A woman addicted to kratom looks at the kratom plant and its leaves

While most drugs of abuse are either scheduled drugs or illegal, some still remain legal despite their ability to cause addiction. Kratom, unfortunately, falls in this category. Here we take a look at kratom addiction, effects, withdrawal, and treatment.

What is Kratom?

Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) is a tree indeginous to Southeast Asia that has historically beenKratom leaves next to a bowl of powdered kratom used for the psychoactive effects in which it causes.

The drug, which contains over twenty identified psychoactive alkaloids, has grown in popularity for its stimulant and opioid-like effects.

While the drug has largely been outlawed in the regions it is indigenous, it remains legal in most of the United States, which has led to its growing popularity.

Despite its legality, however, kratom has been shown to cause addiction and withdrawal after extended periods of usage. (1)

Is Kratom Addictive?

Kratom has been shown to cause both physical and physiological addiction to its effects. This is largely caused by two of its psychoactive alkaloids (Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine), which act as selective and full agonists of the same opioid receptors as morphine. (4)

How is Kratom used?

The psychoactive alkaloids that produce kratom’s high are found in the greatest concentrations in the leaves of the tree. Therefore, kratom leaves are typically the part of the tree that is consumed. Traditionally, the leaves are either chewed or brewed into a tea.

In the United States, kratom leaves are often sold as a powder made from pulverizing the leaves. Many kratom extracts are also available on the market, which contain much higher concentrations of the psychoactive alkaloids than the plain leaves alone.

Kratom Effects

At low doses, kratom typically has a stimulant-like effect causing the user to feel more awake and alert. At higher doses, kratom has sedative effects caused by its ability to bind to opioid receptors. These effects mirror other opioids, and include:

  • Euphoria
  • Sedation
  • Pain relief
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness and nausea
  • Constipation (3)

Does Kratom cause a withdrawal syndrome?

Consequently, kratom causes a withdrawal syndrome similar to that of other opioids, and includes the following symptoms:

  • Severe anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Insomnia
  • Diarrhea
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Teary eyes and frequent yawning
  • Agitation
  • Cold and hot flashes (5)

Final Note

This article is intended for those considering a new way of life, free of the pain of drug and alcohol addiction. For more information on recovery and anyone seeking help with addiction and substance abuse problems, please call True Recovery at (844) 744-8783, email us at or visit us online.


Sources

  1. https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_chem_info/kratom.pdf
  2. http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/publications/drug-profiles/kratom
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24698080
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24698080
  5. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000949.htm