The Ultimate Guide to


(Mitragyna speciosa, Ketum, Biak-biak, Kakuam, Thom, Ithang)

The Ultimate Guide to Kratom

Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine

C23H30N2O4 and C23H30N2O5

Disclaimer: Kratom is a potentially illegal substance, and we do not encourage or condone the use of this substance where it is against the law. However, we accept that illegal drug use occurs, and believe that offering responsible harm reduction information is imperative to keeping people safe. For that reason, this guide is designed to ensure the safety of those who decide to use the substance.



Kratom is the common name for Mitragyna speciosa, a tropical evergreen native to the marshy jungles of Southeast Asia. It grows wild in central and southern Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar, and elsewhere in the Pacific Rim.

Known for its hanging clusters of deep yellow flowers and reaching up to 42 feet (13 meters) in height, kratom has numerous uses in folk medicine. Traditionally, the broad green leaves are plucked by hand and dried in the sun, to be brewed as a tea or pulverized and swallowed with water.

Since the beginning of the 21st century, kratom has increased in visibility around the world. Regular kratom users see it as an invaluable aid for mental and physical health, while others enjoy its dual recreational value as a stimulant or sedative-narcotic (depending on the dose).



Kratom dosage

How much kratom to take depends on your physiology, tolerance, and other factors. Chances are that as a newbie your tolerance is nil, but there may be a cross-tolerance effect with other opioids.

In any case, the recommended starting dose is one to two grams. If you’re sensitive, you’re probably better off starting with one gram. Ideally, you should measure out your dose on a digital scale. But if you don’t have one to hand, you can use this kratom dose chart to estimate the teaspoon or tablespoon equivalents. Capsules tend to contain between 350 and 750 mg, so you may need one to three for a starting dose.

The three main ways to take kratom powder (dried ground leaf) are:

  • Swallowing with a drink (aka “toss and wash,” i.e. tossing it into the mouth and washing it down with a non-carbonated drink—ideally fruit juice or chocolate milk to cover the taste)
  • In capsules
  • In tea (recipe here)

(For the pros and cons of each method—and the best way to take kratom—see FAQ.)

The dosage guide on the kratom Reddit wiki suggests waiting 30-45 minutes after your first dose to see how it affects you. Then, if you feel you need more, take up to one more gram. After waiting another 30-45 minutes, take up to one more final gram if desired. And if this dose still fails to satisfy, start with three grams another day and repeat the process from there; don’t take any more on day one. And don’t take more than eight grams on any one day.
You should find your optimal dose pretty soon.

Generally speaking, a moderate dose of plain dried leaf (powdered) is 3-6 g, but anything above 5 g is considered strong.[2][27] Kratom is usually consumed with fruit juice or water. A popular method is the “toss and wash,” which involves placing the powder in the mouth and chasing it down with a drink.

What to expect

On an empty stomach, kratom effects are noticeable from around the 15-20 minute mark, gradually building in intensity and peaking for two to four hours. Stronger doses may have a shorter onset.

Lower doses are often more stimulating. They may be characterized by increased motivation, talkativeness, and sociability, along with a feeling of euphoria and physical energy. Some people find the stimulant effects of kratom a little too “edgy” to be pleasant, at least at first. Other disagreeable kratom effects—including sweating, nausea, dizziness, and dysphoria—can also be experienced during the onset period, but they usually give way in time.

At the higher, sedative dose ranges, kratom users report a diminished sensitivity to physical and emotional pain, and a feeling of general contentedness. Some go into a kind of “waking-dreaming” reverie, especially when listening to music. Ethnobotanist and author Daniel Siebert likened this to the state prized by 19th-century Romantics, who used opium to keep one foot in dreamland and the other in the real world.

Additional kratom effects might include mild visuals (both open- and closed-eye), a warming sensation, increased empathy, and possibly sexual arousal. The pupils are likely to constrict if they change size at all.[2][4][15][27][29][30]

Many find that sex on kratom lasts longer, but that it can also feel impossible to climax. Erectile enhancement is common, but so is erectile dysfunction. Frequent use and higher doses can substantially diminish libido—sometimes completely. But many seem to enjoy combining sex and kratom; some men take it to increase the enjoyment of their partner even if it means sacrificing their own.[92][93][94][95]


Some kratom users get very thirsty during the onset, so it’s best to have water to hand. It’s also best to take kratom on an empty stomach. Any nausea that arises can be managed by keeping still until it passes. Swallowing kratom gradually can help too, however tempting it is to knock it back in one gulp to avoid the bitter taste.[27]

Driving and other potentially dangerous activities should be avoided—even if you feel stimulated. The effects of kratom can change from stimulant to sedative without warning, so sometimes just turning on the stove could be risky.[2][27]

New kratom users should start with a low dose, precisely weighed out on an accurate digital scale. The same goes for more experienced kratom users trying a new strain, due to the variability between them.[27][31]

Some “kratom products” may also contain adulterants, including morphine, hydrocodone, and fentanyl.[19][27] In Sweden, nine people died from the “enhanced kratom preparation” Krypton—a blend of kratom and caffeine with O-desmethyltramadol.[12][32] The latter, a bioactive metabolite of tramadol, is a dangerously potent opioid. Other “kratom products” have been found to contain no kratom at all.[33]

Kratom addiction

Another important consideration is the risk of addiction with chronic long term kratom use. Setting a personal limit of once or twice a week (or ideally once or twice a month) can be useful.[27] Symptoms of addiction include anorexia and weight loss, insomnia, frequent urination, constipation, and darkened skin.[1]

How long does kratom withdrawal last?

Kratom withdrawal symptoms can last for up to two to three weeks, although the purely physical symptoms tend to abate in three days.[108] These include weakness, muscle pain, lethargy, nausea, jerkiness, insomnia, and diarrhea.[1][4][108]

Drug interactions

Although generally safe on its own, kratom interactions with medications and other substances are potentially problematic.

Mixing kratom and opiates together, for example, can lead to fatal respiratory depression. It can also lead to vomiting while unconscious, resulting in suffocation.[78]

These dangers apply to other opioids too⁠—and depressants or sedatives in general. Interactions between kratom and oxycodone (OxyContin), kratom and hydrocodone, kratom and tramadol, kratom and DXM, etc., are all potentially risky. The same goes for benzodiazepines, e.g. Klonopin and kratom, Valium and kratom, Xanax and kratom, etc.

