Thursday July 31st 2014

What is Kratom?

What is Kratom exactly….?

Kratom (Mitrogynia Speciosa) is indigenous to Thailand, Myanmar and Malaysia. It is a large tree that can grow up to 9m in height and its leaves are prized for their unique properties. Despite being used by the native peoples of these countries for centuries, Kratom is illegal in all three.

The leaf is usually chewed, but since its adoption in Europe, Kratom has taken many other forms. It is now possible to buy dried leaves, powder, tinctures, resin, enhanced leaves, and word has reached me that somebody has managed to create a form of Kratom suitable for intravenous injection.

Why do people use Kratom?

Traditionally Kratom leaves have been used as a medicine; as a treatment for diarrhea, as an analgesic (pain control) and as a way to treat addiction to opiates. It is also used by Thai agricultural workers, who take advantage of its properties as a stimulant at low doses, thus enabling them to work long, backbreaking hours in the fields. Main reasons people have used Kratom include:

  • analgesic pain relief
  • anti diarrhea properties
  • mild stimulant for manual labor
  • opiate addiction treatment

Kratom effects

While acting as a stimulant at low doses, at higher doses Kratom has more of a sedative opiate-like effect. What gives it these properties are the alkaloids it contains, more specifically two, mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine. Mitragynine is an opioid agonist, as are the ‘real’ opiates such as heroin. However, there is a difference in that opium and its ilk latch on to the mu opioid receptors in the brain while mitragynine prefers the delta opioid receptors thus producing a stimulant like effect. But when the level of mitragynine rises, it starts to bind to the mu opioid receptors creating the sedative effect.  Dose dependent Kratom side effects are typical of the drug, and long term effects are present after habitual use of Kratom.

Is Kratom legal?

Despite being illegal in South-East Asia, Kratom is legal to possess and use in many European countries (bar Romania and it is controlled in Finland) and the U.S., though in the latter it has been placed under watch by the FDA.

Kratom safety

So, if Kratom is legal is Kratom also safe? Alcohol and tobacco are legal. They are not safe. Kratom can be safe and beneficial if used responsibly but, like all drugs, Kratom abuse has its dangers. Mixing Kratom with other drugs/medications (prescribed or otherwise) also presents its own dangers and should be avoided at all costs. Furthermore, the consequences of a Kratom overdose are extreme nausea, projectile vomiting and the intense need to lie down to assuage the first two consequences. There have been no documented fatalities from Kratom overdose.

Is Kratom addictive? (Yes)

For three years alcohol had not been an issue, I’d toddled along doing what needed to be done, and not needed a drink to do it. Life had in a sense returned to normal. Then, for many reasons, the cravings returned. Yes, alcohol wanted her wily way with me again and she was not one to take no for an answer. Weeks passed without respite from her sweet whisperings and as much as I told myself I didn’t need her my heart was saying something else. Relapse seemed just a matter of time. But then I hadn’t figured on Kratom gate crashing the party. She sauntered in, flashed her big leafy eyes at me and I was smitten. Alcohol? What alcohol? Kratom, the answer to my drink drenched nightmares, the ointment for my angst, where had you been all my life? And so began my ‘Kratom period’.

By the end of my Kratom ‘period’, I was shoveling 25g of dried leaf a day into my stomach just to function. I was chasing no buzz; keeping at bay the crippling depression, insomnia and apathy that Kratom withdrawal involves had become my raison d’etre.

It still amazes me that Kratom is still relatively unknown of in the U.S. and U.K. Here is a plant that has very definite psychoactive properties, that is legal to possess and supply (in most countries), and cheap. Sounds promising, at least it did to me. Unfortunately, What I didn’t know is that Kratom is addictive when abused. If like me, you have any history at all of addiction stay well clear of Kratom. You will get addicted and, as you will learn in a later post, Kratom addiction is not fun, maybe not in the same horribleness league as the big opiate boys, but nevertheless it has its moments.

Are you addicted to Kratom?

If you think that you might have a problem with Kratom, please post your experiences or questions below. We are here to help and will try to answer your questions personally and promptly.

Photo credit: Tony Rodd

Leave a Reply

49 Responses to “What is Kratom?
Jeremy Gilbert
12:29 pm July 16th, 2011

Kratom is a tree native to Southeast Asia (Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar [Burma], and elsewhere) – botanical name = Mitragyna speciosa. Kratom is in the same family as the coffee tree (Rubiaceae). The leaves of kratom have been used as an herbal drug from time immemorial by peoples of Southeast Asia. It is used in folk medicine as a stimulant (at low doses), sedative (at high doses), recreational drug, pain killer, medicine for diarrhea, and as a treatment for opiate addiction.

Linda
8:23 pm October 30th, 2011

We will share this with others who may be addicted to kratom. Thanks.

djt
11:21 pm November 7th, 2011

Anyone that says kratom is not addictive – I can tell you that I did not know my spouse was drinking it and could not figure out what was going on as he has been acting like an active addict for months……now I know why. I didn’t make it up as I had no knowledge he was taking it, nor had I ever heard of the stuff so I had no preconceived beliefs about it. If you have addictions issue at all you should stay away from kratom. When he finally told me about we were shocked to find out the truth of kratom. Now, we have a big mess on our hands.

10:17 am November 10th, 2011

Thanks, Linda. That is very helpful. Many people think that because Kratom is natural, it is safe. But addiction is a serious and troubling condition that sometimes can help people if they know more about it. All the best to you and yours!

