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Can You Get Addicted to Kratom?

Kratom addiction and abuse risks

With its growing popularity, Mitragyna Speciosa is becoming controversial day by day, primarily related to abuse. People using this herb for various mental and physical impacts, and they likely not to develop a kratom addiction or adverse effects as it is a mild stimulant substance. Due to no detailed research and myths circulating without any scientific basis have made Kratom come to the spotlight and not in the right way.

What is Kratom?

Kratom is a herbal extract or powder; mitragyna Speciosa is the plant belonging to the coffee family grown in the Southeast Asian countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, Maeng Day, Bali, and another rain forest bearing Regions.

The natives had used kratom for ages to cure and treat many medicinal and non-medical illnesses and aches as a herbal alternative. With growing popularity, people all around the world have started taking kratom for their needs.

What makes Kratom have an addiction liability?

Kratom has a high alkaloid content in its chemical composition; the alkaloids include Mitragynine and 7-Hydroxymitragynine and up to or more than 40 other alkaloids. This high potency chemicals in high concentrations make Kratom a psychoactive substance that directly acts on the brain receptors.

Kratom produces effects in striking resemblance to some addictive drugs. This resemblance makes Kratom to be taken as an addiction liability.


The United States Food and Drug Administration has been working and researching on Kratom now. However, the FDA has not declared Kratom as a safe herb for any medical or non-medical illness or treatment.

In 2014, the FDA made Kratom a concerning drug and restricted its sale as a health supplement. To date, there is no concrete evidence for Kratom to be declared safe, and on the contrary, not enough study to ban it. People continue to use it, but the FDA hasn’t approved Kratom yet.

Difference between Kratom Addiction and Abuse

Addiction and abuse are often taken under one heading, but that is not true. Addiction means dependence on the substance to maintain the normal well being of the person. In contrast, abuse means taking the Drug or substance in a higher quantity than the body’s requirement that leads to adverse effects and may lead to a medical emergency.

Kratom addiction is very rare. However, abuse has a higher possibility as it is often taken in larger quantities or combination with other substances due to lake of information and research on Kratom.

The FDA and The DEA’s bans have made it almost impossible for researchers to study and experiment with Kratom.

Can You Get Addicted To Kratom?

We all know that excess of anything is harmful. Even drinking tea or coffee every day makes you used to it.

You can also get used to Kratom usage and can have some mild withdrawal effects.

Kratom lately has been used by many people as an alternative to prescription drugs controlled by the Government. Medical conditions like chronic pain, muscle aches, social anxiety, general mental and anxiety disorders, depression, and many more physical illnesses require prescription drugs that are not available in large amounts.

However, Kratom is easy to buy in large quantities. So these patients opt for this herbal remedy that helps them with calming and relaxing the nerves as well as soothes the pain.

This makes Kratom a substance that can be abused.

What can be the Side effects of Kratom Abuse?:

Taking any psychoactive substance more than the recommended doses can lead to drug abuse and may produce side effects. As Kratom acts by activating and stimulating the brain receptors, the symptoms are mostly psychotic. But, this entirely depends on the amount of Kratom used. It is usually used in combination with another drug or substance.

Effects of Dosage Related Abuse

  • At low doses of 1-5 grams, the side effects on withdrawal are very mild, including flushing and dilated pupils.
  • At moderate doses of 5-15 grams, the side effects include stimulation like anxiety increase, nausea, and Git disturbances.
  • For higher doses, the symptoms are severe and may include tachycardia and even Cardiac Arrest and is a medical emergency.

It is always recommended to use Kratom in low doses and not frequently to avoid adverse withdrawal effects. If you feel the slightest of these signs, always visit your nearest hospital and stop Kratom’s usage.

Tolerance Issue

Long term usage of High doses of Kratom by people in chronic pain and illnesses leads to tolerance development that makes them consume even higher amounts. In the end, it leads to kratom addiction and makes it hard for the person to leave it. Many people use it to get rid of their other addiction and end up getting used to Kratom.

Short Term Withdrawal Effects

The short-term effects are usually alarming signs that indicate that you should limit Kratom’s use as it can develop into addiction and long-term withdrawal effects if not controlled. These include:

  • Sleep disturbances
  • Appetite loss
  • Pigmentation changes in the skin and eyes.
  • Increased Urination.

