What Is Kratom? Uses, Side Effects, & Safety - KratomSeries

What Is Kratom? Uses, Side Effects, & Safety

Kratom is a Southeast Asian evergreen tree with a simple appearance. Lower doses are used as a stimulant, whereas greater levels are utilized as a sedative and painkillers.

What Is Kratom?

Kratom (Mitragyna speciose) is a plant that belongs to the Rubiaceae family, making it a close relative of the coffee plant (Coffea spp.).

Kratom, like its relative, is a potent stimulant of the central nervous system. It's used to increase physical and mental stamina.

Since the early 19th century, kratom has been a popular herb among Asian laborers as a way to prevent burnout, but its traditional medical use is likely considerably broader.

Kratom has a variety of effects, some of which are energizing, while others are sedative or anxiolytic. The effects of kratom are determined by the dosage. Kratom at high doses is a potent pain reliever and euphoric, akin to opiate pain relievers.

The kratom plant only provides mild pain relief at lower doses, but it activates the central nervous system, making users feel more alert and invigorated.

How is Kratom Used?

Fresh Mitragyna speciosa leaves are chewed, smoked, or powdered and used to make a powerful tea.

Some vendors sell kratom extracts, which are prepared by eliminating everything from the kratom resin except the active components.

The most typical way to consume the plant outside of Southeast Asia is to combine the dried, powdered leaves with a glass of water. This results in a powerful and bitter beverage. Although it's uncommon for someone to appreciate the taste of kratom, this isn't why it's utilized.

To assist disguise some of the unpleasant flavors, most users will flavor the beverage with honey or sweetener and drink the rest as quickly as possible.

What’s The Dose of Kratom?

When it comes to the ideal kratom dose, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution. The dose is influenced by several factors, including the strain chosen, the freshness of the leaves, your weight, and the intended effects.

We can split the dose of kratom into two different camps:

  • Low-Dose Kratom (2–6 grams of dried powder)
  • High-Dose Kratom (6–12 grams of dried powder)

If this is your first time using kratom, start with the lowest dosage and gradually increase over multiple sessions once you've got a sense of how your body reacts.

If you want a more accurate estimate of the best kratom dose for your body, aim for 0.03 grams per pound of bodyweight for stimulating benefits and 0.06 grams per pound for sedative and painkilling effects.

A teaspoon of dry kratom powder weighs around 2.5 grams, whereas a tablespoon weighs around 7 grams.

What Does Kratom Feel Like?

Kratom is a complicated plant; the leaves contain 16 active compounds, each with its own set of effects. The proportions of these chemicals vary from strain to strain, giving each one a distinct impact profile.

The way kratom feels is also affected by the dose.

Low doses are energizing. It has a similar taste to coffee but is less prone to cause undesirable side effects such as anxiety or jitteriness. At this level, it also has a slight euphoric effect, which helps to improve mood and boost mental clarity. These dosages are used as a nootropic or stimulant to increase physical and mental stamina and energy.

Around the 7-gram dosage threshold, the herb's effects completely change. Kratom has a sedative effect at greater doses. Users report feeling at ease, carefree, and lazy. These dosages are best for promoting sleep, reducing anxiety, and relieving chronic pain and muscle tension.

Mild visual effects heightened empathy, and a warm sensation in the body are all side effects of kratom at all doses.

It's a well-known aphrodisiac that boosts sexual excitement while also boosting erectile function. With higher doses, some people report that the sexual stimulant benefits of kratom start to fade.

How Long Does Kratom Last?

The effects of kratom last about 3 to 4 hours in total.

The effects of kratom take around 30 minutes to kick in, and they peak at around an hour. On an empty stomach, people who take kratom report a faster start of effects, but this also raises the risk of negative effects.

What Are The Benefits of Kratom?

Kratom has a long history of medicinal use, including infection and bladder illness, fevers, diarrhea, diabetes, weariness, and mental health issues.

Kratom is now largely utilized for its nootropic and pain-relieving properties. Some people use the herb as a substitute for prescription medicines or as a buffer to help them wean themselves off addictive opiates.

Kratom For Pain

Even though there are few studies to back up kratom's possible medical purposes, it's widely regarded as one of the most efficient natural pain relievers, second only to opium.

Learn more about kratom's pain-relieving properties.

Kratom withdrawal symptoms are also milder and shorter-lived.

