Is kratom addictive and is kratom addiction as much of a problem as addictions to opioids and opiates? This is definitely something worth addressing because while this drug is considered to be a mild alternative to opiates and other recreational drugs, it is actually very strong and delivers problems that are very real to the people who use it.
Is Kratom Addictive?
Kratom is very addictive, and there are some who believe that it is just as addictive and therefore just as dangerous as many opioids are. Of course, everything is okay in moderation and this can be a perfectly harmless drug when used properly and with due care, but just know that excessive use can spiral into addiction and that just because a drug is legal (more on that below) doesn’t mean you can take it freely and without repercussions. We learned that to be the case when we discussed synthetic cannabis and other synthetic drugs, and that’s the case here as well.
There is no exact timeframe in which kratom addiction will develop. Just know that you will not get addicted to kratom after a single use and should also avoid addiction if you consume for a few days in a row. This is abusive and binging behavior, but it’s not enough to lead to a addiction.
If, however, you continue to use every day or every other day for an extended period of time (in excess of 2 or 3 weeks) then you are at serious risk of developing kratom addiction. Gradually you will build a tolerance to the drug, you will start to experience fewer joys and more side effects and when you stop completely you will experience the onset of withdrawals.
To learn more, see what our experts have to say about the Stages of Addiction and continue reading to find out how to combat those withdrawals.
Signs of Kratom Addiction
Kratom use can be very harmful to your health and excessive use can do even greater damage. If you use it on a regular basis and consume increasing amounts of it in order to get high, then you are at risk of psychological and physical problems, as well as all of the social and financial issues that go hand-in-hand with drug addiction.
We have discussed the “kratom high” further down, while also riffing on the hangover effects and taking experiences from users of the drug in order to do so. We have done this simply because we find it is much more beneficial. Seeing “euphoria” as an effect is one thing, having it explained in full by an experience user is a different matter.
But because each experience can be different, here is a full list of positive kratom effects, with the negative and neutral side effects listed in the next section.
- Improved Mood
- Increased Sociability
Kratom Side Effects
The adverse effects of kratom include:
- Weight Loss
The Kratom High
The kratom high is similar in many ways to the opiate high. If you have had experience with mild to moderate doses of opiates and opioids like codeine, tramadol and oxycodone, then you will likely notice the similar effects. There are some downsides though, and this is why it is rarely considered to be the ideal replacement for opioids.
For one thing, it is not as potent and the painkiller and euphoria inducing elements are not as intense. There is also a strong emotional and psychological edge to kratom use that you don’t get with many opiates. This doesn’t really present with the kratom high, but you will likely feel it the next day.
In users with a history of anxiety and depressive disorders, they have noted these effects as being particularly troublesome. We have explained this in more detail below, using the experiences of users we have spoken to as opposed to what the literature has to say (because the literature on kratom is not as diverse or as plentiful as you might expect).
Kava and Kratom
If you take the red or green versions of kratom then you should feel relaxing effects. This is something that you will also get from Kava Kava, and the repercussions on your heart rate and breathing could be a big risk. There are also increased risk with regards to your kidneys and liver, because while rare, liver toxicity has been noted with individual consumption of these drugs and will be a greater risk when they are taken in combination.
Kratom Drug Test
There are many users out there concerned that kratom will show false positives for opioids, but these are unfounded and there should be no issue in that regard. One search of the many recreational drug forums will show you that many have put this to the test (quite literally) and have taken kratom before being tested on, only to pass without issue.
Many opioids and opiates convert into morphine in the body and it is this that the common drug tests look for. Kratom does not do this (even though it may feel like it does) and so it can not trigger such a false positive.
But what about a drug test that looks for kratom?
Does Kratom Show on a Drug Test?
The short answer is no. As things stand, kratom does no show up on the most common drug tests used in the United States. Also, there are some things to take into consideration here. First, this might change in the future as kratom use become more widespread and employers and sporting agencies are more proactive in trying to spot it.
However, the method of action and the fact that kratom is legal makes it very hard to spot and very unlikely that anyone would take the time to do so. They would need to create a test specifically tailored to spotting the drug and as it’s relatively uncommon when compared to other drugs and still legal in most countries, it’s unlikely that this will happen.
There is no active ingredient in kratom seeds and they are not used to produce a high like poppy seeds. They seem to be popular purely with people looking to grow the plant themselves. However, there are issues with kratom cultivation, namely the fact that it needs a hot, tropical climate. In fact, it is said to prefer swamp-like conditions, which is not something you will find anywhere in Europe and something that is also lacking in the United States, two regions where kratom is incredibly popular and where many kratom seeds seem to be sold.
Does Kratom Work?
Of course. The problem, and the reason so many people ask this question, is because it doesn’t seem to work for everyone. You will find a number of reports from users who claim to have taken kratom without any effects whatsoever. However, there is likely to be something else at play here.
Firstly, there is a chance that they may be non-responders to the drug, although this is highly unlikely. Secondly, it could be that they are so accustomed to high levels of recreational opiates that they just can’t feel the onset of kratom and are completely indifferent to the effects. Thirdly, and perhaps most likely, they may have received a very low quality kratom.
There are so many different variations of this drug out there and there are also many companies selling it. In an unregulated industry such as this, there is always going to be someone selling a low quality product and advertising it as something else. It may have been left on the shelf for so long it lost its potency, it may be a very weak strain, or it may even be something else entirely.