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Kratom is an herbal drug that’s often promoted in the United States as a legal psychoactive substance, but this doesn’t seem to be the case. Since its introduction into the U.S. drug market, there are many misconceptions about kratom and a general lack of knowledge about it. With mitragynine as its main active alkaloid, kratom can produce a sedative high, making it a drug of choice for people in the process of recovering from opioid withdrawal symptoms. Our Heartland drug rehab looks into the effects of kratom in your system and how long this substance takes to leave the body.
Also known as kakuam, ketum, ithang, or thom, kratom is a botanical substance derived from the plant Mitragyna speciosa, which is native to Thailand and other regions of Southeast Asia. Kratom works similarly to opioids. It activates the release of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin in the brain, and it reduces pain. Mitragynine, the active chemical component of kratom, is responsible for its opioid-like side effects. In Thailand, it’s considered the third most commonly abused illegal drug. These statistics make it a drug of concern to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in the U.S. Because this drug works like opioids on the brain, people with opioid addictions have turned to kratom as a cheaper and more accessible alternative.
In addition to oral ingestion, kratom can also be used by mixing it with a caffeinated beverage or codeine and cough syrup to create a drink called 4x100. According to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), this mixture is often consumed by young Muslims in southern Thailand because it produces similar side effects to alcohol intoxication.1Kratom often comes in either a powder or tablet form and can be sold as a nutritional supplement or under the radar at smoke and tobacco shops. Additionally, drinks that contain kratom, known as ketum, are commonly sold in bars in states like North Caroline, New York, and Colorado.
The side effects of kratom can begin within 10 to 15 minutes after use. Even the smallest dose of kratom can cause side effects that last for two hours. In higher doses, kratom effects can last for up to eight hours. Usually, four to five grams of kratom can produce effects lasting for about two hours, while seven to eight grams can lead to longer-lasting symptoms. A kratom high is said to peak around 1.5 to 2.5 hours after use.
Some common kratom effects on the body include:
Kratom’s effects are heightened when taken on an empty stomach. If you eat before taking kratom, this may reduce the duration of its side effects to one or two hours. Kratom is also addictive, and a person can become dependent on kratom with frequent or long-term use. Because it sedates the central nervous system and activates dopamine release like opioids, a person can become reliant on kratom to feel pain relief or experience a high.
A person who takes a high dose of it may also exhibit kratom overdose symptoms. If so, call 9-1-1 immediately. Avoid getting to this point with the help of our opioid detox treatment in Illinois, which can help you flush kratom out of your system and make it easier for you to quit using it.
People, if they’ve experienced negative side effects or are contemplating stopping their use, often wonder how long kratom stays in your system. They may be worried about any withdrawal symptoms and what the experience may be like once they cease their use of this drug. If they're going to be drug tested for employment or any other reason, many people also wonder, “does kratom show up on a drug test?” However, kratom doesn’t usually show up on drug tests.
Since research on kratom is scarce, little is known about its half-life or how long it takes for half of the drug to leave the body. Even so, one study found that the average half-life of kratom is around 23 – 24 hours, meaning that it can take a full day for someone to eliminate 50% of it from their body and two days for it to completely leave a person’s system.2
As with other drugs, several factors determine or influence how long kratom lasts in a person’s system. Some of the factors that can determine how long kratom stays in your body include:
Additionally, a person who’s developed a tolerance to kratom or has used it for a long-time may take longer to eliminate it from their system than first-time users. This is due to tolerance, which is when the body gradually becomes accustomed to drugs or alcohol to the point where the person has to take more to experience the same side effects. A growing tolerance to kratom encourages higher doses, which leads to increased physical dependence and addiction.
While it’s speculated that kratom is a safer alternative to opioid drugs, this is far from the truth. If you’re addicted to kratom, you may need opioid addiction treatment to recover. Banyan Heartland offers various addiction treatment services in Gilman to help you or a loved one get sober. Call us now at 888-280-4763 to speak to a team member about our inpatient substance abuse treatment in Illinois.