Because I successfully use Kratom instead of opioids when my pain is especially severe, I am a strong advocate for education regarding its use in pain relief. This post will give you answers to what Kratom is, the reason it can have a bad reputation, and how to safely use Kratom for pain management.
Thanks to some of the announcements and misinformation released by the FDA, people can have a negative opinion about Kratom. In reality, there's a lot more to Kratom than what the FDA would have you know. There are also legal organizations who fight to keep this solution for chronic pain sufferers out of the hands of the government crackdown forces (the same forces that are responsible for tapering opioids that give chronic pain patients a fair quality of life). Read on to learn about using Kratom for pain relief.
Busting Myths About Kratom
To begin with, Kratom is especially helpful for relieving chronic pain and mental health conditions like depression. If you've been interested in trying Kratom for pain relief but have been scared by the FDA's recommendations, keep reading to find out everything you need to know about Kratom - what it is, why it works, how to use it, and more.
What is Kratom?
The Kratom tree (the scientific name is Mitragyna speciosa) is a tropical tree. It's native to countries like Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Papua New Guinea. The leaves from the Kratom tree are rich a range of alkaloids and other plant compounds that are very beneficial to the human body. The primary alkaloid, mitragynine, is responsible for most of the benefits that Kratom leaves provide.
Kratom leaves have been used for years for their medicinal purposes. Kratom is best known for its analgesic effect, but it also has a variety of other health benefits. Kratom has been banned in some countries, including Malaysia, Myanmar, and Thailand. This article, Why Kratom was Banned in Thailand, explains why in detail, but the main reason it was banned was because it cut into the massive profits from the opium trade. It is available for purchase in the United States and many European countries.
Kratom has come under fire in recent years, as the FDA has deemed it dangerous and even labeled it as an opioid. Despite the warnings, Kratom has not been banned in the U.S. For many people, the benefits of Kratom leaves far outweigh the potential risks. An estimated five million people use Kratom regularly, according to the American Kratom Association (AKA).
Benefits of Kratom
There are health benefits associated with Kratom leaf consumption, including the following:
Kratom leaves are known for their powerful analgesic properties. In fact, the results of one 6,150-person study showed that nine out of ten Kratom users found Kratom leaves to be "very effective" in treating their pain. Less than one percent of survey participants said that it did not help their pain at all.
I have had (under an orthopedic doctor’s care) opioids prescribed to control my pain at different times during my life. I never became addicted; I used them only as prescribed, and overall found them to be effective in controlling severe pain.
Kratom works just as well for me without the side effects or possible issues of addiction. In fact, I find that it has been better for me to take Kratom to go about my normal daily activities because the strain I use doesn’t cause sleepiness or lethargy like opioids do. It has controlled and relieved my lower back pain, severe arthritis pain, knee pain and has provided relief for my chronic pain. I am able to have a quality of life I wouldn't have without pain management.
How does Kratom relieve pain? It has to do with its impact on the hormones serotonin and dopamine.
Kratom promotes the release of these hormones. This, in turn, helps minimize pain and promote general feelings of well-being.
Immune System Booster
Kratom leaves also contain a variety of antioxidants. They also have antimicrobial properties. Kratom leaves can help strengthen the immune system and help you become more resilient to illness.
Many people who experience chronic pain also experience chronic fatigue. If you notice your energy is lacking during the day, Kratom can be beneficial. In small doses, Kratom can improve circulation and act as a stimulant to provide those who consume it with additional energy. Different strains have different effects. Red Veins tend to be more sedative, which can help with pain relief especially at night when pain interrupts your sleep. White Veins tend to be more energizing, controlling pain and fighting fatigue that often accompanies inflammation and pain issues.
Reduced Depression and Anxiety
Because of its ability to boost serotonin levels, Kratom can also help people who struggle with depression and anxiety. Individuals with chronic pain are especially prone to these issues.
Some people who struggle with chronic pain become dependent on opioid painkillers. Kratom gets a bad rap because some regulatory agencies claim it has the potential to be habit-forming. However, Kratom can also be used to help those who are dependent on other drugs give them up and "get clean."
Kratom specifically helps quell the symptoms of opioid addiction and withdrawal. The amount of data, both scientific and anecdotal, to back this up is far too abundant to ignore.
Kratom Side Effects
Most people can use Kratom safely and don't experience any negative symptoms. At the same time though, there are some potential side effects that can come with it. Some of the most common side effects include:
Like many forms of treatment for chronic pain, if you use Kratom too frequently you may experience the following symptoms when you take a break:
Some people also experience psychological withdrawal symptoms - nervousness, mood swings, restlessness, etc.
How to Use Kratom and What Dosage Works for Pain Relief
This list of potential side effects and withdrawal symptoms might make you feel a little anxious about trying Kratom. It's important to remember, though, that as long as you use it properly and safely, there's no reason why you can't experience the benefits without the drawbacks.
You can take Kratom in many different forms. Many people purchase the dried leaves as a powder and then add that powder to hot water to make tea. Some people also take Kratom tablets or capsules. Personally, I compare the taste of Kratom to dirt. It tastes horribly nasty. I have used the powder mixed in applesauce or yogurt (it’s cheaper as a powder than to have it put into capsules). I have always had a drink to wash down each spoonful immediately. I use the capsules exclusively now because I just can’t stomach the taste. Many people don’t have such a strong reaction, so your mileage may vary.
There's not one correct way to consume Kratom. Whichever form you take it in, the most important thing you can do to make sure you experience the desired effect is to take the proper dose.
How Much Kratom Should You Take?
As a general rule, it's best to start small when you're taking Kratom. Remember, it's easy to take more Kratom later if you don't notice any changes.
For most people, a good starting dosage of Kratom is somewhere between one and two grams. If you are taking it in capsule form, each capsule contains about .75 grams so you’d start with 2 to 4 capsules. Less is better when you first try it. If you take too much, you will get very nauseous (or even throw up).
As far as overdosing on Kratom, that debate rages on. Most people who are educated regarding Kratom use will say that only those who take adulterated Kratom (mixed with other drugs) or those who are using illicit drugs or even alcohol are the only ones “overdosing”.
More experienced Kratom users can take between three and six grams. Depending on their pain levels, some can take more without any ill effects like nausea. The dose is based on Kratom, not Kratom extract. Kratom extracts are stronger, much like the difference between regular coffee and Death Wish coffee. I do not use extracts, regular Kratom works for controlling my pain (even when it’s pretty severe).
The most important way to use Kratom safely is to know where to buy it (from a reputable ethnobotanical company) and don’t mix it with other substances. I have been purchasing mine from Phytoextractum.com for years. They are informative, helpful, trustworthy, and go to great lengths to make sure what you buy from them is safe.
How to Avoid Building Up a Tolerance
If you notice that a particular dosage of Kratom is no longer working for you, that means it's time to switch the strain of Kratom you're using.
There are many different strains of Kratom that you can choose from, including:
All of these strains offer similar benefits, but some are more relaxing or stimulating than others.
Switching the strain you're using allows you to continue experiencing the benefits of regular Kratom consumption without increasing the amount you're consuming.
An outstanding resource for Kratom facts, science, and the legal side of keeping Kratom safe and available to pain patients is The American Kratom Association.
Learn More Pain Management Techniques
As you can see, there's a lot more to Kratom than might initially meet the eye. There are a lot of benefits of using Kratom for pain management.
If you're interested in learning about other natural pain relief methods, check out the pain relief strategies I cover in other posts. No matter what kind of pain you struggle with, you deserve to have a pain relief that allows you to live a fulfilling life.