Kratom was first imported to the US in the 1980s and today it counts about 3-5 million users. People use the substance to manage a variety of conditions such as mood disorders, muscle pain, chronic pain, and opioid dependence. So what is kratom? Read on and find out everything you need to know.
What Is Kratom?
Kratom or Mitragyna Speciosa is a tree that belongs to the coffee family. It’s native to Southeast Asia, specifically to Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, and Borneo. The first use of kratom dates 150 years ago, around 1836 when laborers used to chew kratom leaves or brew them as a tea to boost energy throughout the day and relax after a day of hard work.
What Are the Kratom Benefits?
Kratom is abundant in alkaloids. The most prevalent substances, 7-hydroxy mitragynine and mitragynine, produce opioid-like effects but are less pronounced. Therefore, kratom gives a wide spectrum of benefits.
Kratom for Energy
A low-to-moderate dose of kratom can make you feel more energetic. It removes the tiredness, fatigue, and jittery feeling from the body. Additionally, the plant has an excellent metabolic effect. It increases blood circulation, producing more energy. White is the best kratom vein for energy. You can opt for White Maeng Da too — take up to 5 grams to get an energy boost.
Kratom for Enhancing the Mood
Kratom is often used as a healthier alcohol substitute. The alkaloids in kratom leaves stimulate the sympathetic nervous system, sending signals to release endorphins. So kratom is a perfect way to elicit sociable feelings, become more talkative, and get u in a great mood. Green Malay and Green Maeng Da are the best kratom types for mood elevation and eliciting euphoria feelings.
Kratom as a Natural Painkiller
One of the oldest uses of kratom is to relieve pain. The plant is known for successfully alleviating pain and discomfort. The alkaloids act on the opiate receptors of the central nervous system, signaling the neurons to release endorphins, enkephalins, and dynorphins which suppress the pain signal. Kratom is often used for chronic conditions, including arthritis, backache, and joint pain. Green Maeng Da kratom, Red Bali kratom, and Red Borneo kratom are the types typically considered as the strongest painkillers.
Kratom for Diabetes Prevention and Management
Kratom maintains the insulin level in the body and controls the glucose levels, preventing sudden blood sugar spikes and drops. This way, kratom acts as a potent supplement for diabetes prevention but it can also help people who are already struggling with diabetes to manage the condition.
Katom for Relieving Opiate Withdrawal Symptoms
Arguably one of the most unique benefits of kratom is its ability to relieve opiate withdrawal symptoms. The two main alkaloids mitragynine and 7-hydroxy mitragynine bind to the opioid receptors of the body, acting in the same way opioids do, while also providing pain relief.
Kratom as Sexual Stimulant
Though there aren’t scientific studies that confirm this, kratom is said to work well in enhancing libido and improving sexual performance. Additionally, some users report positive effects on fertility.
Kratom for Improved Focus
Kratom is powerful for sharpening the focus and a handy supplement if you’re preparing for a big event or an important meeting. Acetylcholine which is a powerful neurotransmitter regulates the endocrine system, increasing the potential to which cortical circuits respond to sensory stimuli.
Kratom for Immunity
Kratom is a natural antioxidant so taking small doses of kratom powder or capsules can be beneficial for your immune system. It will protect your body against free radicals and provide the essential nutrients so that you feel healthy and vital.
Kratom Side Effects
The main difference between kratom and traditional opioids is the lack of beta-arrestin-2 recruitment which is why kratom has reduced side effects. However, kratom side effects are possible but they are usually dose-dependent. When taking low to moderate doses of kratom (1-5 grams) you are likely to feel stimulated, energized, and alerted. In some cases, you might experience restlessness.
Higher doses of more than 5 grams will cause effects like sedation or euphoria. The risk of side effects is higher when taking high doses of kratom. Common symptoms include constipation, itching, sweating, and dizziness.
Long-term use of kratom can cause more serious side effects like kidney failure, liver toxicity, cardiotoxicity, discoloration, vomiting, anorexia, and psychosis. Prolonged use of kratom can also cause dependence and lead to a higher tolerance. Kratom addiction manifests with nausea, hypertension, pain, insomnia, and irritability.
Accidental Kratom Overdose
Accidental kratom overdose has been reported with people who have developed a higher tolerance for opiates. They usually need higher doses of kratom to achieve the desired effect which can lead to overdose. The symptoms of kratom overdose aren’t as obvious so you might want to stay alerted for shortness of breath, sudden chills, confusion, or nausea.
If you have been using kratom for a longer period, you might experience kratom withdrawal within the first 12-16 hours after ceasing to use it. Common symptoms are less severe than those of traditional drugs and are usually associated with a sleep disorder, tension, muscle cramps, and heat attacks. If you’re experiencing such kratom withdrawal symptoms, you should consult with your doctor.
How Is Kratom Consumed?
The two main forms of kratom are powder and capsules but there are numerous methods to intake kratom. Here we’re looking at the pros and cons of each one of them.
Kratom powder can offer great versatility. It’s the first choice of many beginners and also more experienced consumers that want to measure the dosage themselves and modify it as needed
How to Toss and Wash?
