{"id":556416467017,"title":"Kratom Reviews: Is It a Safe Opioid Alternative?","created_at":"2022-04-25T18:52:17-04:00","body_html":"\u003cscript type=\"application\/ld+json\"\u003e\/\/ \u003c![CDATA[\n{\n \"@context\": \"https:\/\/schema.org\",\n \"@type\": \"Article\",\n \"headline\": \"Kratom Reviews: Is It a Safe Opioid Alternative?\",\n \"keywords\": \"kratom, kratom review, kratom reviews, what is kratom, kratom tea, kratom withdrawal, what's kratom, is kratom addictive, kratom capsules, kratom what is it, kratom dosage, kratom side effects, is kratom legal, how hard is kratom on the liver, is kratom an opioid, kratom drug, kratom dose, kratom legality, kratom liver damage, kratom addictive, is kratom an opiate\",\n \"description\": \"Our MD and research team reviews the published medical research on kratom to determine whether it’s proven to be effective in treating any health conditions. We also highlight its side effects and share some natural alternatives that consumers may want to consider.\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/blogs\/health\/kratom-reviews\",\n\"author\": {\n \"@type\": \"Person\",\n \"name\": \"Taylor Graber MD\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/pages\/taylor-graber\",\n \"sameAs\": \"https:\/\/www.linkedin.com\/in\/taylor-j-graber-md-81351642\/\",\n \"jobTitle\": \"Content Partner\",\n \"knowsAbout\": \"medicine, health, anesthesiology, iv therapy, science, drugs, pharmaceutical, medical research, scientific research, medical journals, entrepreneurship, healthcare, orthopedic surgery, biomedical engineering\",\n \"alumniOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"EducationalOrganization\",\n \"name\": [\n \"University of California San Diego\",\n \"Arizona University\",\n \"University of Arizona College of Medicine\"\n ]\n },\n \"memberOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Illuminate Labs\"\n }\n},\n\"creator\": {\n \"@type\": \"Person\",\n \"name\": \"Taylor Graber MD\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/pages\/taylor-graber\",\n \"sameAs\": \"https:\/\/www.linkedin.com\/in\/taylor-j-graber-md-81351642\/\",\n \"jobTitle\": \"Content Partner\",\n \"knowsAbout\": \"medicine, health, anesthesiology, iv therapy, science, drugs, pharmaceutical, medical research, scientific research, medical journals, entrepreneurship, healthcare, orthopedic surgery, biomedical engineering\",\n \"alumniOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"EducationalOrganization\",\n \"name\": [\n \"University of California San Diego\",\n \"Arizona University\",\n \"University of Arizona College of Medicine\"\n ]\n },\n \"memberOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Illuminate Labs\"\n }\n},\n\"contributor\": {\n \"@type\": \"Person\",\n \"name\": \"Calloway Cook\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/pages\/calloway-cook\",\n \"sameAs\": \"https:\/\/www.linkedin.com\/in\/calloway-cook\/\",\n \"jobTitle\": \"President\",\n \"knowsAbout\": \"entrepreneurship, dietary supplements, herbal supplements, eCommerce, medical research\",\n \"alumniOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"EducationalOrganization\",\n \"name\": \"S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University\"\n },\n \"memberOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Illuminate Labs\"\n }\n},\n\"editor\": {\n \"@type\": \"Person\",\n \"name\": \"DJ Mazzoni\",\n \"honorificSuffix\": [\n \"M.S.\",\n \"R.D.\",\n \"C.D.N.\",\n \"C.S.C.S.\"\n ],\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/pages\/dj-mazzoni\",\n \"sameAs\": \"https:\/\/www.linkedin.com\/in\/dj-mazzoni-rd-cdn-cscs-00a33038\/\",\n \"jobTitle\": \"Medical Reviewer\",\n \"knowsAbout\": \"exercise, drugs, pharmaceutical, health, workout, strength and conditioning, nutrition, dietetics, medicine, medical research, scientific research, scientific method, healthcare, patient care, wellness\",\n \"alumniOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"EducationalOrganization\",\n \"name\": [\n \"State University of New York College Oswego\",\n \"D’Youville College\"\n ]\n },\n \"memberOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Illuminate Labs\"\n }\n},\n\"image\": {\n\"@type\": \"ImageObject\",\n\"url\": \"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0047\/1524\/9737\/files\/Kratom_Thumbnail.png?v=1650927748\",\n\"width\": \"2247\",\n\"height\": \"2247\"\n},\n\"citation\": [\n\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC7203303\/\", \n\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC6612999\/\",\n\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/31099038\/\",\n\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/30614408\/\",\n\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC7203303\/\",\n\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC6779532\/\",\n\"https:\/\/www.dea.gov\/factsheets\/kratom\",\n\"https:\/\/www.americankratom.org\/aka-in-your-state\",\n\"https:\/\/www.legislation.gov.au\/Details\/F2020L01716\",\n\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/31919755\/\",\n\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC7918078\/\",\n\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/29624410\/\",\n\"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/products\/panax-ginseng-extract\",\n\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC6836118\/\"\n],\n\"mentions\": [{\n \"@type\": \"Thing\",\n \"name\": \"alkaloids\"\n },\n {\n \"@type\": \"Thing\",\n \"name\": \"tea\"\n },\n {\n \"@type\": \"Thing\",\n \"name\": \"kratom-drug interactions\"\n},\n {\n \"@type\": \"Thing\",\n \"name\": \"American Kratom Association\"\n},\n {\n \"@type\": \"Thing\",\n \"name\": \"turmeric\"\n},\n {\n \"@type\": \"Thing\",\n \"name\": \"panax ginseng extract\"\n},\n {\n \"@type\": \"Thing\",\n \"name\": \"l-theanine\"\n}\n],\n\"datePublished\": \"2022-04-26\",\n\"copyrightHolder\": {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Illuminate Labs\"\n},\n\"publisher\": {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Illuminate Labs\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/\",\n \"description\": \"Illuminate Labs is the most transparent supplement company in the U.S., and is a leading publisher of research-based health information.