Kratom For Addiction & Withdrawal

A 2008 case study looked into the usage of kratom to help a recovering opiate addict with withdrawal symptoms [3]. The withdrawal period was far less painful than with prescription opioids, but it took a bit longer to recover completely, according to the patient in this study.

The patient was addicted to hydromorphone before the research. He quickly stopped taking the drug and was able to prevent withdrawal by taking kratom four times a day. He claimed that kratom helped him avoid withdrawal symptoms while also reducing the persistent pain that drove him to use painkillers in the first place.

Due to its remarkable safety profile and widespread availability, kratom is currently being investigated as an alternative to methadone as the usual therapy for opiate addiction in developing nations.

Kratom has also been shown to help with mild alcohol withdrawal symptoms such as restlessness, anxiety, aches and pains, and mood swings.

Kratom As A Nootropic

Apart from its medicinal properties, brain hackers perceive kratom to be a great instrument for personal development. It's used to stimulate mental energy and concentrate in the near term, and to improve overall mental endurance and stamina in the long term.

Kratom, like other natural psychoactive substances, can help people heal their deepest emotional, psychological, and interpersonal wounds. It is said to free users from the confines of everyday behavior patterns. Some believe the herb can draw focus away from problems that aren't getting enough attention by encouraging introspective thinking - especially at greater doses.

Kratom For Anxiety

Animal studies have demonstrated that kratom possesses antidepressant and anti-anxiety properties [4]. Mice given mitragynine had decreased levels of corticosterone (one of the most important stress hormones) in their blood.

Risks & Side Effects of Kratom

Kratom is generally seen to be safe, however, there are a few exceptions. Before we can draw any definitive findings, we need more long-term clinical investigations.

So far, we've learned that mitragynine, one of the active components in kratom, has relatively little toxicity, even at high dosages. Researchers found no deadly effects in rats given very large dosages of kratom leaf (1000 mg/kg) or 806 mg/kg pure mitragynine (taken orally) [5].

However, when using kratom, there are still several hazards and adverse effects to be cautious of.

Kratom Adulterants

For starters, the quality of kratom products varies, and different preparations may contain harmful adulterants. Prescription medicines such as fentanyl, hydrocodone, and morphine have been discovered in certain kratom samples.

Nine people died in Sweden as a result of Krypton, a "boost kratom recipe." Kratom, caffeine, and O-desmethyl tramadol were all present in this product. Other kratom products have been discovered to contain much less kratom than their packaging claims.

Kratom & Drug Interactions

Other drugs should not be used with kratom. Patients who used kratom with stimulant drugs like modafinil have been reported to experience convulsions.

Mixing kratom with alcohol or other central nervous system depressants is extremely harmful, especially at higher doses.

Before attempting kratom on your own, check with your doctor if you're taking any illicit or prescription medicines.

What Are The Side Effects of Kratom?

  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Insomnia
  • Itchiness in the skin
  • Loss of muscle coordination
  • Low blood pressure
  • Low libido
  • Nausea
  • Poor appetite
  • Seizures
  • Tremors or muscle contractions

Can You Overdose on Kratom?

Although no deadly dose of kratom has been discovered in humans, a lethal amount was discovered in mice in a 2019 study.

It was a deadly intravenous injection of extracted alkaloids. The median lethal dose for 50% of the test population (LD50) for mitragynine was determined to be 27.8 mg per 1 kg of body weight. The threshold for 7-hydroxy mitragynine is 24.7 mg/kg [8].

Mitragynine had an LD50 of 547.7 mg/kg in mice when ingested orally, but 7-hydroxy mitragynine had no lethal dose.

These doses are far too high to be achieved with the herb in its oral form. This high dose can only be achieved through injection. Long before reaching the toxic dose, kratom causes extreme nausea and vomiting.

Is Kratom Addictive?

Yes, kratom can be addictive, but only when used for a long time.

While kratom's addictive properties are much weaker than those of potent pharmaceutical narcotics, it can still cause alterations to opioid receptors, which can lead to physical dependence. The longer you use kratom and the bigger the dose you take, the more likely you are to become addicted to it.

Long-Term Negative Health Effects of Kratom

The long-term safety of kratom has still yet to be determined. The majority of the long-term safety evidence we have on the plant is based solely on anecdotal reports [6].

Nausea, itching, dark urine, jaundice, and abdominal pain were described by users who took kratom regularly for two to eight weeks. These adverse effects could indicate that long-term kratom use has an impact on the liver. Over-pigmentation or darkening of the cheeks may occur in heavy kratom users. High alkaloid concentrations can cause kidney damage and affect cardiovascular functioning in rare circumstances [7].