Barbara
12:31 pm December 20th, 2011

I just need some answers? I have cronic back pain, had a third major back surgery 1-20-09. Instead of getting better, I’m getting worse. I’ve been on Percocet for a good many years. I’m curently on 10/325 every 4 hours. Pain management put me on Oxycontin 40mg twice per day almost two years ago. Plus the Percocet. I don’t get high, never felt high from day one. I have built up such a high tolerance to pain meds. Well I can see the changes in myself. I’m a 58 year old married woman and use to have a life. I started being weaned off the Oxy 3 months ago, ay my request. I went from 40mg, 30mg for 1 month, 20mg for 1 month, and now I’ve been doing 10mg for 5 days. It’s kicking my butt. The stomach craps are the worse. My son is an ex-meth user, 20 years worth! He told me he is sending me Kratom, it’s all natural. I decided to research it and ended up here! I don’t think I want to try it. I think I will just bite the bullet and get through this on my own. The pain without the higher dosage of Oxy is very severe. I don’t know what’s next. Any suggestions will be appreciated.

7:30 pm December 21st, 2011

Hi Barbara. Thanks for your question. Getting off OXY for prescribed use for pain management is a real struggle. I applaud your efforts. Are you looking for something to manage discomfort during withdrawal or for more long term pain management options?

Barbara
2:49 pm December 22nd, 2011

Thanks for replying! Actually both, I saw my doc. yesterday and he decided to keep me on 10mg for another month. He saying now he took me down to fast. Thats why my body is reacting like it is. I am going to have to have something to replace it. I’m on 10/325 percocet every 4 hours, it’s not enough. The lower I go with the Oxy the more servere my back pain is. Any suggestions?

Chels
5:15 pm January 13th, 2012

Yes addicting for sure! I never even knew what addiction was or what withdrawals felt like. Then I’d run out of my Kratom and I’d be totally useless until it arrived , then bliss would sink in again. Finally I couldn’t afford it anymore, and started taking OxyContin to relieve the withdrawals…then when I’d run out of that I would order Kratom to help with OxyContin withdrawals. Both r very similar although I would say that Kratom FST is stronger than oxy. I too now have a real mess on my hands although there is hope people! Look up ibogaine, it will get rid of withdrawals and cure your addiction physical symptoms. That too is expensive but I know I’ll do it one day when I can afford it.

djt
6:57 pm January 13th, 2012

Barbara,

What a difficult position you are in. Chronic pain is really horrible and exhausting. It’s good you went to the doctor again. The ktatom is pretty addictive as I can attest to it with my husband. It has been hard for him getting off from it. Withdrawal symptoms are rough. He is now taking an ant-depressant which seems to be helping. I know some anti-dressant actually help with pain management as well (he is not using it for pain but fell into deep depression when quitting kratom). Some swear by medicinal marijuana for severe pain too. I would avoid the kratom, especially as you are having the courage to wean off the Oxy.

kidtruth
8:01 pm January 20th, 2012

I’m 27, in good shape, and withdrawing from Kratom. In my early 20′s I was addicted to a number of things, from hydrocodone to benzo’s (these were the worst for me) but it had been about three-four years since a real addiction.

The part of me that likes to experiment with drugs came knocking again, and I started messing with herbal supplements. Valerian, Kava, Skullcap, etc. These were fun, pretty weak and harmless. Then I got into Kratom.

I did it more or less daily (maybe a 1 or 2 day break in there) for about 6 or 7 weeks, probably about 3 grams a dose, three doses a day. Just the standard crushed leaf. The effects were very, very strong on me and it was a very potent and enjoyable high, maybe even better than hydrocodone. I always did a toss ‘n wash method of consuming Kratom, which I feel added to my level of addiction as this must be stronger than drinking a tea, and probably stays in your system longer.

Then I decided to quit, so I did. The first two days were okay, I think honestly my body was just confused at this point. Then I got some physical symptoms, but nothing too bad – chills, a little bit of restless leg, and insomnia.

What has really been destroying me is THE DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY. I recently made a major blunder in my personal life and feel guilty over it. This guilt combined with the depression and anxiety of the kratom withdrawal have been driving me insane. I’m not suicidal, but every night around 8 or 9 PM I get the urge to curl up on the floor and start crying – and then I can’t sleep.

Anyway, it has been two weeks now. I did relapse five days ago and took one 4mg dose – I’m not sure how much that reset my withdrawal – but here I am five days since that dose and I’m still suffering the depression. I get caught in loops of negative thought where I tear myself up with my guilt, get caught in gut-wrenching anxiety and depression and feel worthless.

I have been taking a number of amino acids, which do help some (trytophan seems to help me most, I think serotonin deficiency is maybe a bigger issue for me?) as well as B-Vitamins, fish oil, St. John’s Wort. Today I found Rhodiola Rosea and that has made me feel quite a bit better, but my worst symptoms come at night and I dread waiting for the depression to kick in so I can go back to hating myself.

Anyway. Most reports I’ve read online (and I’ve read most of them, I think it helps me cope) say that around the two or three week point, the depression should taper some. I am still waiting for that, but am determined to stay clean and can’t wait to actually feel good for a day or two. Sorry to blow up your blog with this enormous post, but it does help me feel better to get it all out. From what I read online, the depression is fairly common for Kratom withdrawal. Was this your experience, and when did the depression start to ease up?

Barney
6:27 pm February 1st, 2012

That is very strange that you say kratom is addictive. I have been buying kratom extracts for the past few months. It really helps me with my pain, and also anxiety. I do not in any way shape or form feel like I NEED it though. I just take it when the pain gets too much or if I have to be in a group of people. If not, then I do without very easily.

Kidtruth
6:41 pm February 1st, 2012

Everyone’s body is different, but you might try going a week or two without Kratom and seeing how you feel. When I was taking Kratom every day, I could stop for a day or even two without getting the worst withdrawals. It wasn’t until I took a full week off that I started to realize how bad the depression could get.

I will say that my own personal issues contributed to this depression and it has since cleared, and I’m working through those issues. However, there was/is a very clear withdrawal I have from Kratom in which my brain feels deprived of joy or pleasure. I get restless leg syndrome, night sweats and chills. The depression is somewhat similar to the hangover I used to get when I did MDMA (ecstasy) in my younger days, but with more anxiety.

Even now, after having gone three weeks without Kratom, if I take one small dose I can feel this depression the next day (though it fades after a day.)

I am probably unusually sensitive to Kratom, but it is definitely an addictive substance. It is probably easier to withdraw from than Oxy or Heroin – I have little experience with those – but I would say Kratom was harder to quit than Hydrocodone was, and I had a pretty good little 100mg a day habit going for a while. The physical stuff was not too bad – a couple weeks of bad sleep – but the depression lingers and can be debilitating. Especially if you are taking Kratom to avoid anxiety and depression in your daily life… TRUST ME, once you quit Kratom those problems will return with a vengeance.

djt
10:34 pm February 1st, 2012

My husband had the same withdrawal symptoms as kidtruth. He has had addiction issues throughout his life and started with the kava, then added kratom. We had no idea it was addictive……he started showing all the same signs of active addiction. He took it for 9 months and stopped in early November. He still gets the restless leg syndrome. He was really struggling until he went on the anti-depressant.

He could go without kratom for about a week before the withdrawal started. He actually ended weaning himself from it over two weeks to ease the cold turkey effect.

MAR
9:57 pm February 7th, 2012

This site tells the truth about Kratom. I found Kratom after a back injury and appendectomy, I feared I was addicted to pain meds and trusted online vendors of Kratom. Huge mistake!

I used for about a year and took Thai crushed leaf capsules. I would consume 16 ounces a month towards the end. This equates to about 30 large capsules taken throughout the day. I have never been physically dependent on anything before. I new I was in big trouble and had to make a plan to free myself from this hell without losing my job as a firefighter! I stopped August 4th of 2011 and the fight was on!

I luckily had a good friend who worked at a detox center and he connected me to an outpatient doctor that gave me the tools to begin the fight! Started with a 6 day subutex taper followed by a 6 day klonapin taper, during this period I also had a host of other meds for sleep, bone pain, nausea etc.. First two weeks were a breeze. Day 15 I was off everything and that’s when my hell on earth began! I was overcome by extreme anxiety and depression. I could not eat, I forced food down. Eating a sandwich was a major feat. My sleep was ruined, I would wake every two hours with full blown anxiety. I truly thought I would never get better! This lasted for weeks…

Things did get better but it was slow. I feel Kratom can sink its teeth deep into the functions of your brain. I am now past the 6 month mark and I am still not the same. I feel it will take a year to fully recuperate from this Kratom addiction.

Now 6 months later: I went back to work in September and had to embrace my job, my family relies on me and I am doing well on the job. I am very thankful for my appetite, however there will be periods of no appetite that subside after a day. Never had that before. My sleep is off and on. I use Lunesta at home when needed. I still get the 4am anxiety wake-up which I’ve learned to address by positive thinking and prayer which will allow me to get back to sleep rather quickly. Before Kratom I always slept through the night with very restful sleep. The tough part now is dealing with anxiety and depression. It’s far better than it was and continues to get better. Before Kratom I was a healthy, strong, nerves of steel firefighter that could deal with anything. This tree and it’s leaves has stripped that from me! But trust me I will get that back…

I now have a therapist, go to meetings, go to church, concentrate on my diet and strive for the motivation to workout. Life is getting better and I am thankful for my family and all my blessings.

This is just my story! I feel the truth needs to be known!

kidtruth
3:31 pm February 8th, 2012

Hey MAR, and thanks for sharing that. Though my addiction wasn’t as extensive as yours, the anxiety and depression that Kratom brings can be unbearable. It’s good to see that you’re making progress and things are getting easier for you. Remember that adversity like Kratom addiction will ultimately make you stronger once you recover. I found that my recovery process led me to see my emotions and even my own brain objectively, and be able to think “These are just chemical reactions in my brain, it will pass” whereas before, I took everything I was feeling at face value. I think eventually they will find exactly how Kratom alters your brain. Depression and anxiety are normal symptoms of any opiate withdrawal, but the sheer panic of a Kratom withdrawal seems to be especially ruthless. Other accounts online tend to back this up, though I haven’t seen any science to support it.

I think it probably is possible to use Kratom responsibly, but you would have to be very very careful. Last weekend I had a single, half-dose (about a gram of normal crushed leaf) and enjoyed a pretty mild buzz. That was all I took, and I haven’t touched it again in 4 days. There were no side-effects or hangover, though I noticed if I take a “normal” dose for me (about 2.5 grams, enough to really feel it) that there is a hangover and panic attacks the next day. So I think the only safe way to do Kratom would be taking less than two or three grams a week, and never two days in a row, and never more than a gram a day. Of course, most people aren’t going to have the willpower to use a drug like this, so I would recommend staying away in most cases.

MAR
2:49 am February 10th, 2012

Kidtruth, I appreciate your response. I definitely abused Kratom to the extreme. It has also brought my attention to how I have been living most of life ruled by addiction. It sounds as though you have found a way to benefit and moderate it, my hats off to you.

I noticed in one of your earlier posts you mentioned withdrawal from benzo’s, I believe that is what xanax is. My doctor (medical) has prescribed me xanax .50 mg, to be taken at night. He said one or two a night would be fine. I did not tell him why I was having this extreme anxiety, which is due to quitting Kratom. I find I benefit from it during the day. I have been breaking the .50 mg in half and take when needed. I average about 1 mg a day but I do take it everyday. This medication has been helping me tremendously however the last thing I want to play with is another withdrawal.

In your opinion do you think this is trouble? How long and what amounts were you taking? Any info would be greatly appreciated!

kidtruth
5:50 pm February 10th, 2012

Hey MAR – glad I could help. I’m not sure I will benefit from Kratom, I’ve used it twice in small doses in the past month or two. I will probably not make Kratom a regular part of my life, but I’m glad I was able to overcome my addiction at least.

