Kratom is a tree from the Rubiaceae family, like the coffee plant. It grows in southeastern Asian regions, such as Thailand or Indonesia. For centuries, the native people from these areas have consumed kratom to mitigate pain, to relax or to reduce fatigue. Nowadays, people from all over the world are using kratom as a remedy for many ailments. People can use kratom for anxiety, pain relief, stress and even for opiate withdrawal. You may be wondering if kratom can work for you, how to take it or whether it has side effects. In this article, you will find the ultimate kratom guide for beginners.
Kratom Active Elements and How They Act
The scientific name of kratom, Mitragyna speciosa, refers to the predominant alkaloid in kratom, mitragynine. But kratom contains other alkaloids, such as 7-hydroxymitragynine (7-OHM) or mitraphylline. These alkaloids are transferred through our bloodstream into our nervous system and our brain. There, they attach themselves to our opiate receptors (such as the mu and delta receptors), blocking them in the same way opiates do. However, make no mistake: kratom is not an opiate. While by blocking these receptors kratom can provoke effects similar to those of opiates’, kratom does not present the side effects or the risk of addiction caused by opiates.
Kratom Guide: Effects, Properties and Uses
When kratom active elements get in contact with the opiate receptors in our brain, our body will feel the effects of kratom.
The effects of kratom include:
Because of these effects, people can use kratom for many conditions and ailments, such as:
The calming, even sedative, effects of kratom can provide relief in cases of anxiety. In fact, kratom is an alternative to the drugs traditionally used in treating the different types of anxiety, from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Kratom is also helpful in cases of social anxiety –or social phobia, because of its euphoric properties.
Kratom acts as a potent pain reliever and can even substitute opioids commonly used for relieving pain in conditions like arthritis, rheumatism or fibromyalgia. It will also provide relief for headaches, migraines and stomach upsets.
Kratom has euphoric and energizing effects that will provide you with energy to fight fatigue. Because of these properties, kratom is also an excellent tonic that will enhance your general state.
Kratom can improve mood and energy, enhancing your social skills. It is also a good remedy to fight the symptoms of social anxiety.
Concentration and Memory
Another benefit of kratom is that it allows you to gain a higher concentration and focus. Also, it is said to improve your memory.
This is probably one of the major uses of kratom. The symptoms of opiate withdrawal can be, and in fact are, very painful. For people addicted to opiates or opioids who want to quit the intake of these substances, it is very recommended to have kratom at hand before the strong symptoms of the withdrawal begin.
As we explain below in this guide, the effect and use of kratom will vary depending on the kratom strain and dosage.
Kratom Guide: Choosing the Appropriate Kratom Dosage
Generally speaking, the higher the dose, the more relaxing the effects. The average dosages for regular raw kratom (that is, not for extract or enhanced products) are:
- Low Dose (2 – 4 grams): This dosage will cause slightly stimulating effects. Most users find this low dosage very enjoyable, as they can feel a higher physical energy, an enhanced libido, and a better mood. It is also reported to improve sociability. There are nonetheless some consumers who claim these small doses provoke a sense of stress and anxiety.
- Moderate Dose (4 – 5 grams): With this dose, you will feel the properties of kratom as a pain reliever. But other than being painkilling and soothing, a moderate dose of kratom will still keep its stimulant effects.
- High Dose (5 – 8 grams): This dosage will bring about sedative effects, similar to those of opiates. It is used in cases of anxiety, very strong physical pain and during the opiate withdrawal (especially when experiencing the hardest symptoms). However, these high doses of kratom are not recommended for the majority of users (especially for newbie users).
- Very High Doses (8 – 10 grams): This type of dose is not recommended! It will provide way too sedative effects, leading even to a sense of stupor.
Kratom Guide: Onset
The onset of kratom will depend on the dosage (the higher, the faster) and on whether you are taking kratom with your stomach empty or after a meal: if you are taking kratom with your stomach empty, you will start feeling its effects between 20 and 40 minutes after the intake. When taken after a meal, kratom effects will be noticeable within 60 – 90 minutes after taking it. However, consuming kratom with an empty stomach could also provoke unpleasant side effects (such as nausea or stomachache), so if you want to do so, be cautious.
On the other hand, if you are consuming kratom in capsules, the onset will be longer since kratom capsules need to be processed by your stomach first.
If you are taking kratom for the first time, you should start with a dose of 2 – 3 grams. If you have not noticed any effects of kratom (or way too soft) after 4 hours, add more 0.5 grams in your next intake and so on until you find the appropriate dosage of kratom for you. Remember the recommendations about the dosage above, though.
