What are the Side Effects of Kratom? Is it Safe?

Man feeling sick

Hate to break it to you, but if you’ve seen stuff online saying that **Kratom** is a miracle supplement with zero downsides, that info is off the mark.

Many Kratom fans, especially those who frequent online forums like Reddit, tend to spread this misinformation to others, who then believe the myths. But much of it’s simply not true, and this false information unfortunately misguides the many consumers who are new to this amazing botanical.

But don’t let the rumor mill make you feel bad or discourage you from exploring how Kratom can help improve your health, well-being, and quality of life. Kratom is a potent herb offering a multitude of positive benefits that shouldn’t be ignored. I’d go so far as to say that thousands of lives have been drastically improved or even saved because of it.

Remember that Kratom has been used by MILLIONS of individuals around the globe for centuries, the vast majority of whom enjoy this botanical without any cause for concern.

That said, if taken haphazardly or abused, even Kratom will unavoidably have some negative effects on your health.

In this guide, we’ll go through the many adverse effects that Kratom might have as well as how to completely prevent them.

What Is Kratom?

Kratom is an increasingly popular herbal supplement that is derived from a Southeast Asian tree, officially known as Mitragyna Speciosa. It is said to have a variety of therapeutic and health benefits including pain relief, increased energy, mood enhancement, reduced stress, and improved focus and mental clarity. Although Kratom is generally considered safe, there are some potential side effects that should be taken into consideration before taking the supplement.

Potential Side Effects of Kratom

Before we dive in, it’s important to note that the majority of Kratom users enjoy this supplement with minimal to no adverse side effects. As with any supplement, its important to be aware of the potential risks for side effects so that you can take steps to avoid them, and know how to deal with them if they pop up.

Nausea or Vomiting

The most common side effect reported by people who take Kratom is nausea and vomiting. This may be due to the fact that Kratom contains a variety of alkaloids, some of which are known to be stomach irritants.1

If you experience these symptoms when taking Kratom, it is best to reduce your dosage or stop taking the supplement altogether. Another tactic that consumers suggest is to take Kratom with a snack or meal. Taking Kratom on an empty stomach can cause discomfort for some individuals.

Preventing Nausea & Vomiting

  • Eating a nutritious meal before using Kratom might sometimes prevent stomach upset

Constipation or Diarrhea

Other gastrointestinal side effects that have been reported include constipation and diarrhea. Because Kratom alkaloids work much in the same way as opiates, frequent Kratom use may cause constipation much in the same way opioids do. On the other hand, some individuals find that their stomach is extra sensitive to Kratom’s alkaloids and that can cause them to rush to the bathroom shortly after use. If that’s the case, make sure to stay hydrated.

Preventing Constipation

  • Eat a healthy diet with plenty of fiber, and stay hydrated

Mild Withdrawal, Cravings, and Irritability

Kratom is not known to be highly addictive. However, it can produce some mild withdrawal symptoms such as cravings, irritability, and restlessness if it is taken in large doses or for a long period of time. Withdrawal severity can vary from person to person but can typically be managed by easing off the supplement, known as tapering. It is recommended that individuals who experience withdrawal symptoms seek help from a healthcare professional.2

Preventing Withdrawal and Irritability

  • Use Kratom responsibly!
  • Don’t keep scaling up the dose to higher and higher levels
  • Take breaks from use every now and again

Potentially Serious Side Effects When MIXED With Alcohol, Medications, or Drugs

In addition to the side effects previously discussed, there are some more serious potential risks associated with Kratom use. It is important to note that not all risks are associated with all users. Some people are more sensitive than others. Some of these potential risks include liver damage, kidney damage, and respiratory depression.1

Kratom should not be taken in combination with alcohol or other drugs. There is a risk of both an overdose and a drug interaction if Kratom is taken with other substances. This could result in a dangerous combination of side effects that could be fatal in some cases. It is important to be aware of the possible risks associated with Kratom and to exercise caution when taking it. It is also advised to avoid taking Kratom when pregnant, as it could impact the baby.