Xanax is definitely a benzo – it is the strongest, shortest-acting, most addictive one, actually. I have a little bit of general anxiety anyway and that is why I loved benzos … because they really work! They delete any sensations of anxiety and fill me with an overwhelming calm.

But here’s the bad part, and the part doctors generally don’t tell you: the withdrawal from benzo’s is… worse anxiety! Much worse than it ever was before. In fact, if you take enough benzo’s then stop suddenly, you can have seizures and die from the withdrawal. You heard me – you can die from the withdrawal. And we thought Kratom was bad.

kidtruth
5:51 pm February 10th, 2012

Now, the good news is you are not in danger of that yet. You would have to take a lot of benzos for a long time for things to get that bad, but after a couple years of an escalating habit, it is definitely possible. So make sure and apply what you’ve learned about Kratom to this experience and use Xanax moderately.

I am not a doctor, so I can only speak from personal experience and my experience with doctors of my own. Most of the doctors that I would consider “good” and not pill-pushers will not prescribe Xanax for an extended period of time and will not up the dosage except in extreme cases. Xannies can be a godsend for short-term traumatic events like PTSD, recovering from abuse, etc. It can save a life if used only for a few weeks at the height of emotional trauma.

(one more part incoming.. sheesh, the spam filter on the board apparently doesn’t want you to mention the names of drugs too many times in one post. How are we supposed to discuss them?)

kidtruth
5:52 pm February 10th, 2012

The downside is, it is very addictive. You will need to take more and more to get the same level of calm. You will build up a tolerance pretty fast if you use it every day. .5 mg is a pretty normal dose, I think I started on around 1mg a day then went up to 2.5mg or so. I would take them morning noon and night. I had an irresponsible doctor who would feed my addiction by giving me more and more benzos every time I asked, upping my dosage as well, and after I while I was probably taking 5 or 6 mg a day for a few months at a time. Later on I also struggled with Valium and would often take 10 to 20 Valium a day, though that is a weaker, longer-lasting drug.

My withdrawals from benzo’s were bad – I had awful panic attacks, my anxiety went through the roof, I couldn’t make contact when I talked with people. My hands would clamp up and white-knuckle grip things in my sleep. This lasted for a week or two and gradually got better. There was no depression like there is with Kratom, but the anxiety/panic attacks were there.

I think right now you are fine, I am telling you these things just so you can be aware of the risks of benzos. Just be aware that if you use Xanax – even .25 or .5 mg – every single night, eventually you will build up a tolerance and a dependence. In my opinion it is not a good long-term solution to anything. If you have not built up a tolerance yet then you probably have not built up a dependence, but it is definitely something to be aware of. If Xanax is the only way you can sleep, then right now it is probably a risk worth taking – just be very aware of how addictive it can be.

MAR
10:14 pm February 14th, 2012

Kidtruth, Thank you again for your insight and experience!

I hear exactly what you are saying. One thing I will not do is increase the dosage of this medication. I am waiting as long as possible each day until I take a .25 mg and then taking no more than 1 mg per day. It’s interesting how I seem to have anxiety triggers each day. I have a strong feeling its related to taking that med. I’m completely sober aside from the Xanax which I feel is needed now. I do plan on stopping the Xanax next Tuesday when I have four days off work. I think and hope the dosage I have been taking should not trigger the severe withdrawals you brought my attention too. I will be prepared to deal with mild to moderate anxiety by getting outside and working out.

Before my experience with Kratom and pain meds, I never thought about physical withdrawals. Now it seems everywhere you turn there is the possibility of addiction and withdrawal. These experiences are definitely opening my eyes, I truly want to live a life free from addiction.

I am thankful I am on my way to that goal and not heavily addicted to the many dangerous drugs out there. At work yesterday we had a call to a drug rehabilitation house where a nineteen year old girl was actively seizing. She had been heavily dependent on H and even though she was clean for over thirty days she is still obviously having issues. My prayers go out to all those and their families who deal with addiction.

Once again I have to thank you for bringing a sense of clarity to me. I will keep you posted on this.

kidtruth
9:45 pm February 29th, 2012

Hey MAR – sorry about my delay in responding, it slipped my mind. Then I was sitting here thinking about my own journey through this, and was wondering how yours was progressing. You are right that an experience with a drug like Kratom (or any addictive drug) can really enhance your awareness. It’s also unfortunate that sometimes the only drugs which can help you get off one drug… are just as addictive as the thing you’re trying to quit. But that’s what we have to deal with.

That sucks about the H-addicted girl. That drug can set you back for years if you are heavily enough addicted. I’m actually trying to quit smoking marijuana/drinking alcohol now myself, and while neither of these drugs is addictive in and of itself… I am realizing that many of my coping mechanisms are dependent on these two drugs. Any time I have a bad day, or get stressed, I turn to one of them.

Not to say that they cannot be used responsibly – I don’t personally feel substances that are not physically addictive should be illegal – but in my situation, I am certainly abusing both marijuana and alcohol as a psychological crutch. I also threw away my Kratom a few weeks ago, so that’s out of my life for good. So, that’s where I’m at. How about you?

Kratom Side
10:25 am April 18th, 2012

Kratom is a very safe alternative. At least with kratom you can’t die taking it.

MAR
7:55 pm May 17th, 2012

Hey Kidtruth,

Just wanted to give an update. It’s been about 3 months since we last chatted. I have been tapering the Xanax. I am taking .25 mg in AM and .50 mg before bed. Thanks to you I have done lots of research on Benzo’s and realize it’s best to go low and slow. I have not had any withdrawal symptoms. I am not taking any other substances. I am determined to be free from X. It has been recommended to C/O to Valium which is a more mild, longer acting Benzo which can be more easily tapered. I am curious on your thoughts. My mom took Xanax for years and was switched to SSRI and had no withdrawals. I seem to have a lot of her traits so I am always toying with the idea of just cold turkey this stuff just to be done with it. However I can’t afford to have withdrawals with job and all.