\",\n \"knowsAbout\": \"supplements, science, nutrition, exercise, health, medication, pharmaceutical, wellness, diet, weight loss, medical research\",\n \"publishingPrinciples\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/pages\/editorial-guidelines\",\n \"memberOf\": [\n {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"U.S. Chamber of Commerce\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/www.uschamber.com\/\"\n },\n {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Certified B Corp\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/www.bcorporation.net\/en-us\/\"\n },\n {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Natural Products Association\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/www.npanational.org\/\"\n }\n ], \n \"logo\": {\n \"@type\": \"ImageObject\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0047\/1524\/9737\/files\/Illuminate_Labs_Favicon_48x48_7595c3cc-e27b-47b8-a4fe-edcc7ed9b29a.png?v=1666502785\", \n \"width\": 48,\n \"height\": 48\n},\n \"foundingDate\": \"2019-01-30\",\n \"Address\": {\n \"@type\": \"PostalAddress\",\n \"streetAddress\": \"50 Union Street, Unit 9\",\n \"addressLocality\": \"Northampton\",\n \"addressRegion\": \"Massachusetts\",\n \"postalCode\": \"01060\",\n \"addressCountry\": \"US\"\n},\n \"sameAs\": [\n \"https:\/\/www.instagram.com\/illuminatelabs\",\n \"https:\/\/twitter.com\/illuminatelabs\",\n \"https:\/\/www.linkedin.com\/company\/illuminate-labs-supplements\",\n \"https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/channel\/UCpgSJAsIPb-fZ25djtTxBEA\"\n ]\n }\n}\n\/\/ ]]\u003e\u003c\/script\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003ci\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cimg src=\"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0047\/1524\/9737\/files\/Kratom_Review_Article_Header_Image_Optimized.png?v=1650927712\" alt=\"\"\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/i\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003ci\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eDisclaimer: None of the information in this article constitutes medical advice. This article is the opinion of the writer(s), and is presented for informational purposes only. We recommend that patients follow their doctor’s guidance in regard to psychoactive botanicals.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/i\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cspan class=\"dc\"\u003eK\u003c\/span\u003eKratom is a psychoactive plant compound that’s been receiving much attention recently. It’s legal in many U.S. states, but there’s a push to make it federally illegal.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eIn this article we’ll review the published medical research on kratom to determine whether it’s proven to be effective in treating any health conditions. We’ll also highlight its side effects and share some natural alternatives that consumers may want to consider.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\n\u003cb\u003eWhat is Kratom?\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cb\u003e\u003cbr\u003e\u003c\/b\u003e\n\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eKratom is atropical plant native to Thailand, which is now grown throughout the world due to increasing demand. Its botanical name is \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ci\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eMitragyna speciosa\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/i\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eBecause it has similar physiological effects as opioids, many consumers take it recreationally or as a way to wean off harsher drugs like heroin.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eKratom is proven \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC7203303\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003ein medical research\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e to be addictive and to cause withdrawal symptoms when usage is stopped.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eHow Does Kratom Work?\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eKratom contains chemical compounds called alkaloids that are thought to be responsible for its psychoactive effects.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eTwo specific alkaloids (mitragynine and 7-OH-mitragynine) are opioid receptor agonists, which means they cause a similar biological response to opioids such as oxycodone.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eMitragynine also favorably blocks pain signaling due to its anti-inflammatory effect and inhibition of certain enzymes.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eKratom can be considered a natural and weaker opioid than pharmaceutical opioids like oxycodone.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eHow is Kratom Used?\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eTraditionally, raw kratom leaves were used to make tea, but now there are a variety of intake methods. A \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC6612999\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003emedical review\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e of kratom published in the Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation journal documents how the effects are reported to be different based on method of use.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eKratom appears to have a stimulatory effect when the raw leaves are chewed, but a pain-relieving and relaxing effect when the leaves are brewed into a tea.