Kratom is a drug that has both stimulant-like and opioid-like effects. While some believe it to be fairly safe because it’s a natural substance, it is rather controversial. And not without good reason—as innocent as this drug may seem, it’s not unheard of for people to suffer from a kratom overdose and even death.
If you’re looking to learn more about kratom overdose, we’ve got you covered. This article will explain the main things you should know about it, including its signs, risk factors, and more.
What Is Kratom?
Kratom is a psychoactive herbal substance derived from the leaves of the tropical evergreen kratom tree (Mitragyna speciosa).
Native to Southeast Asia, the kratom tree belongs to the coffee family. As a psychoactive substance, kratom has been used in Southeast Asia for centuries, primarily to treat wounds, pain, and fever. Due to its stimulating effects, it has also been used to reduce fatigue.
There are various ways in which you can ingest kratom. While some people chew kratom leaves, others smoke them or make kratom tea. It can also be ground into powder as well as found in various forms, including:
Containing two psychoactive compounds—mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine—kratom produces stimulating effects at lower doses. When taken in larger doses, its effects closely resemble those of opioids. Meanwhile, at very high doses, it can lead to psychosis.
Is Kratom Legal?
A relatively new drug in the United States, kratom isn’t illegal and can be purchased online.
While it is not federally regulated, some states have banned kratom due to the potential risks associated with this substance. More specifically, buying, selling, possessing, and using kratom is illegal in:
- Rhode Island
Four states have passed legislation regulating kratom:
Other states, like Florida, Illinois, New Hampshire, Tennessee, and several others, have placed age restrictions on the use and possession of kratom.
Even though it isn’t illegal in most states, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration hasn’t approved kratom for medical use. Still, some companies market and sell kratom products illegally, claiming without any scientific evidence that it can cure or prevent:
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Chronic pain
- Opioid use disorder
Although kratom isn’t technically illegal in most of the U.S., its safety is still being assessed. For this reason, the FDA generally advises people against using it.
Kratom Usage in the U.S.
Here are some statistics on kratom use and overdoses in the United States:
- Around 0.7% of the American population used kratom in 2019. Those addicted to prescription opioids and other drugs were also found to be more likely to use kratom.
- In 2021, 1.7 million Americans over the age of 12 used kratom.
- According to research conducted in 2021, white, middle-class men are over three times more likely to use kratom during their lifetime compared to other groups.
- Out of 27,338 people who died from a drug overdose between July 2016 and December 2017, 152 individuals had kratom in their system. Most of them had also taken other drugs alongside kratom, including fentanyl, heroin, and benzodiazepines.
Can You Overdose on Kratom?
In short, yes, you can overdose on kratom.
Like most other drugs, kratom can lead to an overdose, especially when taken in high doses or mixed with other substances such as alcohol or prescription opioids. Although a kratom overdose isn’t common, it can be lethal.
Most importantly, there’s a lack of scientific research on kratom effects, adverse events, and overdoses to determine at what doses the substance can be taken safely. Worse yet, the strength of psychoactive compounds in kratom may vary from one plant to another, making it even more difficult to predict its effects and define safe dosages.
Also, most kratom distributors do not appropriately label the product or provide an ingredient list or dose, increasing the likelihood of overdose.
Is Kratom Safe?
Kratom is not FDA-approved, as there’s not enough scientific evidence to indicate that it can be safely used for medical purposes. In other words, kratom hasn’t been proven to be safe.
Moreover, since this drug is largely unregulated, you may unknowingly buy adulterated kratom. Unlike pure kratom, adulterated drugs are mixed with other substances, which increases the risk of kratom overdose, adverse events, and death.
Like other drugs, kratom can lead to various side effects, such as:
- Appetite loss
- Dry mouth
- Itchy skin
- Weight loss
Moreover, long-term kratom use can also lead to:
- Kratom abuse
- Kratom addiction
- Sleep disturbances
Kratom Overdose Signs and Symptoms
Although kratom produces opioid-like effects, the signs of a kratom overdose don’t always look like those of an opioid overdose.
For instance, an opioid overdose often leads to difficulty breathing, loss of consciousness, and a slowed heart rate. While these may happen after taking too much kratom, a kratom overdose may also induce symptoms that aren’t typically associated with an opioid overdose (e.g., high blood pressure).
While kratom overdose symptoms may vary greatly from one person to another, they most commonly include:
- Excessive sleepiness
- Increased heart rate
- High blood pressure
How Does Kratom Affect Your Body?
The effects of kratom on your body depend on the dosage.
A small dose of kratom will induce stimulant-like effects such as increased alertness, sociability, energy, and an elevated mood.
Although the pharmacological effects of kratom aren’t entirely understood yet, it was found to bind to the same opioid receptors as morphine or fentanyl.
