Effects of Kratom

Kratom is a psychoactive herbal product. Learn what happens when you take Kratom at low vs. higher doses and why. Plus, more on the long term effects of Kratom here.

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What to expect when you use Kratom

Kratom is unusual among so-called herbal highs in that it actually has psychoactive properties. So many of these legal highs do not deliver on their branding – that is, although they are definitely legal, they definitely do not get you high. But, Kratom is different and unique in that it can produce a euphoric effect. Read a basic Kratom wiki here.

Another unusual aspect of Kratom is that its effects on the individual vary depending on the dose taken. It is impossible to say at which dose you will get a particular effect and we can only make a general distinction between lower doses and higher doses. Obviously, factors such as tolerance levels, physical build, general medical health and the like will have an effect on what constitutes a low or high dose. Finally, kratom effect withdrawal will also depend on your use. If you want to stop Kratom, please leave us your questions and comments below.

Why the effects of Kratom are dose-dependent

Kratom contains many alkaloids (22 at the last count) the most significant for us being mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine. The former is an opioid agonist, in the same category as the ‘true opiates’. The difference between opiates and Kratom is that opiates are attracted to the mu opioid receptors in the brain and mitragynine goes for the delta opioid receptors which results in the energizing effect created by low doses (see below). However, when the levels of Mitragynine hit a certain level, it moves to the mu opioid receptors giving the user a more opiate-like ‘buzz’.

Effects of Kratom at lower doses

At a lower dose, Kratom has an energizing effect. Mood may also be enhanced with an accompanying feeling of mild euphoria. Mundane tasks like cleaning the house, filling out tax returns, etc. will no longer seem mundane for these reasons. And, yes, you can fill out tax returns, as Kratom does not impair cognitive abilities. Some even claim that it improves brain functioning in much the same way as smart drugs are said to do.

Unlike alcohol, Kratom does not make you uncoordinated and, as noted above, doesn’t affect the operation of the intellect so unless they know you have taken Kratom, others will be unaware that you are under the influence, so to speak. The energizing properties of Kratom are the main reason why it is used by Thai labourers who have to work long hours in difficult conditions.

Effects of Kratom at higher doses

The effects of Kratom are markedly different at higher doses. There is a sedative action on the body and yet the brain still remains alert. The feeling of euphoria is more intense and a general feeling of warmth and contentment envelops. These effects are not that different than those produced by low doses of codeine. If however, the dose gets too high then you can become nauseous and may well be physically sick. Constipation is also a side-effect of Kratom use.

Long term effects of Kratom

It may seem that Kratom works naturally to produce a buzz and its effects seem to be all positive, leaving aside the nausea and projectile vomiting. Yet, as with all psychoactive substances, there is a dark side to Kratom if Kratom becomes habitual. For example, the very same Thai labourers who utilize Kratom’s positive side also fall victim to its addictive properties. Research has shown that long term Thai users develop dark patches on their faces and a gaunt, unhealthy appearance. If they stop taking Kratom then they go into withdrawal which is characterized by:

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • flu-like symptoms
  • insomnia
  • RLS (restless leg syndrome)
  • shakes

Can you get addicted to Kratom?

Yes, Kratom can be addictive.

In fact, Kratom addiction is evidenced by certain signs and symptoms. You can find many reports of people suffering from Kratom withdrawal online, though its severity does seem to vary between individuals. Despite what you might hear some say, Kratom IS addictive, and must be treated with respect/caution. I was addicted to kratom and it was not fun but that’s a story for another week…

Looking for Kratom addiction help but don’t know what the rehab process entails? Learn more in our A-Z guide on Kratom Addiction Treatment Programs and Help to get better prepared.


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Call 1-877-960-2430 for appropriate treatment options referral.

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About the author
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.
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