There’s a lot of misinformation and disinformation associated with kratom. A lot of people think they know what they’re talking about when relating relevant information that doesn’t always translate accurately. Combine that with subjective missives, and you often read information that’s downright wrong when it relates to kratom. That’s why I decided to create this kratom user’s guide to help shed some light on the subject.
Now, if you’re just finding out about kratom, then this user’s guide is going to give you the detailed information you’re looking for. From the benefits of using kratom, to the variations of its different form and mediums, to its side effects and other relevant information, you’ll find it all here. I’ll also dive deep into the pharmacology of kratom, which is fascinating to say the least. It’ll also give you some insight into why there’s controversy regarding this opioid-like drug.
While kratom is not an opioid, it does exhibit opioid behavior. It binds to the the mu-opioid receptor, acting as a selective agonist. That means it activates the receptor, but doesn’t activate it fully. One of the mainstays of kratom is that it doesn’t release serotonin. This is part of its selective agonist behavior. Other drugs that do release serotonin, and are full agonists of the mu-opioid receptor, are narcotics such as heroin.
So what’s the difference between a narcotic like heroin and something like kratom? One of the goals in creating this guide was to help illuminate what kratom is and what it isn’t. It’s important to see kratom for what it is, and not what those from the media or other parties who have an interest in seeing it disappear, think it is.
Why Create A Kratom User’s Guide?
Kratom is a drug in use by roughly 4 to 5 million Americans. There are two primary purposes that people use this drug. One is to help with pain and the other is to help with opioid withdrawals. However, you won’t find a user guide when buying kratom. For the most part, you’ll get a package in the mail, sometimes with instructions on how much to use, but often not. For the most part, you have to search far and wide, reading information that often doesn’t align with one another.
I know that in my own frustration, while researching kratom at the very beginning, I was left with varying viewpoints. Not only about the effectiveness of kratom, but also about its pharmacology, its side effects, the best strains, and so on. Plus, what I’ve found is that the quality of the content related to kratom is just not that good. It really isn’t. Most of it in broken English. Some of it not. But it seems like someone just threw it together who didn’t really know what they were talking about.
Now, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I know everything there is to know about kratom. But I do know plenty. And I’m deeply versed in the pharmacology of it. In fact, that’s in my nature. I try to understand things in great detail. It’s called immersion. And there’s a rhyme and a reason behind it. But that’s also why I wrote this kratom user guide. I wanted to convey everything that I had learned in a way that makes sense and lacks the bias that I read in almost every digital corner of the web.
What Is Kratom? A Brief Overview
If you’ve been around this blog recently, you’ve likely seen me dish out a slew of content related to what kratom is and what it isn’t. Kratom is the nickname for an evergreen tree from the coffee family that stems from Southeast Asia. It’s formal name is Mitragyna Speciosa. But most everyone now refers to it as kratom. For hundreds of years, indigenous tribes and people in-the-know have used kratom to help with all sorts of ailments.
Before powerful prescription drugs, kratom was an ideal cure for things like chronic pain, anxiety, depression and even high blood pressure and cancers. Kratom is a naturally beneficial substance that’s all organic. When you don’t combine it with other substances, kratom is completely harmless. In fact, no single death has ever been attributed to kratom on its own. The very small number of deaths where kratom was detected in the system was when that kratom was combined with other illicit substances.
Keep in mind that when you do decide to combine kratom with other substances, you risk severely adverse effects from its use. However, on its own, kratom is mild and harmless. Even when used in higher dosages, there’s no risk of overdose. However, there is risk of physical dependence. You can quickly get addicted to kratom. That’s especially true if you’re chasing that kratom high as opposed to using it responsibly.
But that’s similar to anything else out there. If you abuse it, there will be problems. But, kratom is relatively harmless. There are different strains with different effects. Those strains are primarily founded on vein and leaf colors. The vein color largely dictates the alkaloid profile. That alkaloid profile is responsible for having the varying effects that you can expect when using kratom. That varies greatly.
The truth is that kratom can be euphoric. That’s especially true if you use it in moderate to high dosages. And you stick to the right strain. It can also be analgesic. Meaning, it can relieve your pain. That’s largely due to the alkaloid profile where there are two primary alkaloids that exhibit most of the effects that you can expect when using kratom. Those two alkaloids are mitragynine (euphoric effects) and 7-hydroxymitragynine (analgesic effects).
How Is Kratom Used?
If you haven’t read our guide to the the different strains of kratom, click here to read it now. Nevertheless, here’s what you need to know. This information is important when you’re buying kratom. So pay attention here. Kratom strains can vary widely. Not so much the strain itself, but the vein color and strain combined help to provide an overall profile of effects. Those effects are largely uniform amongst strains. So you know what you can expect.
When you shop for kratom, you’re first and foremost shopping by vein color. There are three primary vein colors that you need to be concerned with. Depending on the vein color, you’re going to have different effects and benefits. Possibly even different adverse effects as well. Why? Some are far more potent than others. Now, each of these vein colors can be bought in a variety of formats and strains.
When we talk about the format of kratom, we’re referring to the medium. They can come:
Capsules are simply powder-filled cellulose gel caps. They’re easy to swallow and are a no-fuss approach to taking kratom. Some people like to get the capsules. Some don’t. At the outset, at least, you’ll probably want to go this route unless you opt for the powder. The one thing about capsules is that it’s hard to determine the actual quality of the capsule itself. Some are low-quality. Others take long to dissolve. Some are premium quality. While others are fast-dissolving and don’t alter the impact of the contents inside. It all just depends on where you source these from.
