Kratom is used for a wide range of therapeutic, medicinal, and recreational purposes. Despite its versatile nature, a surprising number of people are unsure how exactly you go about ingesting it.
This widespread ignorance regarding Kratom ingestion could be because Kratom is relatively new to Western markets, and less is known about it than more mainstream substances like cannabis. The good news is there is plenty of information out there regarding safe Kratom consumption.
How Can We Help?
To help you become a safer and more informed Kratom consumer, we explain everything you need to know about smoking Kratom. Not only will we explain whether you can smoke Kratom, but we will also explain whether it is safe to do so. From there, we will explain some of the short-term and long-term side effects of smoking Kratom.
As a bonus, we will even highlight some superior ingestion methods you can choose to practice.
So, Can You Smoke Kratom?
Put simply, it is possible to smoke Kratom. While the answer to the question may be a definitive yes, whether or not smoking Kratom is worthwhile is more complicated.
How is Kratom Smoked?
In various regions of Southeast Asia, which is where Kratom naturally grows, locals will sometimes dry out Kratom leaves and smoke them the same way you would smoke dried tobacco leaves.
While this traditional method of ingestion has been practiced for hundreds of years, it is fairly impractical in the United States and other Western markets, as the tropical tree we know as the Kratom plant does not grow here. It is almost impossible to attain freshly dried whole Kratom leaves outside Southeast Asia. Instead, most people obtain Kratom outside of Southeast Asia in the form of a dried powder.
Some people roll this dried powder in paper and then smoke it like a cigarette, or they will place it in a pipe and smoke it that way. In many cases, people will combine the dried Kratom powder with another flammable substance, like cannabis or tobacco, as this makes it easier to ignite and smoke. You can technically vape Kratom too.
Again, it certainly is possible to smoke Kratom, but that does not mean that you should.
Is it Safe to Smoke Kratom?
Unfortunately, smoking Kratom has the potential to be harmful. It can result in a wide variety of negative side effects that could lead to lasting damage to your lungs and wider respiratory system, as well as your nervous system, and more.
Why is Smoking Kratom Bad for Your Health?
Simply put, the human respiratory system is not made for smoke inhalation of any kind. Whenever you inhale smoke, your lungs fill with harmful particles and carcinogens.
Per the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Smoking can cause lung disease by damaging the airways and the small air sacs (alveoli) found within the lungs.”
When the lungs are damaged, the following symptoms can present themselves:
- Chronic and painful coughing
- Persistent shortness of breath
- A significantly weakened immune system
- Reduced performance during physical activity
- A tight sensation throughout the entire chest
Beyond lung damage and the development of various smoking-related respiratory diseases that can occur from inhaling any smoke, smoking Kratom can also result in other side effects.
What are the Side Effects Associated with Smoking Kratom?
There are several safe ways to ingest Kratom, but smoking is, undoubtedly, the least safe method because it can result in the following short-term side effects:
- Severe nausea
- Painful coughing
- Throat and lung irritation
- Dry mouth
- Headaches and difficulty sleeping
In addition to the short-term side effects listed above, smoking Kratom can also put you at risk of the following long-term issues:
- Lung cancer
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
- High blood pressure
- Blood clotting
- Severe asthma attacks
- Coronary heart disease
Smoking Kratom can increase the risk of developing these serious and potentially life-threatening conditions. The act of smoking a plant-based substance can significantly irritate the throat, tongue, tonsils, stomach, lungs, liver, kidneys, and even the bladder.
While further clinical trials are needed to narrow down the exact ways Kratom smoke will interact with the human body, it is highly recommended that Kratom users simply avoid smoking Kratom as a method of ingestion.
In simple terms, the risks are just too high, especially when you consider that there are several other ways to consume Kratom that are easy, convenient, and offer the same fast-acting results.
Can Smoking Kratom Impact its Potency?
As if the health-related reasons for not smoking Kratom were not enough, Kratom loses much of its efficacy when it is incinerated. In simpler terms, when you light Kratom on fire, which is necessary to smoke it, the Kratom loses a significant amount of its potency, so you will experience less pronounced effects.
This is because the unique alkaloids within Kratom that are responsible for its many desirable side effects are extremely sensitive to heat. These active alkaloids, like mitragynine and 7-hydroxy mitragynine, begin to degrade when exposed to unfavorable temperatures. When Kratom burns, the alkaloids become damaged, so the person ingesting the Kratom will experience far less noticeable effects.
Current studies claim that just heating Kratom to a temperature of 176° F can lead to complete alkaloid degradation, which would mean the Kratom would lose the ability to stimulate the positive effects associated with it. For perspective, a cigarette will burn at a temperature between 750° F and 1,650° F, so it is safe to say smoking Kratom can reduce its potency!
While there is still much to learn about Kratom efficacy through clinical studies, the anecdotal evidence supporting a weakened potency for smoked Kratom is overwhelming.
What is a Better Way to Ingest Kratom?
Now that you know that smoking Kratom can pose various health risks and reduce the overall potency, we can look at some superior ways to consume it.
Given that most people will purchase Kratom in its most common form, a dry powder, it makes sense to go over the best ways to ingest Kratom powder:
- Drinking Kratom Powder – One of the best and most common ways to ingest Kratom powder is to drink it. Once you have measured out an appropriate dose, you can knock it back via the Toss n’ Wash method or mix it into a glass of water or your preferred beverage. Many enjoy mixing Kratom powder with a glass of fruit juice or a fruit-based smoothie, as this can help mask some of Kratom’s bitter and earthy flavors.
- Swallow Kratom Capsules – You can consume Kratom in the form of a convenient capsule. These capsules contain a pre-measured dose of Kratom, and you can swallow them just like any other type of capsule-based medication or supplement. You can purchase a ready-made Kratom capsule, or you can fill your own.
- Kratom Teas and Edibles – Many Kratom vendors will also sell Kratom tea bags and food-based items, like Kratom chocolates and gummies. While these products sometimes contain excess additives, like sugar, corn syrup and preservatives, this is still a safer option than smoking Kratom.
If you are concerned about quality, you can also make your own Kratom edibles. But remember, the alkaloids in Kratom are temperature-sensitive, so be careful if you plan on heating the Kratom.
While it is possible to smoke Kratom, it is not a good idea. Not only can it result in a variety of short and long-term side effects that can be severely detrimental to your health, but the act of smoking Kratom can also significantly reduce its potency.
Simply put, there are just far more reasons why you should not smoke Kratom than there are reasons why you should. Stick to the safer and more effective methods of ingestion, like drinking Kratom powder in responsible, pre-measured doses!