Over the past few years, I’ve had the pleasure to live in the tropical island of Bali, Indonesia. It’s fertile lands sit on an agricultural sweet spot of the globe, residing between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, giving just the right sunshine, rain, steady temperature, and soil to create the world’s greatest crops.
These include world-class coffee, tobacco, spices, and more importantly Kratom. In fact, Indonesia stands as the largest exporter of the increasingly popular herb. Since I happened to be residing in the Kratom capital of the world, I figured I would seize the opportunity and learn more about this plant.
Until a year ago, I hadn’t even heard of Kratom. Yet with the DEA attempting to ban it from the public in 2016, Kratom kept popping onto my radar. I was shocked how passionate the Kratom community fought to maintain its legality, and how they vouched for its incredible ability to help with things like pain, mood, focus, and energy.
These accounts weren’t from the woo-woo hippies types looking to use Kratom to get high. This grassroots movement was made up of relatively straight-laced, everyday folks using the plant as a safe, natural alternative to many of the pharmaceutical drugs on the market.
After doing some quick digging around on the web, I learned a few important facts.
- Kratom is a tropical evergreen tree (known as Mitragyna Speciosa) native to Southeast Asia. For hundreds of years, natives of Thailand, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia have chewed on its leaves to relieve minor pain, lift mood, aid relaxation, and boost energy.
- According to the American Kratom Association, Kratom is used by over 5 million people in the USA alone.
- There have been zero deaths that have been medically proven to be caused by Kratom.
As I read more about Kratom, I knew I had to try it out for myself. I immediately ordered a strain from a nearby vendor. When the package arrived at my doorstep, I scooped out 2 grams worth of powder, mixed it with Chocolate milk, and sunk down the bitter, mud-tasting concoction.
Although I heard so many success stories with Kratom powder, I had zero expectations. To my surprise, within 30 minutes I was swept into a deep state of relaxation, euphoria, and clear-headedness. Wow.
A few days later, my fiancé started her dreaded shark week, which typically involves a few days worth of painful stomach cramps, among other things. I gave her a few grams of Kratom and the pain vanished.
I was blown away with the results we saw. How could a relatively unknown plant bring about this level of physical and mental benefits? I thought only certain pharmaceutical drugs or plants like marijuana could yield these results. I had to learn more.
Over the next few months, I’ve dove deep into the world of Kratom – devouring studies, interviewing experts, connecting with its rich online community, and trying out every strain from every supplier throughout Indonesia I could find. In this guide, I’m going to share all the valuable bits of information I learned in my adventures with the plant. Here’s what you’ll learn:
- 1 Chapter 1 – Kratom 101
- 2 Chapter 2 – Kratom Strains Explained
- 3 Chapter 3 – How To Use Kratom
- 4 Chapter 4 – Kratom Powder Dosage
- 5 Chapter 5 – Preventing Kratom Tolerance and Addiction
- 6 Chapter 6 – Kratom Resources
- 7 References
Download our free eBook:
Leveling Up Your Life With Kratom
Let us send you our eBook "Leveling Up Your Life with Kratom" so you can read it at your own leisure. Just let us know where to send it.
This is a massive post (over 8,000 words long). Don’t feel the need to read this all in one sitting. As with any of our guides, treat this as a buffet. Take the bits and pieces that make the most sense to you right now. This guide was ultimately written to be a reference. Down below you’ll see a download link to save the guide as an offline eBook to read at your own leisure.
Before we get started, one additional point. You’ll find throughout this guide that we’ve embedded a number of tweets from past users with the hasthag #IAmKratom or #WeAreKratom. In 2016 the Kratom came up with this campaign to fight back against the banning of the plant. In order to so, the hashtags allowed the community to showcase inspiring stories of how Kratom changed a user’s life. Here’s one such example:
— Good Looking Loser🇺🇸 (@GoodLookingLosr) October 8, 2017
Chapter 1 – Kratom 101
How Does Kratom Work?
Kratom contains a number of nitrogen-based compounds called Alkaloids. Alkaloids are found in a host of other plants in nature. In fact, there have been over 3,000 types of alkaloids identified in 4,000 plants around the world. Well-known alkaloids include:
- Nicotine (found in tobacco plants)
- Caffeine (found in coffee beans)
- Cocaine (found in the coca plants)
- Morphine & Codeine (from the poppy plant)
To date, more than 20 different alkaloids have been identified in Kratom by researchers. The most abundant of these alkaloids is mitragynine, which is a partial opioid agonist, central to the plant’s pain-relieving, euphoric qualities.The brain is made up of billions of neurons, all passing information to one another. This information is responsible for everything and anything in your reality – from what you see, what you think, and all the bodily systems keeping you alive.
The brain is made up of billions of neurons, all passing information to one another. This information is responsible for everything and anything in your reality – from what you see, what you think, and all the bodily systems keeping you alive.
Opioid-receptors are famous for inhibiting pain signals from one neuron to the next, leading to the pain-relieving qualities they are famous for. Opioid-receptors also rush the brain with dopamine, responsible for the brain’s reward system. Opioid-receptors are activated by opioids found in substances such as heroin, morphine, or codeine.
There is a host of problems with opioids, one of which being their addictive qualities. With regular use, opioid-receptors get accustomed to being occupied, making it part of its normal, everyday chemistry. This is why users of opioid drugs find it so difficult to get off them. When these opioid receptors are suddenly unoccupied, withdrawal symptoms occur such as fever, sweating, shaking, diarrhea, and extreme pain. Over time, users need to consume drugs and medication regularly simply to feel normal.
