Today, many people in the US are using kratom as a way to relieve conditions such as pain and anxiety. There’s no doubt of the plant’s efficacy to ease these and other conditions. But, kratom, or Mitragyna speciosa, an indigenous plant of South East Asia, must be used carefully to avoid unwanted or unpleasant effects.
Kratom is typically sold in headshops and online in powder form. This powder is imported directly from its areas of origin, especially from Indonesia, which has been so far the primary exporter. Importing the plant into the US is not cheap, hence kratom powder is way more expensive than other herbs. For this reason, there are people who try to get the most out of it by mixing or combining kratom with other herbs, medicines or potentiators. But is this a safe practice? In this article we’ll tell you all about it so, keep reading below to learn all about kratom interactions with various substances.
What’s the Meaning of Drug Interaction?
A drug interaction is a reaction between two or more drugs or medicines, or between a drug and food, beverage or supplement. An interaction can also happen when a person suffers from some illnesses or disorders. For instance, a person who suffers from high blood pressure may experience an unpleasant reaction after taking medicine to unblock their nose.
Drug interaction can have one of the following consequences:
- Reduce the efficacy of the medicine: this typically happens when you take two drugs with opposite effects.
- Increase the action of the drug: taking two drugs with the same effects can not only increase the action of the medicine but also increase the side effects.
- Provoke unwanted side effects: mixing two medicines together can provoke unpleasant side effects.
- Alter the way the drugs work: taking two different medicines together may alter the way the body absorbs, metabolizes or excretes them.
But the way the medicines work can not only be affected by other drugs, but also by foods, beverages, dietary supplements, and herbs. For this reason, you should be very careful when taking any kind of prescription drugs or over-the-counter medications to avoid any interactions.
Kratom is an herb that acts on the nervous system, especially on the opioid receptors, allowing it to produce the following effects:
Since it works in the nervous system, its use with drugs may cause interactions and, in some cases, mixing it with other substances might be unsafe. That’s why it is important to know what kratom interactions are to be able to use kratom safely. So, let’s see the most common below.
Kratom and Drugs Interaction
Since there is not enough research on kratom, it is not possible to give a detailed list of kratom and drugs interaction. However, it is safe to say that the plant shouldn’t be taken with medicines that are used for the same purpose, including the following:
- Prescription painkillers
- Over-the-counter analgesics
- SSRI’s (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors)
- Cough suppressants
Regarding cough suppressants, there are people who claim that using kratom with dextromethorphan can potentiate the effects of kratom. However, this mix can be extremely dangerous, as DM is in the morphinan class and has sedative, analgesic and euphoric effects. So, it is strongly advised to stay away from it while using kratom.
Kratom and Alcohol Interaction
If you use medicines, you’ve probably noticed that many of them come with a warning about its use with alcohol. This is especially true with sedative medications and opioids. So, despite the lack of research on the use of kratom and alcohol, it is wise to say that the two substances shouldn’t be taken together.
Alcohol has sedative and depressant effects and acts on the central nervous system. Kratom, on the other hand, has stimulant or sedative effects depending on the dosage, and it also acts on the CNS. Sedative kratom doses and alcohol together may largely increase the sedative effects of both substances, which can be extremely dangerous.
On the other hand, combining stimulant substances and depressants can also result in serious problems. For this reason, you should never mix low kratom doses (a stimulant) and alcohol (depressant).
Kratom and Foods/Beverages Interaction
In general, kratom is safe to use in combination with foods, but you should be careful with the following:
- Coffee. Mitragyna speciosa (kratom’s scientific name) belongs to the Rubiaceae family, which is the same genus as the coffee tree. That’s why kratom and coffee hold similar stimulant effects. For this reason, you should not take both together to avoid unpleasant effects. Some side effects of the combination may include nervousness and stomach problems.
- Grapefruit. Although some people take grapefruit as a kratom potentiator, this might result in unwanted side effects and can be potentially dangerous. The reason for this is that grapefruit increases the kratom absorption in your system. In fact, this food can interact with many drugs, so you should avoid taking grapefruit with any medications.
- Herbs used to ease anxiety. Since kratom has relaxing, calming and sedative effects, you should not mix it with other herbs with the same effects, i.e.: valerian root, passionflower or lemon balm.
Finally, regarding kratom interactions, you should be careful before taking any medicine or supplement when you are taking kratom. Always ask yourself: what is this supplement for? Does it have the same effects as kratom? If the answer is yes, you should not mix both together, just to err on the side of caution.