Avoiding Dangerous Interactions

  • Don’t mix Kratom and other recreational drugs
  • Do not mix Kratom with opioids or benzodiazepines
  • Don’t consume Kratom while taking prescription medication without FIRST discussing it with your doctor

Laziness & Sedation

Kratom often has an initial stimulant effect, especially at lower doses. When taken in low doses Kratom is actually quite energizing and is sometimes used as a replacement for coffee or energy drinks. But at moderate to high doses, this stimulant-like effect gives way to deep relaxation and drowsiness.

For those needing to stay physically active or mentally alert, this can be a real downside, resulting in tiredness, lethargy, and sedation.

Kratom Lethargy Prevention Tips

  • Take low to moderate doses

Dizziness

Kratom may make you feel lightheaded at high dosages, particularly when ingesting sedating strains. This is often one of the unintended consequences that appear along with “the wobbles”. Later, we’ll go into further depth on what is known as “the wobbles”.

Kratom Safety Advice to Prevent Lightheadedness

  • Lean back and lie down. Once you’re off your feet, the feeling of lightheadedness normally turns into a relaxing sense of pleasure
  • Avoid abrupt, jerky motions
  • Don’t stand up too fast
  • Stay extra hydrated
  • Make sure you’re getting plenty of electrolytes like salt, potassium, magnesium, and calcium
  • Don’t overdo it on dosing
  • Consider monitoring your blood pressure with an at-home monitor to ensure it doesn’t get too low. Normal is roughly 120/80.

Brain fog and general cognitive impairment are two of Kratom’s most frequent psychological adverse effects. But don’t worry, these effects are similar to what you might expect while high on marijuana, or drunk on beer or wine. In other words, it readily clears up once the effects have worn off.

The phrase “brain fog” refers to a kind of muddled thinking. You could notice that your thinking is slower or that it’s more difficult for you to recall information from memory.

As the effects of the Kratom start to wear off, some individuals report experiencing a different type of mental fog. Many people believe that this is more similar to lethargy or exhaustion than relaxation. Similar to a coffee crash. The stimulating effects often dissipate into a form of calm.

Some people who use Kratom every day may also develop a chronic and ongoing issue with brain fog. Even when not taking Kratom, a number of abuse-related issues, including adrenal fatigue and brain chemical, or neurotransmitter, imbalances, may result in persistent brain fog.3

Kratom users who regularly use more than 15 grams per day say that their memory and cognitive function are negatively impacted. Their social skills are hampered as a result, making it more difficult for them to engage in clever or well-organized discourse.

Additionally, brain fog may make it difficult to perform at work and put some individuals on the path to addiction to Kratom. As the Kratom wears off, brain fog usually becomes more noticeable. Some users, particularly those with intellectually demanding occupations, decide to re-dose additional Kratom every two hours in an effort to prevent the inevitable brain fog and maintain concentration throughout the day.

Kratom Brain Fog Prevention Tips

  • Remain hydrated. Water is essential for maintaining the normal salt and fluid balance in your brain that keep firing of neurons normal
  • Make sure you are consuming all of the recommended daily nutrients. For proper brain function, the B vitamins, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, and choline are all crucial
  • Reduce the dosage. Using lesser dosages prevents alkaloids from accumulating in your system and results in a much milder collapse

Anxiety and/or Agitation or Restlessness

Kratom is often used to combat stress and anxious feelings. But there’s something to be said about using Kratom or any other substance as a ‘Band-Aid’ for your issues rather than addressing the underlying problem itself. In some cases, the side effects will materialize as the exact issues you’re attempting to heal.

Although thousands of individuals tout Kratom as a means for effectively dealing with anxiety and stress, Kratom has also been shown to do the opposite for some people.

