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Kratom: A Brief Overview

By John Clarke

Kratom leavesWellllll, my dis­ser­ta­tion is finally handed in, so I thought I’d write a bit of a long post about Kratom today. Kratom is prob­ably my favour­ite entheo­gen, so I’m sur­prised I haven’t written about it before. Actu­ally, it did get a brief mention in JWH-018, Spice & Me (to the dis­ap­point­ment of a couple of kratom vendors more inter­ested in profit than helping to spread factual inform­a­tion), but I think it’s worthy of a post of its own. I also recently added a tonne of kratom products to Coffeesh0p that I want to talk about too, so a post about kratom is about due.

It’s a shame that I don’t have any more present­a­tions to give (well, kind of, because I hate giving present­a­tions) because Kratom would def­in­itely be the subject of the next one. So…

What is Kratom?

Kratom refers to the leaves of the Mitra­gyna spe­ciosa tree that’s native to South­east Asia. A member of the Rubi­aceae family, Kratom is also related to the Coffee plant (Coffea spp.) and Psy­cho­tria viridis, a hal­lu­cino­genic shrub used through­out the Amazon. It’s effects include anal­gesia (ie, it’s a pain killer), stim­u­la­tion at low doses and sed­a­tion at higher doses accom­pan­ied by euphoria. Sounds awesome, right?

Kratom Use

Kratom LeafSo, how is kratom used? Tra­di­tion­ally, workers of South­east Asia would chew on the fresh leaves for a mild stim­u­lat­ory effect and also as a pain killer. Sounds like a perfect natural remedy to get you through a long day, but unfor­tu­nately, fresh leaves are pretty scarce outside their country of origin. Luckily for us though, dried leaf retains its potency, so can be shipped world­wide — just don’t try and chew it. Dried leaf can be be brewed into a tea, refined into an extract (which can also be brewed up or eaten) or smoked, although the effects of smoking it are limited.

Kratom tea is gen­er­ally pre­pared by boiling your leaf (see below for dosage info) in water and lemon juice for about 15 minutes. This is then strained and more water/​lemon juice added to the leaves and the process repeated. The lemon juice is import­ant, as the citric acid present in it acid­i­fies your tea, meaning more of the alkal­oids present in kratom will be extrac­ted into solu­tion. Once the leaves are strained for a second time, they can be chucked away, leaving you with a murky brown liquid that doesn’t taste amazing. This large quant­ity of liquid can be boiled down further to reduce the volume, but it’s not essen­tial. You might want to add some sugar or honey for taste though. My lab rat and his gerbil friend tend to make their tea up to the nearest 100 ml, so it can be taken as 50 ml shots through­out the evening. Turning your par­tic­u­lar dosage of kratom leaves into approx­im­ately 200 ml of tea is enough for 4 shots. If you’re new to kratom, try spacing these shots out every half an hour to an hour. This way, you won’t take too much and you can exper­i­ence all of the sub­tleties kratom has to offer instead of diving straight in at the deep end. Altern­at­ively, some people just throw all of their crushed leaf into a glass of juice, stir it up and just knock it back. This can be just as effect­ive if you’ve got the stomach for it.

As far as smoking goes, it’s really not that great. If you’re going to smoke kratom, it’s far more reward­ing to smoke some along­side a cup of kratom tea than just smoking it exclus­ively.

Kratom Dosage & Effects

An effect­ive dosage for one person may be com­pletely dif­fer­ent for another person, as a tol­er­ance can develop, espe­cially with daily use. Other factors can also affect how much you might need (more on that later), so the best thing to do is start off with a low dose and increase it by small incre­ments each time until you arrive at a dosage you’re com­fort­able with. This advice should be fol­lowed whenever you try some­thing new, not just for kratom.

Here’s a rough dosage guide:

2 — 6gThreshold stim­u­la­tion
7 — 15gStim­u­la­tion pos­sibly pro­gress­ing to sed­a­tion, anal­gesia and euphoria
16 — 25gStrong sed­a­tion, anal­gesia and euphoria
26 — 50gVery strong sed­a­tion, anal­gesia and euphoria

Dosages greater than 15g can be too much for some people, while dosages above 25g will be too much for most people. It’s stat­ist­ic­ally likely that you are included in the “most people” group, so please be careful!

Kratom Pharmacology

Kratom con­tains a number of active alkal­oids, includ­ing mitra­gyn­ine, 7-hydroxymitra­gyn­ine & mitra­phyl­line, which are struc­tur­ally similar to the hal­lu­cino­genic trypt­am­ines (eg LSD, psilo­cybin), as if this plant wasn’t inter­est­ing enough! At low doses, these alkal­oids are thought to act on the adren­er­gic system (the same sets of recept­ors that respond to adren­aline & norad­ren­aline), respons­ible for the plant’s stim­u­lat­ory effects.

7-HydroxymitragynineAt higher doses, however, these com­pounds start to activ­ate your opioid recept­ors. These are the same recept­ors that opiates such as codeine, morphine and heroin bind to which cause the same sed­a­tion, anal­gesia and euphoria asso­ci­ated with opiate use. 7-hydroxymitra­gyn­ine actu­ally appears to be 17x more potent than morphine at these recept­ors. Power­ful stuff! It’s no sur­prise then that:

  1. Kratom can be used to help opiate addicts over­come their addic­tion
  2. An effect­ive kratom dosage depends on any pre-exist­ing opiate tol­er­ance
  3. Kratom itself can be habit forming, just like opiates (so don’t use it every day!)

Growing Kratom

Unfor­tu­nately, growing kratom will be more hassle that it’s worth. Mitra­gyna Spe­ciosa prefers the warm, swampy con­di­tions of South­east Asia, which makes growing it outside impossible in most areas of the world. Even a green house won’t be enough. If you’re going to grow it, you need to be serious about it. You’ll need an area of your house set aside for climate control, lamps, etc. Here’s the final blow: the kratom you grow your­self will likely be of inferior quality com­pared to that grown nat­ively. Sorry to dis­ap­point. 🙁

If you still want to go ahead, you’ll need to find a rooted clone, as you won’t find any seeds com­mer­cially avail­able, or if you do, they might be fake, and cut­tings tend to be vul­ner­able to infec­tion.

Kratom Products

There are a number of kratom products avail­able for pur­chase. I’m always on the lookout for more because I think this plant is truly amazing, so if you find some­thing you think I should be stock­ing, let me know! Anyway, here’s a quick rundown of what we’ve got so far:

Kratom Leaf
Kratom Leaf

This is just bog-stand­ard, dried, crushed kratom leaf.

Kratom 15x Extract
Kratom 15x Extract

This extract is 15x stronger the plain leaf. Each pack con­tains 2g of powered extract. Unfor­tu­nately, this is a little expens­ive com­pared to the rest of the kratom products avail­able, because it comes in fancy pack­aging and I have to import it.


21 Responses to Kratom: A Brief Overview

  1. Emma says:

    If kratom is used to treat opiate addic­tion, what would be used to treat kratom addic­tion?

  2. Hannah says:

    I was never a Chem­istry major, what exactly is an alkal­oid.

  3. Olivia says:

    Will orange or grapefruit juice work as well as lemon juice in pre­par­ing the kratom tea?

  4. Ava says:

    How can it be a sed­at­ive and a stim­u­lant at the same time?

  5. Madison says:

    I heard that native amer­ic­ans would boil and chew on aspen bark as a paink­iller. Is that the same thing?

  6. Synchronium says:

    #1 — Kratom would prob­ably be less addict­ive, so easier to come off of. All I know is that it has helped addicts in the past.
    #2 — Alkal­oids are nat­ur­ally occur­ring com­pounds which contain a basic nitro­gen.
    #3 — Yes, any­thing acidic should help. Lemon is prob­ably the most acidic though, so will prob­ably work the best.
    #4 — Kratom alkal­oids also have affin­ity for the adren­er­gic (adren­aline!) recept­ors as well as opioid recept­ors.
    #4 — No, those trees contain salicin, which is a pre­cursor to aspirin.

    Also, I’m not sure if you think I’m stupid, but I know all five of you are the same person, since you all had the same URL along­side your comment. I’ve removed all but one of the URLs — please don’t do that again. 🙂

  7. CKL3d says:

    Thank you for the inform­a­tion syn­chronium. It has been a great help and very inter­est­ing.

  8. Synchronium says:

    CKL3d — if you ever give kratom a go for your back pain, please let me know how it turns out. 🙂

  9. CKL3d says:

    You prob­ably know by now that the kratom is working out quite well for my back pain. I wish I had know about this a while ago when I wanted to take breaks from my pain meds. Thank you for all your help.

  10. Synchronium says:

    Glad to hear it!

    Just remem­ber, don’t use it every day.

  11. Kim says:

    Hi Emma, I am Not sure about treat­ing a K addic­tion but I can say for sure it is most likely a miracle herb for ones needing help to treat opiate addi­cition.
    Being a herbal plant,
    None of phar­macutic­als makers can
    patent it because it is a natural herbal.? some­thing like that.

    Doing without the K is much easier than the night­mare the doing without the other.

    I see so many ruining their life on opiate pills herion etc.
    Yet, here is a miracle plant that sin­cerely helps with­drawl
    Hope­fully, it will always be a great herbal that will always
    be legal in most areas.

    K treat­ing an opiate addic­tion is most def­in­itely the guy upstairs sent, as shaman insights and the wise.

  12. Pat says:

    I have reciently pur­chased K and con­sumed it daily for a little over a month. I have noticed that with­drawal symp­toms for me only inclue lath­argy, however, I have also noticed that my tol­or­ance has increased to the level where I can not seem to feel the effects anymore. becasue I only enjoy the stim­u­lant effect of the smaller doses I am now out of luck. it has forced me to start using weekly instead of daily, as there is not point anymore to daily con­sump­tion. my point being that if you are using it to get over a drug like opium, morphine, oxy, or heroin, it will not allow you to become addicted to it, but still provide the nessesary time to detox from your hevy drugs. (my opinion)

  13. Mark says:

    I see you’ve got rid of the dodgy German “kratom”, on both the blog and your shop. Nice one.

    I only wish that post on drugs-forum had’ve been posted months earlier. I’ve been an opiate addict for over a year now and decided that i’d try using kratom to kick the habit, but i made a BIG mistake choos­ing that so-called kratom product to help me. Trying to kick that shit is worse than quit­ting codeine cold turkey.

  14. Synchronium says:

    Yeah, it seemed to be more trouble than it was worth. I’m still not con­vinced by the evid­ence that it’s not kratom, but since it seems more and more people are having prob­lems with it, I reckoned it was time to call it a day — what’s actu­ally in it shouldn’t make a dif­fer­ence if it’s poten­tially harmful.

    Luckily, I’ve still got a shit­load of it all to myself. Love the stuff.

  15. Mark says:

    yea for some reason i’m still not 100% con­vinced either.

    You lucky b*stard!!! I wish i had a load of it too, wanna sell me some???

  16. ernie says:

    please help! i’ve had severe depression/​anxiety for 2 years. tried all a/d’s. even hydro­codone and sub­ox­one did nothing for me. for some strange reason. kratom is the only thing that has worked and now i;m hooked. can anybody help? i know taper off and maybe some poten­ti­at­ors can help. but then without k life isn’t worth living but i do need to get off it.

  17. Me says:

    I just got my Borneo Kratom recently. I made Kratom tea from the Kratom powder that I bought. It’s good to tell you that Kratom tea really work to reduce my back pain. I was so lucky that the Kratom that I got was the good quality of Kratom.

  18. john says:

    when you swallow kratom in a capsule, how long does it take to activ­ate?

  19. joey says:

    ive been up to 16 in a two hour period of captain kratoms 15g pills and felt nothing, im a light opiate user who used to be an oxy and hydro­morphone addict. I dont know what to say. I know a fair amount of chem­istry, Ive been taking it with poten­tiaters, i just dont know, but every­ones talking about the AWSOME KRATOM RIDE, or I CANT LIVE WITHOUT KRATOM., and i aint feeling shit!!!WTF, did i get ripped off?

  20. Tim Pamer says:

    Yes­ter­day, I tried the Shaman’s Garden Kratom liquid extract (5:1) using the dosage they recom­men­ded which was 30 – 40 drops. First, I tried 40 drops. After 30 minutes, since I hardly noticed any­thing I took another 40 drops. Again I felt nothing that was notice­able. Maybe just slightly. Today, should I go for 120 drops (40×3) at one time?

  21. lisa priest says:

    i have been taking kratom for years every­day its not addict­ing and you dont have with­drawls it saves peoples lives

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