Kratom also termed as Mitragyna Speciosa is a type of a tree native to South East Asia. It belongs to the same family as gardenias and coffee. It is a herbal remedy used by many individuals for treating various ailments.

Kratom provides the opiate-like effects, and it offers the dose-dependent stimulating effects. It is used as an energy booster along with it acts as a mild painkiller.

It helps in managing the withdrawal symptoms which might occur due to the opiate addiction.

Mechanism of action of Kratom

Kratom has alkaloids which include mitragynine and 7-hydroxy mitragynine.

These alkaloids bind with the mu-opioid receptors and act like opiates. It explains why kratom is useful for treating pain.

Mitragynine also acts on the adrenergic receptors leading to fighting or flight response. It is the reason why it serves as a stimulating agent.

It also comprises of epicatechin which is a type of antioxidant and helps in improving the immune system and reduces the blood pressure.

Does Kratom results in risks?

The adverse effects of kratom are limited. There is a limited research which shows whether this herb is safe for humans or not.

It is not a controlled substance and is readily available in shops in the form of crushed leaves, compressed tablets or capsules.

  • Addictive and physical dependence

This herb is found to possess 20 active chemicals which bind to the opioid receptors. It has the potential to lead to physical dependence along with addiction.

Some users feel that kratom results in irritability and agitation. It might also lead to unpleasant and dysphoric feelings.

The most significant danger which is posed by the long-term use of kratom includes the dependence and addiction.

  • Kratom abuse

    Although kratom’s use has a long history by the natives as a herbal medicine, kratom abuse is widespread in this region due to which it is banned in Malaysia, Myanmar, and Thailand.

  • Liver issues

    The drugs in kratom have a potential to interact with the metabolizing enzymes present in the liver which can also result in severe interactions with medicines.

    Overdosage is fatal which has been reported in some individuals with the use of kratom.

  • Dose-dependent side effects

    The side effects of kratom depend on the dose.

    Side effects of kratom can lead to pupillary constriction, blushing or facial flushing, loss of motor coordination or tremors, sweating, dizziness, constipation, itching, vomiting, and nausea.

  • Severe adverse effects which are prolonged and chronic

    The serious effects of kratom are rare but include seizures at very high doses.

    If the drug is used for long-term, it might result in unusual effects which include darkening of the facial skin, hyperpigmentation, weight loss, anorexia, psychosis and weight loss.

    The long-term use of kratom might result in damage to the organs or other body parts of the human body.

  • Withdrawal symptoms associated with Kratom

    The withdrawal symptoms of kratom include nausea, sweating, irritability, diarrhea, high blood pressure, runny nose, muscle and joint pain, intense cravings along with insomnia.

  • Psychological effects associated with Kratom

    Psychological effects of kratom include hallucinations, delusions, severe mood swings, appetite loss, panic episodes, lethargy, crying, addiction, aggressive behaviour, paranoia, and others.

  • Ban on Kratom

    Many countries have legally banned the use of kratom because they consider it as a psychoactive or psychotropic drug.

Benefits of Kratom use according to dosage

The kratom has numerous benefits depending on the dosage:

  • The kratom provides the individuals with amazing benefits because of its alkaloids.
    It provides the effects to the individual’s body by maintaining the balance between the opiate and stimulant-like effects. These effects depend on the dose of the kratom.
  • At small doses (1-5 grams): kratom provides the stimulant effects which are felt within 10 minutes of the first. These effects last for 60-90 minutes. The effects are pleasant and result in increased alertness and energy, results in increased sociability, decreased appetite, and heightened libido.
  • At moderate to high doses(5-15 grams): these effects last for several hours. Kratom results in euphoric effects,i.e., make the user feels sturdy. It also results in analgesic effects, causes drowsiness, allows the individual to stay calm and relaxed.
  • It is an effective remedy for cough suppression and aids in reducing the withdrawal symptoms associated with opioids.
  • At very high doses (more than 15 grams): it results in similar effects like those of opioids, which includes extreme sedation or might lead to a loss of consciousness in few individuals.
  • The medicinal effects of kratom include pain relief while on opiate withdrawal, acts as a mood-lifting substance promotes anxiolytic effects, relieves depression and immune system.
  • It acts as a cognitive enhancer, anti-malarial, anti-leukemic, anti-inflammatory and helps in lowering down the blood sugar levels.

The top uses of Kratom include:

  1. Aids in treating the opiate addiction
  2. Helps in boosting energy by increasing the oxygen levels in the bloodstream and relaxing the hyperactive nerves.
  3. Aids in relieving pain by attaching the alkaloids to the opioid receptors.
  4. It helps in improving anxiety and mood by controlling the hormonal balance. The most common strains for reducing stress include Indo, Bali, Borneo and Red Veins.
  5. It helps in enhancing the sexual functions

How can you use Kratom?

forms of kratomKratom can be used easily in the form of solid leaves, capsules, powdered kratom, kratom tincture.

It is advised to consume on an empty stomach with tea.

Final thoughts on Kratom benefits and risks

We can finally conclude after understanding the benefits and risks of kratom use that kratom is very beneficial and outweighs the risks of its usage.

It has positive effects when used in moderate doses, so it is advantageous when utilized in recommended dosage. It is a life-saving drug for users who have a severe opioid addiction.

There is not much scientific research carried out on kratom. However, according to user reviews, it shows that the beneficial effects win the race.

However, there are some cases with liver damage and fatal toxicity as well. Consult your doctor or physician before you start taking kratom.

Asad Khan is an independent health journalist who specializes in food policy and global health. He is a senior fellow for investigative health journalism at the Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences, Germany.