The Side Effects of Kratom explained
While millions of people around the world’s whereby everything that kratom promises to offer as far as all-natural peeling, pain relief, and mental health benefits are concerned – and this herb has been used for centuries throughout Southeast Asia as a natural medicine – this isn’t to say that kratom is free of side effects.
Marketers and advertisers of kratom products are going to pump up the benefits of kratom for obvious reasons (of which there are many, to be fair). At the same time, however, the reality of kratom and the way that it works on the human body is a little bit more complicated.
To learn a little bit more about the kind of kratom side effects you may have to contend with if you’re interested in using kratom products we have put together this quick guide. Hopefully, it helps you better understand exactly what you may be getting into.
What is Kratom, Exactly?
As we highlighted above, kratom is a 100% all-natural herbal extract that is sourced from the leaves of trees that grow throughout Southeast Asia. Particularly popular in Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Bali this plant has leaves that can be chewed, that can be turned into more potent extracts, and that can even be boiled into a tea-like beverage – all of which allow for the alkaloids in kratom to release a cascade of biochemical reactions throughout your body.
Commonly used as a muscle relaxer, as a treatment for muscle pain or joint discomfort, as well as a solution that helps to suppress your appetite, to eliminate cramps and diarrhea, and to clear your mind and calm down feelings of stress and anxiety, there’s a reason why this plant has been consumed for hundreds of years and likely will continue to be consumed for hundreds more.
New research has shown us that kratom works similarly to opioids, by targeting the same opioid receptors in the human body that pharmaceutical-grade opioids and opiates will. At lower level dosages, kratom works as a stimulant that helps people feel more energized and more energetic while at higher dosages it works as a sedative, helping people quiet their mind, their body, and even fall asleep faster.
Kratom has even been used as an alternative to opioids because of its similar impact on the body. Because it does not have the same kind of horrific side effects that traditional pharmaceutical grade opiates will (nor does it have the same kind of addictive tendencies) people recommended as an all-natural alternative to those suffering from opioid withdrawal symptoms in those looking to kick harder drugs.
In reality, however, there are some side effects that kratom brings to the table that may or may not make this an ideal solution for people looking to help improve their overall health and wellness.
We will dig into that a little more in-depth in just a moment.
How is Kratom Consumed?
As we alluded to a little bit earlier, there are a number of different ways people can go about consuming kratom and making the most of all that this all-natural medicine has to offer.
Traditionally, kratom was simply harvested from plants throughout Southeast Asia and then chewed on regularly throughout the day. This provided low-level dosages of the alkaloids contained within this plant on a pretty consistent basis, without any need for manufacturing or production methods to use this herb as a medicine.
Over time, however, people started to brew kratom tea-like beverages, started to use alcohol to extract the alkaloids and concentrate the biochemicals within kratom, and today we have some pretty amazing production options that allow for kratom to be concentrated in a way that just wasn’t ever possible before.
You can now purchase kratom powder, kratom capsules, kratom topical oils and lotions, kratom tincture, kratom edible and gummy products – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Is Kratom Safe?
Now we really get into the meat and potatoes of whether or not kratom is safe and whether or not you should have any real reservations about using kratom just because of the side effects it may be attached to.
For starters, we want to remind people that kratom has been used for literally hundreds and hundreds of years by people throughout the world – but especially in Southeast Asia. This herb has been prized for its medicinal properties for generations, beloved by the people of this region and continued to be used even today (though in some parts of Southeast Asia it has been made illegal).
We will not sugarcoat, however, the fact that kratom definitely has a bit of a complicated reputation.
On the one hand, its popularity has helped it to be one of the most frequently purchased herbal solutions for pain relief and mental health benefits anywhere on the planet. On the other hand, however, 263 people in the United States alone contacted poison centers in 2015 after consuming kratom products – many of them complaining of a rapid heartbeat, increased feelings of agitation, and significant nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
For the most part, kratom usage is very safe so long as you pay close attention to the strict dosing details provided on the kratom product that you have purchased. For obvious reasons, you’ll also want to make sure that you are only ever purchasing kratom from 100% reputable, 100% reliable, and 100% trustworthy sources.
As long as you do your research and your due diligence into the sources that you are purchasing kratom from you should not have much if anything to worry about when it comes to the safety or the legitimacy of the kratom that you are consuming.
What Makes Kratom So Controversial?
The thing that helps to make kratom so controversial is the fact that it works similarly to traditional opioids and opiates, focusing on creating a biochemical response in the same parts of the body that these chemical cocktails focus on as well.
We are obviously living in the middle of one of the worst opioid epidemics in human history, with people losing their lives every single day as they become addicted to these very dangerous pharmaceutical drugs. The overwhelming majority of the population in the US (and throughout the rest of the world, for that matter) have been heavily impacted themselves or with someone that they know or love having to struggle with opioid addiction.
At the same time, it is critically important to understand that kratom is not a chemical cocktail cooked up in a pharmaceutical laboratory-like opioids and opiates. This is a 100% all-natural, 100% herbal solution that is not going to present the same kind of health and safety risks as those man-made drugs will.
Kratom does, however, have a handful of kratom side effects that you want to be aware of before you start to use everything it has to offer – side effects that we will dig a little bit deeper into right now.
What Kind of Kratom Side Effects Should I Expect to Experience?
The short-term side effects of kratom are very minimal, with most people that use kratom very irregularly or infrequently reporting next to no issues whatsoever.
Some folks, however, do report having a headache, feeling somewhat nauseous, and dealing with diarrhea or loose stool from time to time even with short-term usage of kratom. All of these short-term side effects dissipate as soon kratom usage has been discontinued, however.
When it comes to long-term side effects, however, you’re looking at a completely different set of side effects that you’ll want to be really vigilant against.
Where talking about things like nausea, itching, sweating, constipation or diarrhea, elevated urination issues, significant loss of appetite, feelings of fatigue, irritability, and uneasiness, difficulty coordinating your muscles or controlling fine motor skills, an abnormally fast heartbeat, hallucinations, seizures, and potentially even liver damage.
If at any time you start to present any of the side effects above it’s critical that you discontinue using kratom ASAP and seek out trusted medical assistance just as soon as you are able to.
Is Kratom Legal?
Like most other things involving kratom, the legality of kratom is a little bit of a complicated or gray area.
For starters, kratom is 100% legal to be purchased, owned, and possessed at the federal level throughout the United States. At the same time, six states have completely outlawed the ownership, purchasing, or possession/usage of kratom – and it may be likely that other states follow suit later down the line.
Interestingly enough, however, Thailand and Malaysia have completely outlawed the usage of kratom – even though this is where kratom usage really started and where the overwhelming majority of high-quality strains of this herb come from still today.
Australia and a number of European Union nations have also made the move to band kratom completely or at least to heavily regulate the sale and distribution of this substance.
At the end of the day, there’s a lot to be thankful for when it comes to the power and potency of the kratom benefits you can get from this herb. But that doesn’t mean that all is sunshine and roses with kratom and it’s important that you understand the kratom side effects you may have to contend with moving forward.