South East Asian tree kratom has experienced a popularity increase in recent times among individuals seeking natural ways to treat conditions such as pain and anxiety. But, despite its popularity, the plant has been subject to controversy due to rumors, news, and misinformation about it. However, kratom advocates still swear by the plants’ properties and report that without it, their quality of life will substantially worsen.
In recent times, the interest in kratom has risen dramatically as more and more people are looking for information about the plant. But there are still many concerns about kratom and its use. Probably, one of the main concerns that new kratom users have is its addictive potential. But is kratom addictive? In this article, we’ll explore this subject so, keep reading below to learn more.
What Are Kratom’s Compounds?
Kratom, or Mitragyna speciosa, is a tall tree that grows in the rainforests of South East Asia. Traditionally, its leaves were ingested by the people of the area to feel its properties. They typically chew them or prepare an infusion with them. Today, the leaves of the plant are harvested and processed into a fine powder which is also ingested by kratom users.
The leaves of the plant are the part which contains kratom’s active compounds. Scientists have identified more than 40 compounds on kratom’s leaves, 25 of them are alkaloids. However, the main components are 2 alkaloids: mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine. But how do these work in your system? Let’s find out below.
How Does Kratom Work in Your System?
When kratom’s alkaloids are ingested, they provoke opioid-like effects in our system. To understand how this happens, we first need to know what the opioid receptors are.
All mammals have opioid receptors, which are cellular receptors activated by opioids, which can be endogenous (our system makes them) or exogenous (administered externally). The opioid receptors are located in the brain and nervous system of mammals, including humans.
There are three types of opioid receptors: Kappa, Delta, and Mu. When these receptors are activated by opioids the following effects will happen:
- Respiratory depression
- Cough suppression
- Nausea and vomiting
Kratom’s main alkaloids bind to the opioid receptors of the nervous system. For this reason, it produces opioid-like effects, including relaxation and pain-relief. So, does this mean that kratom is an opioid? Let’s see this below.
So, Is Kratom An Opioid?
As we said, kratom’s alkaloids bind to the opioid receptors, especially to the Kappa and Mu receptors of the nervous system. But, does this mean that kratom is an opioid?
Despite the FDA theory that kratom is an opioid, this is not what other scientists say. One of the opioids’ main characteristics is that they provoke respiratory depression. But, according to scientific research, kratom’s alkaloids don’t provoke this effect, which is, in fact, the primary cause of opioid death.
On the other hand, kratom doesn’t have the powerful rewarding effects of opioids.
Is Kratom Addictive?
So, is kratom addictive? To understand if kratom is an addictive substance, first, we need to know what addictive means. There are some characteristics that a substance must have to be considered addictive, including:
- Impaired control over the substance use
- Compulsive use
- Continuous use despite the harm
Does kratom fit into this? The answer is no. Contrary to addictive substances, kratom pleasant effects are very low. In fact, exceeding the kratom dose may cause unpleasant effects. For this reason, people who take kratom regularly usually stick to their regular dosages to ease the condition that they seek, typically pain-relief and anxiety-relief.
However, this doesn’t mean that you can develop a kratom tolerance after prolonged use.
How to Prevent Kratom Tolerance?
As we mentioned above, you can develop a kratom tolerance after taking kratom for a while. But what is tolerance? Tolerance is a situation that happens when the system gets used to a substance, so it needs higher doses for it to produce the same effects.
Regarding kratom tolerance, there are some tips that you can follow to prevent this from happening:
- Use regular kratom powder instead of extracts or enhanced products
- Stick to the lower dose possible
- Only use kratom when it is necessary, don’t overdo it
- Don’t use potentiators
- Rotate strains if you feel that the one that you are using is not working properly
- Don’t mix it with medicines
If you still think that you have developed a kratom tolerance, stop taking it for a while, so your system can get unaccustomed to it.
Finally remember that, although kratom can be an amazing help to your condition, it doesn’t come with undesired effects. So, it is strongly advisable that you are diligent and careful when using kratom. That’s why it is always recommended that you start with the lower dose possible and increase until you find the effects that you seek. And never exceed the 8gr dosage, as this would be a very high dose.