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Kratom, or Mitragyna speciosa is a leafy tree that grows from 3-15 meters tall. Its leaves contain mitragynine and are chewed as an opiate substitute and stimulant in Thailand and South-East Asia, primarily among the working class. It has a relatively long history of human use.

Kratom Plant

Kratom's pharmacology shares some elements of the activity of other substances including yohimbine. Kratom also has a yohimbe-like stimulant activity, and uncaria-like immunostimulant activity. Kratom is said to produce a sense of well-being, with users reporting anti-depressant, anti-anxiety, analgesic, and even euphorigenic effects. It is paradoxically a stimulant and depressant, used to aid work and also able to contribute to rest and sleep. Kratom's psychoactive effects are reported to be relatively short-lived, typically fading after a few hours. Some people experience nausea after ingesting kratom. Its extremely bitter taste probably contributes to the nausea. Another possible effect is constipation. Kratom is mildly addictive and withdrawal is possible after frequent heavy use. While rarely severe or disabling, withdrawal symptoms can include depression, fatigue, restlessness, teary eyes, and insomnia. It is comparable to morphine withdrawal in character and caffeine withdrawal in severity.

Crushed Kratom Leafs

The most potent leaves generally come from older trees, most of which grow on mildly acidic jungle type soils. The large leaves are most revered. Different strains, with names such as 'Rifat' and 'Bumblebee' are now being selected and vegetatively cloned for their allegedly higher innate alkaloid content. However, genetics are only a small variable with mitragyna speciosa. Alkaloid content is a function of age, genetics, soil, location, and season. Alkaloid production is highest in late summer and early fall. There are some reports that kratom grown in sub-tropical or mild tropical conditions may not be active, or will be less potent than kratom growing in the deep tropics. Again, reports vary sharply in this regard. Some make this claim, while others claim to have grown perfectly potent plants under such conditions.


Recreational Use of Kratom

Though Kratom is not a well known substance outside South-East Asia; it has been sold for its narcotic effects around the world, mainly via internet vendors. By affecting the Delta opioid receptors much like opiates do, Kratom provides a calm and relaxing euphoria mirroring that of opiates. Kratom appears to affect the brain in much the same way opiates do, but yet it does not cause the retched dependence caused by regular opiate use. A tolerance is built, however, requiring more material to achieve the same effects. It is recommended that users do not use Kratom more than twice a week, so a tolerance is not built. Cross-tolerance has also been noted. This means that a user can consume Kratom and build a tolerance for both Kratom and opiates. This could pose a problem for doctors prescribing pain medication to someone after regular Kratom use.

Kratom as a Opiate substitute

Since Kratom affects the brain much like opiates; Kratom has been a popular opiate substitute in some parts of South-East Asia. Many opium addicts in Thailand are reported to chew Kratom leaves if opium is not available. In most cases, Kratom is just used as a substitute until more opium can be acquired, though some opiate users do combine the two drugs.

Kratom as a Sex enhancer

Some users claim that Kratom allows them to perform sexually for a much longer period of time than normal. For many people, Kratom reduces the sensitivity in the sexual organs, thus requiring more time to reach an orgasm. Kratom seems to have a negative effect on sexual performance though. Many report that Kratom causes temporary erectile problems.

Kratom & cancer prevention

There have been some claims that Kratom can reduce the chances of getting some forms of cancer. There is no scientific research to back these claims up. Hopefully, someday, there will be some research available on this subject.

Kratom Side effects

Consumption of Kratom does have possible side effects such as nausea, constipation, sleep problems, and temporary erectile dysfunction. Extensive use can cause some problems such as insomnia, anorexia, weight loss, darkening of skin, and dry mouth. There are reports of a small number of Kratom users in South-East Asia experiencing more severe problems from they're extensive consumption of the plant. Problems such as hallucinations, delusional behavior, aggression and schizophrenia seemed to plague some users. Some of these users were also using drugs such as alcohol, opiates and amphetamines as well. Any one of these drugs could have caused these severe symptoms, so it would be questionable to assume that Kratom caused these problems. Some of the people who did not use other drugs did display symptoms, but these were long time users, some as much as 40 years of daily heavy consumption. It seems unlikely that users outside South-East Asia face the same risks, as most recreational users don't consume anywhere near the same amount of Kratom as people from South-East Asia. It is recommended that new Kratom users start with smaller doses to avoid potential negative effects. Avoid driving and operating heavy machinery. Use caution when mixing psychoactive substances with Kratom. There appears to be no information regarding Kratom use and interactions with MAOI’s and SSRI’s, but if you take MAOI’s, do not use Kratom. People taking SSRI’s are advised to use caution when taking Kratom. Most people taking SSRI’s report no problems with Kratom.

Kratom dosage

  • Oral Kratom Dosages (dried leaf)
  • Enhanced (Extract Added)
  • Threshold 1 gram
  • Light 1-2 grams
  • Common 2-3 grams
  • Strong 3-6 grams

  • Oral Kratom Dosages (dried leaf)
  • Super Grade
  • Threshold 1-2 grams
  • Light 2-4 grams
  • Common 3-5 grams
  • Strong 4-8 grams

  • Oral Kratom Dosages (dried leaf)
  • Premium Grade
  • Threshold 2-4 grams
  • Light 3-5 grams
  • Common 4-10 grams
  • Strong 8-15 grams

  • Oral Kratom Dosages (dried leaf)
  • Low Potency (very uncommon as of 2008)
  • Threshold 3-7 grams
  • Light 5-10 grams
  • Common 10-20 grams
  • Strong 20-50 grams

  • Onset : 5-15 minutes
  • Duration : 2-5 hours
  • Normal After Effects : 3-6 hours

Legal status

Kratom is a controlled substance in Thailand, Bhutan, Australia, Denmark, Finland, Lithuania, Malaysia and Myanmar (Burma). A handful of people in Malaysia and possibly other countries are lobbying their governments to allow medical research into kratom as a potential prescription substance.

The DEA has added Kratom to their list of drugs and chemicals of concern.

Other names for Kratom

  • Ketum
  • Kakuam
  • Ithang
  • Thom