Kratom and Suboxone

Combining kratom and Suboxone (buprenorphine and naloxone, a common opiate replacement therapy) may seem unavoidable if you’re trying the former to give up the latter. Although it’s not ideal, a careful balance of titration and dose timing can apparently be effective. For more information, see the kratom Reddit group.[96][97]

Kratom and Adderall

Kratom is reportedly a good alternative to Adderall for managing ADD/ADHD. Some also find it helps to relieve an Adderall comedown. While it’s generally unsafe to combine kratom and stimulants, there appear (anecdotally) to be few if any negative kratom side effects with Adderall in particular. However, it may be best to stagger your intake of each, for example by taking kratom several hours after Adderall.[98][99]

Kratom and weed

Many people combine kratom and weed for enhanced relaxation effects.[100] The differing pharmacological actions of these substances is said to be positively synergistic. As with other substances, however, you might want to stagger your intake. One recommendation is to eat some food in between taking kratom and cannabis to avoid feeling faint or lightheaded.[101][102]

Kratom and alcohol

Kratom and alcohol are not a good mix because of alcohol’s depressant effects. It could potentially lead to respiratory failure. There’s also the heightened risk of throwing up and choking on your vomit.[27][78]

Optimize your microdosing efforts

Do you worry about taking too much, not measuring correctly, or losing control of your experience?

Enroll in our online microdosing course to have a safe, effective, and valuable microdosing experience.

Personal Growth


Most users take kratom for pain, anxiety, or some other specific condition, but it’s also considered a “plant teacher”—a tool for exploration and growth. Described by one kratom user as a “nurturing mirror,” it can gently draw attention to areas of personal and interpersonal dysfunction.[48] These can be explored within the context of an emotionally honest, “entactogenic” high.[29]

Some kratom users report that kratom can reduce social anxiety, and even improve sexual performance.

Liberated from the confines of everyday thought patterns, people also find greater appreciation for being alive.[40][49]

Kratom experiences involving personal growth

The following kratom experiences show the potential of this substance for psychotherapy:

Therapeutic Use


There are no mainstream medical uses for kratom, but it shows great therapeutic potential.

Daniel Siebert described it as one of the most effective herbal analgesics, second only to opium.[27] 7-hydroxymitragynine in particular is 13 times more potent than morphine and considerably less addictive.[15] Withdrawal symptoms from kratom are also far milder and more short-lived. Mitragynine, meanwhile, is seen as a potential replacement for codeine, offering comparable analgesic effects[34][35] without the fatal respiratory depression.[7] Curiously, synthetic mitragynine is less potent than extracted mitragynine.[36]

Kratom for opiate withdrawal and pain management

Kratom could eventually come to replace methadone in the treatment of heroin addiction[5][18][27][37]—especially given its relative ease of production, making it ideal for poor and developing countries.[38] Certainly the use of kratom for heroin withdrawal has become common around the world. It can also be helpful for getting off prescription opioids.

Kratom for alcohol cravings

It could be a viable alternative to alcohol too, since it promotes relaxation and sociability without the emotional/physical hangover.[39][40]

Kratom therapy for depression and anxiety

At least one study supports the growing use of kratom to manage anxiety and depression. Mice injected with mitragynine were found to have lower levels of corticosterone, a hormone involved in the regulation of stress responses and energy.[41] The open, introspective mindset that kratom creates may also be useful in psychotherapy.[5]

Opinions on the best strains vary. One of the best strains of kratom for depression is reportedly white Maeng Da.[60] Green strains are also supposed to be good.[60][61][62] Green and white strains are reportedly the best kratom for anxiety too.[62][63]

Kratom weight loss

Many people lose weight while using kratom. However, it’s not necessarily an appetite suppressant in itself; some find it makes them eat more. Weight loss may instead be attributed to its anxiolytic or antidepressant effects eliminating cravings for junk food. It also promotes healthy lifestyle changes that lead to weight loss, such as getting more exercise and drinking less alcohol.[64][65][66][67]

Other therapeutic uses

Other conditions that kratom shows potential for include diarrhea,[2][42] chronic pain,[4][43] inflammation,[15] arthritis,[44] migraines,[45][46] and even cancer.[15][47]



Kratom is widely controlled, even in its native Southeast Asia. Measures to ban the plant in the United States have met with organised resistance from advocacy groups. However, it’s currently illegal in a number of states and cities.[50]

Where is kratom legal?

The following information may not always reflect the latest developments, but we’ll endeavor to keep it up to date. It is only intended to cover the personal, non-medical possession and use of kratom.

Countries where kratom is legal

To the best of our knowledge, kratom is currently legal in:

Countries where kratom is decriminalized

There appears to be no risk of a criminal penalty for the personal (i.e. “small” quantity) possession or use of kratom in:

Important: Decriminalization isn’t a free pass to use kratom however you want. The specifics depend on the country or region and, crucially, on the amount you have in your possession. Confiscation is common, but there may be other, more severe non-criminal outcomes such as fines, driving license suspension, and deportation.

Countries where kratom is illegal

Although kratom is illegal or controlled in each of these countries, there may be regional or circumstantial (e.g. religious) exceptions, as noted below:

Optimize your microdosing efforts

Do you worry about taking too much, not measuring correctly, or losing control of your experience?

Enroll in our online microdosing course to have a safe, effective, and valuable microdosing experience.



Among other phytochemicals, kratom contains the indole alkaloids mitragynine (9-methoxy-corynantheidine) and 7-hydroxymitragynine.

