The Kratom Use Signs and Symptoms – What Are They?

Patient is complaining about Symptoms Of Kratom Abuse

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Kratom Use Signs

Kratom is unique substance with its combination of stimulating and sedating properties. Low-dose kratom use signs are like caffeine, increased alertness, and physical energy. High-doses of kratom use signs are close to opioids with sedation, dizziness with the risk of seizures and tremors. Long-term use of kratom haven’t been widely studied yet, but the body can develop dependence, tolerance, and addiction.

Kratom Abuse Overview

Kratom is a plant native to Southeast Asia. It is unusual because it has stimulating properties at low doses (1-5g of raw leaves) and sedative properties like opioids at high doses 5-15g of fresh leaves. The kratom plant leaves can be ingested in multiple ways including eating the leaves, brewing them in tea, and pills made of kratom powder.
Southeast Asians use kratom leaves for pain relief, coughing, intestinal diseases, and for staying awake. In the U.S., proponents of kratom state that it is a safer alternative to opioids, aids in opioid withdrawal, and is an effective pain reliever. No clinical trials have been done, however, to test the validity of these claims.

The legality of kratom is under dispute. Kratom is banned in 15 countries and six states (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Tennessee, and Wisconsin) while the Drug Enforcement Agency considers the issue. One of the dangers of kratom cited by the DEA is that as an “herbal supplement” there is no regulation of its properties and several Kratom-based samples available in smoke shops and online contained other substances including synthetic cannabinoids and opioids. 
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Short-Term Kratom Use Signs

According to the limited research available, “kratom does not usually produce an intense high or euphoria.” Visible signs are like the visible signs of other psychostimulants like caffeine.
Low dose kratom use signs include:

  • Increased alertness
  • Physical energy
  • Talkativeness

Some people report adverse effects, showing signs of anxiety, irritability, and enhanced aggression.

Non-medical or recreational use of this substance is commonly considered an abuse and can be legally prosecuted.

High-dose kratom use signs can resemble that of opioids such as:

  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Dizziness
  • Sedation
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Psychosis
  • Vivid dreams

Even at high doses, Kratom does not cause respiratory depression like opioids.

Long-Term Kratom Use Signs

While dependence and tolerance take longer to develop with kratom, the body will crave more of it the longer the drug is used. Individuals with a long-term addiction to kratom exhibit the following:

  • Tremors
  • Red cheeks
  • Anorexia and weight loss
  • psychosis

Not much is known about long-term kratom use signs since there is little clinical data on it. There are some withdrawal symptoms associated with quitting long term kratom use, but users of the drug describe it as less painful than withdrawing from opioids due to the relatively short half-life of kratom.

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About Author

Peter Grinspoon, MD

Dr. Peter Grinspoon is an experienced physician with long-term clinical practice experience. As a former analgesic addict, Dr. Grinspoon knows precisely how important it is to provide patients with effective treatment and support. Medical writing for him is the way to communicate with people and inform them about their health.


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