What Is Kratom: A Guide to the Risks, Benefits, and Uses of Kratom

Takeaway: Though there may be some potential health benefits to self-medicating with kratom, there are still so many unknowns since the drug has not been studied in depth. It is safest to consult with a physician before deciding to try kratom for yourself.

You may be wondering what is kratom precisely, and whether or not it is safe for you to use. Kratom is a tree, and its leaves are used as a recreational drug and even as a pain reliever. However, kratom has not been extensively scientifically studied and may cause side effects for some people. Before you decide on whether or not you should consider using kratom, find out what it is, how it works, and what the pros and cons of this herb really are.

What Is Kratom?

What is Kratom
kratom leaves

Kratom is a tree and the leaves of the tree are used as a recreational drug. It is a mitragyna speciosa plant, which is a tropical evergreen tree found mainly in Southeast Asia, like Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia. The extract from this plant is a pain reliever that can be used to treat chronic pain but is also used for a series of other health conditions. For example, kratom is often used to replace opioids, manage anxiety, depression, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Kratom is also sometimes used to counter the effects of opioid withdrawal.

What Are the Effects of Kratom?

Kratom is used to treat chronic pain and health problems, like the ones listed above. However, it is important to note that kratom also comes along with a slew of possible side effects that could be terribly damaging to one’s health. For now, there has not been enough scientifically-based studied to either prove or disprove how effective kratom use really is.

What Are the Side Effects of Kratom?

According to WebMD, the use of kratom orally is currently considered as potentially unsafe. Side effects of kratom include hallucinations, nausea, vomiting, aggression, brain swelling, seizures, liver damage, and even death. There is no telling how this drug will affect each individual and currently, health practitioners still cannot confirm a safe dosage.

Can Kratom Get You High?

Yes, just like opioids and other street drugs, kratom can give the user a feeling of being high in as little as five to ten minutes.

What Are the Benefits of Kratom?

In low doses, kratom can give users more energy. Kratom can actually have both stimulant and sedative effects. It is also an analgesic, an opiate substitute, and an antihypertensive. While studies remain ongoing and better methods of extracting the medicinal ingredients continue to develop, kratom has had positive effects on some people. It has helped relieve chronic pain in some and has also helped individuals battling with depression and anxiety.

How Is Kratom Used for Pain?

What is kratom and how does it work? Kratom works in the same way opioids do. And yes, they can also be habit-forming. There are two compounds on kratom leaves: mitragynine and 7-α-hydroxymitragynine. These compounds interact with the brain’s opioid receptors. This means that kratom will prompt a sedative effect, which leads to decreased pain. In other words, it works in the same way opioid drugs work to control pain receptors and diminish the level of pain an individual will face.

Are There Different Strains of Kratom?

There isn’t just one form of kratom. In fact, there are four: red, yellow, green and white. The red strain of kratom produces a feeling of euphoria. Different people find different strains of kratom to be more or less effective, depending on the health problems the user wants to treat.

What Does Kratom Do?

Kratom can have some positive effects for some people. It can treat symptoms of depression and anxiety, conditions which can drastically affect one’s quality of life. It can also be used to treat opioid withdrawal or work to keep certain diseases – like hypertension and diabetes – under control.

How Does Kratom Work for Pain?

Individuals suffering from chronic pain know the challenge of living a normal life. It can be difficult – unbearable, even – to live every day in constant pain. Kratom works to reduce that pain by working on your brain’s pain receptors and opioid receptors. What happens is that kratom comes in, and with a sedative effect, causes pain receptors to “slow down.”

Though the effect is temporary, it can drastically reduce pain. If you suffer from acute pain, this can be a temporary solution. However, it is not recommended to rely on kratom or any other addictive substance, for lifelong pain relief.

How to Use Kratom?

The question is, is there a safe way to use kratom? What is the best way to use this Asian herb? The safest way users have been consuming kratom is in powder form. You can mix the powder into your drink to take advantage of its benefits. But remember, health practitioners, do warn that kratom taken by the mouth may be potentially harmful. The fact remains that kratom is still not a very well studied medication.

How Long Does Kratom Last?

Kratom can take effect in as little as five to ten minutes. The main high, in which users notice the most significant improvements in their health problems, will happen in the first two to five hours. After that point, the medication is no longer active in the body and will no longer have much effect. This can be tricky when dealing with chronic pain. If the pain is constant, the minimal benefit of using kratom can easily turn into a dependency.

Is Kratom Natural?

As you may already know, kratom is a natural drug. However, as WebMD reminds us, that isn’t always a good thing. Natural does not automatically equal healthier and safer. In fact, some natural products may be very unsafe and have not been scientifically studied, like chemical compound medications.

