(Mitragyna Speciosa) Kratom is indigenous throughout South Asia and has been used by their natives for hundreds of years. This herbal drug has a long history of use as a stimulant for Thai farmers and laborers. Leaves are rolled into wads and chewed for energy and to reduce muscle strain while working. South Asians have also used Kratom as a substitute for opium or to ease withdrawal.
In the 1940’s the Thai government began to take notice of its abuse. From mild forms of addiction to the production of more powerful extracts. In an effort to limit its availability, in 1943 the Thai government passed a law making the planting of Kratom trees illegal.
What You Need to Know About Kratom Use
- Kratom is addictive: Just like any opioid agonist, it is addictive. Among a number of active alkaloid compounds in Kratom, Mitragynine is considered responsible for the effects. This makes Kraton mildly addictive. The long term addictive effects have yet to be fully studied.
- Kratom can be dangerous: Because Kratom is not regulated by the FDA, its purity and strength cannot be verified. Kraton has also proven to be very dangerous if not deadly when mixed with other drugs.
- Overdose: Although there is no known deaths linked directly to Kratom use. It is possible to overdose, resulting in undesired effects: itching, sweating, constipation, at time psychotic symptoms.
- Legality: Still legal in most states. There is a growing movement to outlaw Kraton as a controlled substance. For state by state Kratom laws check here.
Using Kratom to Quit Opiates
While kratom has not been thoroughly researched as treatment for opiate addiction. There are plenty of heroin / opiate recovery stories involving the use of Kratom. Since the neurological effects are so similar to opiates, it may be possible to use to treat withdrawal. Even reduce the physical pains associated with heroin withdrawals.
Dosing and Using
Tolerance to Kratom varies. It’s important to slowly sample smaller doses before trying a full dose. See the doseage chart below, provided by Sagewisdom.org:
- Premium Quality Kratom: Threshold 2-4 grams // Mild 3.5 grams // Moderate 4-10 grams // Strong 8.15 grams // Very Strong 12-25 grams
- Ultra-Potent Kratom: Threshold 1-3 grams // Mild 2-4 grams // Moderate 3-7 grams // Strong 6-10 grams // Very Strong 8-16 grams
- Kratom Extract: Threshold 1 gram // Mild 1-2 grams – Moderate 2-4 grams // Strong 3.6 grams // Very Strong 5-8 grams
What to Expect
The high felt when Kratom is taken can vary from calming to extremely sedative. At doses too high to tolerate, adverse reactions can occur, such as nausea and vomiting.
- Time to onset: Effects of Kratom can kick in as soon as 30 minutes after ingestion.
- Duration: At a mild to moderate dose, the effects of kratom can last 5 to 6 hours after ingestion.
- Tolerance: If used on a daily basis, there can be a buildup of tolerance. If uncheck this can also lead to a habit or addiction.
Effects at different doses
Kratom effects don’t usually vary much person to person. The amount used and tolerance make up the effects of the high.
- Low to Moderate dose: At a low dose (1 gram) the effects can be barely noticeable. A mild to moderate dose can produce a stimulant like effect.
- Moderate to High: A moderate dose is considered to be 3 to 4 grams or more. At this dose the stimulant like effects will lean more towards sedative and euphoric.
- High Dose: 6 grams or over is considered high. At this point the effects can be uncomfortable and produce overdose symptoms.
Dosing Kratom to Reduce Opiate/Heroin Withdrawal
First it’s important to understand that willpower is the most effective agent in change. You must be ready and willing to overcome addiction in order to successfully kick the habit. Make the decision and stick to it! Kratom does help, but it is not a miracle cure. Prolong use of Kratom will only lead to a transfer of addiction.
- Kratom stops physical withdrawals only: That means the mental effects of addiction will persist. You may still have problems with the mental aspects of withdrawal, depression,cravings, etc. So be prepared to handle these conditions by developing a coupling system and rely on the support of friends and loved ones.
- Don’t expect an Opium/Heroin like high: When using Kratom to beat an opiate addiction don’t expect to get a “heroin” like high, even at higher doses. It may be tempting to increase your dose of Kratom in hopes of replacing heroin/opiates. The point here is to subdue withdrawals. Take a dose that eases the physical pains of opiate withdrawal.
- Kratom is Physically Addictive: Prolonged use is habit forming. Dosing should be slowly tapered down to avoid withdrawal from Kratom.
Finding the Right Dose For You
In Order to find out what dose works for you, start with a small dose of 1 gram to asses your tolerance. If after 2 hours you feel no adverse effects, but are experiencing opiate withdrawal, an additional 2-3 grams is suggested. If you have a long history of opiate abuse, tolerance can be an issue. Doses of 10+ grams is very high but may be required.
You need to find the dosing “sweat spot”. This is the point in which withdrawals are easily tolerated or non existent. Take a note of this dose, it will be used to formulate a dosing schedule. We don’t want to deviate with higher or varying doses.
Take when needed, usually up to 3x a day, not more.
Kratom Dosing Example Schedule
A heavy opiate user may require 6-9 grams of Kratom to subdue opiate withdrawal. In this case, the dosing would be split into 3 times for the day, preferably on an empty stomach. Since effects usually kick in within 30 minutes, you may delay your first dose until needed.
First 5 to 8 days:
- Morning: 6 grams
- Noon: 6 grams
- Afternoon: 6 grams
After the initial 8 days, you may start to realise less of a need to use Kratom. At this point you can decide to reduce the dose or frequency by skipping a dose. If skipping, morning dose may be the easiest, if dropping dosage, try cutting in half.
After initial 5 to 8 days:
- Morning: 0 or 4 grams
- Noon: 4 grams
- Afternoon: 4 grams
10th to 15th day
- Morning: 0 or 2 grams
- Noon: 2 grams
- Afternoon: 2 grams
15th to 20th day
- Morning: 0 grams
- Noon: 1-2 grams – only if needed
- Afternoon: 1- 2 grams – only if needed
Usually, 20 days should provide enough time to recover from withdrawals as well as taper off of Kratom. If you feel more time may be needed, make that decision before starting or continue a 1-2 gram dose for the extra time. Don’t go up in kratom doses, this can lead to complications. Remember to find a good comfortable minimum dose when starting off.
Although it’s easy to find Kratom in tea form, dosing will be more difficult. The suggested way to use kratom for this purpose is in pill form. If you prefer tea, it will work as well, but make sure you have access to kratom tea throughout the day, without varying doses.