Kratom Addiction and Withdrawal: Should You Worry?

Alice Sparkle
Published On

While many consumers claim that Kratom has helped them reduce the symptoms of opiate withdrawal, public officials and some media outlets continue to show concern regarding Kratom addiction. So which is it? Should you use Kratom to wean off artificial and/or prescription drugs or do you risk causing yourself more harm?

In what follows, I’ll look at the science available to us today in order to address this important question. If you’re thinking about trying Kratom for its benefits on human health, read on to find out more about whether or not this herb is addictive.

Are There Any Kratom Addiction Withdrawal Symptoms?

To understand Kratom addiction and withdrawal, we should first take a closer look at the substance itself. Unlike opioids and other drugs, Kratom comes from a natural plant of the coffee family. The reason why it has analgesic and euphoric properties is because it contains two important alkaloids, mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, both of which interact with the opioid receptors in the human brain.

Taken over long periods of time, Kratom can cause dependence, but dependence is not synonymous with addiction. For example, you might depend on prescription medication to manage chronic pain that would otherwise disrupt your life or, to give you a more common example, many people depend on coffee. In and of itself, this is not a bad thing.

Addiction, on the other hand, is when you cannot stop taking a substance, regardless of the negative consequences it might have on your body. Signs of addiction include:

  1. An extreme urge to use the substance.
  2. Constantly increasing your dose. Although you might feel tempted to take more Kratom at a time, consumers report that they can easily stick to a smaller dose in order to avoid building up tolerance. Those who are addicted to artificial drugs, on the other hand, cannot stop themselves from taking higher doses.
  3. Engaging in risky behaviors. People who suffer from opiate addiction tend to resort to risky behavior such as violence or stealing in order to obtain the drug.
  4. Withdrawal symptoms. With most artificial and prescription drugs, users immediately experience withdrawal once they stop taking the substance. Kratom consumers, on the other hand, report that they do not have significant withdrawal symptoms so long as they stick to a small daily dosage.

Things to consider: Due to its alkaloid composition, Kratom can have opioid-like effects, but it can never induce an opiate high or lead to life-threatening complications if taken in strong doses. Still, taking large amounts of Kratom on a daily basis can make it difficult to stop.

While experienced consumers report that Kratom addiction is very unlikely, some of them have identified mild withdrawal symptoms when quitting the herb for more than a day. These symptoms usually include cravings, restlessness, irritability, and mood swings. The secret to avoid these and other unpleasant side-effects is to keep your dose as low as possible.

Can You Use Kratom for Opiate Addiction?

Taking opioid-based pain medication such as Vicodin or OxyContin for an extended period of time can cause dependence, in addition to a wide range of negative side-effects such as constipation, nausea, breathing difficulties, and drowsiness. As an alternative, it is possible to use Kratom for opiate addiction and eventually eliminate the dependence on medication.

Kratom contains alkaloids that mimic the effects of opioids, but it is ultimately a natural herb with far fewer side-effects. In addition, Kratom consumers report a number of positive effects that the plant can have on the human body. The most noteworthy such benefits include:

  • Improved mood. Kratom stimulates the natural release of endorphins, which can help users let go of negative emotions. In combination with the herb’s analgesic effect, this induces a state of calm euphoria that ultimately results in a more positive outlook on life.
  • Enhanced brain function. Kratom has a nootropic effect, which means that it can stimulate the mind and help the user maintain a state of sharp focus for longer periods of time. This is especially true with Green and White strains.
  • A boost in energy. Kratom is a plant of the coffee family and, when taken in small doses, it can be used to replace coffee altogether.
  • Reduced anxiety. Consumers who generally have a difficult time participating in social situations report that Kratom makes them more talkative and less anxious. When taken in larger doses, the herb can have a sedative effect and lead to a calmer, more restful sleep.

It is essential to understand, however, that Kratom is only beneficial when taken in reasonable doses. Although research has shown that a Kratom “overdose” cannot lead to respiratory failure (like in the case of opioids, for example), it’s still possible to experience extremely unpleasant side-effects – including vomiting, constipation, and anxiety – if you take too much of the herb.

Pro Tip 1: To avoid Kratom addiction, long-term users take Kratom once every other day. These breaks are essential to ensure that you do not develop a tolerance and that you can continue to experience the benefits of the herb without increasing the dose.

Pro Tip 2: Another way to avoid building up a tolerance is to come up with a rotation of different strains with similar effects. For example, if you’re taking Kratom for pain relief, you can alternate between Red Bali, Red Maeng Da, and Red Borneo, to name a few.

Pro Tip 3: If you take Kratom to treat opioid addiction, remember that your ultimate goal is to give up all substance dependences. If possible, gradually reduce your dose until you feel comfortable with eliminating it altogether.

Avoid Kratom Addiction: Promote Responsible Use

If there’s one thing to remember as a first-time Kratom user, it’s that while Kratom addiction is unlikely, the herb has the best effects when taken in low dosage. Given its opioid-like effect, Kratom can leave you craving for more, but the main difference between it and artificial drugs is that, as most consumers will tell you, it is entirely possible to resist the urge to take more.

Not only is responsible use better for you and your health, it is also a step forward for the entire community. In spite of its many benefits, Kratom continues to be a controversial topic in the US and the only way to change public opinion for the better is to show that the herb can be consumed safely.