Kratom Guide: Types
If you are reading a kratom guide, the first thing you should know is that there are three different kratom types and they can be distinguished by the colors of the vein and middle stems of its leaves. Also, there are many different sub-varieties (or strains) Because each of this strain has a different concentration of alkaloids, the effects brought by them will also be different. The three different kratom types are:
Red Kratom Strains
This is the most relaxing kratom variety. It has strong painkilling and sedative, relaxing properties and it is considered the best kratom strain for strong physical pain that is very hard to endure, general anxiety, insomnia and for dealing with opiate withdrawal. Many users claim that it has first a euphoric effect that then fades into the calming feeling. The effects of the red kratom strains last about 5 hours, but some users claim they can last up to 10 hours. The most popular red kratom strains are:
- Bali (aka Premium Commercial Bali): The favorite kratom strain for mitigating pain.
- Red Thai: This is probably the kratom variety most used for anxiety. Red Thai is a most sedative kratom strain, and its effects last longer than those of red Bali kratom.
Green Kratom Strains
These strains are favored by people who practice physical exercise or sports, and by individuals who have a high workload. Green kratom provides energizing, stimulant effects, enhancing also physical endurance. At the same time, green kratom also improves concentration and memory, and it enhances mood and social skills. Because of this, green kratom is also very good for people who suffer from social anxiety. Its effects can last up to 8 hours. Main green kratom strains:
- Green Malay: This kratom strain will provide euphoric and energizing effects. In higher doses can have sedative properties.
- Green Maeng Da: It is considered the strongest strain on the market. It has great energizing effects (but not euphoric).
White Kratom Strains
These are the most energetic kratom strains. White kratom contains higher amounts of mitragynine than the green and red strains. White kratom strains are very helpful in increasing energy and create a euphoric feeling. They also enhance memory and concentration. White kratom is also praised for its effectiveness in treating depression. However, taking white kratom in the evening can provoke slight insomnia or sleep disrupt. Its effects last from 3 to 5 hours.
Most popular white kratom strains:
- White Borneo: This kratom strain not only will provide you with highly energizing effects. It is also a useful pain reliever.
- White Maeng Da: Due to its energizing properties white Maeng Da is favored by those who have to cope with a very demanding job or are feeling a notorious fatigue. Furthermore, white Maeng Da kratom has also analgesic properties (though not as potent as those of red strains’).
Kratom extracts are concentrated forms of kratom. They are made out of raw kratom powder or dried leaves, but extracts are much stronger than raw kratom.
Kratom extracts show a number plus an «x» in their labels. This number refers to the concentration level of the extract and it does not mean that the natural potency of kratom is multiplied by the number of the label. For instance, a 10x kratom extract means that 10 grams of raw kratom were used to obtain one gram. In any case, kratom rookies should avoid kratom extracts, given that they are much more potent than the raw product, so they are recommended only for expert users.
There are different types of kratom extracts and each of them will have a different dosage.
Kratom Powder Extract
This is undoubtedly the most common format of kratom. The starting dose for a kratom powder extract is 0.5 – 1 gram. Wait for 30 minutes until you can feel the effects. In case the effects you feel are too mild or nothing at all, take 0.5 grams more. Most people agree that 3 grams dose is a high dose and will provide sedative effects. Doses higher than 5 grams are not recommended at all unless you are a very experienced user.
This type of extract is made by dissolving the active elements of kratom into water or alcohol. Liquid kratom allows higher concentration and is very easy to ingest. You can usually find them in 10x or 20x concentrations. It is wise to place the liquid kratom in a container that includes a dropper and take one dropper as a dosage. Doses higher than 3 droppers can be too large.
The tincture is one of the most common ways of extracting the active elements of medical plants and herbs and can also be made at home. Kratom tincture is the favorite extract for those who experience stomachache or nausea when consuming kratom. To choose the right dosage, it is imperative to know the actual amount of kratom contained; the ideal initial dose would be the equivalent to 10 – 20 grams of kratom. If you have prepared your own kratom tincture, make sure you write down the quantity of kratom you have used and divide it between the volume of tincture you have obtained. For instance, if you used 200 grams of kratom and obtain 10 tbsp, you will have 20 grams per tbsp extract.
In order to get kratom resin, you need to boil the leaves or powder until the liquid evaporates and kratom turns into a brownish, sticky paste. Since there are few vendors who sell this type of extract, many users make their own kratom resin at home. If you are new to kratom, the starting dose of kratom resin is 2 grams. A 4 grams dose of kratom resin is very high and not recommendable.
Enhanced Kratom (UEI)
This type of kratom is a mix of raw kratom and powder extracts to obtain more potent products. The most popular enhanced kratom product is Ultra Enhanced Indo (UEI), which has euphoric effects and it is also used to fight anxiety and as a powerful analgesic. A dose of 0.5 grams of UEI will work for most individuals.