What makes mitragynine in Kratom so special is it is an partial opioid agonist. They act similarly to opioids, but instead of attaching to the opioid-receptors, they simply act as placeholders. This tricks the brain into activating the opioid-receptors, but without many of the physical downsides of actual opioids.
This is why Kratom is widely used by those looking to overcome their heroin addiction. They’re able to hit the brain’s same receptors, while their body weens off the need for the drug. Opiate.com has made the analogy of opioid receptor agonist akin to that of caffeine free diet coke, it gives the user the same sensations without the physical problems associated with the original substance.
Dr. Susruta Majumdar, a chemist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, is a leading researcher in mitragynine. In a recent article from Scientific American he spoke of mitragynine:
Think of this receptor as the ignition to a “hybrid car,” Varadi explains, and the opioids that bind to it as keys. A typical opioid such as morphine turns on the “electric engine,” and that leads to a desired effect like pain relief. But it also starts up the “gas engine,” causing negative side effects. The mitragynine molecules from kratom seem to activate mostly the “good” systems, leaving behind the unwanted effects yet keeping pain relief.
Documentary filmmaker Chris Bell, a long-term Kratom user, describes how Kratom works compared to traditional opioids:
Kratom has alkaloids that work like opioids. They attach to opioid receptors but not in the same way. If you look at oxycontin, when it attaches to opioid receptor, it’s stuck in there like a screw. With Kratom, it sort of drifts around the top of the opioid receptor, it doesn’t attach nearly as hard. They say that opioids attach one thousand times greater to the opioid receptor than anything found in nature, and Kratom is found in nature.1
What are the benefits of Kratom powder?
Minor Pain Relief – In a 2016 study, mice were injected the psychoactive compounds contained in Kratom. Through various tests, the mice showed numbness to pain, without addictive behaviors.2
Boost Energy – Kratom has traditionally been used throughout Southeast Asia by laborers. By chewing on dried Kratom leaves, this gave them a caffeine-like energy boost in order to combat work fatigue.3
Addiction Recovery – Scientific reports show that the self-treatment of Kratom has been effective in combating addiction to substances such as opioids.4
Increased Relaxation – A study by Prince of Songkla University in Thailand showed that lab rats injected with Kratom’s active compound Mitragynine showed increased relaxation in their neuromuscular junctions.5
Manage Mood – In a study by Universiti Putra Malaysia, mice were injected with the psychoactive compound in Kratom called Mitragynine. A series of tests showed the mice exerted antidepressant effects.6
Boost Your Immune System – The University of Science, Malaysia conducted a study finding antioxidant and antibacterial properties of alkaloid extracts from Kratom leaves.7
What are the side effects of Kratom?
According to the American Kratom Association, there have been zero deaths proven to be caused by Kratom powder. The safety around this herb makes it one of the most appealing natural alternatives to many prescribed medication to manage pain and mood. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention:
- In 2015 more than 15,000 people died from overdoses involved with prescription opioids such as Methadone, Oxycodone (such as OxyContin®), and Hydrocodone (such as Vicodin®).89
- In 2014, almost 2 million Americans abused or were dependent on prescription opioids.10
- As many as 1 in 4 people who receive prescription opioids long-term for noncancer pain in primary care settings struggles with addiction.11
- Every day, over 1,000 people are treated in emergency departments for misusing prescription opioids.12
Although there are no serious side effects of Kratom, there can be a number of short-term side effects you should be aware of. This is especially true if you take low-quality Kratom or consume more than recommended, which we’ll cover later in this guide. Some of these negative side effects could include:
- Stomach cramps
Another common side effect is that of “eye wobbles”. This occurs when your eyes have a hard time focusing on a single object and feel like they are wobbling around your eye sockets. The wobbles can also result in disorientation, dizziness, and nausea. This side effect can be particularly frustrating for many since simple tasks such as reading become a burden to accomplish.
It is also common to experience the “kratom hangover” if taken in high doses the night before. This could include headaches, nausea, irritability, and lethargy. If you’ve tried strains such as a Red the night before, you might find it hard to get out of bed the next day as you still feel sedated and extremely sluggish.
It’s important to note that many of the negative side effects we’ve mentioned can be avoided by sticking to conservative dosages, taking Kratom infrequently, and purchasing from high-quality vendors.
Don’t Let “Alternatives To Opiates” Be MORE PILLS
To Fight PILL Addiction
— HistorysHysterectomy (@raynbow420mia) October 28, 2017
Is Kratom Powder Addictive?
One of the most common questions we hear is if Kratom is addictive. Even hearing the word opiate conjures up scary images of heroin addicts lying in an alleyway jonesing for their next fix.
Since Kratom hits the same opioid-receptors as these type of drugs, many will quickly label the plant just as addictive. On the flip side, there are diehard Kratom advocates that swear that the plant isn’t at all habit forming, but rather a safe, natural substitute to evil drugs pushed by profit-fueled pharma corporations. The truth is somewhere in the middle.
It would be downright foolish to say that Kratom isn’t addictive. Just like coffee, energy drinks, or chocolate, Kratom can be habit-forming. This can be especially true if…
- You have an addictive personality
- You are using it as a way to escape reality
- You take the herb daily
- You take the herb at extremely high doses
There’s even an entire sub-reddit dedicated to those who are trying to end their addiction to the plant. However, an addiction to Kratom is far different to that of other opiates such as heroin, oxycontin, or morphine. Again, Kratom’s most abundant alkaloid mitragynine doesn’t interact to opioid-receptors as traditional opiates, which makes it extremely non-addictive in comparison.
