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Kratom Overdose And Death Statistics: How Much To OD

overdose on kratom

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Being a herbal substance that causes psychoactive effects, extreme usage can potentially lead to misuse, even kratom overdose. In large amounts and uncontrol dosages, users can experience kratom poisoning outcomes. This article discusses the kratom toxicity, overdose symptoms, and what treatment can be provided in case of overdose.

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Learn About Kratom Overdose:

Can One Overdose On Kratom?

Despite being a botanical product intended to deal with a range of health issues, there is a high possibility of kratom overdose (OD). People use the plant for various reasons, but there are not many studies on the pros and cons of the drug. Nevertheless, there are several reports about kratom OD, even fatal outcomes. There are certain reasons why overdose could be dangerous for one’s health.

Risk Of Adverse Interactions

The first one is using a product in big amounts, especially mixing kratom and alcohol or with other opioids, benzodiazepines, sedative-hypnotic sleep aids, and central nervous system depressants. Sometimes drug combinations are incompatible with a possibility of deaths from kratom.

kratom quality

Dubious Quality Of Mitragyna Speciosa Products

Secondly, there are so many vendors and sources where people can buy herbal substances online that they cannot be 100% sure of the product’s quality. So, there is always the possibility of receiving a counterfeit. Since the drug is unregulated, there is no guarantee that the products containing Mitragyna speciosa are pure and do not have other contaminations. Mixing kratom strains in uncontrolled proportions can also provoke kratom overdose symptoms.

Drug Of Concern

DEA put it on the list as a drug of concern because of its possible poisonous effect with the potential for overdose. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention used reports from the National Poison Data System to investigate cases of an overdose on kratom, which resulted in poison control calls. The number of such calls increased from 26 cases in 2010 to 263 in 2015, and 40% of calls were accompanied by life-threatening conditions.

overdose on rkatom

How Much Kratom To Overdose

There are no conducted researches that can show the safe dosage of using this herbal substance. The effect from every dosage depends on the consumer’s age, physical and mental condition, tolerance to the substance, a form of usage, and the presence of other contaminations and drugs.

Sometimes, people don’t know about drug-drug interactions, which are potentially risky that may cause heavy adverse effects. Also, the effects of kratom strains depend on the type of herb. However, the drug still needs more research on it to find out the correlation between dosage and kratom abuse.

For most users, a moderate dose of Mitragyna speciosa in powder form is from 3 to 9 grams. Doses over 9 grams are strong and can cause negative feelings. So, it is not good to reach high on kratom. In larger doses, especially more than 10 grams, the user will experience poisoning resulting in the effect like after drinking too much alcohol or taking opiates. Mixing kratom and LSD or other psychotropic substances may cause intense hallucinations, delusions, and aggression. Everyone should take into account that taking too much and chasing for ‘a better effect’ may lead to severe consequences such as kratom overdose.

It is important to note that even the minimal kratom dose can cause overdose, as dosing is individual. There is no right approach to calculate the correct dosage, as there is no approved guide from the FDA. That’s why any dose can appear dangerous.

Kratom Overdose Symptoms

Regarding the doses and frequency of use, there could be a wide range of kratom overdose symptoms, which manifest in various ways:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • intense heart rate
  • sweating
  • nervousness
  • itching
  • seizures
  • hallucinations
  • increased urination
  • liver toxicity
  • insomnia
  • lethargy
  • appetite loss/anorexia
  • respiratory issues
  • dry mouth

can one die from kratom

Kratom Overdose Death

According to the CDC report, kratom death statistics show the number of overdose deaths in which Mitragyna speciosa is detected on a postmortem toxicology testing. Also, there were cases in which the substance was the only factor that has caused lethal outcomes ascertained by a medical examiner. This data was established in 11 states during July 2016–June 2017 and in 27 states during July–December 2017. There were 152 (0.56%) of 27,338 overdose deaths in which the postmortem toxicology stated kratom-positive results. The number of kratom related deaths was 91 (59.9%) of the 152. Seven fatalities were determined as those that have happened from using Mitragyna speciosa as the only substance with a positive testing result.

In almost 80% of kratom deaths, the decedents had a history of misuse, and there is no confirmed information they had addressed the complaints to the medical centers. That is why a timely visit to a drug rehab facility can save a life. In general, kratom-related fatalities were less than 1% of all the State Unintentional Drug Overdose Reporting System overdose deaths from July 2016 to December 2017.

The US Department of Health and Human Services has recommended changing the kratom schedule to the controlled substance of the 1st schedule, making it illegal as heroin and LSD.

Kratom Overdose Treatment

With a frequent usage of Mitragyna speciosa, one can develop a tolerance. It will take several weeks of abstinence to get back to the usual sensitivity. Otherwise, it may lead to addiction.

In the US, there is no approved medical kratom usage, so there is no doctor supervision concerning this question. Without control and established medical diagnosis, a high risk of harmful side effects, kratom overdose, and death occurs.

If a person took too much kratom, they should be taken to an emergency room as soon as possible. The first thing to do is to call 911 and follow the instructions of the operator.

In the case of the overdose, there should be immediate medical attention with further treatment.

Frequently, it is not reported as kratom toxicity, and medical investigation reports the reason for overdose as ‘acute mitragynine intoxication.’ A number of fatal overdose cases could be recorded as ‘kratom-related deaths.’ For now, there is no specific treatment for Mitragyna speciosa overdose; the patients get therapies and medications to ease the symptoms.

How To Prevent Drug Misuse

Despite th fact that Mitragyna speciosa is a natural medication, that does not mean it is safe. It has a powerful influence on human health that may cause serious, untoward effects, especially when used with other substances. In uncontrollable, rampant usage Mitragyna speciosa products can provoke different respiratory issues, organ damages, especially liver problems, and psychotic disorders.

There is no safe amount of the substance to use. That is why there is a high chance of developing kratom addiction. In this case, the abuser or the closest family members should address the drug rehab center. These facilities can provide the needed level of care and effective addiction treatment for every patient.

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Sources
  1. Drugs of Concern. United States 
Drug Enforcement Administration. https://www.dea.gov/taxonomy/term/311.
  2. Anwar M, Law R, Schier J. Notes from the Field. Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) Exposures Reported to Poison Centers — United States, 2010–2015. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2016; 65: 748–749. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/65/wr/mm6529a4.htm.
  3. What is kratom? National Institute on Druf Abuse. 2019. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/kratom.
  4. Olsen EO, O’Donnell J, Mattson CL, Schier JG, Wilson N. Notes from the Field: Unintentional Drug Overdose Deaths with Kratom Detected — 27 States, July 2016–December 2017. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2019; 68: 326–327. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/68/wr/mm6814a2.htm.
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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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