The overprescription and illicit use of opiates have resulted in one of the worse drug-related epidemics the United States has ever seen. However, with more developing a dependency on opioids, there is a search for all-natural solutions. With that, many are looking towards kratom for opioid addiction.
In this article, we’re going to explore of you can use kratom, its potential benefits for opioid addiction, and what kinds of drawbacks it might have. At the end, we invite you to ask further questions.
What is Kratom?
Kratom is a natural tree native to Southeast Asia in countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia. Its leaves have been used in herbal medicine since the 19th century and cause stimulating, pain-relieving effects. These have been compared to the modern pain-relieving medication known as opiates.
In order to obtain such effects, the user has several different ways of consuming the kratom plant – either by chewing the leaves directly or digesting it through a capsule or powdered extract base. Kratom has also been used in elixirs and teas. ¹
How Does Kratom Work in the Body?
Kratom primarily gives the user feelings of sedation, pleasure, and decreased pain. Especially when consuming large amounts of the plant. It also changes the brain function by utilizing two compounds commonly found in kratom leaves which interact with opioid receptors thus giving a sedating effect. The herbal extract is also taken to enhance stimulation and does interact with the body, giving the sensation to the user that they have enhanced energy. ²
Can You Use Kratom for Opioid Addiction?
Those that use kratom have sworn by its positive effects. Patients dealing with daily chronic pain from injuries and disorders like fibromyalgia have turned to kratom to deal with pain management.
The American Kratom Association – which counts 3-5 million regular users – acknowledges kratom’s compounds bind to the same receptor sites in the brain as opioids. Therefore, it’s been stated that kratom can be an all-natural alternative to opiates while having the same biochemical reaction in the brain as opioids do.
What Does the Research Say?
The question still remains whether or not kratom use can be a complete alternative to opioids for pain management – however, several studies have been done to look into the therapeutic qualities of kratom:
- One such study, done by Dr. Scott Hemby, chair of basic pharmaceutical sciences in the Fred Wilson School of Pharmacy at High Point University, found that “MG (Kratom) does not have abuse potential and reduces morphine intake,” ³
- This result illustrates that kratom has less potential to be as addictive as prescribed or illicit opioid use and can result in a reduction of use and potentially abusing stronger opioids and painkillers like morphine use.
- Another study done by Kai Yue found that kratom use has fewer liability complications than long-term opioid use and that there could be, “potential for mitragynine (kratom) treatment to specifically reduce opioid abuse.” The study concluded that “mitragynine (kratom) is deserving of more extensive exploration for its development or that of an analog as a medical treatment for opioid abuse.” ⁴
- This study has shown the link to pain relief from kratom and its ability to replace the need for opioids. It also states the need for further research and evaluation of kratom and its use for pain management.
Benefits of Kratom
Kratom is commonly consumed through teas, grounded-up powders, and in capsule form. Furthermore, those that take it daily have given testimony of its effects which are: ⁵
- Enhanced sociability
- Increased energy
- Sensory enhancement
- Warm and tingly feeling
The drawbacks of kratom are quite substantial when compared to its benefits. One of the largest complications of using Kratom is the lack of research and studies to conclusively say what the plant is actually doing inside the body.
Although there have been enough user testimonies and medical reviews of cases of kratom use and abuse to show some of the consequences of using the herbal remedy. Such bodily consequences are: ⁶
- Changes in urine
- Dry mouth
- Liver damage
- Muscle fatigue and pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Weight loss
Likewise, long-term kratom use can cause cognitive repercussions and strain on the body’s nervous system, including:
- Breathing complications
Kratom for Opioid Addiction Dosage Recommendation
As a result of the lack of research done for kratom and the lack of regulations, there isn’t a recommended dosing for those trying to combat opiate addiction.
