Imagine you’re climbing a tree, having fun, and you fall to the ground and break your arm. Unfortunate, yes, but modern medicine can provide plenty of painkillers that nearly eradicate the pain completely. Kratom is a Malaysian plant with morphine-like pain killing properties even though it is not an opiate [1].

Kratom supplements are used to treat chronic pain recreationally [2] and authorities in some locations have found it to be addictive or problematic. In the United States, states like Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Tennessee, Vermont, and Wisconsin have banned the substance, but many states still have no legal action against the drug [3].

Despite this, kratom is revered as a traditional medicinal treatment for alcohol and opiate addiction. While there are side effects and relatively little scientific evidence for humans on safety and toxicity, it continues to be a popular tool for overcoming addiction and other therapeutic uses [4].

Also Known As

Mitragyna speciosa, ketum, kratum

Editors’ Thoughts on Kratom

I have never used kratom, but a friend spoke with me about his experience recently. He told me that it doesn’t really effect him much except as a relaxing agent to allow him to complete his professional work more easily.

It isn’t stimulatory for him, but it allows him to get out of his own way with anxiety, stress, or tension and just get the work done that he desires.

While I am not privy to the reasoning and debate, I imagine there is a reason the drug is being made illegal in regions of the United States. I remain skeptical about the U.S. FDA and DEA, but I suspect there is some valid concern if the states are starting to go after this drug.

Mansal Denton, Nootropedia Editor


Benefits of Kratom

The main benefit of kratom is as a painkiller for those with acute and chronic pain. Kratom operates by behaving similarly with opioid receptors as morphine even though it is not an opiate itself [5]. This can be used in isolation for people with chronic back or joint paint, but is also useful for those who currently use opiates (whether prescribed or not) and desire being free from the drug without the withdrawal symptoms.

Kratom is thus used in some retreat centers (as well as recreationally) in order to treat withdrawal symptoms from opiate addiction [6]. Anecdotal reports suggest that the plant is calming and can have anxiety-reducing effects.

According to anecdotes and most case studies, a main benefit of kratom is the “kratom high”. People who experience this kratom high feel that it is a legal way to become intoxicated similar to opiates.

The main benefits, reducing addiction to alcohol and opiates as well as managing chronic pain, are not well researched and may come at a relatively high cost. Much of the existing research focuses on side effects and problems rather than the benefits. This may be a function of the government’s desire to reduce the usage, but is nevertheless worth noting.

Side Effects of Kratom

The side effects of kratom can be potentially hazardous and uncomfortable for some. Others have severe kratom side effects from overusing the drug. While certainly biased given the state of Wisconsin’s recent banning of kratom, a State Medical Society publication in Wisconsin noted that a 37-year old woman suffered “severe opioid-like withdrawal syndrome” from using kratom. The review continued to argue against the use of kratom and the toxicity studies against the drug [7].

Indeed, within the western world toxicity is a rare and manageable problem, but includes death in some instances. Within the Brain Research Bulletin, a survey of the literature showed Southeast Asian cultures using kratom have none of these toxicity issues as the west [8].

Finally, according to an import alert by the United States DFA, side effects of kratom can include nervousness, anxiety, agitation, hallucinations, constipation, nausea, and respiratory depression [9]. Again, evidence from the government requires a grain of salt, but it is telling that there are far more side effects than proven benefits.

Kratom Strains and Conversion Chart

In order to buy kratom online, you need to be able to understand the different strains. If you have plans to use kratom for your own purposes, use this comparison chart to help guide you through the process.


How and Where to Buy Kratom

Kratom is difficult to find because of the legal status. For safety purposes, it is best if you purchase kratom on the internet. There are dozens of vendors online and many of them are reliable according to the reviews and anecdotes from people in online communities.

One method you might want to utilize is searching through Reddit kratom, which has plenty of evidence on how to buy kratom and where to buy kratom.

We currently recommend Coastline Kratom, which is headquartered in the United States (North Carolina) and has a customer service phone number if you need. If you are interested in purchasing Kratom from Coastline Kratom, you can do so here.

Selected Community Experiences

The community anecdotes and experiences are polarizing. There are many people who claim the effects were so powerful it saved their lives (from alcohol or opiate abuse). These people are often associated with the legal battle to maintain kratom’s legal status.

Other people have significant withdrawal symptoms and claim much suffering as a result. Thus, there is a heavy individualistic component to kratom consumption.

References (Click to Expand)
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Nootropedia is meant to be a resource for individuals researching drugs and supplements that are good for brain health, otherwise known as nootropics, and thus we are the Nootropics Encyclopedia. Because of our in-depth coverage of this topic, our community has requested that we cover other brain health topics and "lifehacks" so that has become the focus of Nootropedia.