Is kratom safe? A guide about kratom safety
Interest in kratom among Western consumers has risen exponentially in recent years. Kratom advocates point to the herb's therapeutic potential as a reason to keep it legal, but that doesn't address kratom safety.
Since kratom was only recently introduced to Western markets, few peer-reviewed studies have evaluated the herb's potential benefits and safety risks. So far, clinical and anecdotal evidence points to only minor kratom side effects. However, there are not enough peer-reviewed studies to make sweeping generalizations about kratom safety.
If you want to make an informed decision about kratom's benefits and risks, don't worry. You can find out what you need to know below.
Why the Fear About Kratom Safety?
Within the past few years, the FDA has been on a crusade to vilify kratom. The agency's attempts to label the natural supplement a Schedule I drug have faced strong opposition. However, that hasn't stopped the FDA, DEA, and mainstream media from engaging in what many kratom advocates consider fear-mongering.
It isn't only kratom users who oppose the sweeping generalizations made by the FDA. Many scientists now believe that kratom does not belong to banned substances lists.
Dr. Garcia-Romeau, an instructor at Johns Hopkins, believes there could be "medical applications" for kratom that have yet to be discovered.
Labeling it a Schedule I drug would preclude research into its potential therapeutic benefits.
Kratom Side Effects
There are two sides to every story, and kratom safety is no exception. Alongside an impressive potential kratom benefits list, researchers and advocates have uncovered at least a few kratom side effects.
These side effects may include:
- Decreased appetite
- Mood changes
- And others
Only 19% of frequent kratom users report experiencing side effects, and less than 2% of users say severe side effects. These more severe side effects can include acute kratom liver damage and elevated heart rate. When deciding whether to try kratom heart and liver health should be taken into account.
Kratom Addiction Potential
Part of the reason the FDA claimed that kratom should be banned was that it believed it had a high potential for abuse. On the other hand, kratom advocates, users, and researchers think it could be a useful tool in combating opiate addictions.
Thankfully, when it comes to addiction and kratom research 2020 has finally provided some resolution to this contentious debate. Researchers now believe it has less abuse potential than they had previously thought.
This change in perspective lends credence to the argument that kratom could offer an effective means to self-manage opioid withdrawal symptoms.
Physical Dependency and Kratom Safety
While researchers now believe that kratom is less addictive than opioids, that doesn't mean users never develop kratom dependencies. Physical dependence is slightly different from an addiction, but that doesn't mean you should ignore this safety concern.
If you use kratom frequently or in large amounts, you may develop a tolerance to it.
Your brain and body could get used to being flooded with the herb's beneficial alkaloids. When those alkaloids leave your body, you could experience kratom withdrawal.
Symptoms of kratom withdrawal typically set in within 12-24 hours after your last use.
They may last anywhere between three and seven days and range in severity. Only 9.5% of kratom users report any withdrawal symptoms.
These symptoms may include:
- Muscle aches
- Watery eyes or nose
- Hot flashes
- Mood changes
The best way to avoid having to go through kratom withdrawal is to avoid overindulging. You may want to stick with using only the lowest effective dose of kratom. If you notice your tolerance rising, you could take a break or switch to a new strain instead of using more kratom.
When it comes to kratom safety, there are few subjects more relevant than contaminants. In Southeast Asia, where kratom trees grow wild, this isn't an issue. Users can simply pick a fresh leaf off the tree and chew it to get the effects they want.
Unless you live in a tropical region of the U.S., you can't just grow kratom trees in your backyard. Instead, you have to rely on kratom vendors to provide you with dried leaves in powdered form. Unfortunately, not all kratom vendors care about consumer safety.
Some vendors intentionally introduce potentially dangerous additives to make their kratom seem more potent or stretch it further. Others are careless about sourcing kratom from reliable farmers or eliminating contamination risks in their processing facilities.
These black market products have shown traces of heavy metals, drugs, and even salmonella upon testing.
Tips for Reducing Kratom Safety Risks
If you want to minimize your risks while using kratom, there are a few things you can do:
Buy From a Vendor That Lab-Tests Products
First, make sure you buy your kratom powder or capsules from a reputable vendor that lab-tests 100% of its products. Transparency is key. If the vendor doesn't offer information about lab test results online, get in touch. The right vendor will always offer to send or explain test results.
Stick With Low Doses
There are no generally accepted dosage guidelines for kratom. Most experienced users recommend starting with just one gram per day. If that's not enough, increase the amount of kratom you take each day slightly until you reach a level that works, then stick with it.
Consult a Doctor if You Take Medications
Kratom can cause adverse drug interactions. If you take prescription medications or other herbal supplements, consult a doctor. You may want to look for a naturopath who has a better understanding of kratom and how it works.
Is Kratom an Opioid?
Kratom acts on the same receptors in your brain as opiate drugs. However, it is not a traditional opioid. It acts as both an opioid receptor agonist and antagonist and is typically reported by users to be less addictive.
Try Kratom for Yourself
If you’re still worried about the risk of experiencing adverse side effects or kratom withdrawal? You can relax by taking appropriate precautions such as buying your kratom from Austin Vibes. We lab test our products to make sure you won't be exposed to any harmful contaminants and provide an unrivaled 50-day return policy.