Mitragynine draws comparisons to psilocybin and ergine (LSA) for its 4-substituted structure,[5] and was previously thought to be the primary active compound. More recently, however, the terpenoid 7-hydroxymitragynine has been found to be 46 times more potent, with greater oral bioavailability and blood-brain barrier penetration.[15][16]

Receptor binding

7-hydroxymitragynine is a highly selective mu- and kappa-opioid receptor agonist, acting mainly on the former subtype.[16][17] Mitragynine is a partial mu-, delta-, and kappa-opioid receptor agonist, but can also act on the 5-HT2A serotonergic and alpha2-adrenergic receptors, as well as neuronal Ca2+ channels.[15][16][18][19]

The mechanism behind kratom’s stimulant effects is unclear. Since both compounds interact mainly with the opioid receptors, there’s likely to be some other alkaloid involved.[17]

Safety and toxicity

Mitragynine shows negligible toxicity, even at high doses.[20] For example, no fatalities were recorded in rats given 1000 mg/kg oral doses of kratom leaf extract or 806 mg/kg isolated mitragynine. Rhesus monkeys injected with 9.2 mg/kg mitragynine (IV) also presented no fatalities.[19]

But this doesn’t mean kratom is totally safe. For one thing, different preparations may contain different amounts of phytochemicals and adulterants.[15] There’s also been relatively little research into the long term effects of kratom taken regularly.[21]

Of particular concern are reports of seizures, which increased fivefold in Thailand between 2005 and 2011.[15] Most kratom-related seizures are attributed to adverse drug combinations, but they’re still a cause for concern.[18][22][23]

Kratom effects on liver health may also occur after two to eight weeks of regular use.[15][17] Symptoms include nausea, itching, dark urine, abdominal pain, and jaundice. Heavy kratom users might notice a hyperpigmentation or darkening of the cheeks due to over-stimulation of melanocytes.[15] Kratom kidney damage is a related cause for concern associated with chronic use.[107] Kratom might also be cardiotoxic; further research is called for.[24]

Some other issues linked to kratom use, albeit more rarely, include sleep problems, hypotension, tremors, temporary erectile dysfunction, sweating, hair loss, dry mouth, and anorexia.[2][4][15][25]

Kratom should be avoided by pregnant or breastfeeding women. Aside from the potential health issues associated with kratom use alone, limited evidence suggests infants may also become addicted to the substance via passive intake (either in the womb or via breast milk)—to the point of suffering withdrawal symptoms once the substance is removed.[52]

Evidence suggests psychosis, including paranoid delusions, hallucinations, and confusion, may be caused by regular use spanning a decade or more.[1] Animal studies have also highlighted a link between chronic use and memory/learning problems.[26]

While a number of human fatalities have been linked to kratom use, there are usually other substances present.[27] In one case, 0.6 mg/L mitragynine was detected alongside over-the-counter cold medicines and benzodiazepines.[28]

Kratom overdose

A study in 2019 identified a lethal kratom dosage in mice, or at least a lethal dose of the extracted alkaloids (injected intravenously (i.v.)). For mitragynine, the LD50 (or median lethal dose, the dose that kills 50% of the test population) is apparently 27.8 mg/kg body weight i.v. And for 7-hydroxymitragynine, it’s 24.7 mg/kg body weight i.v. This places the lethal kratom dosage (in mice) roughly in the same region as heroin’s: 27.3 mg/kg body weight i.v.

However, it’s crucial to note the uncommon route of administration; few if any inject. When administered orally, the LD50 for mitragynine in mice was 547.7 mg/kg body weight. No lethal dose was observed for 7-hydroxymitragynine given orally.[77]

So can you overdose on kratom? Probably not—at least not by accident. These findings appear to uphold the broad consensus among users that a lethal kratom dosage (using powdered leaf products as opposed to resins or extracts of unknown potency) would be physically impossible to reach. Doses in excess of 8-9 grams (upwards of 90 mg/kg body weight, say) will induce vomiting far sooner.[78]

History & Stats


It’s not clear when kratom use began, but the practice is thought to be ancient.[1][2] In its native growing regions, leaves from the plant may be used to numb aches and pains, soothe fevers, treat diarrhea, manage diabetes, and alleviate addiction. They have also been applied as poultices to wounds or spread across the abdomen to drive out worms.[3]

Perhaps the most popular use has been to chew on the leaves for energy—similar to the way coca is used in the Andes. In Thailand, peasant workers have been known to chew up to ten times a day while working outside in the sun.[4]

From at least as far back as the early 19th century in Malaysia, kratom has also been used as a sedative—especially as a replacement for opium.[5]

Amid growing enthusiasm for kratom’s medical potential, the active constituent mitragynine was isolated in 1921 and tested on humans in 1932. It was likened to cocaine for its stimulant effects on the central nervous system.[5]

By the early 1940s, the government of Thailand was seeing a massive decline in opium tax revenue.[6] Evidently, addicts were turning to kratom—an unregulated drug—to manage their withdrawal symptoms. The Kratom Act was passed in August 1943, forbidding anyone from cultivating the plant and ordering all existing specimens destroyed.[1]

Elsewhere, scientific interest prevailed. More than 20 alkaloids were isolated during the 1960s and, in 1994, the second of kratom’s primary active compounds was identified: 7-hydroxymitragynine.[4][5] The following year saw the first synthesis of mitragynine.[7]

Public awareness of kratom flourished throughout the early 2000s, mainly via online message boards. In 2005, however, both M. speciosa and mitragynine were scheduled in Australia, banning them for sale or possession without a license.[2] Enforcement of the Kratom Act also ramped up in Thailand, where arrests quintupled between 2005 and 2009.[6] In 2012, when Thai police ordered the destruction of hundreds of wild kratom trees in a protected area of forest in Satun Province, locals resisted their attempts.[8]

In the United States, various advocacy and campaign groups, including the American Kratom Association, Botanical Education Alliance, and United Kratom Association, have sprung up to safeguard kratom’s legality. Thanks to efforts like theirs, the DEA was forced to withdraw an August 2016 “notice of intent” to place kratom into Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act.[9][10]

Current use

Interest in kratom continues to grow—having spiked when the DEA threatened to ban it. A survey conducted around the same time found that, of 6,150 kratom users, 51% used it for pain, 14% for anxiety, and 9% for opiate withdrawal.[11]

 Kratom is commonly sourced from online “legal high” vendors,[12] but it’s far from widely used. In 2014, it ranked among the top 20 drugs only in Hungary, where just 1.5% of the sample had used it.[13]

 It does, however, remain popular in Thailand—despite its criminalization and the social stigma attached.[14] Of 1,000 teenagers surveyed, 94% used kratom, mostly as an ingredient in “4×100” cocktails. This formidable homemade concoction blends kratom tea, Coca-Cola, cough syrup (including codeine or diphenhydramine), and an anxiolytic, antidepressant, or analgesic drug. Served ice cold, it may also contain road paint, pesticides, powder from fluorescent tubes, and pretty much anything else rumored to “enhance” its effects.[6]



“Strain rotation avoids tolerance”

Rotating strains throughout the week so that no strain is taken on two consecutive days supposedly circumvents tolerance. But in truth it’s more likely to increase it. While different strains have differing levels of the active indole alkaloids, those same alkaloids are nonetheless present in all.[27] To avoid tolerance (not to mention addiction), it’s best just to moderate use.