Kratom Active Constituents

The kratom plant has dozens of active compounds, each of which has a distinct set of effects. Indole and oxindole alkaloids make up the majority of the active components. They work by binding to and interacting with numerous neurotransmitters in the brain to provide pain relief, anxiolytic, stimulant, and nootropic effects.

Each kratom strain has a varied ratio of active chemicals, resulting in a distinct set of effects. Some are more stimulating, while others are sedative or anti-inflammatories. The differences in effects are due to differing active component concentrations.

Roughly 90% of the active alkaloid content consists of just four compounds, but there are many others as well:

  1. Mitragynine  In most kratom strains, this is the most abundant ingredient, comprising up to 66 percent of the plant's total alkaloid content. It works as a 5-HT2A receptor agonist, which is similar to how psychedelics like LSD and psilocybin work. The mu-opioid and kappa-opioid receptors are also targeted.
  2. Paynantheine  In kratom, this is the second most prevalent alkaloid. Paynantheine has a calming effect as a smooth muscle relaxant and opioid receptor agonist.
  3. Speciogynine  In kratom, this is the third most prevalent alkaloid. It contributes significantly to the plant's muscle-relaxant and anti-anxiety properties.
  4. 7-hydroxy mitragynine  It's present in varying amounts in different kratom strains, but it's most common in red-veined kratom strains. It works by interacting with mu-opioid receptors.

What Are The Different Types of Kratom?

Kratom, like other plants, comes in a variety of strains, each with its own set of features.

What is a strain?

A strain is the offspring of a plant that shares the same genetic makeup but differs in morphological or chemical characteristics, whereas a species is a genetically unique plant with its species designation. Although all kratom is of the same species (Mitragyna speciosa), there are numerous strains within that species, including Red Kale, Green Hulu, White Dragon, and others.

The numerous kratom strains are divided into three categories based on the color of the leaf veins: red, white, and green.

While there is a lot of variation within each category, it serves as a pretty dependable way of categorizing the various impacts that each leaf type can produce.

Red Vein Kratom Strains

Red vein kratom is more soothing and sedating than other varieties. For pain relief and sleep assistance, it's frequently the best option. The greater 7-hydroxy mitragynine concentrations are assumed to be the cause of the red color.

These are also some of the quickest-acting strains. The effects of most red-veined leaves can be felt after around 20 minutes.

Red-Vein Kratom Strains Include:

Red Jongkong Kratom
Red Asia Kratom
Red Kali Kratom
Red Elephant Kratom
Red Indo Kratom
Red Sumatra Kratom
Red Hulu Kratom
Red Malay Kratom
Red Thai Kratom
Red Horn Kratom
Red Borneo Kratom
Red Dragon Kratom
Red Bali Kratom

White Vein Kratom Strains

The most stimulating kratom is said to be white vein kratom (with some exceptions).

It's more popular among people who take kratom first thing in the morning, like coffee. They're high in euphoric alkaloids, making them a good choice for improving motivation and mood.

White-Vein Kratom Strains Include:

White Borneo Kratom
White Thai Kratom
White Bali Kratom
White Maeng Da Kratom
White Indo Kratom
White Horn Kratom
White Elephant Kratom
White Dragon Kratom
White Sumatra Kratom
White Malay Kratom
White Jongkong Kratom

Green Vein Kratom Strains

Green-vein kratom is stimulating in the same way that white-vein kratom is, but it lasts longer. They're also far more plentiful, making them less expensive overall. These strains are usually well-balanced, with a wide range of sleep-inducing, anti-anxiety, and stimulating properties.

These strains are substantially more unpredictable because of the high variability within the green-veined group. Some are more stimulating, while others are significantly sedative.

Green-Vein Kratom Strains Include:

Green Malay Kratom
Green Maeng Da Kratom
Green Borneo Kratom
Green Hulu Kratom
Green Vietnam Kratom
Green Thai Kratom
Green Horn Kratom
Green Indo Kratom
Green Dragon Kratom
Green Sumatra Kratom
Super Green Malay Kratom
Super Green Kali Kratom
Super Green Bali Kratom

Is Kratom Legal?

Yes, kratom is legal in the majority of countries (but not all).

Kratom, like many other mind-altering herbs, has had a tumultuous legal past.