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThe linked research study also documents how in the U.S., kratom is typically sold in liquid or capsule form online.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eBecause there haven't been many clinical trials on medicinal use of kratom, there isn’t a clear standard for the most effective and safest form and dose of kratom.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eKratom Side Effects\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eOne of the most concerning, rare side effects of kratom use is its ability to interact with pharmaceutical medications and increase their potency in some cases. The medical review linked in the previous section documented a 27 year old man who was taking an antipsychotic medication called quetiapine while taking kratom.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThe man was found dead in what was ruled an accidental overdose, because there was an interaction between kratom and quetiapine which significantly increased its potency and overwhelmed his system.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eBecause many kratom-drug interactions are yet unknown, it’s incredibly important for patients considering kratom use to speak with their doctor first about any medications they’re on, and the potential for negative interactions.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThe most common side effects of kratom, as detailed by a \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/31099038\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003emedical study\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e from 2019, were agitation (18.6%), increased heart rate (16.9%), and drowsiness (13.6%).\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eKratom is clearly a drug with substantial side effects on average.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eWhat Are Kratom Withdrawal Symptoms?\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eA \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/30614408\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003esystematic review\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e of medical case studies on kratom withdrawal found that the withdrawal symptoms are often similar to opioid withdrawal symptoms. The onset of symptoms typically begins between 12 and 24 hours after the last use, and continues for up to 7 days.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eNausea, sweating and chills, muscle and body aches, diarrhea, insomnia and mood disturbances are just some of the withdrawal symptoms noted.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eWithdrawal symptoms of kratom can be severe, even though this is a drug that’s legal in some states. We recommend that patients considering stopping use of kratom speak with their doctor first and see if they can visit a treatment facility to help manage the process.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThe linked medical review notes that high doses of alpha-2 agonist medications can help manage the kratom withdrawal process, and it’s unlikely that patients would be able to access these medications if experiencing withdrawal at home. \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eKratom Dosage\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThere’s lacking medical reference ranges for safe kratom dosage, which is unfortunate for users.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eOne \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC7203303\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003emedical review\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e of kratom which we linked to previously in this article found that the risk of kratom toxicity increased significantly over an 8 gram (g) daily dose. The same review found that kratom overdose symptoms were similar to opioid overdose symptoms at a dose of 15 g.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eA separate \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC6779532\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003emedical study\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e categorized low doses as 1-5 g, and higher doses as 5-15 g.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eIt’s clear from the available medical research that there is no proven safe and effective dose of kratom.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eKratom Legality\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eIn the U.S., kratom is not federally illegal, \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.dea.gov\/factsheets\/kratom\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eas indicated\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e by the Drug and Enforcement Agency (DEA). \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eAccording to the American Kratom Association, kratom is also legislated at the state level, and is illegal in the following U.S. states: Arkansas, Wisconsin, Alabama, Vermont and Rhode Island.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThis organization, which advocates for kratom legislative reform, maintains a useful \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.americankratom.org\/aka-in-your-state\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eupdated map\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e with the current state of kratom legality in the U.S. According to the map, kratom is legal with restrictions in some states like California and North Carolina.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eKratom \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.legislation.gov.au\/Details\/F2020L01716\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eis illegal\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e in Australia as well as many European Union (E.U.) countries including France and Sweden.