Kratom is a substance derived from the leaves of the Mitragyna speciosa tree, a native species of Southeast Asia. This tree’s leaves contain compounds that may provide relief to individuals with anxiety.

Approximately 19% of adults in the United States have anxiety. This condition can cause challenging emotional and physical symptoms.

People with anxiety may have various symptoms, which include anxious thoughts, a racing heartbeat, or digestive problems. Difficult environments, genetics, and ongoing stress may lead to this condition.

This article discusses anxiety and kratom in more detail, including how kratom may affect anxiety. It also outlines some health considerations and other treatments for anxiety. Finally, it answers some common questions about anxiety and kratom.

Mental health resources

Visit our dedicated hub for more research-backed information and resources on mental health and well-being.

Was this helpful?
Image of green pills in a white boxShare on Pinterest
Jonathan Hammond/Getty Images

Feeling anxious about stressful events, such as moving house or work deadline, is natural. But people with an anxiety disorder experience continuous anxiety that can worsen with time. Anxiety disorders fall into several different categories.

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)

GAD causes long-term, ongoing anxiety about daily activities. People with GAD may experience symptoms of anxiety every day for months or even years. They may experience feelings of restlessness or irritability. This type of anxiety can also lead to physical symptoms, such as headaches, body pains, or sleep disturbances.

Social anxiety disorder

This condition causes considerable anxiety surrounding social interactions.

Individuals with social anxiety disorder may fear being socially humiliated or rejected. They may try to avoid social interactions altogether. The condition can make regular activities feel impossible, such as going to school or taking a bus.

Other anxiety disorders

Some people with anxiety may experience regular panic attacks. These may happen in response to a trigger or for no apparent reason. This form of anxiety is panic disorder.

Agoraphobia causes chronic anxiety surrounding certain places, such as public transportation or crowded areas. People with untreated agoraphobia may be unable to leave their homes.

Other forms of anxiety include specific phobias, such as heights, blood, or spiders. Individuals with specific phobias may go to great lengths to avoid the sources of their anxiety.

The leaves of the tropical kratom tree contain certain compounds that act on the body. Depending on the dose, they can have both sedative and stimulant effects.

Low doses of kratom may increase energy, improve alertness, and make an individual more talkative. Higher doses may cause sedative or euphoric effects. These effects tend to occur about 5–10 minutes after consuming kratom and last up to 5 hours.

The two main compounds in kratom are mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine. These compounds act on certain receptors found on nerve cells. This activity causes kratom’s effect, which is similar to that of opioids or stimulants.

Researchers have identified over 25 other alkaloids in kratom but do not fully understand what these compounds do. Clinical trials to learn more about kratom are currently underway.

What are the different types of kratom?

People may consume kratom in a few different forms. Kratom is available in pills or capsules or as an extract. Tea made from kratom leaves is another option for consuming this substance.

Different cultures have used kratom for centuries, if not millennia. Workers in some parts of Southeast Asia have historically used kratom tea to enhance productivity. People in Thailand and Malaysia have used kratom to treat morphine and opium dependence, respectively.

Learn more about using kratom for opiate withdrawal.

The wide range of kratom types can make them difficult to regulate. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved any types of kratom for medical use and advises people not to use it.

Although there are few studies of kratom, current research does indicate it may have positive effects on anxiety. One study found that kratom improves mood and reduces anxiety for many users.

In another study of 2,798 people who used kratom, 67% reported using kratom to manage anxiety symptoms.

Research indicates that higher doses of kratom may cause relaxation. For individuals with anxiety, taking higher doses of this substance may help alleviate anxiety symptoms. Lower doses of kratom can also improve sociability, which may also be helpful for individuals with social anxiety disorder.

However, researchers have not widely investigated the long-term effects of using kratom. It may affect each individual differently, depending on the form and dosage.

Individuals with anxiety may find relief from kratom in certain doses. However, a person should consult with a medical professional before taking it. There are other treatments for anxiety that may be more suitable.

The FDA has not approved the use of kratom in the U.S. In fact, it warns individuals to avoid kratom over concerns of addiction and potential abuse.

Some individuals who use kratom become dependent on the substance. If this occurs, they may also experience withdrawal when they try to stop using kratom. Taking kratom may also cause liver toxicity and interactions with medications.

Other side effects include:

There is no single standard treatment for anxiety. This is because effective treatment depends on the individual and the type of anxiety. Some individuals may benefit from antidepressant medications, which can address some anxiety symptoms.

Therapy is another excellent tool for managing anxiety disorders. For example, cognitive behavioral therapy may help individuals identify their triggers and develop coping tools to minimize their symptoms.

Exposure therapy may also be useful for people with specific phobias. Exploring the source of a given phobia in a controlled environment could help reduce or eliminate anxiety around that phobia.

Some people with anxiety may respond well to a single treatment, while a combination of different treatments may work better for others. A doctor can help individuals with anxiety develop the optimal treatment plan for them.

Below are some of the most common questions and answers about kratom and anxiety.

Does kratom affect anxiety?

Kratom may improve mood and reduce anxiety in some people.

However, the effects of kratom are highly variable. Furthermore, the FDA has not approved kratom and advises individuals to avoid it.

What kind of kratom helps a person relax?

People may drink kratom as a tea or take it in pill or powder form. However, the FDA has not approved kratom for medical use.

Can someone take kratom and antidepressants?

Research has shown that kratom can have a negative interaction when taken with some prescription medications. Certain compounds within kratom may cause interactions with these medications.

People should speak with a doctor before taking kratom and discuss any medications they are taking. The FDA does not advise taking kratom.

The substance kratom comes from the leaves of the kratom tree. Depending on the dose, this substance may boost energy or promote relaxation. Studies have indicated that some people with anxiety use kratom to relieve their symptoms.

However, further research into the substance is necessary, and the FDA advises people against using kratom due to the risk of dependence, addiction, and abuse.