Kratom has a lot of health benefits and can cause a slight euphoric feeling. But is kratom addictive? Kratom has pros and cons. Here’s your guide.
If you’re at all interested in natural healing and alternative wellness information, you’ve probably heard some people praising a drug called kratom. You may have also heard some people, on the other side of the aisle, cautioning against it.
So, is kratom addictive? Is it safe for you to use?
There’s a lot of conflicting information about this drug that is circulating the internet, and it’s hard to know what to believe and what to write off.
If you’re interested in trying kratom but are worried about the potentially negative effects, keep reading.
Some of the pros and cons of kratom are listed below. With this information in mind, you’ll have a much easier time deciding if kratom is right for you.
What Is Kratom?
Before getting into the pros and cons of using kratom, it’s important to understand what it is.
Kratom (scientifically known as mitragyna speciosa) is a type of tropical evergreen tree.
It grows in South Asian countries like Thailand, Malaysia, and Myanmar.
The leaves of the kratom tree (specifically extracted from these leaves) contain a number of medicinal benefits. They’ve been used for a long time to treat pain, digestive issues, and to help relieve symptoms associated with opium withdrawal.
The primary active ingredients of kratom leaves are two types of alkaloids (compounds that have a physical effect on humans): mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine.
How Does Kratom Work?
Mitragynine and hydroxymitragynine both bind to the brain’s naturally occurring opioid receptors. This is why kratom leaves can help relieve pain and aid in opiate withdrawal.
Pros of Using Kratom
There are many benefits associated with using kratom, including the following:
Compounds found in kratom can increase the release of dopamine and serotonin, two neurotransmitters associated with pain relief. They work very quickly and can make a big difference to people who struggle with chronic pain.
Improved Immune System
Kratom leaves are also rich in antioxidants. They can help prevent and eliminate oxidative stress and inflammation in the body. This, in turn, allows the immune system to function better and decreases one’s chances of getting sick.
Kratom, in small doses, can also provide an energy boost. It does this by optimizing metabolic processes and increasing oxygenated blood flow. Many people who struggle with chronic fatigue benefit from using kratom since it provides an energy boost without jitters or other unpleasant side effects.
Kratom also has anxiolytic benefits for people struggling with stress, anxiety, or depression. This is due, in part, to its effects on the release of serotonin and dopamine. It can also improve sleep quality when consumed in larger quantities.
Many people use kratom to help them successfully wean off of stronger, more harmful opiates. It may also be useful for those who want to stop drinking or using other drugs. Kratom helps dull the effects of withdrawal so that addicts can stop consuming other substances.
Finally, early research has also shown that the alkaloids in kratom leaves can be beneficial for diabetics. This is because they regulate insulin and blood glucose levels, something diabetics often have a hard time doing on their own. Blood sugar regulation can also decrease one’s risk of developing diabetes at all.
Cons of Using Kratom
Of course, as with any drug, there are also some downsides to using kratom. Some of the most common cons associated with kratom use include:
Some people experience unpleasant side effects when they consume kratom. Common side effects include:
- Upset stomach
- Mild sedation
For most people, these effects are quite mild and don’t last for very long.
Lack of Regulation
The sale of kratom is currently largely unregulated. This means that it can be difficult to tell if you’re buying a quality kratom supplement or a dangerous knock-off that is filled with questionable ingredients.
Negative Drug Interactions
Kratom can also be dangerous when consumed alongside other drugs. Research shows that kratom does not mix well with painkillers or other psychoactive drugs. It can make symptoms worse and increase the risk of overdosing.
Is Kratom Addictive?
The FDA has advised against the use of kratom because of the potential for addiction. Does their position have any merit, though?
Since compounds found in kratom leaves bind to opioid receptors, kratom does have some addictive properties.
It’s important to note, though, that the alkaloids in kratom interact with opioid receptors differently than classical opioids.
Classical opioids trigger the recruitment of proteins known as beta-arrestins. Beta-arrestin is responsible for many of the negative effects that are associated with opioid addiction.
Kratom, on the other hand, does not recruit beta-arrestin. Because of this, kratom appears to be less habit-forming than classical opioids.
How they interact with the opioid receptor is distinctly different from classical opioids.
Some people do experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop using kratom. However, research shows that the withdrawal symptoms that occur after giving up kratom are significantly milder than the symptoms that occur after giving up classical opiates.
How to Use Kratom Safely
If you’re interested in using kratom, it’s important to make sure you’re doing so safely. This will help you avoid unpleasant side effects and decrease the risk of addiction.
Consume the Right Dosage
Consuming the right amount of kratom is the first step to enjoying it safely.
First, figure out why you want to use it. If you’re looking for increased energy, it’s best to consume a small dose of five grams or less.
If you’re looking for more sedating effects (improved sleep or pain relief), a higher dose of between 10 and 25 grams is more effective.
Buy from a Reputable Source
Most people purchase kratom online.
If you’re going to take this approach, be sure to research the company and learn as much about their manufacturing processes as possible. How is their kratom grown? What other ingredients are added to their supplements?
You can view here to learn more about buying high-quality kratom.
Don’t Combine It with Other Drugs
Finally, avoid combining kratom with any other drugs. This will help reduce your risk of overdose and help you avoid unpleasant and potentially life-threatening side effects.
As you can see, the answer to the question, “is kratom addictive?” isn’t exactly a simple one. There are lots of benefits to consuming kratom, but there are also some drawbacks that you ought to take into account.
If you’re interested in using kratom and think the pros outweigh the cons, be sure to buy from a reputable source. Keep the safety tips listed above in mind, too, to increase your chances of having a positive experience.
Want to learn more about the latest natural health supplements? Be sure to check out the health section of our site today.