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eClearly the legality of kratom is highly contested across the world, and it’s important for users to remain up-to-date on their local laws to ensure compliance and avoid risk of unknowingly committing an illegal act.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eHow Hard is Kratom on the Liver?\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eKratom, like most drugs, gets filtered by the liver. Users are often curious about what the potential damage of kratom use is.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eA \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/31919755\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003ereview\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e published in the Drugs journal in 2020 analyzed human case reports, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) data and animal studies on kratom. The study authors concluded that “Kratom likely causes liver injury.”\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThe researchers noted that the human data is of poor quality, so future research may emerge proving kratom to be safe, but for now we have to assume it’s harmful to the liver.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eBetter Alternatives\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eKratom is used primarily for pain relief, stimulatory effect (at low doses) and sedative effect (at high doses). There are natural compounds with much more favorable safety profiles which we would recommend over kratom.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch3\u003e\u003cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003ePain Relief\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eTurmeric is one of the most well-studied plant compounds for analgesic (pain-reduction) effect. A \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC7918078\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003emedical review\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e of herbal medicine for pain management found turmeric to be effective in most studies reviewed, and as effective as Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in some cases.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eMost medical research on turmeric involves an extract standardized for curcuminoids, as this is more potent than raw turmeric powder. We recommend that patients seeking natural solutions for pain speak with their doctor about a high-potency turmeric extract.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch3\u003e\u003cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eNatural Stimulant\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003ePanax ginseng extract is arguably the herbal stimulant with the most research backing. It’s proven \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/29624410\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003ein medical research\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e to improve mood and energy, and users typically describe a milder and more full-body improvement in energy compared with caffeine.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eIlluminate Labs sells a third-party tested \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/products\/panax-ginseng-extract\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003epanax ginseng extract\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e that’s standardized for ginsenosides, just like that used in most medical research on the compound.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch3\u003e\u003cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eNatural Sedative\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eL-theanine has anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) effects, and none of the side effects of kratom. This compound is an amino acid that \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC6836118\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eis proven\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e to reduce stress and depression and improve cognitive function in healthy adults. The linked research study used a dose of 200 milligrams (mg) per day.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eL-theanine favorably affects neurotransmitter function according to the study above, and also may influence brain wave activity to induce relaxation.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eConclusion\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eWe don’t recommend using kratom whether or not it’s legal in your jurisdiction. The risks seem to vastly outweigh the benefits.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eKratom may injure the liver and can cause discomforting side effects and withdrawal symptoms. It’s an addictive compound. There’s also little research on what constitutes a safe dose of kratom (if any), so there are no reference ranges based on medical research to recommend dosage. This increases risk.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eWe believe that turmeric extract, panax ginseng extract and l-theanine are all superior natural supplements that can provide some of the stated benefits of kratom without the health risks.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e","blog_id":49281925193,"author":"Calloway Cook","user_id":26601750601,"published_at":"2022-04-26T10:56:24-04:00","updated_at":"2022-10-23T01:42:58-04:00","summary_html":"We the published medical research on kratom to determine whether it’s proven to be effective in treating any health conditions. We also highlight its side effects and share some natural alternatives that consumers may want to consider.","template_suffix":"","handle":"kratom-reviews","tags":"_related:herbal-supplements"}