Your input is always greatly appreciated!

kidtruth
2:56 pm May 18th, 2012

Hey MAR,

Glad to hear you’re doing well. There are some important differences between Xanax and Valium, which I’ll explain. I’ve been addicted to both, actually, and moreso to Valium (“V” from now on).

You’re right when you say V is a weaker, longer-lasting drug than Xanax (“X from now on, to avoid spam filter). One of the biggest difference between the two, and something that made V very addictive for me, is that when you’re on a steady dose of V, you have a constant blood concentration of diazepam because of the long half-life. If you take 10mg in the morning and 10mg at night, you will have a pretty steady dosage of V in your system 24/7. This is because V has a much longer half-life than X. Where X might peak at two hours and be inactive by six hours, V is going to be in your body for about 22 hours.

Basically, I don’t know if it is better or worse to be on a low dose of something 24/7 or to have short, powerful spikes of it that are out of your system each day. It will probably change your brain chemistry eventually, like any substance will if you rely on it every day. How much it changes will determine how hard it is to quit taking V.

Just like with X, you have to be careful with alcohol. The two antagonize each other, and if you drink on V you will be much, much less coordinated and more volatile than you would ever be on one of them alone. It’ll also make you stop breathing in your sleep, which is a pretty common overdose/death. Just happened to Thomas Kinkade.

An SSRI might be a much better long term solution. From what I understand, there will be less tolerance and less withdrawals. I think you are in safe dosage ranges for what you’re taking, but remember that X and V are really the same class of drug. When you ask yourself how long you’ve been taking them, I would combine the X and V. They are interchangeable as far as addiction is concerned, just like a heroin user might get by with oxycontin, etc.

Also, with V you will have a harder time telling if you have withdrawals. You really need to quit V for 2-3 days before your withdrawals will fully kick in, because you will still have plenty of it in your system for a while after you stop taking them. This leads many to the assumption they aren’t addicted, when really they’re just not giving themselves enough time to realize it.

Anyway, hope this helps. Have you considered meditation? It has been helping me a lot.

Heek
1:44 am July 7th, 2012

Great site! Provides another picture of reality. There are many more pictures hiding from view due to incomplete and misrepresented data and a HUGE DEFICIT of clinical/university/private research. We do a ton of biochem research on all of the substances and processes that are acted on by illegal drugs – but much less on the illegal substances themselves. A person should not have to consult an online blog to learn about effects that these “new” drugs have on people. We can use computer simulations, lab-cultured “organs” and cells, and countless other species and tools to study the effects a seemingly infinite number of drugs – if only more scientists could obtain the necessary research chemicals without fear of imprisonment/loss of lab access/etc. Rather than do research when “new” drugs become mainstream, we drop the iron-fist in the form of federal scheduling as a “controlled” substance (more like “avoided”) – effectively eliminating adequate research by qualified, competent, and fully-accountable US scientists. So, rather than trust scientists to reveal possible consequences with petri dishes in a secure laboratory – we leave it to our own under-educated citizens to “offer” the “data” as lab rats by blocking access to the illegal drugs. And rather than pay these unfortunate drug users for their “contribution” to the tiny pool of statistics on drug use/abuse data that they have provided to us – we instead charge them with crimes and lock them in jail. I agree that we should prevent thugs from producing and supplying dangerous drugs to the black market. I agree that we should make things like supplying to minors or operating motor vehicles or possessing weapons under the influence illegal. Essentially, I agree that almost anything associated with drugs that is illegal today EXCEPT for private consumption and possession – provided that no danger is posed in any way to any person beyond the known and minimizable dangers/damages to the user – should remain illegal. The real crime is not the drug use itself, but rather the black market production and sale of them by under-qualified entities. A large portion of the immediate personal and societal damage from illegal drugs today is from the impurities used in the black market production of heroine and the sharing of needles by end-users that often happens when two addicts find themselves stranded with only one needle. This huge burden on society can be eliminated simply by providing a government-sanctioned facility to provide drugs like heroin for registered addicts to consume at the location. Until then – we also have a different problem beyond the theft and consumption of more dangerous “legal” alternatives that results from the iron fist blanket ban: people like “kidtruth” and “MAR” are stuck having to play guessing games on what might possibly help due to the major research deficit that results from our government’s iron fist policy.

MAR
1:31 am July 17th, 2012

Kidtruth,

Appreciate all the insight on V and X. I decided to just stick with X taper to keep it simple. I’m down to .375 mg a day soon to be at .25 mg. Since I have done this slow taper I have been virtually withdrawal free! I have been feeling better than when I was taking it and my anxiety seems to be going away. Funny the very symptoms the medication was prescribed for was causing the symptoms! I hope to be completely off by end of August. I am approaching the 1 year anniversary of my kratom stoppage. It will be good to be free of all this. I hope your doing well and living life the pure way.

kidtruth
9:36 pm July 17th, 2012

Hey MAR – those are very low dosages, so good work! You shouldn’t have much trouble quitting at that level, it will probably be mostly a psychological battle. It’s great that you’ve gotten to this point. Amazing what a bad addiction can do to you, but it’s also amazing how someone can recover and grow from it.

Yeah, that’s funny about V and X and that whole class of drugs – they cause the things they’re supposed to prevent, particularly when you try to quit them. In my opinion they’re pretty much only useful in extreme situations.