Speaking of popular methods to intake kratom powder, toss and wash come first to mind. The basis of this principle is, as the name suggests, to toss the desired amount of kratom powder in the mouth and then wash it with a lot of water. The body will immediately absorb the raw powder, providing fast effects. The strong flavor of kratom is very obvious with this method, so toss and wash is not the favorite method for those outputted by it.
How to Prepare Kratom Tea?
Kratom tea is simple to prepare. You need to boil the desired amount of kratom powder with water for about 30 minutes. Let it sit for a while and then strain the liquid. You can drink the tea as it is or add some sweeteners like sugar, maple syrup, stevia, or honey. If you want to spice things up, consider adding ginger or mint leaves, as well as orange or lemon juice.
Kratom tea is a great choice if you’re looking for mild effects. The hot water will compromise the chemical compound, weakening the effects. If you want to experience the full kratom potency, you might want to consider preparing a cold brew or some of the other kratom intake methods mentioned below.
Kratom capsules are very convenient to take. They come pre-dosed so you will always know how much kratom you’re taking without going through the hassle of measuring it. Kratom capsules are the go-to choice for those with a busy lifestyle, as well as those that dislike the natural taste of kratom. Kratom pills are very powerful but show delayed effects since the body needs approximately 30-40 minutes to break down the capsules and absorb the kratom.
Kratom shows are among the newly-discovered ways of intaking kratom. Thanks to the small dosage, kratom shots are becoming fan-favorite. You can easily prepare liquid kratom shots by mixing the desired kratom powder dosage with your favorite single-shot drink — think lemon or orange juice with a twist (ginger, cayenne pepper, molasses, or honey). It’s a fun way to ingest kratom but also very powerful.
Kratom extracts take more time to prepare but are more powerful than any other method. They can take one of three forms.
To prepare kratom you need to prepare a mixture of ethyl alcohol and kratom powder. Stir it and then start adding citric acid until you achieve pH 4. Once this is done, seal the jar and place it in a cool and dark place. After 1-2 weeks, shake the mixture, strain it, and let the liquid evaporate. Once the kratom tincture is done, you can store it in bottles and simply swallow it or put it in your food or drink.
Similar to kratom tincture, the water-based extract means dissolving the kratom leaves or powder but with water instead of alcohol. The rest of the process is the same.
Last but not least, we have the kratom resin which has a high-concentration of alkaloids. To prepare it, you need to mix kratom powder, water, and lemon juice and let it sit in the freezer overnight. Then add the mixture to boiling water and then bring it to simmer. Let it cool down, strain the liquid, and then wait until half of the liquid evaporates.
Lastly, put more lemon juice and water into the mixture and boil it again. Once one-half of the liquid evaporates, place it in the oven until the liquid completely evaporates. The thick kratom resin can be simply taken orally or added to your favorite hot drink.
What Happens If You Smoke Kratom?
Smoking kratom can cause multiple side effects like shortness of breath, coughing, and difficulty in performing physical activities. Additionally, it can cause chest pain and weaken the overall immune system. At the same time, you should also avoid snorting kratom powder as it can damage your respiratory system, cause nasal inflammation and blockage, and lead to serious lung infections.
How to Grow Kratom?
Many home plant growers have started cultivating kratom in their homes. For those that want to try this, it’s important to know that while it is possible to grow kratom indoors, you need to create the specific conditions this plant needs. First of all, kratom thrives in a hot and humid climate so you’ll need a specific, controlled environment. Additionally, you need to acquire nutrient-dense soil if you want the tree to achieve its optimal growth. The process requires dedication and patience but if you want it, you can have it.
How to Keep Kratom Fresh?
It’s a natural process for alkaloids to degrade in potency over time. Considering this, kratom powder is fresh for about 1-2 months. After this period, it’ll start losing its flavor, color, scent, and most importantly — its effects. If you want to prolong the shelf life of your kratom powder, you should keep it dry and away from humidity. The humidity can destroy the powder, decreasing its shelf life but also causing mold. Also, you should avoid keeping your powder in areas with direct sunlight as the UV lights will cause damage. Additionally, make sure to use an airtight container to prevent exposure to oxygen and keep the powder from oxidizing.
Is Kratom Legal?
The answer is yes and no. It depends on where you live. In the US, kratom is considered a drug of concern but it isn’t banned on a federal level. However, six of its states have made it illegal. So, if you’re living in Arkansas, Indiana, Vermont, Alabama, Wisconsin, or Rhode Island, it’s illegal for you to use, sell, or buy kratom. Additionally, several counties — Franklin County and Franklin County, New Hampshire, San Diego County, California, and Sarasota County, Florida — have also made kratom illegal.
Kratom is also considered illegal in several EU countries including the UK, Lithuania, Denmark, Poland, Ireland, and Sweden. Australia, New Zealand, and Malaysia have also banned the usage of kratom. In Thailand, kratom is allowed for use but only for medical purposes.
Where to Buy Kratom?
Now that you have learned a thing or two about kratom, your next question is “where can I purchase kratom?”. Many vendors sell kratom both online and in-person stores. The secret is to find a trusted kratom vendor whose products are lab tested and undergo quality control.