For example, Kratom might affect the adrenaline system. One of the most prevalent symptoms of anxiety is the fight-or-flight reaction, which is brought on by adrenaline surges. This may be especially true of white strains and when taken in smaller doses where Kratom acts more like a stimulant.4

When you take Kratom as a stopgap anxiolytic, your anxiety may ‘bottle up,’ and when you stop use, anxiety might flair back up.4

Tips For Using Kratom To Prevent Anxiety

  • You are definitely taking too much Kratom if it makes you anxious. Consider lowering your dosage and taking a break
  • Take advantage of this time to think about your anxiety and pinpoint its causes so you can address it
  • Consider therapy or discussing anxiety medication with your doctor

Heart Rate and Blood Pressure

Kratom may influence both heart rate and blood pressure in some individuals. Studies have shown that Kratom could induce a prolonged QTc interval, a measure of the time it takes for your heart ventricles to contract and relax. This results in an increased risk of dangerous ventricular arrhythmias or torsades de points (a possibly deadly arrhythmia). However, occurrences of this are rare. The study noted that the two most common cardiovascular effects include tachycardia (high heart rate) and hypertension (high blood pressure), both of which resolve after the effects of Kratom wear off.5

Other / Uncommon Side Effects

These are some additional negative effects that Kratom may cause. However, further research is needed to understand how or why Kratom may play a role in these rare side effects.6

Rare Side Effects Include:

  • An allergic response that impact the sinuses, digestive system, or skin
  • Long-term usage may lead to confusion and problems with short-term memory
  • Though exceedingly rare, hallucinations and delusions do happen sometimes
  • Signs of mania and psychosis. Typically, they are only seen in individuals with psychotic illnesses. In these situations, psychosis and mania may be brought on by any stimulant.

Final Thoughts: Is Kratom Safe?

Generally speaking, Kratom is considered safe when used responsibly and by those with no underlying medical conditions and who are not taking any over-the-counter or prescription drugs that could have an interaction.

Physical adverse effects like nausea and vomiting as well as mental side effects like brain fog may all result from abusing Kratom. By utilizing sensible amounts and avoiding everyday use, these adverse effects may often be completely prevented.

Kratom has its benefits, but it should be used with caution and awareness of potential side effects. If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned in this guide, it is important to speak with your doctor or healthcare provider before continuing to use the supplement. As with any supplement, it is always best to consult a healthcare provider before beginning use to ensure that it is right for you.

By using the herb sensibly, you may reap its advantages without having to worry about unpleasant side effects.

References

1.         Saref A, Suraya S, Singh D, et al. Self-reported prevalence and severity of opioid and kratom (Mitragyna speciosa korth.) side effects. J Ethnopharmacol. 2019;238:111876.

2.         Hassan Z, Muzaimi M, Navaratnam V, et al. From Kratom to mitragynine and its derivatives: physiological and behavioural effects related to use, abuse, and addiction. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2013;37(2):138-151.

3.         Yusoff NH, Suhaimi FW, Vadivelu RK, et al. Abuse potential and adverse cognitive effects of mitragynine (kratom). Addict Biol. 2016;21(1):98-110.

4.         Swogger MT, Walsh Z. Kratom use and mental health: A systematic review. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2018;183:134-140.

5.         Leong Bin Abdullah MFI, Singh D. The Adverse Cardiovascular Effects and Cardiotoxicity of Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa Korth.): A Comprehensive Review. Front Pharmacol. 2021;12:726003.

6.         Fluyau D, Revadigar N. Biochemical Benefits, Diagnosis, and Clinical Risks Evaluation of Kratom. Front Psychiatry. 2017;8:62.

Written by Daniel Recardo

Founder of Kratom IQ; a self-improvement junkie and Kratom enthusiast. I started this website in 2015 to help people avoid the common pitfalls and mistakes with Mitragyna Speciosa, and ultimately get the most out of this amazing plant. Learn More...

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