“Addicts are injecting kratom powder”

In 2018, the Ohio Substance Abuse Monitoring Network claimed in their report on drug abuse trends (offline at the time of writing)[71] that “out of 10 kratom users, seven would shoot the drug.”[72]

Admittedly that was just an estimate from one particular region of Ohio, but similar claims are repeated elsewhere.[73] And they’re simply not true.

Although kratom injection isn’t unheard of, it’s far from an accepted use. In fact, it’s not even a viable route of administration. As Dave Herman, chairman of the American Kratom Association (AKA), put it: “No one injects it. It’s a plant material, it would tear you up.”[74] Molecular biologist Jane Babin agrees, saying “there’s too much insoluble plant matrix/cellulose” in powdered leaf, and injecting ethanol extracts would cause tissue damage.[72]

In other words, we’d be seeing many more kratom-related health issues if injecting was actually common. Presumably we’d also see kratom users talking about it. But a quick search of the kratom Reddit group returns very few posts on injection and the AKA forum simply ridicules and dismisses the idea.

“Reports of kratom overdose death are increasing”

In April 2019, a government study appeared to confirm a rise in kratom overdose deaths. According to the report, between July 2016 and December 2017, kratom killed 91 people. However, of these 91 people only seven took kratom on its own. The overwhelming majority combined it with other drugs. And, as the report noted, even in those seven cases of alleged kratom overdose death, “the presence of additional substances cannot be ruled out.”[75]

Meanwhile, prescription opioids remain one of the leading causes of overdose death in America, killing more than 17,000 people in 2017.[76] So if anything’s increasing, it’s Big Pharma’s lobbying to finally get kratom banned. For more on this, check here.

Optimize your microdosing efforts

Do you worry about taking too much, not measuring correctly, or losing control of your experience?

Enroll in our online microdosing course to have a safe, effective, and valuable microdosing experience.



Does kratom show up on a drug test?

Kratom won’t be detected by either standard or enhanced drug tests. And despite its similarity to opiates, it’s unlikely to trigger a false positive.[27]

You’d need a specialist kratom drug test to detect it. Tests such as GC-MS (gas chromatography-mass spectrometry) are able to detect kratom in urine, for example, but they but they’re not routinely used.[4]

How long does kratom stay in your system?

There are conflicting reports as to how long kratom can be detected in the urine. Some say as little as one day and others upwards of two weeks.[109][110][111] Assume an elimination window of at least one week.

Can kratom cause psychological trauma?

Evidence suggests there may be a link between prolonged, regular kratom use (or addiction) and deluded thoughts.[1] While moderate use isn’t likely to be problematic psychologically, some kratom users have developed anxiety (although others use kratom to treat it).

The kratom “high” itself is actually pretty mild and manageable compared to many other psychoactive substances.

Are there risks?

Kratom is apparently safe for most healthy individuals. However, it’s always a good idea to start with a tiny test dose in case of allergies or adverse reactions. Because of kratom side effects on liver health, it may be especially risky for people with liver damage, due to the way it’s metabolized.[17] See Erowid’s kratom experiences vault for some first-hand accounts of liver problems.

Little is known about kratom and pregnancy[27]— but it can apparently be transmitted to fetuses in the womb, as well as babies via breastfeeding.[52] For more on this, see Safety and toxicity.

Where to buy kratom online?

The majority of kratom users probably buy kratom online. It’s very much a buyer’s market with a full range of options and plenty of reviews. However, there’s also a lot of inconsistency and misinformation.

This isn’t to say these issues don’t exist offline, of course; it’s just important to note that not everyone listing kratom for sale online actually knows what they’re selling. And, unfortunately, the kratom Reddit group⁠—once a great source of vendor recommendations—is now forbidden from sharing such tips. The same is true of the AKA forum.
Going by kratom vendor reviews, however, some of the top kratom vendors and brands are (in no particular order):[53][54][55][56][57]

  • Kraken Kratom (according to many the best kratom vendor for price)
  • Moon Kratom (one of the more reputable sellers from which to buy kratom bulk orders cheap)
  • (perhaps the best place to buy kratom capsules online)
  • OPMS Kratom (another place to find kratom capsules for sale, alongside liquid kratom and fresh products)
  • PurKratom (reportedly among the highest quality kratom vendors)
  • Kratora (offers a 30-day money back guarantee and a loyalty rewards program)

Where to buy kratom near me? (Can you buy kratom at GNC? Can you buy kratom at Walmart? etc.)

With the legality of kratom in flux, don’t expect to see it in mainstream retail outlets just yet. But if you’re wondering where to buy kratom locally in stores, you might want to check out head shops and dispensaries.

CBD Kratom, for example, stocks Mitragyna speciosa strains alongside their CBD products. They have outlets in Chicago, St. Louis, Dallas, and Los Angeles.

What is botanical kratom?

“Botanical kratom” refers to the plant without any adulterants. This term may be used to differentiate between natural and contaminated products, particularly when discussing the dangers. According to the AKA, for instance, kratom-related deaths are caused by kratom laced with adulterants—not botanical kratom alone. They encourage kratom suppliers to self-regulate according to the AKA’s standards.

As a consumer, though, you may want to start growing kratom from seed to eliminate the risk altogether.[103][104]

Is it legal to grow at home?

It depends on state law. But even in states where kratom is banned it may still be legal to grow for aesthetic purposes.