There appear to be three main approaches to the kratom plant that a country can take:

  1. "Because it has the potential to be addicting, it should be illegal!"
  2. "Because it's less addictive and hazardous than other opiates, it should be legalized!"
  3. "What exactly is kratom?"

Kratom Laws in North America

Although the DEA considers kratom a "drug of concern," it is not on the federal list of restricted substances in the United States. This indicates it's on their radar, but it's not yet outlawed or controlled. If it becomes evident that the plant is causing overdoses or addiction, they will likely take action to outlaw it nationwide.

However, as we've already discussed, kratom has a lot lower potential for misuse than any other opioid drug, and it's nearly difficult to overdose on the herb without injecting it — which is extremely unusual, and there's no point in doing so anyway (it will make you feel like trash).

Most US states follow federal guidelines when it comes to kratom, thus ordering it online and using it without a prescription is entirely legal. A small number of states have passed legislation prohibiting the use of the herb.

States that have banned kratom use:

  • Alabama
  • Indiana
  • Rhode Island 
  • New Hampshire 
  • Tennessee
  • Vermont
  • Wisconsin
The herb is completely legal in both Canada and Mexico, and you can buy it without a prescription online or in-store.

Kratom Frequently Asked Questions

With this helpful herb, there's a lot to consider. If we weren't able to answer your question, see this faq, which we update every time a new question comes in that we haven't yet answered. If there's anything in here that we haven't covered, please let us know. We'd be delighted to assist!

Does Rotating Strains Prevent Tolerance?

One of the most common concerns among those who use kratom daily is tolerance.

One prevalent misunderstanding is that by combining diverse strains, we might avoid developing tolerance to this plant.

Unfortunately, except for a few Reddit anecdotal stories, there is no evidence that this is real. The sole difference between the alkaloids in each strain is their ratio when compared to one another.

Is Kratom Injectable?

According to the Ohio Substance Abuse Monitoring Network's 2018 poll, seven out of ten kratom users say they would shoot the substance if they had the chance.

Although injecting kratom is technically conceivable, and it is a typical technique of delivering the plant to mice in medical studies, it is not practical in real-world usage.

Injecting the herb necessitates pharmaceutical-grade preparation, which is both expensive and difficult to come by. Second, it's not at all a pleasurable method to use the herb.

Injecting pure kratom alkaloids has rarely been found to be beneficial, typically resulting in severe adverse effects and pain, such as the kratom wobble.

The main conclusion is that, while technically conceivable, no one injects kratom because it's too pricey, won't provide the fundamental benefits, and will make you feel awful.

Does Kratom Show Up On A Drug-Test

A drug test can only detect what it is designed to detect. This means that if a substance isn't explicitly included on the drug panel, it won't be detected.

It will detect kratom in the bloodstream if it is specified on the drug test. Kratom can take up to a week to completely leave the body, therefore if the test is taken during that time frame, it will very certainly show up.

Most employers, government entities, and athletic organizations that require drug tests aren't seeking kratom. There's no necessity to look for the herb in the first place because it's fully legal in most parts of the world.

If you live in a region where kratom is prohibited, this could change.

Because the molecular structure of the active components differs significantly from that of pharmaceutical or illicit opiates, Kratom is unlikely to generate a false positive drug test for other opiate drugs.

How Long Does Kratom Stay in Your System?

There are differing opinions on how long kratom can be detectable in urine [9]. Some suggest that kratom can be flushed out of your system in as little as one day, while others claim that it can stay in your system for up to two weeks.

By the second week after stopping use, most specialists concur that kratom alkaloids are almost undetectable in the blood.

The more you use it, the longer it takes for it to be cleared from your body, just like any other substance.

Can Kratom Lead to Psychological Trauma?

Long-term kratom use has been linked to delusional behavior, according to some studies. While moderate use is unlikely to create psychological issues, some kratom users have experienced anxiety after taking heavy dosages for lengthy periods. In comparison to many other psychoactive chemicals, the "high" from kratom is usually light and pleasant.

If you or a close family member has a history of psychosis, bipolar illness, or schizophrenia, you should never use kratom or any other psychoactive substance.

Where Can I Buy Kratom?

Both locally and online, kratom is available. Check out nearby vape shops, head shops, and specialized stores if you're looking for kratom near you. It is mostly a buyer's market, with a wide choice of options and numerous reviews. There is, however, a great deal of ambiguity and inconsistency.