As for me, I’m well – no pharmaceuticals or kratom. Mostly weight lifting and meditation these days. Still trying to get liquor out of my life, but I’m only drinking about twice a week now. Glad things are working out for you.

mike
8:34 pm August 27th, 2012

Ok if your in need of medicine then wouldn’t it be best to take something thats natural like kratom instead of a bunch of overpriced pharmicuticals? Bet the drug companies love you guys bashing kratom, if your not paid by them to post this in the first place. Cause we all know corporations run this country and if something so easily obtained takes the place of their big money lab medicine then all helll will break loose. Thing is, most anything you do, medicine, pleasure, cigs, alchahol , is addictive . but if you need something to make life easier then pick the best one, and from the sound of it kratom beats any high dollar med made in a lab.

kidtruth
7:37 pm September 4th, 2012

Kratom is probably safer than oxycontin, heroin or hydrocodone, but it’s still not a good thing to get addicted to.

If you have some sort of chronic pain or terminal illness then Kratom might be appropriate for you. If you are just trying to get high because of your personal problems or addiction, then Kratom is not a good thing. Thanks to the lengthy withdrawal, it can be a very bad thing if abused.

Just because Kratom might be safer than the alternative (opium is all natural, too…) doesn’t mean it is smart to get addicted to it. Also, I’d really challenge your assertion that being addicted to Kratom “makes life easier.” It actually made my life much, much harder…

Nick
11:12 pm September 16th, 2012

I used Golden Reserve Kratom for 4 months without any withdrawal…I was just a little tired the first 2 days off. It was a life saver because I initially took it to avoid opiate withdrawal from oxycodone

Rob
4:42 am October 10th, 2012

This plant IS ADDICTIVE. I have been using it for 2 years, initially to avoid the illegal procedure necessary to get opiates off the street. I had been addicted to benzos before, as well as amphetamines. I thought that kratom was the solution to replace my bad habits. How wrong I was. I now prefer kratom to any actual opiates because I need it to function both physically and mentally. It is a different high than opiates and of course weaker and harder to get addicted to but I have done it. If anyone knows of any good help websites please help!

Minty
4:33 pm November 16th, 2012

I’m fascinated by the wide diversity of opinions people have with Kratom. Nick, you say that you ad no withdrawal after 4 months, and I believe you because I’ve heard people say the same thing – but my experience was the exact opposite. I also took it initially to avoid opiate withdrawal (from codeine, in my case), but after just 1 MONTH of daily use (average 15g per day) I had nightmarish withdrawals which were, in fact, worse than wd from codeine. (deep body chills lasting for more than a week, night sweats, ringing in my ears, strange physical ‘buzz’ which kept me awake all night and which still comes and goes weeks later – as compared to just 3 days of flu-like symptoms withdrawing from codeine, which in hindsight seems like a picnic because of the short duration).

So – everyone is different. I’m adding this to the discussion because I think it’s important for people to know that if you experiment with K, you are rolling the dice. You may get lucky like Nick here, and have no withdrawals to speak of. Or you may get unlucky like me, and find yourself with a far worse problem than you had originally.

Josh
11:51 am November 18th, 2012

I love kratom!! I have to say though it is an addicting substance. My experience started after I got a super drunk driving charge .263 BAC. I was put on probation for a year as a result. I had been smoking medical grade cannabis and hash in large amounts for years. Once I was on probation the addict inside me craved a high. I was totally 100% sober for the first 5 months. Then I found kratom… something I could finally smoke and get high. It doesn’t show up on my 12 panel full screen drug test. I started just smoking a little of the resinous extract out of an oil pipe. I use a cigar lighter which burns at a higher temperature than regular lighters. I don’t know if that makes a difference, but I remember a high temperature lighter was required to get the best effects of salvia when it was still legal in Michigan. Anyways I started smoking kratom and loved the feeling. It reminds me of smoking giant globs of black tar opium. It’s like cannabis and painkillers in one if you smoke enough! I can smoke a bunch, be pretty high from it and take my drug test and pass knowing I won’t go to jail. It’s funny because the testing people say “are you going to pass this test, you seem pretty high”. I just smile and say sure I will (lol). I enjoy kratom but am pretty addicted. I smoke a lot of it. I have never experienced withdrawal from it; but I haven’t gone a day without lighting up since I started. It makes me feel like a hard drug user even though it’s legal. Maybe it’s just because I smoke it out of an oil pipe which I think looks like some hard drug paraphernalia. Either way kratom is awesome but super addictive. I could tell the first week of use it would be hard to kick. Once I’m off probation I’ll try to substitute cannabis every time I want to smoke kratom and hope it works.

Jack
7:18 am January 5th, 2013

I have used kratom to eliminate pain and drug addiction. It is a blessing from heaven

Ryan
3:53 am January 7th, 2013

I do not understand why Kratom is being portrayed in such a negative light as of late. I guess it could be blamed on the Bath Salt hysteria.
I am a college student with a debilitating panic disorder with agoraphobia. To cope with this and to keep myself sane during class, I relied solely on prescribed Xanax and hydro/oxycodone. This quickly escalated and I found myself in the grips of a substance abuse problem. That is until I found out about Kratom.
Since I became acquainted with Kratom I have abstained entirely from any form of hard drugs, including my own prescriptions.
I am so thankful to have been given this gift. I’m not going to dispute the fact that Kratom is addictive and causes withdrawals. It can be likened to the way someone who drinks coffee or soda every day gets a headache if they quit drinking it. Tobacco and alcohol are legal, and both are much more destructive than Kratom. Tobacco is much more difficult to quit. I say this from experience having quit smoking six months ago.
The difference between the effects of Kratom and alcohol are night and day, yet alcohol remains legal. I believe people should be entitled to both sides of the argument and all the information surrounding the Kratom issue. I think if people are fully educated about the truths of Kratom and not media-biased propaganda, then they will choose to keep it legal and accessible to those who benefit from it; similar to the repeal of prohibition. I know this is not how the world works, but it would be ideal.
I just wanted to present my side of the argument; the side of the person who is better off from having encountered Kratom. If someone truly feels their Kratom use has become a problem, then I am sympathetic to their cause. I do not believe the above posters are “addicted” in any way, and I assume most have little to no experience with the plant. The person who made posted most recently before me claimed to have smoked Kratom from an oil pipe. If anyone were to actually use Kratom in such a way, they would simply be burning a plant with no other effects. Kratom is not active whatsoever when smoked, which discredits Josh’s credibility.
Please do not take offense to this, and I certainly understand the need to communicate and try to solve the problem of drug addiction. Put simply: the way Kratom is being portrayed here implies that whoever the posters may be and the general idea of the website is that Kratom should be made illegal. If such a travesty were to happen, countless users who have since sworn off drugs would return to their past vices, simply because the leaf of a plant was condemned as the result of a political agenda.