A study done on the use of kratom for opiate withdrawal was conducted and the herbal ingredient was consumed by mixing Kratom powder into tea. This study and others have stated that 5 grams of powder taken up to 3 times per day was adequate. ⁷ ⁸
Kraken Kratom, a popular online retailer, has released a serving size guide as a resource for those who are trying to find a proper dose. They’ve stated that powdered forms of Kratom should be at a teaspoon as that results in 2.6 grams of plant-based material and that a capsule of Kratom extract equals approximately 0.5 gram which is standardized dosing.
What are the Risks of Kratom?
The risks for kratom commonly occur with those that take the herbal supplement in large doses or over a long period of time. There is evidence to support that long-term use can lead to addiction and that Kratom, due to its varying doses can lead to unpredictable results.
Kratom Side Effects
The side effects of kratom are essentially what leads to the substance’s drawbacks. Those who have taken it in large doses have reported: ⁹
- Interaction with other medications
- Loss of appetite
- Renal damage
Can You Overdose on Kratom?
As a result of the overuse of kratom, there are concerns that perhaps one could potentially overdose. Overdoses are rare but have been reported. The potential danger to overdosing is due to the imprecise dosing recommendation.
Consequently, both the CDC and the FDA have been pushing against kratom use for fears of overdoses and adverse effects. ¹⁰ ¹¹ However, the US Drug Enforcement Agency hasn’t outright banned the use or sale of kratom and the DEA has not made a decision yet as to whether it should be listed as a controlled substance.
The effects of an overdose on kratom are: ¹²
- Difficulties breathing
- Kidney and liver toxicity
- Lack of urination
- Nausea and vomiting
Kratom for Opioid Addiction Reviews
Despite the classifications by several governmental institutions as a potentially dangerous substance, kratom is still available for purchase on the internet. If you’re interested, several online retailers make kratom available to those that are willing to give it a try for substance abuse.
Kraken Kratom is a popular online retailer for Kratom customers. It’s a family-owned operation based out of Portland, Oregon. Kraken Kratom is the most reputable retailer of kratom products and they specialize in the sale of botanicals such as kratom, kava, and CBD. The company also offers educational resources about kratom as well as consumer guides in order to maximize the effects of the products they offer.
Kratom products are available in different options – ranging from powders, whole leaf extracts, and capsules. Their most popular and sought-after product is their powdered forms of kratom that vary by their different strains and potency.
Kratom Country is an online outlet for Kratom. Their company mission is to promote overall wellness in a holistic manner through the products they offer. The retailer only sells kratom and, due to this, they can focus on the quality and efficacy of their herbal ingredients.
Kratom Country offers kratom in capsules, powders, and whole leaf varieties. They sell their products in 1-ounce pouches, in varying strengths and potencies. Customers that have bought from this retailer have reported positive experiences from using their products.
The struggle of opiate use and dependency has created a market for all-natural alternatives that can be comparable while not yielding the same dangerous consequences that opioids offer. And while kratom on the outset looks like a good option, there are inherent risks to its use.
Kratom is a usable alternative to opiates – however, there isn’t enough evidence and research to back these claims. We suggest that you use these supplements under the guidance of a medical and mental health professional.
Still have questions about using kratom for opioid addiction?
We invite you to ask them in the comment’s section below. If you have any further knowledge on this topic – whether personal or professional – we’d also love to hear from you.
¹ National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health: Kratom Overview
² National Center on Drug Abuse: Kratom Drug Facts
³ PubMed via National Library of Medicine: Abuse liability of mitragynine assessed with a self-administration procedure
⁴ High Point University Press: Profession’s Research Shows Therapeutic Potential for Kratom
⁵ PubMed via National Library of Medicine: Traditional and non-traditional uses of Mitragynine (Kratom): A survey of the literature
⁶ RxList: Kratom Natural Supplement Information
⁷ National Center for Biotechnical Information: Self-treatment of opioid withdrawal using kratom
⁹ American Addiction Centers: Long-Term Side Effects of Kratom
¹⁰ Centers for Disease Control & Prevention: Notes from the Field: Unintentional Drug Overdose Deaths with Kratom
¹¹ Food & Drug Administration (FDA): FDA and Kratom
¹² Banyan Treatment Centers: Kratom Overdose Symptoms and What to Do