Is Kratom a Viable Alternative to Opioids?

According to current estimates, more than 5 million people in the United States use kratom to treat a variety of illnesses, including chronic pain, opioid use disorder (OUD, formerly known as opioid addiction), mood disturbances, and sleeplessness.

Kratom, also known as Thom, Biak, Kakuam, or Thang, is a plant leaf extract that has been used as a stimulant and painkiller in Southeast Asia for centuries. It has recently made its way into the United States (often illegally) through internet purchases and local head shops. However, because of its widespread usage, kratom is now classified as a “drug of concern” by the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

The Basics of Kratom

Kratom is a brain drug derived from the Mitragyna speciosa evergreen tree. It is predominantly utilized in Southeast Asia for its many characteristics, as mentioned above. The primary components of the drug have been determined by the FDA to be opioids.

It is a topic of debate among scientists. Although these chemicals attach to the same specific receptors as well as in the body as morphine and oxycodone, the effects they have after they connect to the neurons are not identical.

Kratom is available in a variety of forms, including chewable leaves, dust that may be dissolved in beverages, capsules, fluids, polymers, and patches. There are various strains of the drug accessible, similar to cannabis, with variable effects and potencies depending on its specific makeup. There are currently no laws in place to regulate the ingredients or purity of kratom.


Kratom comes in a variety of forms, including capsules, premium red indo kratom powder, gum, infusions, extracts, and beverages. The leaves, whether fresh or dried, are frequently cooked and used to make tea. Kratom leaf is bitter, therefore it’s frequently sweetened with honey or sugar to make it more pleasant.

  • It may also be chewed or vaped, however, this is a less popular way of consumption. Kratom is often taken in liquid form or by combining the dust with food in the United States, however kratom pills are becoming more popular.
  • To present, research suggests that kratom, in its pure herbal form, is considerably less dangerous than traditional opioids at dosages of less than 5g. Kratom is frequently used as a liquid in Malaysia, with 42% of customers consuming two to four glasses per day and 44% ingesting more than three glasses per day.

One serving of kratom juice contains roughly 350mL, although it is frequently combined with caffeinated soda, dextromethorphan, or nimetazepam (a benzodiazepine). The kratom cocktail (4 x 100) is becoming more popular as a way to consume kratom, however, it is riskier than taking pure herb kratom.

Potential Advantages

Users of kratom have a proclivity to use it for self-treatment of mood problems, such as anxiety, depression, or PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder]. It is used by a small percentage of users or customers to alleviate withdrawal effects from a range of prescribed and illegal medications.

According to the findings of this study:

ü  A new drug that acts on two opioid receptors simultaneously might give substantial pain relief without all of the negative side effects associated with opioids.

ü  It’s also possible that the chemical may be used to treat opiate addiction.

A new chemical might help researchers get closer to their aim of developing nonaddictive analgesics that are at least as effective as opioids but don’t have the same side effects. AT-121, a novel chemical, has the potential to be used as an alternative to opioid addiction therapy.

Risks to Consider

Side effects of kratom usage include agitation, tachycardia, nausea, sleepiness, and hypertension, like with any drug. Muscle spasms, sleeplessness, watery eyes, runny nose, restlessness, and sadness are some of the side effects. Although kratom usage may increase the risk of addiction, misuse, and dependence, it is unknown if it is as hazardous as opioids.

Ø  Experts believe that the current management of opioid addiction should be addressed first in the future. Kratom has the ability to discourage people from purchasing harmless and operative habit actions.

Ø  Statements that kratom is a biological opium replacement with morphine-like qualities are unfounded and hazardous, given the scientific evidence that kratom may be abused, addicting, and cause significant health problems, including death. The FDA has authorized buprenorphine, methadone, and naltrexone for the associated with opioid addiction at present moment.

Ø  And the FDA is dedicated to supporting innovation and access to these therapies to assist people with opioid use disorders in achieving and maintaining sobriety. Kratom is still on the DEA’s Drugs of Concern list, which includes drugs that are not officially controlled under the Controlled Substances Act but represent a risk to those who abuse them.

Kratom For Opioid Withdrawal: Does It Work?

If you use oxycodone (OxyContin, Roxicodone) for a long time, your body will grow accustomed to the medicine and dependency may develop. When you quit taking these drugs after becoming addicted, you may suffer unpleasant bodily signs and symptoms such as sweating, shaking, and cravings. Withdrawal is the term for this process, which can take anywhere from a few days to many weeks.

Many people seek strategies to alleviate their withdrawal symptoms since they are unpleasant. Some people find that getting more sleep or doing distracting things, like watching TV, might help them get through withdrawal. Others use drugs or narcotics to help them cope with their symptoms.


Kratom, a botanical extract derived from the leaves of a Southeast Asian evergreen tree (Mitragyna speciosa), is one drug touted as a withdrawal therapy. In the United States, kratom is offered as a dietary supplement and is not officially regulated, although government authorities are taking steps to prevent fraudulent kratom claims.

In Asia, kratom has been used in modest doses to alleviate tiredness and opium addiction. People in various areas of the globe use kratom to help alleviate withdrawal symptoms, increase energy, relieve pain, and reduce worry and sadness. People utilize kratom to help with withdrawal symptoms because it produces a sense of happiness and is easier to acquire than prescription detox drugs.