Kid Truth
3:19 pm January 10th, 2013

I don’t say this to be offensive, but the common thread with those defending Kratom is that it is a better substance to be addicted to than the substances they were previously addicted to. In some cases, that may be accurate. Of course, you’re still addicted to a drug that will be difficult to quit. The ideal path forward would be to stop being addicted to any drugs, or at least to try for that as many recovering addicts do. Your tolerance will rise and so will your withdrawal symptoms, and if you don’t deal with tapering off Kratom you will find yourself ingesting a very large amount of plant matter in a pretty short period of time. You can find many cases online, if you check for them – sometimes of people eating so much Kratom, they hardly have room in their stomach for normal food.

If you are using Kratom as a recreation drug that you do once every two or three weeks, then it is fine. Heroin is fine too, if you don’t get addicted to it. But Kratom is an addictive drug just like many others, and you’ll have problems if you abuse it.

Jonathan
9:35 pm April 20th, 2013

KRATOM SAVED MY LIFE I STOPPED SMOKING CIGS AND WEED I DONT USE DRUGS ANYMORE I TAKE A GRAM OR 2 ONCE OR TWICE A WEEK AND ITS A GODSEND. BETTER THEN ANY BENZO, ANTIDEPRESSANT OR DRUG I EVER TOOK..

Joao
4:20 am April 28th, 2013

Dr. Andrew Weil wrote a book back in the ’60′s about native peoples being able to chronically use psychoactive herbs without getting addicted.
The same herbs become addictive in “civilized” populations, according to his study, because the active ingredients are made increasingly stronger, until what is a relatively mild effect, chewing coca leaves, for example, becomes an overpowering effect because of the increased strength.
But part of the problem seems to be that “civilized” societies tend to push more and have much more stress, creating a strong desire to find a euphoric effect to relieve it.
Knowing Americans as I do, I would guess most will probably not use kratom responsibly. They will constantly go for the stronger and stronger kratom, just as they do with cannabis, heroin, cocaine, meth, alcohol, etc., you name it.
Fix the culture, and it would be far easier to fix the addictions, drugs just being one of them.

Joao
4:34 am April 28th, 2013

Incidentally, I’m 70 years old and have been addicted to marijuana (smoked everyday for 7 years straight during an unhappy period), tobacco, and am possibly addicted to alcohol, though not a very heavy drinker (and I thoroughly enjoy it).
I stopped marijuana cold with no problem whatsoever, but tobacco withdrawl was murder – body odor, nightmares, extreme anxiety, and that after reducing my intake to 5 cigarettes a day using a filter to remove most of the tar and nicotine. Five years later I was still dreaming about starting smoking again. ;^)
I haven’t smoked anything in over 20 years now, and can’t stand the smell of tobacco or marijuana smoke (but I like incense ;^)
If you can’t control your addictions, stay away.
I’ve always had a chronic sleep disorder, so I would like something to help me sleep besides alcohol. I’m going to try erythrina mulungu, which is supposed to help and is also a liver protector.
Good luck to all.

Jon
3:01 pm May 25th, 2013

Kratom can be addictive yes, however the experience listed here is far from the norm and a very extreme case. If you were to take about 1-2 days without kratom, even after long time use, you would most likely be free from any withdrawls completely. Not everyone is the same of course but the addiction to kratom in general is very mild unless you’re talking insane amounts of it in which then you could lower your dose until you could go off it for good. Think of drinking coffee everyday for a year and then all of sudden stopping you would probably get some uncomfortable withdrawls but if you just went through them you would be fine after a couple days, this is about what kratom is. Sure getting off any substance is going to take some adjusting. Kratom has been a lifesaver for thousands upon thousands of people for all kinds of reasons. Some people can’t handle kratom but most can and it’s irresponsible to demonize it in general because of the few who can’t. Some people are allergic to tomatoes too.

Ross
3:43 am June 16th, 2013

Happy to read these threads. I came upon Kratom to ween myself off of suboxone after 7 years and I thought I found Huey Lewis’ “I wanna new drug” answer! Unfortunately after 3 weeks was diagnosed with hepatitis (liver enzyme were highly elevated) and was not taking any other causitive agents. After doing research this has been documented of other kratom users too. I was drinking about 25-30 grams (6 tsp) per day of Bali crushed leaf. I’m told that Kratom is quite hepatoxic and therefore dangerous. I don’t think Kratom should be illegal unless they are going to ban alcohol, etc. too, but use at your own risk. I’m now recovering after weening down to 15 grams then 9, and so on. I had cold sweats, aches, and felt like I was dying. So far I’m okay, but not sure how much long term liver damage it did. I really did think I found the best drug in the world–cured my anxiety, IBS, made me feel more social, and I completely forgot about Suboxone; not to mention, it’s legal! Unfortunately I flew too close to the sun with my new set of wings and they melted. :-/

KidTruth
3:29 pm June 17th, 2013

I think the level of withdrawal you feel from Kratom must be dependent on the person’s physiology, so I wouldn’t make any blanket statements like “Kratom withdrawal is usually easy.” I’ve seen many reports online of people suffering withdrawal symptoms of 3-6 months even after only a few months of moderate daily use – myself being one of them. I took about 6-8 tsp of crushed Bali leaf a day for three months, and my withdrawals were three months of anxiety and depression. Unlike vicodin (which I’ve also withdrawn from, a decade ago) the symptoms were not very physical – very little in the way of cramps and soreness. However, Kratom’s withdrawal was more psychological.

