How Long Does Kratom Stay in Your System?

2 min read · 5 sections
Evidence-Based Care
Expert Staff
Kratom refers to both a tree that grows in Asia as well as herbal products and substances produced from that tree. Kratom leaves are used for medicinal purposes and brewed into tea and consumed as a form of stimulant. Learn more about kratom and factors that affect the metabolization process.

Kratom Use

Supplement kratom green capsules and powder on brown plate.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) does not designate kratom as a controlled substance, but the substance has been recognized by the DEA as a substance of concern. According to information provided by the DEA, when consumed in low doses, kratom has stimulant-like properties. However, at higher doses, the substance has properties that simulate the actions of opioids, particularly pain-relieving and analgesic properties.

The DEA is unable to estimate the extent to which kratom is used in the United States, but the drug has a sort of cult-like following. In fact, several groups, including the American Kratom Association are actively involved in garnering support for the medicinal use of the substance, particularly for its pain-relieving qualities and its potential usefulness in addressing opioid withdrawal symptoms.

Effects of Kratom

One textbook, “Kratom and Other Mitragynines: The Chemistry and Pharmacology of Opioids,” reports that the major ingredient in kratom is the alkaloid substance mitragynine. Again, when taken at lower doses, it has effects similar to central nervous system stimulants such as caffeine and methylphenidate (the active ingredient in drugs such as Ritalin), and at higher doses, it produces euphoria, sedation, and analgesic (pain-relieving) effects. It may also have some unwanted side effects, such as sweating, overheating, reduced appetite, frequent urination, diarrhea, nausea, and/or weight loss.

Most research studies investigating the long-term effects of the drug are based on case studies, which are reports of a single instance of long-term drug use. Case studies provide less effective evidence than studies that use groups of individuals and look at the overall effects of the drug. However, some case studies have suggested that chronic use of the drug may produce physical dependence resulting in withdrawal when the substance is discontinued or the dose is significantly decreased.

Kratom Half-Life

Since kratom is not a formal medicinal drug, no specific guidelines exist for medicinal use nor the substance’s half life. The half-life of a drug is the amount of time that it takes a person’s metabolism, particularly the liver, to break down the drug and reduce it by half its concentration in the person’s system.

How Long Does Kratom Stay In Your System?

Laboratory test Urine analysis on blurred background.

Since kratom testing isn’t part of most drug panels, it’s difficult to determine how long kratom can be detected in a person’s system. That said, some specialized detection tests, such as a 10-panel drug test for kratom and its metabolites, can be employed.

The speed at which a drug exits the body or is metabolized varies dramatically according to a host of factors.  To best determine how long kratom stays in your system, it’s best to speak with a healthcare provider, who can also assist with detox and treatment if necessary.

That said, the effects of the mitragynine found in kratom appear to be dose-dependent, as taking larger amounts of the substance may result in effects potentially lasting for several hours or longer. Additionally, those who chronically use kratom tend to have longer windows of detectability.

What Impacts How Long Kratom Is In Your System?

For those individuals who take the specialized 10-panel screen, there are several variables that can influence the length of time the drug can be detected in the system.

  • Body weight is an important variable that can influence the length of time a drug remains in a person’s system. As a general rule of thumb, because mitragynine is fat-soluble, it will remain in the systems of heavier individuals longer than it will remain in the systems of individuals with less body fat.
  • Since it appears that the effects of the drug are dose-dependent, the amount of drug a person uses can affect the time it remains in the system.
  • Age is a common factor in the metabolism of drugs. Older individuals tend to metabolize drugs more slowly than younger individuals.
  • Combining drugs can affect their elimination rate from the body. This is particularly true if someone combines drugs with alcohol because the liver gives priority to metabolizing alcohol over all other substances. Thus, alcohol is metabolized first (at about the rate of one ounce of pure alcohol per hour), and other drugs are metabolized later.
  • Other factors such as a person’s health, individual metabolism, and specific types of medical conditions can influence how long a drug remains in a person’s system. For example, someone with cirrhosis of the liver will usually metabolize substances more slowly.
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