Kratom is an herbal extract. Some people use kratom to treat opioid withdrawal. However, kratom can cause addiction, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved its use in the United States.
Opioids are drugs that doctors often prescribe to treat pain. These drugs bind to opioid receptors in the brain. Opioid receptors
When opioids bind to opioid receptors, this can relieve pain and cause feelings of euphoria and relaxation.
People can misuse these medications and may go on to develop an opioid use disorder. In 2014,
“Opiates” is the term for
Kratom is the common name for the leaves of the Mitragyna speciosa tree, which is native to Southeast Asia.
Some people in this region
If a person consumes kratom, it can cause similar physiological effects to opioids, including pain relief, euphoria, and stimulation. Kratom can also cause dependency and addiction.
High doses of kratom can be toxic and cause a number of side effects,
- tachycardia, a fast resting heartbeat
- respiratory depression
Low doses can cause stimulation, which can make a person more alert and increase their physical energy. Higher doses can act as a sedative, which can cause feelings of euphoria and dull emotions and sensations.
Traditional uses of kratom
- as a stimulant for energy
- as a pain reliever
- as a sedative
In the U.S., some people use kratom as an alternative to opioids. The aim may be to help manage the symptoms of opioid withdrawal.
This is because the compounds in kratom act similarly to opioids. They bind to opioid receptors in the brain and cause similar psychological effects.
Repeated use of kratom can cause a person’s body to
Compounds in kratom act similarly to opioids, and kratom withdrawal can cause similar symptoms to opioid withdrawal.
Common symptoms of opioid withdrawal
Below are some false ideas about kratom.
Kratom is not addictive
This is not true.
Kratom can affect the brain similarly to opioids. People
Kratom is safe
Opioids can have dangerous effects, such as:
- liver damage
However, under the guidance of a healthcare professional, a person may be able to use opioids safely. This may be true for kratom, but at present, it is not allowed in the U.S. As a result, there are no regulations for it, and experts do not know how it might be safe to take.
Because kratom is similar to opioids, it may possess the same dangerous attributes listed above. Kratom use may also cause these serious side effects:
- dry mouth
- increased urination
- loss of appetite
There is no risk of overdose with kratom
Most of these deaths involved other substances, as well, such as opioids, benzodiazepines, alcohol, gabapentin (Horizant, Gralise, Neurontin), and over-the-counter medications.
In rare cases, overdoses involved the use of kratom alone.
Kratom is a safe replacement for opioids or opiates
This is not the case.
Kratom acts similarly to these drugs, and it carries some similar risks, such as addiction, withdrawal, overdose, and death.
Below are some of the risks associated with taking kratom.
Addiction and withdrawal
A person who takes kratom regularly may develop a physical dependency on the drug and may develop an opioid use disorder.
If a person has some level of physical dependence on kratom, they
Common symptoms of kratom withdrawal include:
- high blood pressure
- a high temperature or fever
- jerky body movements
As with opioids, a person
In rare cases, repeated use of kratom can cause liver damage. This tends to begin within
Health authorities have reported a number deaths related to the use of kratom. Most involved the use of kratom alongside other substances.
Of these deaths, nine involved kratom alongside other drugs and medications, including diphenhydramine, alcohol, caffeine, benzodiazepines, fentanyl, and cocaine.
Two of the 11 deaths were associated with kratom alone.
In 2017, the FDA identified
The FDA likewise reported that many deaths linked to kratom were also associated with other substances. It cited reports of deaths resulting from kratom dietary supplements that contained other compounds.
If a person experiences kratom withdrawal, they should contact a doctor for advice about how to manage the symptoms.
Common ways of easing the symptoms of opioid withdrawal may be useful. Doctors
Some self-care strategies include:
- staying hydrated
- having a nutritious, balanced diet
- exercising regularly
- having a structured sleep schedule
- stretching often
A person might consider yoga, mindfulness practices, and meditation. A support group for people dealing with opioid withdrawal may also be helpful.
Anyone dealing with withdrawal should also ensure that they regularly communicate with a family member, another loved one, a therapist, or a counselor for emotional support.
Kratom is a common name for the leaves of the Mitragyna speciosa tree. This is native to Southeast Asia, where some people use kratom as a stimulant, pain reliever, or sedative.
In the U.S., some people believe that kratom is a safe alternative to opioids and can help alleviate symptoms of opioid withdrawal.
Kratom works similarly to opioids and causes similar effects, such as stimulation, sedation, and pain relief. However, it also carries similar risks. Kratom can cause addiction, withdrawal, overdose, liver damage, and death.