Also, if you’ve only ever taken 2-3 days off of Kratom in an attempt to convince yourself there will be no withdrawals, please consider taking a week or two off. My withdrawals didn’t really set in until a few days after I stopped using Kratom completely, so I also had that false sense of security.

I am sure that someone can safely use Kratom if they only use it in small doses, 3 or 4 times a month. The same could be said for cocaine or oxycontin, though.

Diane
11:03 pm July 2nd, 2013

Well today is my first day without kratom and I fell like crap, I was addicted to pain relievers and kratom helped me beat that addiction but her I go again, do I just have an additive personally if that’s possible. If you have any answers I would greatly appreciate it. I used to have all kinds of energy but now that I’m older I have none. So I looking for something to help my energy level that not going to make me feel like this if I go without for one day.

Mike
5:20 pm July 10th, 2013

God made Kratom to help addicts who can not stay clean and sober with AA or NA. Only 3-5% make it in AA more than 90 days. Maybe another 10% get religion and stay clean. What about the other 80% of addicts and alcoholics that can just take Kratom and have no consequences like opiates and alcohol. You cant OD on Kratom, if you take too much you will just barf it up. You will not get DUI from Kratom, No nodding out No landing in Jail or prison, no violation of probation. So what if its addictive, thats irelevant for those of us who cant get clean with meetings or religion. And Suboxone is no different its a racket for doctors. and has side effectsthat I personally hated

KidTruth
2:18 pm July 12th, 2013

Diane – I feel your pain. The reason Kratom could help you get off painkillers is because it stimulates the same part of your brain/body. Both Kratom and hydrocodone/morphene/oxycontin all stimulate your opiate receptors, which is what causes that sense of well-being and pleasure when you take them.

However, any time you take a powerful drug such as these, your body will eventually adjust to accept it will keep getting these extra boosts. Soon, your “baseline” of the amount of opiates you need to feel good will rise – and the more it rises, the worse you will feel when you stop taking opiates. This is because your body will not be used to being asked to stimulate its own opiate receptors, after years of having the drugs do the job. But, with enough time, your body can return to normal and you can feel like you felt before you started taking painkillers.

Basically – hang in there. If you’ve already fully quit kratom and painkillers, then you’re probably through the worst part of the withdrawal. If you’re trying to find ways to quit kratom, you might try tapering: cutting your dosage down every few days, until you’re taking nothing. Some people say this is easier than quitting cold turkey.

There’s definitely such a thing as an addictive personality, and many people are diagnosed with addiction that they don’t seem to be able to control. However, there are programs that have shown to be effective, such as narcotics anonymous, rehab programs, counseling and therapy, etc. If you feel you cannot stop addictive behaviors, then it may be time to seek help.

matt wimble
9:21 pm July 18th, 2013

this article is funny to me iv used kratom for about two years couple tims a week i quit using for a month and had no real withdraws that i could notice (everyone is different some people are more sensitive) you said in ur article u used 25 grams a day and u wonder why u felt like that? there is no point in using that much and kratom should not be used daily in one of your articles you say kratom should only be used for its medical benefits when 70% percent of males in Thailand drink it just to work so why cant Americans do the same thing? if you drink different strain an stay away from extract an dont use everyday u shouldn’t gain to much of a tolerance anyways for everyone that is about the withdraw i suggest you stay away from soda to if kratom effects you that badly than caffeine will too. these comments saying kratom might be safer than oxys yeah right are you kidding me? people die from that everyday NO ONE has ever died from kratom but whatever any one who is reading this should take the time to research it them selfs dont take this articles word for it or mine

Ross
5:32 pm July 19th, 2013

The age old argument “people kill people, guns don’t”, metaphorically applied to Kratom wherein the problem isn’t the substance it’s the method (or amount) people ingest it is quite hysterical to me. Let me be blunt, if you are an addict (I know…I hate the title too sorry) there is an extremely high likelihood you will get addicted to Kratom; moreover, it does have negative side affects. it almost cooked my liver, and im a healthy person (no other drugs/alc/illness). Some side affects, since there are no FDA trials we don’t know yet (or don’t have proof of). Whether or not its better or worse than other drugs isn’t my argument, and you can determine that yourselves.

Michael A
9:13 pm August 9th, 2013

Ross – How’s the recovery from kratom and hepatitis coming? I had an almost identical experience. After suffering Suboxone withdrawals for six weeks (8mg for two years, cold turkey), I discovered this wonderful plant that had helped many people recover from opiate addiction.

And yes, it truly was wonderful. I felt energetic and social and thought the worst was behind me. I enjoyed it even more than hydrocodone because it felt so much cleaner.

The two weeks ago my urine turned orange and lab results showed high liver enzymes. Acute hepatitis was my new diagnosis. That was about a week ago and I’m still tired and can feel the liver pain. I’ve scoured the internet and there are many similar cases and the good news is that no one has died or suffered chronic complications, yet. It’s also my understanding that drug induced liver injury rarely causes long-term damage, so fingers crossed for us both.

Christine
6:21 pm June 26th, 2014

I just came across this site and found this write up about kratom. I’ve always been curious about the effects of kratom. Studies shows that the only greatest risk of using a kratom is that one may fall asleep for too long. For me, its just a matter of knowing how to use it responsibly and not abusively.

Leave a Reply

About Charles Somerville

Charles Somerville is the writer of The Alcoholism Guide, a website that looks at alcoholism in all its forms and the effects of alcohol abuse on mental and physical health.