Kratom Reviews: Is It a Safe Opioid Alternative?

Kratom Reviews: Is It a Safe Opioid Alternative?


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Disclaimer: None of the information in this article constitutes medical advice. This article is the opinion of the writer(s), and is presented for informational purposes only. We recommend that patients follow their doctor’s guidance in regard to psychoactive botanicals.

KKratom is a psychoactive plant compound that’s been receiving much attention recently. It’s legal in many U.S. states, but there’s a push to make it federally illegal.

In this article we’ll review the published medical research on kratom to determine whether it’s proven to be effective in treating any health conditions. We’ll also highlight its side effects and share some natural alternatives that consumers may want to consider.

What is Kratom?

Kratom is atropical plant native to Thailand, which is now grown throughout the world due to increasing demand. Its botanical name is Mitragyna speciosa.

Because it has similar physiological effects as opioids, many consumers take it recreationally or as a way to wean off harsher drugs like heroin.

Kratom is proven in medical research to be addictive and to cause withdrawal symptoms when usage is stopped.

How Does Kratom Work?

Kratom contains chemical compounds called alkaloids that are thought to be responsible for its psychoactive effects.

Two specific alkaloids (mitragynine and 7-OH-mitragynine) are opioid receptor agonists, which means they cause a similar biological response to opioids such as oxycodone.

Mitragynine also favorably blocks pain signaling due to its anti-inflammatory effect and inhibition of certain enzymes.

Kratom can be considered a natural and weaker opioid than pharmaceutical opioids like oxycodone.

How is Kratom Used?

Traditionally, raw kratom leaves were used to make tea, but now there are a variety of intake methods. A medical review of kratom published in the Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation journal documents how the effects are reported to be different based on method of use.

Kratom appears to have a stimulatory effect when the raw leaves are chewed, but a pain-relieving and relaxing effect when the leaves are brewed into a tea.

The linked research study also documents how in the U.S., kratom is typically sold in liquid or capsule form online.

Because there haven't been many clinical trials on medicinal use of kratom, there isn’t a clear standard for the most effective and safest form and dose of kratom.

Kratom Side Effects

One of the most concerning, rare side effects of kratom use is its ability to interact with pharmaceutical medications and increase their potency in some cases. The medical review linked in the previous section documented a 27 year old man who was taking an antipsychotic medication called quetiapine while taking kratom.

The man was found dead in what was ruled an accidental overdose, because there was an interaction between kratom and quetiapine which significantly increased its potency and overwhelmed his system.

Because many kratom-drug interactions are yet unknown, it’s incredibly important for patients considering kratom use to speak with their doctor first about any medications they’re on, and the potential for negative interactions.

The most common side effects of kratom, as detailed by a medical study from 2019, were agitation (18.6%), increased heart rate (16.9%), and drowsiness (13.6%).

Kratom is clearly a drug with substantial side effects on average.

What Are Kratom Withdrawal Symptoms?

A systematic review of medical case studies on kratom withdrawal found that the withdrawal symptoms are often similar to opioid withdrawal symptoms. The onset of symptoms typically begins between 12 and 24 hours after the last use, and continues for up to 7 days.

Nausea, sweating and chills, muscle and body aches, diarrhea, insomnia and mood disturbances are just some of the withdrawal symptoms noted.

