Kratom has become an increasingly popular drug alternative used for both health benefits and recreational purposes. Many teens have been found using kratom because it is currently legal in the United States, no prescription is required, and it is easy to purchase. While kratom is completely natural, don’t be fooled, due to its similarities to opioid drugs it can be dangerously addictive.

What are the risks associated with kratom? Are there any potential side effects to using kratom? Even though kratom is natural, can someone experience withdrawals after using it?

If your loved one is using kratom, it may be helpful to understand a bit about why they might be using it and learn about the potential harm it could have. Here’s everything you need to know about kratom, the potential risks of using it, and how to help a loved one who may be experiencing withdrawals.

What is Kratom?

Kratom, also known as mitragyna speciosa, is a tree from the coffee family native to Southeast Asia. Most of the world’s kratom trees are found in Indonesia, but it also grows abundantly in Thailand, Bali, Vietnam, Malaysia, Myanmar, and the Philippines.

Traditionally, people would chew the leaves or use them in cooking for subtle pain relief or enhanced energy. Today kratom is more commonly being used as a recreational drug and you will often find people smoking kratom or taking it in the form of a pill.

Kratom leaves have the chemical mitragynine, which is similar to pain-relieving drugs like opioids. This means that it also has many of the same safety concerns and can be very addictive.

Why is Kratom Used?

People will use kratom for various reasons. In small amounts, kratom can feel like a stimulant that gives you more energy similar to drinking a cup of coffee. However, when taken in larger doses it has a more relaxing effect and can even put you in a dreamlike state.

Kratom was traditionally used to help treat medical conditions such as fever, insomnia, and diarrhea. Many workers would use kratom to help give an energy boost, relieve pain, and increase productivity.

In recent years, researchers have found that people will use kratom to help with mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, or ADHD. Many users in the younger generation will use kratom to help with managing anxiety or studying. It has also been found that those attempting to reduce or stop using substances will use kratom to help manage withdrawals from opioid drugs such as heroin and morphine.

Researchers are exploring the potential health benefits linked to using kratom such as pain relief, mood boost, and sexual enhancement. While there may be potential health benefits linked to kratom, it has not been proven to be a safe or effective form of medicine and has many potential risks associated with it. And although many use kratom to help reduce or stop opioid use, many question whether it can actually make withdrawal symptoms worse.

Risks of Kratom

Although a natural substance, there have been both mild and severe side effects found linked to kratom. Since kratom is a newer recreational drug, researchers are continuing to study the potential effects linked to kratom usage. However, it has been found there is potential long-term damage to the cardiovascular, neurological, gastrointestinal, and respiratory systems.

What are the side effects?

The most common side effects of kratom are nausea and constipation. Other mild symptoms found are itching, sweating, dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, aggression, etc. While less common, serious side effects include high blood pressure, seizures, hallucinations, trouble breathing, and liver damage.

Has anyone died from using kratom?

Although more research is needed, there is a minimal number of deaths linked to kratom usage as compared to deaths from other drugs. A study reported that there had been at least 44 deaths associated with kratom exposure, 2 of which were due to kratom alone.  

Is Kratom legal?

While kratom is still currently legal in the Philippines, many countries in Asia have decided to ban the plant due to symptoms and risks linked to its use. While it is currently prohibited in many countries, Kratom is still legal to purchase in the United States. 

Withdrawals of Kratom

Kratom has many similarities to pain-relieving drugs, meaning similarly just like opioids it can be highly addictive. The leaves contain many chemical compounds that influence the body. The most studied compounds are mitragynine and 7-hydroxy mitragynine, both of which activate receptors in the brain that hold addictive properties similar to heroin or oxycodone.

How are withdrawal and substance use disorder symptoms related to kratom treated?

Due to its similarities to highly addictive drugs, further research needs to be done on substance use and withdrawals related to kratom. There are currently no approved medical treatments for withdrawal and substance use disorder symptoms linked to kratom, but some treatments and therapies have been found to be a natural and beneficial way of addressing symptoms related to kratom use.

Is addiction treatment the answer?

If you or someone you know is experiencing substance use disorder symptoms related to kratom, drug or alcohol addiction, or withdrawal symptoms, Healthy Life Recovery is here to help!

Contact us today to find out more about our addiction treatment program.


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“Is Kratom Legal in the Philippines?”, 22 Feb. 2022,

“Kratom.” National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 8 Apr. 2022,

“Kratom: Overview, Uses, Side Effects, Precautions, Interactions, Dosing and Reviews.” WebMD, WebMD,

Smith, Matt. “Kratom: Uses, Side Effects, and Safety Issues.” WebMD, WebMD,

“Is Kratom Legal in the Philippines?”, 22 Feb. 2022,

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