How to Take Kratom
Kratom powder or leaves are most commonly taken as a tea. However, because of its bitter, not-very-nice flavor, there are also many users who seek for other ways of taking kratom that can disguise this unpleasant taste. Kratom can be added to sauces, cooked meals (especially to spicy dishes), yogurt and, very often, to smoothies (you can find a lot of kratom smoothies recipes online, or just add kratom powder to your favorite smoothie). All of them can cover kratom taste so you do not have to feel its peculiar bitterness.
Also, kratom can also be made into capsules, but take into account that to prepare capsules you will need to buy empty capsules and (very recommended, especially if you can be a bit clumsy) a machine to fill the capsules with kratom. The effects of kratom capsules will take longer to be noticed as capsules need to be processed by our system first.
But there are other ways of consuming kratom, such as:
- Chewing Kratom Leaves: This is the most traditional method of consuming kratom. It is how the native people of Southeast Asian have been taking kratom for centuries.
- Toss n’ Wash: This method consists simply of putting kratom in your mouth, take a good gulp of water and mix it all in the mouth until you eventually swallow it.
- Taking Kratom with potentiators: By mixing kratom with potentiators (e.g., grapefruit), its effects will last longer and will be more potent. However, you must be very cautious when using kratom potentiators. An incorrect use of potentiators can lead to side effects and other undesired consequences.
How to Store Kratom
You must keep in a dark, dry place, ideally in a sealed bag. You can store it in the fridge, which will keep kratom fresh for much longer. Remember you must protect your kratom for light and moisture. That’s the best way to keep it fresh.
Kratom Side Effects
Reports of serious damage caused by kratom are very rare. It is true however that kratom can sometimes produce some side effects, but most of the time these side effects are due to excessively high doses or to take kratom with an empty stomach. The set of kratom side effects is often known as kratom hangover, but bear in mind that it is not a hangover.
Kratom side effects include dizziness, nausea, and stomachache, migraine, headaches or disrupted sleep. In most cases, they can disappear after reducing the dose of kratom.
Kratom Guide: Tolerance and Addiction
In order to avoid growing tolerance, it is very important to keep kratom intake and dosage in control. Ideally, limit kratom consumption to once a day and once a week. In any case, do not take kratom more than twice or thrice per week, and never more than two days in a row. If your body builds up the tolerance to kratom, you will need higher and higher doses to feel its effects, as well as more frequent intakes. However, kratom is not an addictive substance (but even so, you should be careful with your dosage and intake frequency to avoid kratom tolerance).
Will Kratom Show Up in Drug Tests?
Not so long ago, there were no specific drug tests for kratom. However, that has changed with time and now there are panel drug tests that can trace mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine.
Can I Take Kratom During Pregnancy?
If you are pregnant, you must not take any drugs unless your physician prescribes them. There is little or no research about the effects of kratom in pregnant women and fetus. So, you should not take kratom during pregnancy under any circumstances!
What if Kratom Has No Effects on Me?
The reasons why kratom has no effects on you are many. You might have bought poor quality kratom. Also, kratom can lose its properties due to incorrect storage. The dosage may not be adequate. Or you may have developed tolerance as a result of improper use. There are even individuals who don’t have the enzymes to process kratom.
Finding the Right Vendors
Due to the growth of kratom popularity, there are is a great number of kratom vendors out there. You can find kratom in your local head shops (if head shops are available in your town), but mostly online. Online vendors will provide you with a wider range of products and better prices. However, there are also some unethical individuals who are taking advantage of the popularity of kratom and are selling low-quality products or even stolen or fake kratom. In order to find the best kratom seller for you, research on kratom specialized forums and sites.
Kratom Online: Kratom Forums and Sites
You can find many users’ experiences, reviews, and comments about kratom in the reddit kratom group, at drugs.com or at the website Kratom Connoisseurs. In these sites, you will find a lot of information and tips about kratom, reviews of kratom vendors, kratom recipes…
Is Kratom Legal?
Kratom legal status will vary depending on the country and even on the state. Prior to ordering or buying kratom, make sure kratom is legal in your country, state or city.
In the U.S., a DEA’s report of 2010 states that “there is no legitimate medical use for kratom in the U.S”. Due to this, it is not legal to advertise kratom for any medical or therapeutic uses. Furthermore, kratom is not legal in several states and cities. So, you’ll need to check the legal status of kratom in the place you live in.
In Europe, none of the lists of banned substances in the EU include kratom. However, the particular laws of each country may include kratom as an illegal substance. Therefore, if you are in a European country you will need to check your local laws before purchasing kratom.
We hope you have found this kratom guide useful. If you have any questions about kratom, we encourage you to leave them in a comment below! We will try to answer in the most effective way or even to create new posts about your queries!