Withdrawal symptoms of kratom can be severe, even though this is a drug that’s legal in some states. We recommend that patients considering stopping use of kratom speak with their doctor first and see if they can visit a treatment facility to help manage the process.

The linked medical review notes that high doses of alpha-2 agonist medications can help manage the kratom withdrawal process, and it’s unlikely that patients would be able to access these medications if experiencing withdrawal at home. 

Kratom Dosage

There’s lacking medical reference ranges for safe kratom dosage, which is unfortunate for users.

One medical review of kratom which we linked to previously in this article found that the risk of kratom toxicity increased significantly over an 8 gram (g) daily dose. The same review found that kratom overdose symptoms were similar to opioid overdose symptoms at a dose of 15 g.

A separate medical study categorized low doses as 1-5 g, and higher doses as 5-15 g.

It’s clear from the available medical research that there is no proven safe and effective dose of kratom.

Kratom Legality

In the U.S., kratom is not federally illegal, as indicated by the Drug and Enforcement Agency (DEA). 

According to the American Kratom Association, kratom is also legislated at the state level, and is illegal in the following U.S. states: Arkansas, Wisconsin, Alabama, Vermont and Rhode Island.

This organization, which advocates for kratom legislative reform, maintains a useful updated map with the current state of kratom legality in the U.S. According to the map, kratom is legal with restrictions in some states like California and North Carolina.

Kratom is illegal in Australia as well as many European Union (E.U.) countries including France and Sweden.

Clearly the legality of kratom is highly contested across the world, and it’s important for users to remain up-to-date on their local laws to ensure compliance and avoid risk of unknowingly committing an illegal act.

How Hard is Kratom on the Liver?

Kratom, like most drugs, gets filtered by the liver. Users are often curious about what the potential damage of kratom use is.

A review published in the Drugs journal in 2020 analyzed human case reports, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) data and animal studies on kratom. The study authors concluded that “Kratom likely causes liver injury.”

The researchers noted that the human data is of poor quality, so future research may emerge proving kratom to be safe, but for now we have to assume it’s harmful to the liver.

Better Alternatives

Kratom is used primarily for pain relief, stimulatory effect (at low doses) and sedative effect (at high doses). There are natural compounds with much more favorable safety profiles which we would recommend over kratom.

Pain Relief

Turmeric is one of the most well-studied plant compounds for analgesic (pain-reduction) effect. A medical review of herbal medicine for pain management found turmeric to be effective in most studies reviewed, and as effective as Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in some cases.

Most medical research on turmeric involves an extract standardized for curcuminoids, as this is more potent than raw turmeric powder. We recommend that patients seeking natural solutions for pain speak with their doctor about a high-potency turmeric extract.

Natural Stimulant

Panax ginseng extract is arguably the herbal stimulant with the most research backing. It’s proven in medical research to improve mood and energy, and users typically describe a milder and more full-body improvement in energy compared with caffeine.

Illuminate Labs sells a third-party tested panax ginseng extract that’s standardized for ginsenosides, just like that used in most medical research on the compound.

Natural Sedative

L-theanine has anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) effects, and none of the side effects of kratom. This compound is an amino acid that is proven to reduce stress and depression and improve cognitive function in healthy adults. The linked research study used a dose of 200 milligrams (mg) per day.

L-theanine favorably affects neurotransmitter function according to the study above, and also may influence brain wave activity to induce relaxation.

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Conclusion

We don’t recommend using kratom whether or not it’s legal in your jurisdiction. The risks seem to vastly outweigh the benefits.

Kratom may injure the liver and can cause discomforting side effects and withdrawal symptoms. It’s an addictive compound. There’s also little research on what constitutes a safe dose of kratom (if any), so there are no reference ranges based on medical research to recommend dosage. This increases risk.

We believe that turmeric extract, panax ginseng extract and l-theanine are all superior natural supplements that can provide some of the stated benefits of kratom without the health risks.




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