For most advanced kratom users, they prefer to buy the powder and the gel caps separately, and fill them on their own. To do this you need the proper setup so that you don’t make a giant mess when capping the pills on your own. You can easily source all of this on Amazon if you want, which might save you the hassle of buying the pills, which are often more expensive and usually not as good as if you pack it yourself.
One pro tip about that. If you do pack the pills yourself, don’t pack them too tightly. The problem with taking kratom capsules is that they don’t disperse evenly in an equal surface area around your stomach. Some say that alters the expected results or “high” you’d get from the kratom itself. However, some wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s the capsules or nothing. Plain and simple, it’s a much easier route to manage, especially if you’re using kratom often enough.
Kratom powder is simply crushed down from dried kratom leaf. Powder is great to get if you’re going to use it quickly. If you’re not, you have to store it properly. If you don’t store it properly, it could go bad. Meaning, it could lose any and all of its effects. Keep in mind that the alkaloids degrade quickly in the plant after you separate it from the tree. That also holds true for the seeds. That’s why it’s so hard to grow kratom from seeds unless they’re straight off the parent tree.
When you buy kratom in the powder form, you can expect to buy a lot of it at a far more reasonable price than you would expect to get the capsules. You can also control the quality and not have to guess where the capsules came from. And you won’t have to second guess whether or not everything inside that capsule is pure one-hundred percent kratom.
Kratom extract is a distilled down variant of kratom that’s ultra-potent. It forms when you combine kratom with ethanol and distilled water until the leaves evaporate. It’s then placed in a sealed-tight jar and combined with citric acid, which preserves the mixture. You test the mixture with Ph strips until it reaches a Ph of 4, then you close up the jar and shake it for several minutes.
Once that’s done, the mixture is placed in a cool, dry location where it can set for roughly a week or two. Afterwards, you’ll need to strain that mixture through a fine strainer. Then, place the liquid back into the same container and allow just around half of it to slowly evaporate. At that point, your kratom extract should be ready for use.
Of course, if you don’t want to go through all the hassle of doing this, you could simply buy kratom extract online. It’s available as a liquid or a paste and in a variety of forms and strains. It’s easier to buy it, but then again, when you extract it yourself, you can control the overall quality of the kratom extract.
Dried Leaf Kratom
Dried leaf kratom is a way of securing the integrity of the alkaloid profile of kratom leaves. Leaves are sun-dried when they leave the parent tree. Those leaves, once dried, are ideal for making kratom tea. They can also be crushed into kratom powder. Some people prefer it this way. Kratom
However, finding dried leaf kratom is incredibly difficult. Most of the time, you can’t find it in stock. While some websites do advertise, actually coming across it in any volume often proves very difficult. Still, if you’re into kratom tea, dried leaf kratom is the way to go.
How To Powder Dried Kratom Leaf
Powdering dried kratom leaf is incredibly easy. Simply take the dried leaf and use a coffee grinder to powder it down. Powdering dried kratom leaf just before use is preferable to buying the powder. Although you have an extra step to get there, the kratom is incredibly fresh.
You can also use a blender from your kitchen to do this. Although a coffee grinder is preferable, if you don’t have one laying around, try your kitchen blender. You’ll need a large amount of dried kratom leaf if you’re using a blender. Usually, blenders require liquid to get going. So it depends on the quality of your blender.
What’s The Right Dosage To Take?
To understand dosage, you have to understand both the strain and the medium. Extracts are always stronger. And some strains are far more potent than others such as Maeng Da, which is a grafted strain that’s very alkaloid rich. If you’re looking for mild effects, or you’re a beginner, 2 grams of powdered kratom or 2 one-gram capsules should be just about right. Or one gram of kratom extract.
If you’re more experienced, and looking for moderate effects, you can try four grams of kratom powder or 4 one-gram capsules. In that case, you can go with 2 grams of kratom extract. For higher dosages, and heavy effects, 8 grams of kratom powder or 8 one-gram capsules will be plenty. In that case, 4 grams of extract should be high enough potency.
However, always be wary when using kratom. You can experience serious side effects. In fact, kratom has built-in safety mechanisms that will make you vomit, feel nausea, dizziness, and more.
How Long Does Kratom Last?
Most of the time, the effects of kratom last for roughly 4 to 5 hours. For more potent strains, the effects might last for as long as 8 hours. For the most part, you should take kratom on an empty stomach. If you do, it’ll take roughly 20 minutes to feel the effects of kratom. On a full stomach, it could take as much as one hour or longer to feel.
When ingesting capsules, that might add to the delay. Since the capsules have to first dissolve, this could add another 15 to 20 minutes to the effects. However, if you use the toss-and-wash method, the effects will be felt much faster.
Can You Get Addicted To Kratom?
The short answer is yes, you can get addicted to kratom. Kratom targets the mu-opioid receptor. It’s a selective agonist of it. That means, it will activate the receptors. Those receptors are located in your brain, spinal cord and in your sensory neurons. The problem is that those receptors exhibit physical dependence. Meaning, if you use kratom enough times, you will become reliant on it.
Now, studies have found that addiction to kratom is nothing compared to things like heroin or even methadone. But still, there is a dependence that develops. So be wary of just how much you use. You don’t want to swap one addiction for another. That’s especially true if you’re using kratom to ween yourself off opioids like heroin.