. You're continuously considering consuming kratom.
  4. You've lost interest in other obligations, such as work, school, or housework.
  5. You've become estranged from your friends or family members.

How to Avoid Becoming Addicted to Kratom

There are no good or bad chemicals - only chemicals that exist. It's how we interact with them that determines whether we have a good or negative connection.

Maintaining a healthy relationship with kratom is the best way to avoid becoming addicted to it.

This means recognizing that the primary focus should be on the source of your misery. Don't use the substance as a crutch to get you out of your misery. Take measures to figure out what's causing your discomfort and how to deal with it by eliminating the source. This could include taking physical actions like skipping a particular sport or activity for a period of time to allow the body to recover, seeing a physiotherapist, or focusing on muscle or joint rehabilitation.

It could also imply more metaphysical adjustments, such as fine-tuning your habits and rituals, identifying internal sources of motivation, and improving your attitude. All of these factors have a greater influence on chronic pain than you may think.

Kratom is a supplement that can help you improve your quality of life and take the edge off while you focus on other elements of your health. For pain management, no drug should be used indefinitely.

If at all possible, avoid using kratom every day. Even just one or two days a week where you don't use any kratom at all can help you avoid the development of dependence and addiction.

Side Effects of Kratom

Any substance that has a powerful impact on the body, whether natural or synthetic, carries the danger of adverse effects. There is no such thing as a side effect-free product. The goal is to weigh the risks and benefits of utilizing these medications, as well as to take steps to minimize any potential negative effects.

Kratom's side effects include:

  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle coordination loss
  • Fatigue and lethargy
  • libido is a term used to describe a person's sexual desire
  • Appetite problems
  • Irritation of the skin

The key is to discover the dose that produces the desired results and then stop there. The more you take, the more likely you are to experience side effects. If 8 grams is enough to relieve your pain, there's no reason to take any more, and doing so will simply expose you to adverse effects.

When using kratom for pain, the most prevalent adverse effect is a condition known as kratom wobble. Dizziness, loss of muscle coordination, and nausea are all symptoms of this condition. It can be rather unpleasant, so try to avoid it if at all possible.

Also prevalent are sedation, lethargy, headaches, and grogginess.

Will Kratom Mix With My Medications?

Many persons who use kratom for pain relief are also using other drugs. Always see your doctor before using kratom if you're using any other pain relievers. They can make sure the kratom won't interact with any of your current prescriptions.

Combinations with other opiate medications are the most problematic. Because they work on the same receptors in the body, mixing kratom with pharmaceuticals like fentanyl, codeine, OxyContin, Dilaudid, Percocet, or other opiate prescriptions might raise the risk of overdosing.

Other interactions with kratom and other medications are possible, especially involving competition for liver metabolism.

The liver is responsible for metabolizing everything we ingest. The organ's enzymes are responsible for deconstructing or modifying the chemical structure of molecules in our blood to aid in their elimination from the body. The CYP450 isoenzymes are the enzymes that make up this group.

It can slow down the process if two or more substances require the same enzymes for metabolism. When there is too much competition, the active chemicals in the body can begin to build up. Side effects may occur if the effects remain longer than expected or if they act too forcefully on the body.

Kratom is metabolized predominantly by the enzymes CYP2C9, CYP2D6, CYP1A2, and CYP3A4 [4]. Many other drugs and substances rely on the same enzymes for metabolism, therefore kratom could have an impact on them.

Antacids, grapefruit juice, dextromethorphan, and watercress, for example, have a very significant reaction with kratom. All of these compounds will intensify the effects of kratom, causing you to experience stronger effects than you might expect.

Drugs with a limited therapeutic index, such as warfarin, should be used with caution. The difference between an effective dose and a one that could be hazardous is extremely small. Even minor changes in how this medicine is processed by the body can result in more serious complications.

The main line is that you can combine kratom with other medications, but you should always consult your doctor first to ensure that it is safe. They may adjust your prescription dosage or advise you to take kratom at least 2 hours after you take your other drugs.

Final Thoughts: Using Kratom For Pain

There are many health benefits to kratom, but none equal to its ability to relieve pain.

The active chemicals are a collection of over 40 alkaloids, many of which target the same receptors as prescription painkillers like OcyContin and Dilaudid do. This offers kratom a potent analgesic effect that rivals even the most potent prescription pain relievers.

Other components in kratom lessen the risk of dangerous side effects and addiction, both of which are big issues with today's prescription pain relievers.

While kratom, like any other analgesic, can be addictive, it has been shown to be significantly less problematic than the alternatives. Many people use kratom to help them wean themselves off of opiates, whether prescribed or illicit.

Always check your doctor before using kratom to manage your pain, particularly if you have any underlying health conditions or are using any other drugs.


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