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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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