We recommend choosing a reputable online vendor if you want to obtain the greatest deals on high-quality kratom. While we can't assume that everyone selling kratom knows what they're doing, there are a lot of dedicated sellers out there who offer knowledgable customer service and high-quality kratom powder.

Is It Legal To Grow Kratom At Home?

Wherever kratom isn't prohibited, it's lawful to grow it.

The only things you'll need to get started cultivating kratom are some seeds or live plants, which you can get along with the powder from most kratom merchants online.

Because kratom is a tropical plant, it will need plenty of light and water, as well as a warm position in your home away from the air conditioner, cool windows, or areas with a lot of breezes.

What’s The Best Way To Take Kratom?

The "toss and wash" method is by far the most popular way to use kratom. This entails "tossing" back a spoonful of the raw powder and then "washing" it down with a gallon of water.

This herb has an unpleasant flavor. Even combining it with a fruity juice fails to disguise the flavor. It's best to immediately knock it back and get it out of the way – like pulling off a bandaid.

Those who are afraid of the taste can opt for pills to avoid it entirely. The disadvantage is that you'll have to take numerous capsules to get the herb's effective dose.

Last but not least, you can make tea out of your kratom powder. Kratom tea is thought to have the quickest onset of any approach, and it does not disturb the stomach. Keep in mind that the flavor will still be off with this procedure, although seasoning it with honey may help.

Is it Safe to Take Kratom Resins, Extracts, & Tinctures?

The extracts and resins of kratom are quite powerful. They're safe to use, but only individuals with a lot of kratom experience should try them. It's simple to consume too much of these concentrated extracts, causing nausea and dizziness.

Begin with a very low dose and gradually increase until you discover a dose that works for you.

Tinctures are notoriously hit-or-miss. Some are quite powerful, while others are considerably less so. With practice, you'll be able to determine the tincture's potency based on the concentration stated on the bottle (such as 1:5, 2:1, or 10:1).

Related: How to Make Kratom Tinctures?

Can You Smoke Kratom?

Although it's not unheard of for people to smoke kratom, it won't have much of an effect. Most of the euphoric effects of the alkaloids in kratom are destroyed by heat. You'll still feel symptoms, but they'll be considerably milder, and you'll waste a lot of the herb's active elements.

Can I Microdose Kratom?

Some people have started sharing the results of their microdosing kratom experiences on the internet. After utilizing microdoses of kratom, users report feeling more energy, better attention, and a stronger sense of health and wellbeing.

There are currently no clinical studies to back up these claims, and the long-term health ramifications of using kratom daily are unknown.

Can Kratom Replace Any Medications?

It's possible that mixing kratom with other substances is harmful. When kratom is used with opiates, for example, you may get deadly respiratory depression. Such interactions are also known to cause loss of consciousness and vomiting. It's not a good idea to substitute your prescriptions with kratom without first consulting your prescribing doctor.

Oxycodone, hydrocodone, tramadol, DXM, and benzodiazepines including Valium, Xanax, and Klonopin have all been shown to interact with kratom.

Due to the depressive effects of alcohol, kratom and alcohol are not a good match. Because the cross-interaction could cause respiratory failure. As a moderate intoxicant, some people use kratom instead of alcohol, but they never mix the two.

Others use kratom as a substitute for pharmaceutical stimulants such as Adderall or even caffeine.

Kratom can also be used as a substitute for marijuana. Although the effects are distinct, the applications of these two plants are remarkably similar. If you have bad reactions to marijuana, such as paranoia, anxiety, or insomnia, kratom might be worth a try. Never combine kratom with marijuana.

Summary: What Is Kratom & What Is It Used For?

Kratom is an extremely beneficial plant. It's one of the world's best herbal pain relievers, with a unique contradiction of stimulating and sedating effects depending on the dose. Kratom can be used as a nootropic and stimulant in the same way that caffeine can, or as a sedative and anxiolytic in the same way that cannabis or kava can.

Despite its health benefits, kratom is a contentious substance. It's illegal in some nations, and the DEA has classified it as a "drug of concern." Because kratom works on opioid receptors, there is concern that it could become addictive.

While this is true, long-term kratom use can lead to tolerance and addiction, which is why it's best to take kratom breaks every couple of weeks at the very least. Kratom is substantially safer than most opiate medicines or sedatives. This plant is considerably easier to avoid and reverse addiction to than any other opiate medicine.

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