A Kratom addiction can be akin to that of an addiction to coffee, tea, chocolate, or the like. According to the American Kratom Association:
Kratom is non-habit forming, unless taken in extremely high doses for extended periods of time. If taken in excess, continuously over long periods of time, Kratom consumers may experience dependence, similar to caffeine dependence. There can also be some discomfort if taken daily and use is abruptly discontinued. This can be avoided by taking regular breaks and/or gradually tapering down consumption levels.
You can prevent Kratom addiction altogether by sticking to the following guidelines…
- Space out at least 2-3 days in between Kratom use
- Try to use different strains each time you consume Kratom so as not to have your Opioid receptors habituated to any one strain
- Adhere to responsible dosages
Kratom is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, and there are host of people that shouldn’t take the herb. Do not take Kratom if…
- You are pregnant or are breast-feeding
- You are operating heavy machinery
- You are taking anti-depressant medication
- You have an addictive personality
- You are using Kratom it to fill an emotional void
- You are using the herb to escape reality
For more information on addiction and Kratom, read the following: Kratom Addiction – The Truth about Kratom, Coffee, Sugar and Drugs of Abuse
The History of Kratom
For centuries, manual laborers such as fisherman and farmers in Northern Malaysia and Southern Thailand have chewed on fresh Kratom leaves to combat work fatigue and boost productivity. 12-hour workdays in the extreme heat and humidity of this tropical region make working conditions exhausting. Kratom gave these workers a boost of energy to get through their workday.
Rural communities in this region have also used the plant in medicinal application such as diarrhea alleviation and pain management. There are still other Southeast Asian users of Kratom who use the plant to manage withdrawal symptoms and alleviate their dependence of opiates such as heroin.
In 1839 the Dutch botanist Pieter Korthals was the first Western professional to discover and describe the plant. Seeing how the leaves of the plant resembled the headgear of a Christian bishop called a mitre, he named the plant Mitragyna speciosa. Others have speculated the term comes from a mysterious roman cult called the Mithras who used entheogens for thousands of years for spiritual transcendence.
Over the last few years, Kratom is becoming an increasingly popular among Western countries. Here is a trend of the search term “kratom” in google from 2004 to today:
Like users in Southeast Asia, the herb is used for a variety of applications to manage pain, mood, energy, and opioid addiction. Kratom is typically exported from countries such as Indonesia and sold in local head shops or online at e-commerce sites.
On 30 August 2016, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced its intention to place Kratom and its psychoactive compounds under its strictest category as a Schedule 1 drug. Schedule 1 drugs (which currently include heroin and cocaine) are classified as having no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.
This lead to a number of protests in Washington DC from Kratom users who have benefited immensely from the plant. Various House members and senators sent letters to the DEA urging the agency to reverse their stance, while over 140,000 Americans signed an online petition to the White House not to ban Kratom.
These grassroots efforts eventually lead the DEA withdrawing their intention and instead, asking the public to comment on its proposed ban (until December 1, 2016). Kratom remains legal in most states throughout America.
In the United States, the plant is legal in most states. However, there are a handful of states that Kratom is illegal. Laws throughout America are not static. If you are considering purchasing the herb, be sure to read up on the latest legality status around your area. For the most up to date information on Kratom’s legality throughout America, please reference this page from the American Kratom Association.
Speciosa.org also has a reference to the legality of Kratom in various countries throughout the world.
Chapter 2 – Kratom Strains Explained
There are a number of different Kratom strains all with varying effects. The basic strains (red, white, and green) literally describe the color of the leaf’s vein. Other strains refer to the leaf’s country of origin. Even more strains are described by their processing methods. In this section, we’ll clear the fog and describe each of these strains in plain English.
Before we start, it’s important to mention that personal experimentation is key.What works for one person, may not work for another. Try out each type of Kratom strain individually at varying dosages, and find out how each interacts with your body. Over time, you’ll learn about the subtle differences between all the varieties of strains. Moreover, you’ll discover what your perfect strain and dosage is for the desired effect you are aiming for.
I had a 10+ year habit of opiates. #kratom helped stop the withdrawals and controlled my pain when I got sober. There is help out there!!
— Red-Headed Stepchild (@DuffeeJeni) November 6, 2017
Strains By Color
Red Veins are known to produce relaxing, sedative effects. Reds are the most popular strain, and regularly recommended for beginner Kratom users.
Red veins are great for…
- Supporting everyday minor aches and pains.
- Promoting joint health and comfort.
- Supporting a balanced mood.
White Veins are known for their energy boosting, mood enhancing properties. White Veins can be looked at as a nootropic (i.e. smart drug or cognitive enhancer).
White veins are great for…
- Receiving a boost of energy
- Supporting mental focus
- Supporting physical/mental endurance
Green Veins tend to be a happy medium between Red and Greens. They have similar pain-reducing effects of Reds, while containing stimulating properties that Whites are known for. Of the three, Green Veins tend to have the longest lasting effect.
Green veins are great for…
- Supporting minors aches and pains
- Receiving a boost of energy
- Promoting mental focus
- Supporting a balanced mood
Strains by Region
Indonesia stands as the largest exporter of Kratom in the world. With over 17,000 islands in the Indonesian archipelago, there are many regions where Kratom is grown. These islands include Bali, Sumatra, Sulawesi, Kalimantan (or Kali), and Papua. You will often see “Indo” strains, which is used as a blanket term for any island in Indonesia.
