Kratom is a plant from South East Asia which many individuals use for its beneficial properties. Kratom advocates claim that the plant has helped them ease many conditions, including chronic pain, anxiety and also to help them cope with opiate withdrawal symptoms. However, a lot of misinformation is lately being spread about the plant. For this reason, there are people who think that using kratom might be dangerous, or even deadly.
But is kratom dangerous? How safe is it to consume it? Like any other herbs or extracts, kratom doesn’t come without side effects. However, using the plant is not as risky as some people want to portrait it. In this article, we’ll give you an overview of kratom and its safety.
Alleged Kratom Deaths
At the beginning of last year, the FDA published a report which attributed at least 36 deaths to the use of kratom. Later, they increased the number of deaths to 44 and kept raising the number since. But was kratom really the cause of those deaths? The answer must be a plain no. In fact, most of them were easily refuted. Let’s see some examples:
Nine of the initial 36 alleged deaths happened in Sweden in 2010. Those fatalities involved a product which contained kratom. However, the product included O-Desmethyltramadol, a powerful synthetic opioid that can be deadly on its own. Nevertheless, the FDA attributed those deaths to kratom alone.
They also included suicide and a death provoked by a shot in the chest. Additionally, others had many different substances in their systems aside from kratom.
Since they couldn’t include any clearer kratom related deaths, it is safe to say that there are no or very little reports of kratom causing death on its own.
Kratom 8-Factor Analysis
Back in 2016, the American Kratom Association commissioned Pinney Associates, an independent consultant, to perform an 8-factor analysis on kratom. This type of analysis is required by the current legislation in order to classify a substance under the Schedule I list of controlled substances. The report concluded that kratom shouldn’t be classified, due to various reasons. Some of them are:
- The herb doesn’t hold the potential abuse of illegal drugs.
- It doesn’t pose a risk to public health.
- Its dependence liability is much weaker than that of opioids.
- Its potential benefits outweigh the risks, which are low in comparison to opioids.
On the other hand, although the FDA has concluded that kratom is an opioid, this is not true. The reason to say this is that one of the main characteristics of opioids is that they cause respiratory depression, which is not the case with kratom. And, in fact, respiratory depression is the main cause of death when using opioids.
Kratom Side Effects
Like any other substance, kratom doesn’t come without side effects, however many times they are due to high doses or heavy consumption. Some of the most common include:
- Stomach upset
- Dry mouth
Some of the above side effects only happen when you start taking kratom and will disappear after your system gets used to it. However, if you constantly feel any undesired effects, you probably need to lower your dose. Also, some users report that many side effects can be avoided by not taking kratom on an empty stomach. Nevertheless, not every individual experience these side effects and there are users who have never experienced any.
How to Take Kratom Safely?
To avoid kratom’s possible side effects, you should never take too high doses. But, how can you determine the right dose? Although with any other herb determining the right dosage should be no problem, this is not the case with kratom. As there is still too little research on the substance, it is not easy to know which dosage will work for each purpose and this depends highly on the individual. For this reason, it is highly recommended to start on a lower dose and start increasing it gradually until you find you’re the effect that you are looking for.
On the other hand, consider that kratom has different effects depending on the dosage. Whilst lower dosages are typically more energizing and euphoric, medium to higher doses are more relaxing and soothing. A low dose will start on 1-2 grams and a very high dose would be any above 8-10 grams. It is not recommended going above those dosages.
Additionally, the method of consumption can also affect the possible side effects. For instance, if you are prone to nausea or you have a delicate stomach, you should avoid using the toss and wash method and take kratom tea instead. Moreover, preparing a tea with your kratom powder dose can help remove or minimize any possible contaminants, thanks to the heat.
Conclusion: Is Kratom Dangerous?
Considering the evidence, we can say that kratom is not a dangerous herb. As we mentioned above, the deaths attributed to kratom by the FDA and other news sources haven’t been able to be proved. On the other hand, the independent 8-factor analysis conducted in 2016 shows no harm potential of the plant.
Nevertheless, like with any other substance, remember to be careful with your kratom use and never take excessive doses. And, if you feel that kratom is not giving you the effects that you are seeking, consider changing the strain or quit kratom altogether.
Conclusively, kratom’s potential benefits are way higher than any potential risks.
If you want to know how kratom has improved people’s lives, you can start by reading some of our real kratom stories.