Most people wonder what the benefits of kratom are. To really answer that often-asked question, let’s study the pharmacology of kratom. Once you understand the compounds (alkaloids and flavonoids), you’ll also understand the drug, its benefits and its effects. Kratom, also known as Mitragyna Speciosa, has a unique chemical makeup that interacts with the brain and the body at opioid receptors.
Opioid receptors are located, not only in the brain, but also in the spinal cord and the sensory neurons. They’re responsible for a slew of effects. However, kratom is selective in its approach. It activates only one of the receptor subtypes (there are four primary subtypes). That receptor is the mu-opioid receptors. In fact, it acts to negate two of the other receptor subtypes by forcing them not to activate. Those two receptor subtypes are the kappa and the delta-opioid receptors.
The mu-opioid receptor is a crucial receptor. It’s responsible for a variety of effects. It has many benefits, but also many drawbacks. However, since the primary alkaloids in kratom are selective agonists, meaning they partially activate the receptor, they’re not responsible for the full palette of potential effects.
The mu-opioid receptor (MOR) is located in the brain, spinal cord and peripheral sensory neurons. There are three of them: mu(1), mu(2) and mu(3). Combined, they’re responsible for the following effects:
- Pain relief (analgesic)
- Respiratory depression
- Pupil constriction (miosis)
- Euphoric sensation
- Dilation of blood vessels
- Physical dependence
When a drug binds to this receptor, like kratom does, it can have all of the effects described here. Now, since kratom’s primary alkaloid that binds to this receptor, mitragynine, is a selective agonist (meaning it partially activates the receptor), there’s no release of serotonin. That means, you don’t have the same euphoria (high) as you do with a drug like heroin, which is a full agonist of the mu-opioid receptor.
When it comes to kratom, there are two primary alkaloids in the 40-plus compound that makes up the chemical structure. Those two alkaloids are responsible for a large part of the benefits (and side effects) associated to kratom
What are the benefits of kratom?
If you ask someone who’s dealing with chronic pain or withdrawal from opioids, the benefits of kratom are clear. They’re medicinal. They help to alleviate pain and quell the symptoms of withdrawal. Those are two powerful benefits from a drug that grows on a tree that requires no added processing for it to have its effects on the human body.
In fact, the benefits of kratom are so powerful that roughly 4 to 5 million Americans are using it. That’s a huge testament to its effects. Now, the biggest question here is not whether kratom helps people who are struggling with all types of ailments, but rather just how much it does help.
Most people think that people use kratom for its euphoric or “high” effects. Can you get high using kratom? Maybe. A little bit. But you certainly can’t chase that high. If you try to, the costs of taking this drug will far outweigh its benefits. It’ll invoke endless of hours of vomiting and nausea, dizziness, migraines and more. Who wants that?
Now, while there are likely dozens of benefits to taking kratom, some of the most prominent are as follows. Keep in mind that you have to understand the right kratom dosage for your situation. Don’t try to overdo it or chase a high. You’ll end up paying a heavy price and ultimately developing a physical dependency towards it.
1. Pain relieving (analgesic effects)
One of the benefits of kratom is its pain relief, or analgesic effects. This is prevalent in strains that have an abundance of the alkaloid, 7-Hydroxymitragynine, such as the red-veined kratom strain. However, most strains of kratom have some levels of this alkaloid present.
In fact, in some strains, the pain relief effects are rather potent. Some see this as a benefit. Others, not so much. Often, kratom is either euphoria-inducing or analgesic. But some strains, like Maeng Da kratom, are rich in both alkaloids thanks to a process called grafting.
2. Ease opioid withdrawal symptoms
It’s no secret that one of kratom’s benefits is to ease opioid withdrawal symptoms. Thanks in large part to the existence of the alkaloid, mitragynine, white binds to the mu-opioid receptor, withdrawal pains are drastically reduced. While there is a slight euphoric effect with kratom, it does not release serotonin into the body.
It’s only a selective agonist, meaning it only partially activates the mu-opioid receptor. Because it doesn’t release serotonin (only dopamine in small quantities), there’s no raging high like there is with heroin and other narcotics.
3. Anti-anxiety benefits
Part of the sedative effects of kratom help to battle anxiety by releasing neurotransmitters into the brain. Often, it helps quell feelings of overwhelm. In fact, local tribes have been chewing kratom leaves for centuries to help with anxiety relief methods. Kratom also relaxes muscles and joints, providing an overall sense of comfort and ease.
4. Energy enhancement
Some strains of kratom are well known for enhancing your energy. Strains that have more mitragynine are more likely to boost your energy and your mood. However, red-veined kratom varieties often take your energy away. In fact, some think about kratom very much like they do about their morning shot of espresso or latte. It’s a pick-me up in certain strains such as Maeng Da, Thai and other white-veined strains.
Most men and women report that kratom is sexually stimulating. There are more arousals and intense orgasms while on kratom. That could have to do with the impact kratom has on the central nervous system and neurotransmitters of the brain. As a binder to the mu-opioid receptor, sexual stimulation is not entirely unexplainable.
6. Nootropic (cognitive improvements)
Kratom is known to improve cognitive functions. It makes you more aware and alert, yes. But it also gives you clarity in your thinking. Now, we’re not about the sedative strains that make you feel “out of it.” We’re talking about the strains that give you alertness and awareness like white-vein kratom strains.
7. Decrease blood pressure (via vasodilation)
People use kratom for heart health. It’s a vasodilator. Meaning, it opens up your blood vessels. In turn, it decreases blood pressure. This is a known response based on the mu-opioid receptor binding. However, it doesn’t just decrease blood pressure. It also battles diabetes by regulating both insulin and glucose in the blood.
8. Reduction of inflammation
Another benefit of kratom is the reduction if inflammation in the body. People take kratom too help with all sorts of inflammatory issues. Not just disease-related, but also injuries as well. This is thanks in part to the alkaloids, Epictechin and Rhynchophylline, which not only battles inflammation, but also fights cancer.
9. Quells depression
Kratom is an antidepressant. There are mood-enhancing properties in kratom that make it ideal for those who are dealing with depression. In American, depression is a serious issue. It affects 1.5% of the entire population. That’s about 3.3 million people. Red-vein kratom strains help with an overall sense of relaxation or sedation while white-vein strains help with elation and mood-enhancement.
10. Improves immune system functionality
Kratom studies have shown a boost in immune system functionality. While more research is needed to flesh out the precise boost it provides to the immune system, it’s known to help those who are struggling with autoimmune and other serious diseases or illnesses. This is one of the major benefits of kratom that has yet to be fully researched.