For growing tips, check out The Kratom User’s Guide. The KratomGarden on Reddit is another good place to get advice and keep up with legal developments.

Where can I buy kratom plant seeds?

You can easily find kratom seeds for sale online. Besides online sellers, though, it’s worth asking on forums as well. You might find a grower with some to spare.

Mitragyna speciosa seeds are light and flaky, similar to the seed pod as it dessicates. So familiarize yourself with the way the seeds look to avoid sowing decaying plant matter—and to help avoid being sold the wrong ones.

What is the best way to take kratom?

Newbies wondering how to take kratom powder have three basic options—all of them oral.

The “toss and wash” method, i.e. swallowing the powder with a drink, is generally the quickest and easiest. But even with fruit juice, the taste can lead to nausea. And stomach upset is common.

Capsules deal with the issue of taste and they’re more discreet. However, they can also be expensive to buy, or else time-consuming if you make them yourself. The biggest con, though, is the fact they take longer to work. (Oblate discs are similar to capsules but supposedly faster-acting.[58])

The third option is to brew your powder as a tea (see below for recipe). Kratom tea effects have the fastest onset of any method, as well as (reportedly) the least stomach upset. Of course, the taste can still be unpleasant.

Another potential drawback of kratom tea vs capsules and the “toss and wash” method is the lengthy process of making it. However, some feel this adds to the allure.

Whichever option you choose, generally the best way to take kratom powder is on an empty stomach. You should also remember to stay hydrated. For more on this, see Precautions.[59]

What about kratom resins, extracts, tinctures, and leaf?

The high potency of extracts like kratom resin vs powder preparations can rapidly increase your tolerance⁠—meaning you’ll need higher and higher doses to achieve the same effect. The chances of addiction and physical harm increase too. For this reason, experienced kratom users generally steer newbies away from extracts, resins, tinctures, enhanced blends, and so on until they’ve found their optimal dose. For more information, see the kratom Reddit wiki and linked threads.

Can you smoke kratom?

Smoking kratom powder is unlikely to produce much of an effect due to the destruction of alkaloids when burnt. Vaping kratom, either as a powder or kratom vape juice, is also said to be ineffective.[68][69]

Usually, dried kratom has to be brewed, filtered, and evaporated before it can be smoked. The resulting substance—a kind of syrupy resin—is traditionally added to palas palm (Licuala grandis) leaves in the bowl of a long “madat” pipe.[3]

That said, smoking kratom resin (as an alternative to opium) is one of the traditional routes of administration.[70] It’s just not advisable due to the safety concerns (see above).

Chewing fresh leaves is a more viable alternative. Effects may be felt from as little as half of a large, 8-inch leaf (or 1.7 g[27]), although between one and three leaves is more common.[4] The fibrous ribs and veins should be removed before chewing.

How do you make kratom tea?

You can follow this kratom tea recipe and find additional details at the kratom Reddit wiki.

What are some kratom potentiators?

Substances said to increase the effectiveness or strength of kratom include grapefruit juice, orange juice, and other acidic beverages. Freezing individual doses is also said to increase their effects because the process breaks down cell walls. Be warned, however, that kratom potentiators will raise your tolerance proportionally.[106]

What are the differences between strains?

Potency can vary substantially between the so-called “strains,” but they all contain the same active alkaloids. They’re not actually botanical varieties.[105][27] And differences in effect tend to vary from person to person. That said, there is some agreement generally as to what each strain is good for:[105][106]

  • Red vein kratom is said to be calming, so it could be the best kratom for pain relief, as well as the best kratom for sleep
  • White vein kratom may be more stimulating; it could be the best kratom for energy, as well as the most euphoric kratom strain overall
  • Green vein kratom is also said to be stimulating, with apparently longer-lasting effects

What is the difference between kava and kratom?

There are many similarities between kava and kratom, leading some to confuse the two. They’re both psychoactive leafy plants; they’re both native to tropical climates; they both have a long history of traditional use; and, in excess, they’re both associated with liver damage.[79] However, the effects of kava vs kratom are actually rather different.

Whereas kratom is comparable to opiates, kava is like benzodiazepines (e.g. Valium, Xanax), interacting with the same GABA receptors. Kava is more consistently sedating, in other words, not stimulating at lower doses like kratom. But its effects are often said to be milder.[80][81]

It’s worth repeating here that it’s risky to take these two plants together. For more details, see Drug interactions.

What are some other kratom alternatives and how do they compare?

Phenibut and kratom have been favorably compared, although some feel that kratom is stronger (or at least more consistent). Many prefer the reliability of kratom vs phenibut and warn against the rapid tolerance, dependence, and withdrawal effects of phenibut vs kratom. Like kava, phenibut interacts with the GABA system. It tends to lower inhibitions and improve sleep. Some take phenibut and kratom together but this combination can be dangerous—not to mention highly addictive.[82][83][84][85]

Another possible kratom alternative, particularly for pain relief, is akuamma. But the euphoric-sedative/stimulant effects of raw akuamma vs kratom are often said to be mild.[86][87][88]

A better kratom substitute for managing depression, anxiety, and motivational issues may be kanna. In fact, the anxiolytic effects of kanna vs kratom are said to be stronger by some.[89][90]

Is kratom an opiate?

People have long used kratom for opiate withdrawal—particularly in its native Southeast Asia—but it’s not an opiate itself. This term only applies to opium derivatives.

Kratom contains different alkaloids to those extracted from the opium poppy. It just has comparable receptor binding activity.

Does kratom get you high like opiates?

As an opioid receptor agonist, kratom has many of the same effects. Reports of kratom on Erowid often compare it to opiates—whether for its “pleasant, mellow and happy effect, like laying in a field of poppies,” or for the occurrence of itching, the “classic opiate itch.”[91]

But the motivational effect of kratom vs opiates sets this substance apart. It’s why many people prefer it. And this difference between kratom and opiates extends to many other opioids too. The same can be said for kratom vs suboxone, for instance, kratom vs hydrocodone, and kratom vs oxycodone, among others.

Can I use kratom to microdose?

It may not be suitable for microdosing due to possible kratom liver damage. It’s also unclear whether kratom is even active at sub-perceptual doses.

Does it produce tolerance?

With frequent use, i.e. more than once or twice a week, tolerance tends to build up. It may take several weeks of abstinence to return to normal sensitivity. There’s also a cross-tolerance effect with morphine.[4]

Can I mix it with other drugs?

Negative experiences with kratom, including seizures and death, very often involve other drugs[15]—so it’s advisable not to mix them at all.

Kratom shouldn’t be mixed with other stimulants, including cocaine, amphetamines, and yohimbe or yohimbine. It’s also unsafe to combine kratom and coffee—at least in excessive amounts. Nor should it be mixed with depressants, including opiates, benzodiazepines, and alcohol, due to the risk of breathing problems and death.[27]

Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), including ayahuasca and some types of antidepressants, should also be avoided.

For more on the risks of combining with other substances, see Drug interactions.

Is there a resource available to help me understand kratom terminology?

Here is a handy glossary to help you learn more about kratom.


[1] Suwanlert, S. (1975). A Study of Kratom Eaters in Thailand. Bulletin on Narcotics, 27(3), 21-27.

[2] Erowid. (2008, Oct 29). Kratom Basics. Retrieved from

[3] Wray, L. (1909). “Biak”: An Opium Substitute. Journal of the Federated Malay States Museums, 2, 53-6.

[4] EMCDDA. (2015, Jan 8). Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) drug profile. Retrieved from

[5] Jansen, K. L. R., Prast, C. J. (1988). Ethnopharmacology of Kratom and the Mitragyna Alkaloids. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 23, 115-119.

[6] Tanguay, P. (2011). Kratom in Thailand: Decriminalisation and Community Control? Transnational Institute Series on Legislative Reform of Drug Policies, 13.

[7] Raffa, R. B. (2014). Kratom and Other Mitragynines: The Chemistry and Pharmacology of Opioids from a Non-Opium Source. CRC Press.

[8] Fuller, T. (2012, Jul 23). A Fading Thai Drug Finds Its Resurgence in a Cocktail. Retrieved from

[9] Lynch, C. (2016, Oct 2). Is the DEA high? The agency’s emergency ban on kratom has to make you wonder what they’re smoking. Retrieved from

[10] DEA 21 CFR Part 1308: Withdrawal of Notice of Intent to Temporarily Place Mitragynine and 7- Hydroxymitragynine into Schedule I, 81 Fed. Reg. 59929 (October 13, 2016).

[11] Pain News Network. (2016, Sep 20). Survey Of 6,000 Kratom Users Shows No Evidence Of Epidemic Or Abuse Justifying DEA Push To Ban Coffee-Like Herb. Retrieved from

[12] Dargan, P., Wood, D. (2013). Novel Psychoactive Substances: Classification, Pharmacology and Toxicology. Academic Press.

[13] Global Drug Survey. (2014). Last 12 Month Prevalence of Top 20 Drugs. Retrieved from

[14] UNODC. (2014). World Drug Report. Retrieved from

[15] Cinosi, E. et al. (2015). Following “the Roots” of Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa): The Evolution of an Enhancer from a Traditional Use to Increase Work and Productivity in Southeast Asia to a Recreational Psychoactive Drug in Western Countries. BioMed Research International, 2015.

[16] Prozialeck, W. C., Jivan, J. K., Andurkar, S. V. (2012). Pharmacology of Kratom: An Emerging Botanical Agent With Stimulant, Analgesic and Opioid-Like Effects. The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, 112, 792-799.

[17] Kapp, F. G., Maurer, H. H., Auwärter, V., Winkelmann, M., Hermanns-Clausen, M. (2011). Intrahepatic Cholestasis Following Abuse of Powdered Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa). Journal of Medical Toxicology, 7(3), 227-231.

[18] Boyer, E. W., Babu, K. M., Adkins, J. E., McCurdy, C. R., Halpern, J. H. (2008). Self-treatment of opioid withdrawal using kratom (Mitragynia speciosa korth). Addiction, 103(6), 1048-1050.

[19] Ujváry, I. (2014). Psychoactive natural products: overview of recent developments. Ann Ist Super Sanità, 50(1), 12-27.

[20] Schultes, R. E., Hofmann, A., Rätsch, C. (2001). Plants of the Gods: Their Sacred Healing and Hallucinogenic Powers. Rochester, NY: Inner Traditions Bear and Company.

[21] Swogger, M. T. et al. (2015). Experiences of Kratom Users: A Qualitative Analysis. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 47(5), 360-7.

[22] Nelsen, J. L., Lapoint, J., Hodgman, M. J., Aldous, K. M. (2010). Seizure and Coma Following Kratom (Mitragynina speciosa Korth) Exposure. Journal of Medical Toxicology, 6, 424-426.

[23] Vigil, T. (2014, March 1). Denver family warns others about dangers of legal herbal stimulant. Retrieved from

[24] Lu, J. et al. (2014). Evaluation of the Cardiotoxicity of Mitragynine and Its Analogues Using Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Cardiomyocytes. PLoS One, 9(12).

[25] Harizal, S. N., Mansor, S. M., Hasnan, J., Tharakan, J. K., Abdullah, J. (2010). Acute toxicity study of the standardized methanolic extract of Mitragyna speciosa Korth in rodent. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 131(2), 404-9.

[26] Apryani, E., Hidayat, M. T., Moklas, M. A., Fakurazi, S., Idayu, N. F. (2010). Effects of mitragynine from Mitragyna speciosa Korth leaves on working memory. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 129(3), 357-60.

[27] Siebert, D., “Sage Student”. (2016, Oct 12). The Kratom User’s Guide. Retrieved from

[28] Neerman, M. F., Frost, R. E., Deking, J. (2013). A drug fatality involving Kratom. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 58 Suppl 1, 278-9.

[29] BlueSummer. (2015, Nov 22). The Drug That Feels Just Right in Every Way: An Experience with Kratom (ID 102713). Retrieved from

[30] C-Rizzle. (2008, Nov 9). Quite An Adventure: An Experience with Kratom (15x extract) (ID 72756). Retrieved from

[31] UNODC. (1974). The alkaloids of Mitragyna. Retrieved from

[32] Kronstrand, R., Roman, M., Thelander, G., Eriksson, A. (2011). Unintentional fatal intoxications with mitragynine and O-desmethyltramadol from the herbal blend Krypton. Journal of Analytical Toxicology, 35(4), 242-7.

[33] Hanna, J. (2003). Bogus Kratom Market Exposed. The Entheogen Review, 12(1).

[34] Shamima, A. R. et al. (2012). Antinociceptive Action of Isolated Mitragynine from Mitragyna Speciosa through Activation of Opioid Receptor System, International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 13(9), 11427-11442.

[35] Matsumoto, K. et al. (1996). Central antinociceptive effects of mitragynine in mice: contribution of descending noradrenergic and serotonergic systems. European Journal of Pharmacology, 317(1), 75-81.

[36] Sabetghadam, A., Ramanathan, S., Mansor, S. M. (2010). The evaluation of antinociceptive activity of alkaloid, methanolic, and aqueous extracts of Malaysian Mitragyna speciosa Korth leaves in rats. Pharmacognosy Research, 2(3), 181-185.

[37] Babu, K. M., McCurdy, C. R., Boyer, E. W. (2008). Opioid receptors and legal highs: Salvia divinorum and Kratom. Clinical Toxicology (Philadelphia, PA.), 46(2), 146-52.

[38] Vicknasingam, B., Narayanan, S., Beng, G. T., Mansor, S. M. (2010). The informal use of ketum (Mitragyna speciosa) for opioid withdrawal in the northern states of peninsular Malaysia and implications for drug substitution therapy. The International Journal on Drug Policy, 21(4), 283-8.

[39] Torchlight. (2015, March 1). A Substitute for Alcohol: An Experience with Kratom (Isolate Extract Powder) (ID 90524). Retrieved from

[40] ConstantEnergy. (2017, Jan 4). It Makes Me Love Life: An Experience with Kratom (ID 106116). Retrieved from

[41] Idayu, N. F. et al. (2011). Antidepressant-like effect of mitragynine isolated from Mitragyna speciosa Korth in mice model of depression. Phytomedicine, 18(5), 402-7.

[42] Chittrakarn, S., Sawangjaroen, K., Prasettho, S., Janchawee, B., Keawpradub, N. (2008). Inhibitory effects of kratom leaf extract (Mitragyna speciosa Korth.) on the rat gastrointestinal tract. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 116(1), 173-8.

[43] Ingraham, C. (2016, Sep 15). The DEA wants to ban another plant. Researchers say the plan is ‘insane.’ Retrieved from

[44] Snarky. (2008, Sep 26). Arthritis Relief: An Experience with Kratom (ID 72134). Retrieved from

[45] Engrgamer. (2009, Aug 28). Legitimate Alternative: An Experience with Kratom Powder (ID 71290). Retrieved from

[46] American Kratom Association. Success Stories. Retrieved from

[47] Goh, T. B., Koh, R. Y., Mordi, M. N., Mansor, S. M. (2014). Antioxidant value and antiproliferative efficacy of mitragynine and a silane reduced analogue. Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, 15(14), 5659-65.

[48] WanderRA. (2011, Jan 9). Excellent Self Healing Session: An Experience with Kratom (15x extract) (ID 85164). Retrieved from

[49] Kratom Stories. Retrieved from

[50] Kratom Legality Map. Retrieved from

[51] Sullivan, D. (2016, May 26). Caught In The Act. Retrieved from

[52] Post, S. Spiller, H.A., Chounthirath, T., Smith, G.A. (2019). Kratom exposures reported to United States poison control centers: 2011–2017. Clinical Toxicology. Retrieved from

[53] Khan, A. 5 Best Kratom Vendors: Reviews, Ratings & Analysis. Retrieved from

[54] Adrian. 7 Best Kratom Vendors: CERTIFIED Organic Kratom for 2019. Retrieved from

[55] Epic Kratom. 10 Best Kratom Vendors: What Is the Best Vendor on the Market? Retrieved from

[56] Kratom IQ. Where Should You Buy From in 2019? Retrieved from

[57] Kratom Crazy. (2019, Jan 4). An Honest Review of Moon Kratom. Retrieved from

[58] Kratom Times. (2019, Jun 4). How to Use Oblate Discs to Take Kratom. Retrieved from

[59] r/kratom. Kratom 101 – Introductory Information. Retrieved from

[60] pumpfor7. What strains are the best for depression? [Online forum thread]. Thread posted to

[61] Shayshay4jz. ISO opinions on best strains for Depression & Anxiety [Online forum thread]. Thread posted to

[62] Focust92. What strain of Kratom for Severe Depression/Anxiety? [Online forum thread]. Thread posted to

[63] bigthrowawayyikes. Best strain for generalized anxiety/ depression? [Online forum thread]. Thread posted to

[64] xyanon36. Significant Weight Loss I Attribute to Kratom [Online forum thread]. Thread posted to

[65] meowmeow2345. New kratom user: kratom for weight loss and other questions [Online forum thread]. Thread posted to

[66] fridayskratom. How does one use kratom for weight loss?? [Online forum thread]. Thread posted to

[67] meghankelc. Kratom for weight loss/management? [Online forum thread]. Thread posted to

[68] TheMireHatter. Kratom vape? Need answers! [Online forum thread]. Thread posted to

[69] cynthiatakefive. Vaping Kratom? [Online forum thread]. Thread posted to

[70] Evidence of Indigneous Kratom Smoking [Online forum thread]. Thread posted to


[72] Anson, P. (2018, Oct 10). Do Drug Addicts Really Shoot Kratom? Retrieved from

[73] Smith, L.C. et al. (2019). Lateral Flow Assessment and Unanticipated Toxicity of Kratom. Chemical Research in Toxicology, 32:113-121.

[74] SCCMOTV. (2019, May 29). Work Session – May 28, 2019 – St. Charles County Government, MO [Video]. Retrieved from

[75] Olsen, E.O., O’Donnell, J., Mattson, C.L., Schier, J.G., Wilson, N. (2019, Apr 12). Notes from the Field: Unintentional Drug Overdose Deaths with Kratom Detected — 27 States, July 2016–December 2017. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), 68(14):326-327.

[76] National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2019, Jan). Overdose Death Rates. Retrieved from

[77] Smith, L.C. et al. (2019). Lateral Flow Assessment and Unanticipated Toxicity of Kratom. Chemical Research in Toxicology, 32:113-121.

[78] PsychonautWiki. Kratom. Retrieved from

[79] Pantano, F. et al. (2016). Hepatotoxicity Induced by “the 3Ks”: Kava, Kratom and Khat. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 17(4):580.

[80] Kratom vs Kava [Online forum thread]. Thread posted to

[81] neocast128. Kava vs kratom [Online forum thread]. Thread posted to

[82] EnduserEric. Kratom vs Phenibut [Online forum thread]. Thread posted to

[83] PsychonautWiki. Phenibut. Retrieved from

[84] PM_Me_AmazonCodesPlz. How does phenibut compare to kratom? [Online forum thread]. Thread posted to

[85] How To Use Phenibut And Kratom Together. Retrieved

[86] Akuamma Seeds Work! [Online forum thread]. Thread posted to

[87] Medicinal Alchemist. (2019, Mar 25). Akuamma as a Kratom Analogue: Extract Tests: An Experience with Picralima nitida (extract) (exp113012). Retrieved from

[88] Regularity_. My Akuamma Experience [Online forum thread]. Thread posted to

[89] shroomyfloomy. Kanna, a possible alternative for those of you using kratom for anxiety/depression [Online forum thread]. Thread posted to

[90] Arch_Stant0n. To all those who use Kratom for anxiety, kanna is exactly what I’ve been looking for. [Online forum thread]. Thread posted to

[91] Swogger, M.T. et al. (2015). Experiences of Kratom Users: A Qualitative Analysis. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs.

[92] cujax. Kratom and sex. Retrieved from

[93] Ilovehugs119. Kratom and sexual performance [Online forum thread]. Thread posted to

[94] xMeTaL HeAdx. (2016, Oct 16). Kratom Strains for sexual stimulation [Online forum thread]. Thread posted to

[95] PitfromGreece. (2009, Jan 20). Low dose Kratom and Sex. [Online forum thread]. Thread posted to

[96] JDP1982. Suboxone and Kratom and finally setting the record straight. [Online forum thread]. Thread posted to

[97] Concat09. Kratom while on suboxone [Online forum thread]. Thread posted to

[98] Mssixty. (2015, Mar 13). Adderall and kratom [Online forum thread]. Thread posted to

[99] MadTrippin6. Kratom & adderall [Online forum thread]. Thread posted to

[100] bloodofgore. Mixing kratom with cannabis is probably the best combo yet [Online forum thread]. Thread posted to

[101] Adams, B.M. (2019, Feb 5). Should You Mix Cannabis and Kratom? Retrieved from

[102] Covenantkyle. Kratom and Cannabis [Online forum thread]. Thread posted to

[103] American Kratom Association. (2018, Jul 30). Safety Of Unadulterated Kratom Affirmed By The National Institute Of Drug Abuse. Retrieved from


[105] Differences in strains [Online forum thread]. Thread posted to

[106] r/kratom. Kratom 101 – Introductory Information. Retrieved from

[107] National Institutes of Health. LiverTox – Kratom. Retrieved from

[108] Hess, P. (2018, Sep 1). Kratom Users Reveal Psychological Symptoms of Withdrawal From the Drug. Retrieved from

[109] Meireles, V. et al. (2019). Mitragyna speciosa: Clinical, Toxicological Aspects and Analysis in Biological and Non-Biological Samples. Medicines (Basel), 6(1):35.

[110] Suhaimi, F.W. et al. Neurobiology of Kratom and its main alkaloid mitragynine. Brain Research Bulletin 126:29-40.

[111] Birdo1213. How long will Kratom stay in your system? [Online forum thread]. Thread posted to

[112] TalkingDrugs. (2020). Drug Decriminalisation Across the World. Retrieved from

[113] Lovdata. Not available: Drugs Regulations, etc. (Drug List). Retrieved from

[114] (2019, Dec 20). – A historic day for Norwegian drug policy. Retrieved from

[115] Federal Register of Legislation. Poisons Standard February 2020. Retrieved from

[116] Danish Medicines Agency. Bilag 1. Retrieved from

[117] Latvijas Vestnesis. (2005, Nov 8). Regulations on Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and Precursors Controlled in Latvia. Retrieved from

[118] Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 [UK]. Retrieved from

Always know what’s happening in psychedelics

We'll send you selections of our most popular content, plus updates on research, live events, new articles, free educational resources and exclusive discounts.

Reader Interactions


  1. Kratom Crazy says

    Kratom is the name of the leaves from Mitragyna speciosa tree. Kratom found in Southeast Asia and grows wild in central and southern Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar, and elsewhere in the Pacific Rim. Kratom mostly popular use has been to chew on the leaves for energy. Kratom is categorized into 3 strains that are Green veins strains, Red Vein strains, and White vein strains.

  2. Gary Wellington says

    There are several amazing benefits of Kratom. For example, it boosts immunity, it helps to relieve muscle pain, you can also use it as an energy booster. Even I have been using it for past two years and have not experienced any severe side effects, just mild headaches.

  3. Josie Brooks says

    I always support natural products. And obviously Kratom is that kind of product I was looking for. Though I didn’t know enough of it. When I was looking for something for my severe pain someone recommended me to use Kratom. And finally, I got a good feedback. Happy to use such kind of natural proudct.

  4. Redstorm Scientific says

    Hey you forget to mention about the strongest and most popular kratom strains with greater alkaloids .. maeng da definitely the most popular but not confirmed yet that has more alkaloids then any other strain. Bali is the main region for producing quality kratom strains.

    • Haya says

      Although Kratom is not illegal for personal use in Canada, it is not legally possible to sell the herb or anything containing Kratom in Canada

  5. Benjamin Greidanus says

    This stuff has completely removed my cravings for opiates and made me a calmer happier person.Im amazed by it.Take it easy and only in smaller doses,too much can be unpleasant.Go team Kratom 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *