What is kratom?
Kratom is a herb that grows primarily in regions of southeast Asia and some parts of Africa. Scientifically it is known as Mitragyna Speciosa and is a very close relative (in the plant family) to the coffee tree. It sports a dark green leaves and can grow up to 30 feet in height which can make it relatively easy to spot. The uses of kratom range from ceremonial to medicinal in the areas where it is indigenous.
Kratom trees have been known to contain substances known as alkaloids which cause psychological effect on humans when ingested. It is these substances that bring rise to the question on whether or not kratom can be used in the stead of harder drugs, more so, those classified as opiates.
Strains of kratom that Exist
Before finding out how to use kratom for opiate addiction, it is important to note that there are several different strains of kratom. Each of which have different effects on the user. Some of the more popularly known strains are:
-Bali : this is the most commercialized and best known strain of kratom
-Maeng da Kratom –Mostly used around by those with access to it as a stimulant
-Red kali – Tends to be more sedating generally used for pain relief
– White Vein Indo
-White Vein Thai
While the chemical composition of each of these strains remains largely the same across the board, there are several trace elements in each strain that make the difference when ingested.
Why use kratom for Opiate Withdrawals?
Kratom has been reported to have a wide array of benefits and some of which include helping the body with some common opiate withdrawal symptoms like: opiate cravings, muscle and body aches, restless leg syndrome (RLS), fever and sweats, poor mood and attitude, low energy as well as lethargy in other cases, people who have successfully used kratom to quit their opiate addictions have reported that in the right doses it almost completely smothers the urge to consume, ingest, inject opiates as well as the accompanying physical discomfort that comes along with it.
Opiates wreak havoc on the body. They have been known to cause collapsing of blood vessels, slowing of the digestive system, hepatitis, slowed sometimes fatal breathing and continued use leads to dependency where the body is unable to function without their presence. Withdrawal of the opiate substances leads to serious withdrawal that can sometimes, though not often be fatal. The nature and severity of the withdrawal depends on the quantity and period of use.
Considering the fact that it is itself an addictive drug, the issue of how to use Kratom for opiate withdrawal becomes rather tricky. The first thing to realize while treating opiate withdrawal with Kratom is that it is will not happen overnight, thus, patience is advised. The reason for advising patience and prudence is that some opiates such as methadone cause quite the shock to the nervous system; this results in the seemingly overnight crash of the nervous system. The recommended approach is slow and steady. Some methadone users employing the use Kratom to overcome opiate withdrawal have reported success in the introduction of a Kratom regimen in place of methadone over a measured period of time – this can be a month or more. The idea here is to gradually reduce the quantity of methadone used daily while simultaneously increasing the quantity of kratom being taken into the system. Eventually, the methadone user will eventually quit methadone altogether and take purely kratom. This will then finally be followed by a gradual reduction in the kratom intake until one has been weaned off completely. It should be noted however, that one should be careful when using kratom for opiate addiction so as to not result in a kratom addiction.
Kratom capsules Versus Opioids
Aside from the use of the gradual replacement method to ease opiate withdrawal, it is possible to use kratom capsules for the same. The obvious question that will arise after having read this then becomes “now that you are experiencing withdrawal symptoms, how many kratom capsules for opiate withdrawal?” The answer will depend on concentration of kratom in the capsules as well as the size of the capsules themselves. A sample dosage guide was created based off of the capsules that are obtained from kratomcapsules.com ie:
Day One: 6 to 8 сарѕulеѕ, ѕрlіt uр throughout thе day
Dау Twо: 4 to 6 сарѕulеѕ, ѕрlіt up throughout thе dау
Dау Three: 3 to 4 capsules, ѕрlіt uр throughout thе day
Dау Four: Between 2 and 3 Kratom capsules split throughout the day
Day 5: 1 сарѕulе of Krаtоm іn thе mоrnіng, оnе bеfоrе bеd, аnd twо сарѕulеѕ
Dау 6 thrоugh 30: Two сарѕulеѕ
It should be noted that the physiological effects of Kratom (even in capsular form) are similar to those caused by most opioid drugs. At lower doses, say for example between 3 and 7 grams it affects mu opioid receptors which makes it feel like a stimulant. One becomes generally more awake and a general sense of feeling energized. At doses higher than this, say for instance above 8 grams, it becomes a sedative as do all opiates even the naturally occurring ones. In working your dosage up, you ease your withdrawal symptoms. You should confirm with your kratom vendor the concentration of kratom in the capsules before you purchase them.
Kratom powder and accompanying dosage to relieve opiate withdrawal symptoms
There are however, those who might not necessarily like capsules. They will want opt for another form which can maybe be mixed with food or beverages and consumed sometimes even unknowingly or however they deem fit. Conversion ratios of powdered Kratom may vary. Once you have figured out the quantity in a tablespoon and teaspoon respectively you can use roughly 9 grams for the first three days. In the absence of an accurate electronic scale, a full teaspoon contains roughly 4.5 grams which constitutes half of what you need to take for the first day. It is advised that for the first three days, you take the 9 grams recommended over 2-4 times a day. I.e the 9 grams is split over 4 doses and not taken as a single dose. After the first 3 days, it is recommended that the dosage be lowered to between 5-7 grams on the fourth day. This should also not be taken as a single dose but instead split to between 2-3 times over the course of the day. On the fifth day, the dosage is lowered to between 3-5 grams of kratom. On the sixth day, reduce the kratom to just 2 grams only. Finally, on the seventh day at the end of the week, it is recommended that you not take kratom altogether. While using the powdered version of Kratom to combat the symptoms and physiological effects of opiates, it is best practice to use an electronic scale. The reason for this is that there are several strains of kratom and each strain, when powdered, may have a different texture and in other cases, different packaging as well as concentration.
As a side note, given the difficulty of getting accurate measurements of kratom powder, the capsule may be easier and considerably faster to use.
Basic Guide to Kratom extracts
While you may not necessarily want to ingest kratom directly through powder or capsules, you may opt for the last option which is kratom extracts. These are made from boiling crushed leaves from the kratom tree and letting the water evaporate. The result is a thick dark paste that generally has a higher alkaloid component. Dosage of kratom in this format is a little trickier as it normally depends on the size of the leaf as well their exposure to the environment and other factors. The advice here is to start small because the concentration of the psychoactive component of the kratom plant is a bit higher compared to its other forms. The extracts themselves are depend on the method of extraction and the strain of the base plant that is used. They are generally divided into the following:
- a) Water based extracts : – these are by far the most popular type of extracts created by the method described above. The end result is a higher alkaloid concentrated product. The water extracts are commonly referred to with an x to demonstrate the concentration eg (10x). These figures are normally entered by the vendor which mostly means that the values entered are not always correct. The benefit of water based extract is that they are largely free of side effects compared to the other types of extracts. It is also important to mention that these act as better stimulants compared to the other types of extracts and they are water soluble which is an added advantage. On the other hand though, this type of extract cost a little more for the potency and has been known to unfortunately cause ones tolerance for kratom to gradually increase so when taken over time, will result in increasing the dosage so that you can experience the same effect which eventually causes one to use these as well as the plain leaf in the same dosage.
- b) Kratom resin extracts: – These compared to the water based extracts result a better range of effects which you could say are better-rounded. These are created by extracting them with a polar solvent as well as a non-polar solvent. Polar solvents liquids that carry a slight electrical charge. An example of such a solvent is ethanol Like the water created extracts, the resulting powder is strained then left to dry resulting in small rocks of the extracts. While these types of extracts have the advantage of being more potent per weight in relation to the other types of extract, the resultant rock from the extraction process a very temperature sensitive and will melt in minor heat. On the plus side though, they are very easy to store, very easy to use and result in the full spectrum of desired side effects.
- c) Kratom tinctures: – While tinctures are alcoholic extracts of a substance, kratom tinctures vary heavily depending on the proof of the alcohol used to extract them and various additives used after the extraction process. These vary in potency, are normally the most expensive types of extracts and normally result in a very high development of tolerance to the same.
- d) Enhanced leaf: – These are extracts created from other extracts where you take a highly potent extract (any of the above mentioned) dissolve it in another kratom solution, then allow the mixture to dry. The result is a very potent product. An example of this is the relatively popular UEI (Ultra Enhanced Indo). The biggest benefit of this is its potency, and its effectiveness as a pain killer; but at the same time, its potency is likely its worst quality because it has been known to cause addiction and as a result, after prolonged use, sudden cassation will result in withdrawal symptoms.
Dosage guide and precautions:
While the dosage for each form of kratom has been established, there are a few important things to remember regardless of the form you prefer for your kratom:
- i) Less is more – kratom is more effective as a stimulant when taken in smaller quantities
- ii) Do not take the kratom in high doses regularly. This will cause the medicinal effects to reduce and diminish rapidly.
iii) Dosage varies with strain; Maeng Da is potent at lower doses, Bali causes more side effects al lower doses when compared to the other strains, Thai will overstimulate you when taken in higher doses, Borneo can be taken in higher doses because of the relative lack of side effects.
- iv) Kratom is always more effective when taken on an empty stomach. This makes sure the effects are quick and effective.
Having established the dosage for kratom to ease opiate withdrawal, the next logical question is how long to use kratom for opiate withdrawal. There haven’t been many studies on the long term use of kratom but the general consensus is the shorter, the better. Kratom is in itself an addictive drug and its use should not be taken lightly. The best way to get off of kratom is through tapering where you slowly lower the intake of the drug until such a point where you do not need it anymore. This might be easier said than done and support from other people always helps. It may sound cliché but support always beats DIY.
General preparation methods for kratom
Regardless of the form you choose to take your kratom, there are various methods of preparation, some of which have been borrowed from traditional takers of kratom while others are newer.
- Kratom Quid; This is how the Southeast Asian cultures took it. The fresh kratom leaves are removed from their stems, bundled chewed whole and the saliva with the kratom held in the mouth.
- Toss and Wash: Dissolve the desired dose in water, taking the solution and holding it in the mouth for a few seconds, swallowing and chasing this with water.
- Kratom tea: fairly similar to regular tea just with kratom instead of tea leaves.
- Mixtures and blends : Basically mixing the kratom with other beverages like juices, sauces, yoghurt etc
Other uses for kratom
In this article kratom has largely been discussed as a method to combat ones addiction to opiates and its accompanying withdrawal but there are far more reasons to employ the use of kratom i.e.:
Pain relief: ranging from migraines to back pain, torn muscles, multiple sclerosis, arthritis and minor injuries.
Depression: Despite binding the neurological receptors responsible foropiate addiction, it has been known to lift people’s moods when taken in smaller doses
Relief from insomnia: Its calming effect gradually reduces anxiety which is the main cause for insomnia in adults.
Reduces inflammation in the body (thus reducing the likelihood of getting cancer)
Lowers the level of sugar in the blood thus reducing risk of diabetes.
Boosts the immune system : It contains immunostimulant alkaloids tlike isopteropodine and mitraphylline that boost the immune system against common ailments such as the common flu as well as more serious conditions..
Negative effects associated with kratom
As the saying goes, too much of anything is poisonous and the same goes for Kratom. The negative effects of kratom vary with the strain and potency. As previously mentioned, Kratom normally works better in lower doses except for Borneo whose alkaloid content is far lower than its counterparts. Though serious toxic effects are very rare, there are the more common side effects mentioned by people like:
Finally, a lot has yet to be learnt about kratom but accurate dosing has yet to be determined. That it is valuable and can be used to curb the desire to resort back to opiates especially the prescription opiates cannot be denied. Be careful while you ingest kratom and try to make sure that you do not get addicted to kratom itself.