Bali Kratom is an excellent strain for beginners to start out with. Specifically, Bali Reds are popular among newbies getting their first taste of the plant.
Thailand is the motherland of Kratom, where for hundreds of years manual laborers around the country used it to gain greater energy and endurance to get through work in such a hot, humid country. Thailand also had a rich black market that traded opium, in which the government profited greatly through taxing.
In the early 1940’s, Thailand declared war on Britain and US, which eventually lead to the quieting of the Opium industry. In order to combat this loss, the government looked to ban the Kratom, as it was a clear competitor towards Opium sales. In 1943, Kratom was banned and has been illegal ever since. For a more in-depth explanation of the Kratom ban in Thailand, read this article.
Malaysian Kratom is known to be one of the most balanced strains on the market today, being grown in regions such as Riau, Borneo, and Sunda. Specifically, a strain known as Super Green Malay is known for producing a uniquely “smooth” experience, giving a boost of energy, increased focus, elevated mood, all without the jitters you would feel if you took a strong cup of coffee.
Yellow / Gold
Yellow and gold Kratom strains do not reflect vein’s color, rather a drying method used when processing the Kratom leaves. As we’ve stated, Kratom has over 20 different alkaloids in its leaves. We’ve discussed the most abundant alkaloid in Kratom is Mitragynine, but another alkaloid called 7-hydroxymitragynine (7ohm) is also contained in trace amounts in the plant. 7ohm is known to be much more potent than Mitragynine. 7-hydroxymitragynine has been shown to be 1/10th the strength of morphine, while Mitragynine is 1/100th that of morphine.
Drying (and oxidizing) Kratom leaves in the sun converts roughly 8% of Mitragynine to the stronger 7ohm. This method also results in the leaves changing color to yellow and gold, eventually turning to red.13
Kratom connoisseurs commonly say yellow is between white and green, while gold is between red and green.
Like yellow strains, Bentuangie doesn’t refer to vein color, but rather its processing method. In this case, the Kratom plant undergoes a fermentation process which involves storing its leaves in a bag. This method has been known to enhance certain alkaloids, and create a unique flavor.
Kratom experts commonly report Bentuangie to be darker in color, stronger in smell, and overall being a more potent version of Reds.
Maeng Da doesn’t describe the strain’s color or region, but rather the quality, as it’s one of the strongest strains on the market. Maeng Da literally means “pimp grade” in Thai. As the name implies, the strain originates from Thailand, but is actually grown in a specific plantation in Indonesia.
This plantation is famed for creating its Maeng Da strain from a horticultural technique called grafting, where the tissues of two plants are merged and grown together. As mentioned in previously, Kratom was originally popular throughout Southeast Asian laborers in order to boost their energy and enhance their endurance.
The grafting technique created a Kratom strain that (at the time) was one of the most stimulating, and pain-relieving types on the market. As workers in Thailand and Indonesia experienced its ability its stimulating effects, it quickly became a local favorite, eventually being named “maeng da.”
These days many vendors use the term Maeng Da as a marketing term, describing the quality of its Kratom.
Like coffee, you can create interesting products by blending various strains together, which are commonly referred to as Purples. When you take into account the various colors, regions, and processing methods available, there are endless combinations of blends to experiment with. For example if you want to add more pain-relieving properties to a White, add a bit of your favorite Red. Or if you want to ease the sedatingeffect of a Red, add a bit of White.
Here’s a great chart that shows the difference between various strains we just described.
Chapter 3 – How To Use Kratom
Like many other herbal remedies, Kratom can be taken in a myriad of ways – from warm teas, to capsules, or even in food like ice cream. There are also a number of different substances you can take to potentiate Kratom, or in other words, increase its potency. In this section we’ll go over the various ways you can take Kratom to hide its bitter taste and get the most out of your session.
Should you take Kratom on an empty stomach?
What you eat prior to taking Kratom can affect your experience. Taking the herb after a large meal can lengthen the onset period for the effects to kick in, and can diminish the overall effects.
On the flip side, you’ll hear users recommend taking Kratom on a completely empty stomach. We don’t recommend this technique for several reasons. For one, having a healthy nutrition schedule is extremely important to your health. Secondly, taking Kratom on an empty stomach could lead to nausea.
While we don’t recommend skipping meal altogether, we do suggest eating a light meal a few hours before you plan on taking Kratom. This will allow reduce the onset period and lead to an overall stronger experience.
The Toss and Wash Method
The Toss and Wash method is one of the most popular ways to take Kratom. If you can stomach the taste, it’s one of the fastest ways to consume the herb. This technique involves “tossing” the kratom powder directly into your mouth, then “washing” it down with a liquid.
If done correctly, you can quickly swallow the Kratom while avoiding its bitter taste. However, it’s far too easy to get the powder stuck on the roof of your mouth, or even lodged in the back of your throat. So proceed with caution with this technique.
Popular liquids can be water, sports drinks such as Gatorade, or milk. Avoid taking Kratom with carbonated drinks such as Coke or Sprite. This soda mixes with the Kratom, which causes the substance to foam up in the mouth.
There are a host of ways to Toss and Wash. Some place a bit of liquid in their mouth first, take the powder, then finally wash it down completely with their drink – commonly referred to as the water sandwich. Some like to place the powder on their tongue, while others like to place it below their tongue. Like most aspects of Kratom, the key is to experiment and find what works for you.
Mixing Kratom With Drinks
One of our favorite methods to take Kratom is simply mixing the powder with a drink. It’s almost as fast as the Toss and Wash method, but better masks the dirt like taste of the herb. Here are some popular drinks Kratom users like to mix it with:
- Fruit juice (such as orange, pineapple, and grapefruit juice)
- Sports drinks
- Coffee *
- Protein Shakes
- Pickle juice
One of the most popular drinks to take Kratom with is chocolate milk. It’s one of the best maskers of its taste, and its thick texture prevents the powder from falling to the bottom of your glass. Whatever you decide to take Kratom with, be sure to stir your concoction thoroughly, as the powder tends to clump up in liquids.
* Be cautious when taking coffee with Kratom (especially strains known for stimulation). This has caused many to feel jittery and anxious. Start with half the amount of coffee you typically take by itself.
— Lois Gilpin (@loislgilpin) October 26, 2017
Taking Kratom With Food
Another method for consuming Kratom is mixing alongside food. Here is a list of food that Kratom users have found effective to mix the herb with:
- Peanut butter
Taking Kratom Powder In Capsule Form
For those that can’t stand the taste of Kratom, taking it in capsule form is a popular option, as it completely hides its bitter, dirt-like flavor. The downside of this method is how time-consuming the process is to fill the caps with Kratom, and (depending on your dosage) how many capsules you must take in a single sitting to get your desired effect.
Each capsule holds about 0.5 grams of Kratom. So for a 2.5 gram dosage, you would need to take roughly five capsules of Kratom. A capsule making device will cost roughly $20 – $25, and a pack of 1,000 fillable 00 capsules will cost around $10 – $15.
Here are some popular capsule making machines available:
Here are some excellent tutorials on creating Kratom capsules::
Kratom with Tea
Taking Kratom with tea is one of the fastest and most potent ways to feel the effects of the herb. Acidic additives (i.e. lemon juice, lime juice, apple cider vinegar) in a tea allows for better extraction of Kratom’s alkaloids and can lead to a stronger potency.
Depending on how you prepare your tea, it can also make it one of the best tasting options available. Some popular sweeteners to add with tea are raw honey, stevia, maple syrup, and agave nectar). Other have added milk and various spices to improve the flavor.
The downside of making Kratom tea is how time-consuming it can be, as the process can take upwards of an hour to prepare.
Many connoisseurs have pointed out that making Kratom tea reduces the pain-relieving effects while increasing the mood-lifting properties of the herb. Therefore if you are looking to combat chronic pain, you may have to look at other methods to take Kratom.
Here are some excellent tutorials on preparing Kratom tea:
Potentiators are substances taken with Kratom to enhance the overall effects of the herb. This allows you to either lower your minimum effective dosage (i.e. the smallest dose that will produce a desired outcome) or to maximize the overall effects of your current dosage.
Acidic drinks are some of the most popular potentiators, as the alkaloids in Kratom are soluble in certain citric acids. They also inhibit certain enzymes in the body that metabolize the psychoactive components of Kratom, causing their effects to last longer. On top of all this, they are excellent at masking the bitter taste of the plant. Commonly used acidic drinks used with Kratom are orange juice, grapefruit juice, vinegar, and lime/lemon juice.
Magnesium (such as Chelated Magnesium or Magnesium Glycinate) is another popular potentiator used alongside Kratom. Studies have shown how effective magnesium is able to enhance the effects of traditional opiates.14 It also known to prevent the body from building tolerance to the herb. Magnesium can also combat the effects of constipation, which is a common side effect of using Kratom. This thread from Reddit goes into further detail about this topic, and covers different types of Magnesium to take alongside Kratom.
Freezing Kratom is surprisingly effective potentiation technique. Mix your Kratom powder with a liquid such as orange juice, let the mixture sit in the freezer for about 30 minutes, let it thaw, and then consume the liquid. The process of freezing Kratom further breaks down the cells walls of the plant, allowing greater amounts of alkaloids to become readily available, thus increasing its potency.15
Simply exercising a few hours before taking Kratom is a great, natural way to potentiate the herb. As your body relaxes from a vigorous workout earlier in the day, the sedative effects of Kratom can feel more pronounced.
Chapter 4 – Kratom Powder Dosage
Minimum Effective Dose
Tim Ferriss’ book The 4-Hour Body popularized the concept of the Minimum Effective Dose. He writes:
The minimum effective dose (MED) is defined simply: the smallest dose that will produce a desired outcome.
Jones referred to this critical point as the “minimum effective load,” as he was concerned exclusively with weight-bearing exercise, but we will look at precise “dosing” of both exercise and anything you ingest.
Anything beyond the MED is wasteful. To boil water, the MED is 212°F (100°C) at standard air pressure. Boiled is boiled. Higher temperatures will not make it “more boiled.” Higher temperatures just consume more resources that could be used for something else more productive.
If you need 15 minutes in the sun to trigger a melanin response, 15 minutes is your MED for tanning. More than 15 minutes is redundant and will just result in burning and a forced break from the beach. During this forced break from the beach, let’s assume one week, someone else who heeded his natural 15-minute MED will be able to fit in four more tanning sessions. He is four shades darker, whereas you have returned to your pale pre-beach self. Sad little manatee. In biological systems, exceeding your MED can freeze progress for weeks, even months.
Applying the Minimum Effective Dose (MED) principle to Kratom is critical towards your success with the plant. Kratom is one of the most sensitive psychotropics we’ve come across in terms of dosing. Less truly is more when it comes to this plant.
Once you’ve found an MED that yields your desired effects, taking more of the herb doesn’t translate into more benefits – it’s quite the opposite. Once you step over a tipping point, the experience quickly changes. Relaxation and euphoria starts to morph into unpleasantries like into nausea, headaches and stomach pains. In fact, most negative effects you’ll ever experience with Kratom is simply making a mistake in your dosage. From a long-term perspective, taking more than necessary can also lead to bigger problems such as tolerance and addiction.
That’s why this is one of the most important sections of this entire guide. We’re going to give you the tools and techniques you’ll need to find your Kratom MED, avoid common pitfalls many newbie users face, and get the most of this amazing plant.
— NovemberMist🇺🇸 (@TraciBailey) October 26, 2017
You can’t find your MED without the right measurement tools. This isn’t something you want to scrimp on, as some of the best measurements tools on the market are extremely inexpensive. Using a tool such as a scale allows you to:
- Minimize negative side effects
- Maximize your desired outcome
- Consistently achieve the outcome you’re after
- Find your personal “sweet spot”
We highly recommend going with a digital scale as they’re cheap, durable, and lightweight. One of the most widely used scales (that we too recommend) is American Weigh Scales.
If for some reason you can’t get your hands on a scale, measuring spoons is another option. Different strains (by different vendors) vary widely in fineness of their powder. With that said, 1 Teaspoon of one particular strain can weigh differently from the same Teaspoon of a different strain. Generally speaking, 1 Tablespoon of Kratom can weigh anywhere 4 – 8 grams. 1 Teaspoon of Kratom can weigh anywhere from 2 – 4 grams. Again, these are rough guidelines and inaccuracies can easily be avoided by simply getting a scale.
The Beginners Dose
Most Kratom connoisseurs recommend 2 grams for new users to start with. This holds true no matter your weight or if you’ve taken other opioids in the past. Start with this conservative amount and you’ll thank yourself later, as you’ll avoid nausea or the dreaded eye wobbles.
Keep in mind that like any psychoactive edible, there is a slow onset. It can take anywhere from 15 minutes to 1 hour for the effects to kick in – depending on how full your stomach is. With that said, do not consume additional Kratom powder during this 1.5 hour onset period.
A common mistake (similar to that of marijuana edibles) is taking in more of the herb while their body is still onsetting onto the initial batch consumed, causing an unpleasant experience filled with nausea and anxiety:
If after 1 hour, you don’t feel the effects, take an additional 0.5 grams and then wait an hour. If after the next hour you don’t feel the effects, again take 0.5 grams. If the effects are still absent, call it a day with the Kratom. Start again the next day with 3 grams.
Every strain and dosage reacts differently to every person. In order to find the perfect dosage that works uniquely with your body, you’ll need to experiment. Create a Kratom journal and record the strain, dosage, and effect that it had on you. The next time you take Kratom, increase the dosage by 0.5 grams and again, records the results. You’ll soon have an entire backlog of doses and strains to know the exact amount you need to take for a desired effect.
How Long Does Kratom Last?
Generally speaking, the effects of Kratom typically last anywhere from 3 to 6 hours. The length of experience varies greatly from person to person, strain to strain, dose to dose. If you take a higher than the recommended dosage, effects can last upwards of 8 hours, lower dosages in the 3 – 4 hour range.
What to do if you’ve taken too much Kratom powder?
As we’ve mentioned, there is a host of negative side effects if you’ve taken too much of the plant. Here are some tips if you’re experiencing any of the following:
Nausea – As we’ve mentioned throughout this guide, nausea is one of the most common side effects of taking too much Kratom. One of the best natural remedies for nausea is ginger tea. Wash, peel and grate fresh ginger and boil it in water for around 10 minutes.
Headaches – Kratom tends to dehydrate you, which can cause headaches. One of the best ways to prevent this from happening is simply hydrating yourself throughout the day before you consume the herb (the recommended amount is eight, 8-ounce glasses a day). If you are experience headaches, pain can be reduced by simply drinking more water or drinking teas with ginger, peppermint, or chamomile.
Constipation – Constipation is another side effect many deal with after taking Kratom. In order to get those stubborn lumps out, magnesium Citrate is the go-to solution many in the Kratom community rave about.16 Psyllium husk (which is rich in fiber), is another great natural remedy to combat constipation.
Although Kratom is much better in retaining its potency than other substances, it still can still be prone to degradation. There are a few ways you can prevent this to keep your Kratom as fresh and potent as the first time its package was opened.
A popular misconception is that Kratom can degrade through changes of temperature. Although there hasn’t been official scientific studies confirming this, there are various accounts of Kratom users online disproving this theory. Here is a great thread on reddit of one such user doing so.
Many sites online recommend storing Kratom in dark environments, yet light is yet another misconception of Kratom degradation. As we mentioned earlier in this guide, exposure to light actually oxidizes Kratom and converts its alkaloid Mitragynine to its stronger 7-hydroxymitraginine. Although sunlight doesn’t degrade Kratom potency, it will change its color to Red.
The biggest enemy towards Kratom degradation is moisture, as it can lead to moldy powder. In order to avoid this, store your Kratom in airtight bags, away from humid environments. Vacuum sealing your powder is the best option. If you don’t have a vacuum sealer available, here are a few other great alternatives:
- Ziploc bags (double bagging is a popular technique)
- Mason jars
- Mylar bags
- Rubbermaid containers
— Daughters of America (@freeassange911) October 31, 2017
Chapter 5 – Preventing Kratom Tolerance and Addiction
Traditional opioids such as hydrocodone or oxycodone are notorious for their ability to build tolerance in the body chemistry of their users. In fact, some opioids show tolerance in its users just after a single dose.17 With long-term use, the potency of the drugs begins to fall and higher dosages are required to maintain the same effects users first experienced in the early days of use.
Over time, tolerance builds up to the point where the user needs the drug to simply bring them to baseline levels of normalcy. Without it, extreme withdrawal symptoms take effect. Even if the user ends their use, tolerance to the drug can last months (sometimes years), as it takes time for the body to repair itself and reset.
As we’ve mentioned, Kratom is far different chemically than traditional opioids. The alkaloids in Kratom (such as mitragynine) act as opioid-receptor agonists, which is distinct from traditional opioids. These special alkaloids activate opioid receptors without a protein called β-arrestin. β-arrestin is typically activated by opioids such as morphine and is central to negative side effects of these drugs such as tolerance and addiction. Since Kratom doesn’t recruit β-arrestin, issues of tolerance are dramatically reduced.18
With all this said, you can still be prone towards tolerance with daily, long-term use (especially at higher doses). Just like any other substance that makes you feel good (i.e. coffee, tea, soda), you can abuse it and issues like addiction and tolerance can take fold. This is why you should follow responsible Kratom practices when dealing with the plant.
In this section, we’ll walk you through some of the best ways you can enjoy the amazing benefits of Kratom, without falling into the trap of tolerance and addiction.
Saved my life. I no longer need opioid meds for my chronic pain and can actually raise my family thanks to it. It saved my life. #IAmKratom
— Sarah Sue (@SarahSueMe) October 26, 2017
How To Prevent Kratom Tolerance
The best way to manage tolerance is to prevent it from occurring in the first place. Doing so is levels of magnitude easier than trying to bring your tolerance down once it has built up.
There are a few ways to prevent tolerance from kicking in:
Realize that it’s okay if a particular session isn’t as strong as one previous. It can be due to a number of factors. Resist the temptation to take more Kratom. Doing so literally wires your body chemistry to need more of it in the future.
Avoid taking Kratom daily. Take 2 – 3 days off before you dive into another session. Regularly take long breaks (1 week or more) off of Kratom.
Rotating strains is another way to avoid tolerance. Every strain of Kratom has a different alkaloid profile and interacts with your body slightly differently. By rotating strains, it keeps your body guessing what you are feeding it, thus avoiding tolerance. Here’s a possible Kratom schedule:
Monday: Red Vein
Thursday: White Vein
Potentiating your Kratom is an excellent way to get more bang for your buck without having to increase dosage. Check out the Potentiator section of our guide to find a number of techniques to increase the potency of the herb.
Avoid consuming Kratom tinctures, extracts, and resins as these products are highly concentrated with alkaloids, which speeds up the tolerance process in your body.
Although we are Kratom advocates, it’s not a magic bullet. If you are looking towards Kratom to be the be-all, end-all solution to your chronic pain, poor sleep, low mood, (fill in the blank), then you’re inevitably going to run into problems of tolerance and addiction. If you decide to use Kratom, it should be one of many other tools in your arsenal towards a healthy lifestyle.
Before you look to Kratom to manage something like poor sleep, mood, energy, etc – first make sure you are checking off all the other natural, tried-and-true methods to accomplish these goals such as:
- Nutritious diet
- Proper rest
- Hobbies and fun activities
If you regularly eat junk food, don’t exercise, and isolate yourself from family and friends, there’s a high chance turning towards Kratom will lead to addiction and tolerance.
By living a healthy lifestyle and not being dependant on Kratom, you’ll feel much less of an urge to increase your dosage (if effects aren’t as strong) or use the herb daily.
How To Recognize Your Are Building Tolerance to Kratom
One of the most practical ways to keep Kratom tolerance in check is simply being aware when tolerance is actually occurring (as early on as possible).
The first and most obvious sign of tolerance is if the same dose of Kratom doesn’t hit you in the same way it used to – the peak levels of relaxation, pain reduction, mood enhancement you used to enjoy start to dip. This is a tell-tale sign you body chemistry is starting to become tolerant towards the alkaloids in the plant.
This critical juncture is where many Kratom users have an urge to increase their dosage. Feelings of nostalgia take hold, as they think back to their few sessions with Kratom and how strong the effects were. It can be tempting to take a bit more at this stage, and your mind can masterfully justify why it will be okay:
- You’ll only take X more this one time
- You’re under a lot of pressure at work
- It’s been X days since your last Kratom session
- You’ll only take X more to get you through X event
Whatever the case may be, be aware of the thoughts and urges that pull you towards venturing into tolerance land, and nip it the bud from the get-go.
Supplements To Offset Kratom Tolerance
Based off active Kratom online community, there is a variety of supplementation that has shown to reduce Kratom tolerance. The supplements we outline in this section act as NMDA receptor antagonists, which work on receptor sites called DMDA (NMDA N-methyl-D-aspartate), which seem to be central in developing its tolerance towards Kratom’s alkaloids.
Do your homework when combining Kratom with other substances. There are no papers studying how Kratom interacts with various supplementation. Everything we’re about to mention is based on anecdotal evidence.
Do your research, make an informed decision before moving forward with any particular supplement. If you decide to try out a particular supplement research proper dosages. Just like Kratom, taking too much of a particular supplement for too long, it can lead to a host of negative side effects.
- Dextromethorphan (DXM)
- Cat’s Claw
- Agmatine Sulfate
Of all the options available, Agmatine Sulfate is the most raved about supplement from those in the Kratom community. Not only does it combat tolerance, it can act as a potentiator to increase the potency of your batch.
Whatever supplement you decide to experiment with, keep in mind the best way to offset tolerance is simply backing off Kratom for a bit of time. Allowing the body to reset for a few weeks is the best, natural technique to combat tolerance that we recommend.
Stem and Vein
One lesser known Kratom strain many people use to combat tolerance is that of Stem and Vein. If you look at a Kratom leaf, you’ll notice the stem at the base of the leaf, and the veins which give the Kratom leaf its distinct red or green color.
In order to make premium Kratom powder, farmers will typically remove the stem and vein before processing. The stem and vein have lower alkaloid concentrations, while the leafy areas have the highest – which is why these areas of the plant are typically left out of the end product.
Recently farmers have begun using the Stem and Vein to create its own Kratom strain. These areas of the plant actually have a unique alkaloid profile than that of their leafy counterparts. Since it’s so distinct, many use it to reset their body’s tolerance towards traditional Kratom strains.
Since S&V strains are less concentrated with alkaloids, you’ll need to take roughly 30% more of it to get your desired effect. So if you typically take 2.5 grams of say Red Veined Kratom, shoot for around 3.25 grams of S&V.
— Straylight Terabyte (@AngelAtreides) July 13, 2017
Chapter 6 – Kratom Resources
- Where To Buy Kratom?
- Is Kratom an Opiate?
- Everything You Need To Know About Kratom Tea
- 5 Things You May Feel During a Kratom High
- Bell, Chris. “Joe Rogan Experience #876 – Chris Bell”. The Joe Rogan Experience. Podcast audio, Nov. 21, 2016. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-9J5-KCHCU.
- Váradi, András, et al. “Mitragynine/Corynantheidine pseudoindoxyls as opioid analgesics with mu agonism and delta antagonism, which do not recruit β-Arrestin-2.” Journal of medicinal chemistry 59.18 (2016): 8381-8397.
- Suwanlert, Sangun. “A study of kratom eaters in Thailand.” Bulletin on narcotics
- Boyer, Edward W., et al. “Self‐treatment of opioid withdrawal using kratom (Mitragynia speciosa korth).” Addiction 103.6 (2008): 1048-1050.
- Chittrakarn, Somsmorn, et al. “The neuromuscular blockade produced by pure alkaloids, mitragynine and methanol extract of kratom leaves (Mitragyna speciosa Korth.)” Journal of ethnopharmacology 129.3 (2010): 344-349.
- Idayu, N. Farah, et al. “Antidepressant-like effect of mitragynine isolated from Mitragyna speciosa Korth in mice model of depression.” Phytomedicine 18.5 (2011): 402-407.
- Parthasarathy, Suhanya, et al. “Evaluation of antioxidant and antibacterial activities of aqueous, methanolic and alkaloid extracts from Mitragyna speciosa (Rubiaceae family) leaves.” Molecules 14.10 (2009): 3964-3974.
- CDC. Wide-ranging online data for epidemiologic research (WONDER). Atlanta, GA: CDC, National Center for Health Statistics; 2016. Available at http://wonder.cdc.gov.
- Rudd RA, Seth P, David F, Scholl L. Increases in Drug and Opioid-Involved Overdose Deaths — United States, 2010–2015. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. ePub: 16 December 2016. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6550e1.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2014.
- Boscarino JA, Rukstalis M, Hoffman SN, et al. Risk factors for drug dependence among out-patients on opioid therapy in a large US health-care system. Addiction 2010;105:1776–82. http://dx.doi. org/10.1111/j.1360-0443.2010.03052.x
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Highlights of the 2011 Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) findings on drug-related emergency department visits. The DAWN Report. Rockville, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; 2013. Available from URL: http://www.samhsa.gov/data/2k13/DAWN127/sr127-DAWN-highlights.htm
- Kruegel, Andrew C., et al. “Synthetic and receptor signaling explorations of the Mitragyna alkaloids: mitragynine as an atypical molecular framework for opioid receptor modulators.” Journal of the American Chemical Society138.21 (2016): 6754-6764.
- Begon, Sophie, et al. “Magnesium increases morphine analgesic effect in different experimental models of pain.” Anesthesiology: The Journal of the American Society of Anesthesiologists
- Yamada, Tomoyoshi, et al. “Roles of the plasma membrane and the cell wall in the responses of plant cells to freezing.” Planta 215.5 (2002): 770-778.
- Murakami, K., et al. “Association between dietary fiber, water and magnesium intake and functional constipation among young Japanese women.” European journal of clinical nutrition 61.5 (2007): 616.
- Kornetsky C, Bain G. Morphine: single-dose tolerance. Science 1968;162:1011-1012
- Váradi, András, et al. “Mitragynine/Corynantheidine pseudoindoxyls as opioid analgesics with mu agonism and delta antagonism, which do not recruit β-Arrestin-2.” Journal of medicinal chemistry 59.18 (2016): 8381-8397. APA