Kratom is a plant that grows in Southeast Asia. Its leaves have psychotropic and opioid-like pain-relieving effects.
People living in areas where kratom grows sometimes use it to treat diarrhea, pain, cough, and fatigue.
People living in the United States have shown increasing interest in using this substance as an alternative to opioid pain relievers. Other people use kratom to experience the psychotropic effects, or the “high.”
While kratom is currently legal in the U.S., the Drug Enforcement Agency list it as a “Drug of Concern” due to several potential safety issues.
Other names for kratom include:
In this article, learn more about kratom, including safety concerns and possible effects.
While some people use kratom as an alternative to prescription pain medications, such as opioids, very little research has investigated how it affects the body.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have not approved its use for any medical purpose.
Kratom may cause adverse reactions, especially at high doses. These reactions include seizures, tremors, psychosis, and other serious toxic effects.
People who have medical conditions and those who otherwise take medications may have a higher risk of adverse reactions to kratom.
It is crucial to note that the FDA do not monitor or regulate kratom supplements for their dosage or purity.
Kratom has several effects on the body, depending on the dose.
People use kratom in many ways, including chewing the leaves whole, brewing them as a tea, and crushing the leaves and swallowing or smoking them.
In very small doses, of 1–5 grams (g), kratom can act as a stimulant, giving users more energy. They may feel more awake and alert, social, and talkative.
In higher doses, of 5–15 g, kratom can have a sedative effect. This is similar to the effects of opioids, which cause users to feel tired, calm, and euphoric.
People typically use higher doses to treat a severe cough, diarrhea, or the symptoms of opioid withdrawal.
Doses higher than 15 g can make a person very tired and sedated, even to the point of losing consciousness.
Kratom can cause a range of adverse side effects, including:
Mixing kratom with other drugs or medications can make the side effects worse or cause additional effects.
Kratom comes with the risk of some severe complications, such as: