How to Quit Kratom: What is the Best Way to Quit Kratom?
What is Kratom?
Kratom is an herbal extract derived from the leaves of a tropical evergreen tree (Mitragyna speciosa) native to Southeast Asia. It has a long history of use in traditional medicines due to the range of sedative and stimulant-like effects associated with its use. The biologically active chemicals in kratom interact with opioid receptors in humans to produce sedation, pleasure, and decreased pain. Kratom also interacts with adrenergic receptors to produce stimulant effects.1 Effects occur within 5-10 minutes after ingestion and can last for 2-5 hours.2
At low doses kratom can act like a stimulant, giving users increased energy, sociability, and alertness. At higher doses kratom reduces pain and provides feelings of euphoria, while at very high doses it can act as a sedative and make users drowsy.3
Although traditionally used to combat fatigue and improve work productivity among farm populations in Southeast Asia, during the last two decades kratom has gained popularity as a recreational drug in the United States and Europe.4 Kratom is not currently an illegal substance in the United States and is widely available for purchase on the internet where it is marketed as a dietary or herbal supplement.3
Side Effects of Kratom Use
There are a range of side effects associated with the use of Kratom. The most common minor side effects include nausea, vomiting, and constipation. Reported health effects of Kratom are dose-dependent, and can also include:5
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Dry mouth
- Increased urination
- Rapid heart rate
- High blood pressure
- Skin darkening
- Liver damage
- Muscle pain
- Decreased breathing
- Hallucinations, delusion, and confusion
Dangers of Kratom Use
Polydrug use is common among kratom users, including those with opioid use disorder. This is very problematic, as kratom can cause herb-drug interactions, especially with other substances that act on the central nervous system. Several reports describe liver damage and even death resulting from kratom-drug interactions.6-7
A recent study of data from the National Poison Data System revealed that poison control centers in the United States received about 1,800 reports involving the use of kratom from 2011-2017, including 11 reports of death.8 About half of these exposures to kratom resulted in serious negative outcomes that included seizures and high blood pressure.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is aware of at least 36 deaths attributed to the use of products containing kratom from 2010-2015.9 Postmortem toxicology testing results from the State Unintentional Drug Overdose Reporting System showed the detection of kratom in 152 cases of unintentional and undetermined opioid overdose deaths from 2016-2017, with kratom identified as the cause of death in 91 of these cases.10
Signs of Kratom Withdrawal
People who consume kratom may report withdrawal symptoms similar to those that occur after opioid use. Physical withdrawal symptoms of Kratom commonly experienced include:14
- Muscle spasms and pain
- Sleeping difficulty
- Watery eyes/nose
- Hot flashes
- Decreased appetite
Psychological withdrawal symptoms commonly associated with kratom use include:11
Treatment for Kratom Addiction
Regular users may experience cravings once they stop consuming it. Kratom withdrawal symptoms are usually relatively mild and typically diminish within a week.15 However, if you are trying to quit kratom and are experiencing serious withdrawal issues, please do not hesitate to seek help through a treatment program. Due to its similarity to opioid drugs, it may be best to undergo medically supervised detox in an addiction rehab facility where trained professionals can deal with any withdrawal symptoms to ensure your safety and comfort.
Additionally, other levels of care exist for those who wish to get treatment and address the social, psychological, and behavioral aspects of their addiction to kratom. Some of these levels of care may include:
- Detox. Detox entails a person entering a treatment program for the duration of time it takes to completely and safely eradicate their drug of abuse from their system. Detox helps people prevent relapse and get clean under 24/7 medical oversight.
- Inpatient treatment.This type of treatment entails a variety of therapeutic interventions designed to address each patient’s complex needs.
- Outpatient treatment. Outpatient treatment is extremely helpful and can serve as a step-down from inpatient care. Outpatient care offers extremely flexible treatment options with varying schedules. Sometimes, outpatient works best for some people, while inpatient treatment works best for others. Similarly, some patients transition from outpatient care to inpatient care, and vice-versa. However, all patients require a customized approach to their treatment plan to achieve long-term recovery from kratom abuse.
There are no specific medical treatments for kratom addiction, although the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction suggests that dihydrocodeine-lofexidine combination, a medication given for opioid addiction, may be helpful for treating withdrawal symptoms during detox.12
Antidepressants, anxiolytic drugs, anti-inflammatory medications, and other pharmacological agents may also be useful during the treatment of kratom dependence. Some people seeking treatment have found behavioral therapy to be helpful, although more research is needed to determine the effectiveness of this treatment option.2
In a substance abuse treatment program, medical professionals can work with you to understand your complex needs for recovering from addiction to any substance. If you or a loved one is suffering from a dependence on kratom, reaching out to an addiction specialist will give you the best chance for successful recovery.
What is the Best Way to Quit Kratom?
The best way to quit kratom completely depends on your unique situation. Various therapeutic interventions exist that can help someone recover from substance abuse issues, such as inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, detoxification, medication-assisted treatment (MAT), therapeutic interventions, and more.
However, the best way to determine which level of care or interventions will be right for you is to speak to your family physician or a trained medical professional. Call .