Kratom is a tree native to southeastern regions of Asia, where it has been used for hundreds of years as a natural remedy for different conditions. It is only recently that kratom has become popular worldwide, and now it is commonly used as a pain relief for several ailments, as a natural effective remedy for anxiety and depression and also for opiates withdrawal process. Nowadays there are many people who have left narcotics or other opioid traditional painkillers in favor of kratom.
However, despite its properties, just like many other substances, kratom users can develop tolerance due to a long use and/or high doses. If a user develops kratom tolerance, he will need higher, more frequent dosages to get the effects he is seeking. Just like it happens with kratom effects, kratom tolerance level vary depending on the user.
Development of Kratom Tolerance
Kratom tolerance is connected to how kratom works inside our body. When someone takes kratom, its active elements (alkaloids and other metabolites, such as mitragynine and 7-OHM) are digested inside the gastrointestinal system and sent into the bloodstream. Then, the active elements of kratom will reach the brain through the nervous system.
It is in the brain where the kratom metabolites and alkaloids start their function as blocking receptors. The alkaloids attach themselves to the brain receptors, causing a physical reaction. Kratom affects the so-called opioid receptors (such as the delta and mu receptors). The action of kratom on these receptors provoke anti-depressant, analgesic and sedative effects.
There are some substances that act as kratom antagonists. These are elements that prevent the kratom alkaloid from acting on the brain receptors. Therefore, the user won’t feel most kratom’s effects.
When someone takes kratom for long periods of time and/or in high doses, a process known as downregulation starts. By downregulation, the number of receptors in the target cells decrease. This will make them less sensitive to external agents (in this case, kratom). Due to this process, kratom users can develop kratom tolerance with time.
Other Type of Tolerance
Another type of tolerance has to do with the enzymes that the system needs to process kratom. The body needs to produce certain enzymes in order to process kratom. When you use kratom for a very long time, this process becomes faster. As a result, our system will lose many kratom alkaloids and metabolites and will absorb only smaller amounts.
Because of the loss of kratom active elements, the effect in the brain receptors is also smaller. This will even lead to not feeling kratom effects at all. When this happens, kratom consumers need to take more kratom to get the desired effect.
Kratom Tolerance Levels
It is not possible to establish fixed levels of kratom tolerance. Every person develops his or her own kratom tolerance level. There are moderate consumers who do not build up a tolerance after years of consuming kratom. On the other hand, there are other consumers who claim to develop tolerance to kratom just after a few weeks of use.
There are a small number of users that have developed a permanent tolerance. Some link long-term or permanent tolerance to a modification in the receptor or the receptors’ sensitivity. Permanent tolerance is usually related to a prolonged use of high dosages of kratom combined with prescription drugs.
How to Prevent and Reduce Kratom Tolerance
One of the most common ways of preventing tolerance is by not taking kratom every day. Some users do not consume kratom more than 5 days in a row; others consume kratom only two or three days in a row and then take a break. And there are even kratom consumers who consume kratom only once a week.
Another method to prevent kratom tolerance is to avoid using the same strain always. Others take a powder mixture of kratom stems and veins. Some users claim to have developed the so-called “single strain syndrome”, which occurs when taking only one variety of kratom. Since each kratom variety has a unique alkaloid combination, by changing the kratom type regularly you’ll avoid growing tolerance to a specific variety.
On the other hand, stems and veins of kratom leaves contain 9-hydroxycorynantheidine and corynantheidine, alkaloids which supposedly delay tolerance, as they are less aggressive towards receptors.
If you have already developed tolerance to kratom, it is highly advisable to stop taking kratom for a while. By doing that, you will allow your brain receptors to readjust themselves. By the moment you start taking kratom again, it will act on the receptors as it did for the very first time.