Native to Southeast Asia, kratom is derived from the leaves of the kratom tree (mitragyna speciosa), which naturally grows in nations such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. A member of the coffee family, kratom has many different effects and its been used for generations by native Southeast Asian cultures as a remedy for everything from chronic pain, to anxiety, diarrhea and beyond.
So what does kratom feel like? What does kratom do to your body and your brain? Well that’s exactly what we’ll explore in today’s article.
What Does Kratom Do to Your Brain?
Kratom contains a number of alkaloids, which are the “active ingredient” in this substance. The alkaloids, totaling more than 22 in all, include mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine.
These alkaloids act upon the μ-opioid receptors in the brain. These neurotransmitter receptors are the same ones that are impacted by opiates, which means that many of the effects of kratom are similar to those that you would experience when taking an opiate.
The fact that kratom’s alkaloids affect the same brain receptors as opiates means it’s an effective option for treating opiate withdrawal symptoms and chronic pain. This is because opiate withdrawal occurs when those receptors – which are usually affected by the opiate drug – are suddenly unaffected. So by acting upon those opiate receptors, kratom eases many of the effects opiate withdrawal.
What Does Kratom Feel Like? – Low Dosages
Questions such as “What does kratom do?” or “What does kratom feel like?” have a wide range of different answers because kratom has many effects, depending upon the dosage you’ve taken and the variety of kratom that you’ve taken.
White vein kratom is a highly stimulant variety, while red vein kratom is more effective at bringing about sedative effects and pain relief. Green vein kratom is a middle ground, with moderate pain relieving properties, with stimulant effects at a lower dosage and sedative effects at a higher dosage. The same differential according to dosage also exists for white vein and red vein kratom, although each variety is more effective at producing effects at one end of the spectrum.
If you were to take a smaller dosage of kratom, it would normally take anywhere from 20 to 60 minutes to feel the full effects, depending upon factors such as whether you’ve eaten anything recently and the method of dosage (e.g. drinking tea, eating powder mixed with apple sauce, ingesting capsules or using a toss and wash technique).
As kratom’s effects begin to become noticeable, you’ll typically feel a bit of euphoria; a warm sort of contentedness that evolves into a motivation and mental clarity. Many describe kratom’s stimulant effects as more “cerebral” rather than physical, although some sensitive individuals who opt for a highly stimulant variety of kratom (like a white vein kratom strain) may experience a slightly faster heart rate. Though most report that the increase in heart rate is no more significant than that which would result from a cup of coffee (in fact, kratom is a member of the coffee tree family!)
You may experience some mild to moderate pain relief, depending upon the kratom variety that you’ve taken. Most users also report a noticeable decrease in anxiety, so you may feel less worried and more positive overall. This positivity can even evolve into full-bodied euphoria for some individuals (although this effect varies according to the variety of kratom).
If you took kratom leaf on an empty stomach, it’s possible you may experience mild stomach upset, but this is usually easy to remedy by eating a small meal or taking a nausea medication like Pepto Bismol.
Kratom’s effects will gradually wear off over the course of a few hours.
What Does Kratom Feel Like? – Higher Dosages
Kratom’s effects bring a very different experience at higher dosages. The onset of effects tends to be about the same, but it can take a bit longer to reach the “peak” of effects since the body has to absorb more alkaloids.
Users will experience a much more pronounced feeling of relaxation and well-being, although it’s’ not the same energetic euphoria that you might experience at a lower dosage. Anxiety tends to disappear as your body experiences a gentle “warming” sedative effect.
After a period of time, you’ll start to experience pain relief too, which can be wonderful for those who have a difficult time sleeping due to pain-related discomfort. The same is also true for those who suffer from depression or anxiety.
The only potential problem with large doses surrounds nausea, which is a very real possibility, particularly if you take a bit more than is ideal. Altering the method of taking kratom, such as choosing tea over ground leaf or mixing leaf powder with apple sauce instead of doing a toss and wash method can bring better results. An over-the-counter nausea medication can also be helpful to eliminate any stomach upset.
What Does Kratom to Your Body? – Effects on the Digestive System
Kratom has a few other effects that can be beneficial to users. Diarrhea relief is one of the many effects of kratom, so if you’re prone to digestive upset due to a condition such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or Crohn’s Disease, you may see an improvement in these symptoms after taking kratom.
Conversely, though, for someone who has a normal digestive tract, you may experience constipation. Kratom relieves diarrhea by slowing the pace at which food moves through the digestive system. The more time the food spends in the digestive tract, the more fluid is extracted, which firms the stool.
But for someone with a normal system, this digestive slowing can be problematic because it allows the body to extract too much liquid, resulting in a stool that’s difficult to pass. For this reason, it may be wise to try a gentle laxative, particularly if you’re prone to constipation or use kratom on a regular basis.
If an individual were to take an excessively large dosage of kratom powder, this could result in digestive upset as well due to the sheer amount of plant matter that you would be ingesting. So if you need to take a large dosage due to tolerance, it’s generally best to opt for an extract or a tea, so you won’t need to eat a large amount of plant matter.
What Does Kratom Do For You? – Opiate Addiction and Withdrawal
What does kratom do for you if you’re experiencing opiate withdrawal? Well, kratom is very effective at easing the symptoms of opiate withdrawal such as diarrhea, anxiety, pain and sleeplessness. It also eliminates the chills, cold sweats and general misery that individuals experience while in withdrawal.
As mentioned above, kratom acts upon the same receptors that are affected by opiates, so it’s possible to gradually wean off of opiates, using kratom instead. Kratom brings many of the same pain relief effects too, making it a good alternative to those who need to take pain medication. Notably, the effects of kratom on the liver are typically far more mild than those experienced by individuals on painkiller medications, making it ideal for people with liver function issues.