For this reason, kratom produces similar effects to oxycodone, morphine, and other opioids when taken at high doses. These commonly include sedation, deep relaxation, and reduced pain perception. It may also induce euphoria.
On top of that, kratom can also lead to hallucinations, delusion, and confusion, all of which are symptoms of kratom-induced psychosis.
How Long Do Kratom Effects Last?
The onset and duration of kratom effects depend on several factors, such as metabolism, method of consumption, and dosage. It may take between five minutes and two hours for kratom to take effect. Typically, kratom effects last for 2–5 hours following consumption.
The more kratom you take, the longer its effects will last. However, taking it in large doses increases the risk of a kratom overdose and death.
Risk Factors Leading to Kratom Overdose
The greatest risk factor leading to a kratom overdose is mixing it with other substances.
Some substances that may increase the risk of a kratom overdose include:
- Seizure medication, such as gabapentin
Besides that, some other kratom overdose risk factors include:
- Dosage. The larger your doses of kratom, the more you risk overdosing on it. Still, it can be dangerous even at small doses due to the possibility of being laced with other substances.
- Long-term use. Since long-term kratom use leads to tolerance, regular, long-term users are more likely to take larger doses of the drug, increasing the risk of an overdose.
- Weight. Individuals with a lower body weight may be at a higher risk of a kratom overdose than those who are heavier.
It is currently unclear whether kratom has a higher, lower, or similar addictive potential to opioids and other drugs with addictive properties. However, like many other drugs, kratom may lead to addiction, especially when taken for an extended period or at high doses.
Although kratom isn’t an opioid, it acts similarly to them and can lead to physical dependence, characterized by two key symptoms: tolerance and withdrawal.
Over time, your body can get used to kratom and require increasingly larger doses to feel the same effects as before, which indicates kratom tolerance. If you suddenly quit taking kratom, you may experience uncomfortable symptoms similar to those of opioid withdrawal.
If not addressed, kratom dependence may lead to addiction. Although it is a treatable condition, it is challenging to control substance use.
Some symptoms of kratom addiction may include:
- Experiencing strong kratom cravings
- Continuing to use kratom despite its negative effects on your life
- Spending a lot of time trying to obtain kratom, using it, or recovering from it
- Having difficulty stopping or reducing kratom use
Kratom Withdrawal Symptoms
Kratom withdrawal symptoms can occur when you abruptly stop taking the substance, reduce the frequency of use, or decrease the amount of kratom you typically take. However, these symptoms only happen if you’ve become dependent on or addicted to the drug.
As mentioned above, kratom withdrawal symptoms usually look very similar to opioid withdrawal symptoms, except they tend to be milder. Nonetheless, their intensity and duration largely depend on how long you’ve been taking kratom and at what doses.
Typically, kratom withdrawal symptoms begin within 12–48 hours after the last dosage and last for up to a week. Some psychological symptoms, such as depression and cravings, may persist longer.
Some of the most common kratom withdrawal symptoms are:
- Appetite loss
- Muscle cramps
- Nausea and vomiting
- Runny nose, watery eyes, and other flu-like symptoms
- Sleep disturbances
ANR Treatment for Kratom Addiction
Accelerated Neuro-Regulation (ANR) is a revolutionary kratom addiction treatment that has helped over 24,000 people worldwide achieve long-term sobriety.
Developed by Dr. Andre Waismann, ANR differs from traditional opioid addiction treatments in that it addresses the underlying neurobiological cause of addiction and restores your brain to its state before addiction.
By reversing the chemical changes in the brain caused by drug use, ANR eliminates the risk of relapse, paving the way for long-lasting recovery from opioids!
The ANR treatment is not only effective but also very safe since it is tailored to each patient specifically. On top of that, the treatment is carried out in an ICU setting at an accredited hospital by a team of highly experienced medical professionals, ensuring quality and safety.
And the best part? The average hospital stay for ANR treatment is just 36 hours. That’s right—while other treatments take weeks, months, or even longer, ANR can help you overcome kratom addiction in days!
For more information, contact us for a free consultation. We’ll happily answer your questions and help you start your opioid recovery journey!
Hopefully, you found this article helpful and informative.
If there’s one thing you should take away from it, it’s that there’s a reason why kratom isn’t FDA-approved for medical use.
Its safety is debatable, and while some may claim that it helps treat everything from diabetes to opioid addiction, these claims lack scientific evidence.
For your own sake, it’s best to avoid taking kratom. After all, this is the only foolproof way to prevent a kratom overdose, especially since its potential for addiction and safe dosage are still largely unclear. What we do know, however, is that although it’s a natural substance, it can still lead to potentially life-threatening side effects, addiction, and overdose.
Dr. Waismann identified the biological roots of opioid dependency, Since then he has successfully treated more than 24,000 patients worldwide that are struggling with opioid addiction.
Throughout his career, he has lectured and educated health professionals in dozens of countries around the world to this day.