How Do I Know if Kratom Is Right for Me?

kratom effects

As with any change to your health – especially in terms of treatments and medications – it is best to discuss with your medical practitioner first. While there may be some benefits to using kratom, there are still some significant risks to take into consideration before you turn to self-medication with kratom. Always consult with a licensed physician first, and you can decide together whether or not the risk is worth it for you.

What Is Kratom Addiction?

Though kratom is often used to treat the symptoms of opioid withdrawal, kratom is basically the exact same thing. Kratom works in the same way opioids do, so the risk of developing a dependency on it is quite high.

Can I Mix Kratom and Alcohol?

Both kratom and alcohol have effects on the central nervous system. Though they work in different ways, it is important not to mix the two as this can lead to more severe side effects.

Is Kratom Safe If I Am Pregnant or Breastfeeding?

Because the efficacy and the side effects of kratom are not entirely well known or completely understood in the medical community, no, it is not safe to consume and dosage of kratom if you are pregnant or nursing.

Is There a Recommended Dosage for Kratom?

Unfortunately, due to the lack of available research, there are no standard dosages health practitioners feel is safe to maximize benefits and minimize risks. There is also no standardization is how kratom is sold or consumed as the product is not administered, or approved, by the FDA.

Does Kratom Have Any Lasting Side Effects

Because of its short half-life, it is not likely to experience and permanent side effects of the drug. However, repeated and continued use of kratom may lead to certain irreversible conditions. For example, liver damage and brain swelling may become permanent – or at least the results of the stress on these vital organs may leave lasting effects.

What Happens If I Become Addicted to Kratom?

A kratom addiction can be difficult to battle. As it is similar to a struggle with opioid addiction, the best way to survive kratom dependency is to check in to a recovery center and work on ditching the habit for good. Quitting kratom can lead to several withdrawal symptoms, like loss of appetite, fatigue, increased pain sensitivity and more.

What Happens During Kratom Withdrawal?

American Addiction Centers say kratom withdrawal is very similar to opioid withdrawal since these drugs act in the same way. Some of the symptoms may include a sudden decrease in appetite, runny nose, muscle aches, pain, mood swings, and aggression. If you are suffering from kratom addiction, the best thing to do is check in to a recovery center to receive the adequate help and support you need to fight this uphill battle against addiction.

If you think you may have an addiction to kratom, consult with a friend or relative, or contact a recovery center yourself as soon as possible. The quicker you seek help, the quicker you can get back to living your life without dependency.

Is Kratom Legal?

Kratom is a controlled substance in 16 countries around the world. The FDA has also banned the importation of kratom as a dietary supplement.

What Are the Most Common Side Effects of Kratom Use?

The most common side effects reported by users of kratom are hallucinations, dizzy spells, nausea, vomiting, and delusions. Some of these side effects can be mild, while others may be very pronounced. These side effects can be terrifying for some and may indicate that kratom is not right for you. Before you decide to try kratom – in any form – speak with your doctor.

What is Kratom Tea?

A tea infused with kratom powder is a popular way for users to ingest the drug. However, as previously stated, consuming kratom orally may carry possible dangerous side effects that are still not very well known or even understood.

What Do I Need to Know About Kratom?

Before taking kratom, you need to understand the full range of benefits as well as the full range of side effects. It is also recommended to discuss with your practitioner beforehand and to assess the risks of taking kratom and its side effects. Depending on what you are trying to treat and the general state of your health, kratom may be a potentially dangerous herb for you to experiment with.

Conclusion: Kratom or Not?

The key points to remember from this review on kratom, its uses, and its side effects, are that kratom is not widely understood, has not been studied extensively, and it may cause addiction. Though it can be beneficial to dealing with certain health problems, you need first to assess if the benefits outweigh the risks. This is something you simply cannot accurately do without fully understanding how kratom works and what the side effects are.

Dosage is another important thing to consider. At low dosages, kratom can give individuals more energy and help them battle their chronic pain or health conditions. Too high of a dose can be very damaging – just like with any other medication or herb.

Is Kratom Safe for Everyone?

No, kratom is not safe for everyone and is not recommended for everyone. Before you make the judgment on whether or not it is safe for you, delve into the subject a little further. Consult with medical and healthcare professionals, assess the severity of your chronic illness, and look for scientifically-based evidence as it becomes more and more available.

9 Key Points to Understanding Kratom

– Kratom is often used to treat depression, anxiety, diabetes, and even hypertension.

– Kratom has not yet been studied enough, so its actual benefits are still unknown.

– Kratom is a natural herb, but natural isn’t always better.

– Kratom can be sued to treat opioid withdrawal.

– Kratom can be just as addictive as opioids.

– Always consult with a licensed physician before choose to self-medicate with kratom.

– Dosage should be determined with the help of a licensed medical practitioner.

– The effects of kratom are still unknown, so pregnant or nursing women should not consume any.

– For some, the benefits may outweigh the risk


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