Long term withdrawal effects

When the Kratom user keeps on taking High doses of Kratom due to tolerance development, it can lead to an addiction that, on stopping than causes severe withdrawal symptoms. These include:

  • Tremors
  • Anorexia
  • Tachycardia and cardiac disturbances.
  • Weight loss
  • Nausea
  • Liver injury and intense effects.

This is only seen when abused for years in very high quantities; Otherwise, addiction and side effects are relatively rare.

As said by Swogger, Kratom addiction and withdrawal syndrome are only seen rarely in people who take more than 5 grams and more than 20 times a week.

The Good in Kratom

Although DEA and The FDA have reported Kratom abuse and fatalities related to Kratom, there is no substantial evidence to back up their claims to make Kratom a level 1 controlled substance.

Many physicians and researchers have noticed that Kratom helps people with their daily routine very mildly in their everyday life experiences. People who have been in pain for years and relied on highly addictive drugs were getting relief using Kratom’s moderate use.

Drug addicts can mask the withdrawal symptoms by Kratom usage. Many physicians have vouched for Kratoms exceptional capabilities in medical use.

Some physicians and researchers believe that Kratom should be legalized as a health supplement in the record of its exceptional healing and remedial powers.

Myths about Kratom Usage

The FDA and DEA have reported that there have been 44 deaths associated with Kratom abuse, but that’s not entirely true. All of the deceased persons had some underlying medical conditions like epilepsy, CVD. In all of the cases, kratom was used in combination with another drug or alcohol.

The FDA and Big Pharma are working together to demolish the American Keaton Association and Kratom Industry as it is a significant threat to the pharmaceutical and drug industry. As Kratom provides a herbal alternative to a highly addictive and dangerous pharmaceutical drug Big Pharma wants to demonize Kratom by spreading false news and myths and prevent research.

So, Kratom is not as dangerous as DEA has reported, and Kratom advocates always deny all claims by proof and logic, making Kratom still available.

Another myth is related to the Brain receptors Kratom acts on. Although it activates the same receptors as some analgesics and psychotic, addictive drugs, it doesn’t mean that it belongs to that family. Kratom has an utterly different mechanism of action and is much milder than prescription drugs.

The dosage that keeps you safe

Better take care than be sorry after. It is always recommended to take everything you use, not only kratom, in a safe limit to avoid any side effects. Excess if everything is terrible, and when it comes to psychoactive substances, you can never be careless.

Here is some dosage to help you prevent kratom abuse.

  • Low doses: 1 to 5 grams.
  • High doses: 5 to 15 grams.
  • Risk of addiction and Abuse: greater than 15 grams.

It is recommended taking 5 grams up to three times a day; this is the ideal dosage without adverse effects and addiction liability.

Quality Matters

Much of the negative cases reported are due to an infection spread by usage, or low quality contaminated Kratom. It’s undoubtedly a wonder herb, but only when you get the purest lab-tested product for consumption.

Prefer buying it online rather than a local drug or vitamin shop. When purchasing online, always look if the Vendor is GMP AKA certified and their lab testing and quality reassurance methods. Feel free to contact them about your concerns and queries.

Some of the quality Kratom vendors are:

  1. Super Natural Botanicals
  2. Divine Botanicals
  3. Ketum Superior

You can also check review articles and Reddit reviews from actual users.

Kratom consumers on different Kratom forums have discussed addiction and withdrawal symptoms. However, most users have experienced mild or no signs, and those who have adverse effects were chronic users and high dose consumers.

Kratom Addiction Treatment Options

There are no rehabilitation centers or specific treatment or antidote therapy for Kratom addiction, as it is not that severe. The treatment is mainly through counseling and behavioral therapy.

The following are the most common rehabilitation methods used worldwide:

  1. Family Support and Behavioral therapy.
  2. Education about Kratom usage and the right amount and dosage that is safe.
  3. 12 step Program.

Final Thoughts

Kratom is undoubtedly not negative effect free and comes with its fair share of side effects, but you can indeed prevent this if you stay careful and don’t overuse the herb. It is not FDA approved for any medical use or as a prescription drug.

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Camille Quintin

Camille Quintin

Camille Quintin is a trained health professional with over ten years of experience in medical service delivery, basic science, and applied clinical research. She aims for the highest quality results to help professionals raise awareness with critical health literature. Her medical and health writing experience includes working with researchers at various European Universities and research organizations to assist in preparing articles for publication in international journals.

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