Wellllll, 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?
So, 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 — 6g||Threshold stimulation|
|7 — 15g||Stimulation possibly progressing to sedation, analgesia and euphoria|
|16 — 25g||Strong sedation, analgesia and euphoria|
|26 — 50g||Very 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 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.
At 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:
- Kratom can be used to help opiate addicts overcome their addiction
- An effective kratom dosage depends on any pre-existing opiate tolerance
- Kratom itself can be habit forming, just like opiates (so don’t use it every day!)
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.
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:
This is just bog-standard, dried, crushed kratom leaf.
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.