Kratom and Opiates / Opioids
Kratom is a powerful drug that has both sedative and stimulating properties and has been compared to many opioids and opiates. It is said to have some use in helping with opiate withdrawal and many former addicts have advised for its use in helping to lessen the withdrawal symptoms of drugs ranging from codeine to hydrocodone and heroin. But how does kratom compare to these drugs and can it really help to stop or lessen the addiction process?
We have taken reports from the official literature and have also asked previous addicts and users what their experiences are in order to get to the bottom of the issue.
Kratom for Opiate Withdrawal
There is a lot of literature out there advocating the use of kratom for opiate withdrawal, and this seems to suggest that it can help with everything from heroin withdrawal to codeine withdrawal. The problem is, it may not work in the way that you think. Kratom feels much like an opiate high and it reacts in the body in many similar ways. On the one hand, this produces a similar high that can be a good substitute, not the other hand, it means that those withdrawals can be prolonged and even substituted.
We spoken with someone who had been addicted to opium, codeine and tramadol for a number of years. They used higher levels of opioids to wean themselves off of opium and then looked to kratom as a means of weaning themselves off of codeine and tramadol. They stopped using these opioids altogether and then simply used kratom for a week.
In their mind, they were using throughout what would be acute opiate withdrawal and this would mean that when they stopped using kratom, they would feel only the residual effects of withdrawal and would be clean within a week. This is seemingly what many users think will happen. But it’s not quite that simple.
Why Kratom isn’t Good for Opioid Withdrawal
In the above case, the user discovered that they were more or less fine on day 8 and they thought they had gotten away with it. But on day 10, they felt what they would compare to day two of opiate withdrawals. This was followed by a day 11 that felt like day 3 (they had tried cold turkey several times so were familiar with the timeline). At this point, they realized that rather than helping them to avoid withdrawal, the kratom had merely postponed it and as soon as the kratom was out of their body, it returned.
They were taken aback by this, as you would expect for anyone who has taken a week to go through withdrawals only to find out that it didn’t help, and it caused them to relapse. Years later they would try it again, to similar effect, and eventually they ended up going through a taper.
This is not the only story like this we have heard. There are other issues as well, because kratom can cause an addiction of its own and kratom addiction can lead to withdrawals that can be just as traumatic as opioid withdrawals.
Benefits of Using Kratom for Opiate Withdrawals
Of course, we’re not advocating the use of kratom either way and are merely just telling you what previous users have told us in combination with what the literature says. Based on this, it would seem fair to assume that kratom is comparable to a weaker opioid like codeine in terms of addiction potential and withdrawals, but that it is someway short of stronger opioids like oxycodone and opiates like morphine.
So, kratom may be able to help with these withdrawals. You will likely still feel some withdrawal symptoms if you stop using the opiate completely and swap it for kratom, and that’s normal because if you weren’t then it would mean that you are using an unhealthy amount of kratom. These withdrawals will not be as severe as going cold turkey though and they may help you to stop using.
You would sill be replacing one drug for another, but you could argue that it’s much better to be addicted to kratom than to a drug like heroin. It’s cheaper, safer and you are not running the risks associated with tampered/tainted product or with the use of needles.
Kratom vs Codeine
In our page on the Types of Kratom we discuss the many different types, including red vein and white vein. In this section it’s more about how kratom compares to codeine and other opiates.
It’s not easy to determine just how much kratom equates to how much codeine, but if you do not have a tolerance then it’s fair to say that 1 or 2 grams of premium kratom equates to a dose of about 60mg to 90mg of codeine. Users that have developed a tolerance to codeine should also start with the same amount of kratom. Just because you have an addiction and a tolerance to one does not mean you have one to the other and such an assumption could lead to a very unpleasant overdose.
Just bear in mind that this is only in terms of the feelings it will produce and not in any scientific manner.
Kratom vs Tramadol
Tramadol is similar to codeine in many ways and there are also some psychological effects that are perhaps more in line with what you will feel when you take kratom. In this case, a dose of around 1 to 3 grams of kratom could equal about 50 to 100mg of tramadol in terms of the feelings it will produce.
Kratom vs Hydrocodone
Kratom is not nearly as strong as hydrocodone, nor does it produce effects that are similar even in higher doses. You would need to consume a larger than normal dose of kratom in order to get something that is similar in effect to hydrocodone and this is not advisable when you consider that a larger than normal dose of kratom for someone who has not taken the drug before may lead to signs of an overdose, which we discussed in more detail on our Kratom Addiction page.
Is Kratom an Opiate?
Kratom is not an opiate or an opioid, but it works in a similar way. The effects are similar, the side effects are similar and it also produces addiction and withdrawals that are similar to opiates. The kratom plant is actually in the coffee family, which may go someway to explaining the stimulant properties.