Can Kratom Help Me Quit Opioids?

May 25, 2018

Can Kratom Help Me Quit Opioids?

The sale of Kratom is now illegal in Ireland and the UK, but it remains legal in many countries, including most of the US and Canada. Small doses of kratom act as a stimulant but larger doses are more like an opioid. Kratom is often used as an alternative to opioids and frequently used by people trying to break their physical dependence on opioids. They use it as a kind of herbal Suboxone. While many people think of kratom as a natural remedy for opioid withdrawal, kratom itself is addictive and often becomes a problem.

The reason kratom relieves the symptoms of opioid withdrawal is that it works in a similar way in the brain. Kratom appears to affect the same opioid receptors as opioid drugs. Like Suboxone or methadone, kratom does not cause the same euphoria as opioid drugs. Although it can cause some euphoria and numb pain at high doses, it doesn’t affect the user’s behaviour in the same way. In this sense, it’s very much like other medication assisted treatments in that it reduces cravings while still allowing the user to function more or less normally.

Unfortunately, kratom shares another trait with drugs like Suboxone and methadone: it’s addictive. Physical dependence can form in about six months, after which, most people experience withdrawal symptoms ranging from mild to severe. The withdrawal symptoms are similar to opioid withdrawal and include runny nose, muscle and joint aches, irritability, mood swings, tremors, depression, anxiety, sweating, nausea, insomnia, and headaches. These are typically less intense than opioid withdrawal, but many people describe kratom withdrawal as just as bad.

Kratom is not regulated, making the potency not predictable. This is typical of coffee and tea as well, but no one depends on coffee or tea to stave off opioid cravings. You may also run into trouble taking much more than you intended. There is also little assurance that what you order is what you get.

Kratom still has not been well studied. It is clearly addictive, especially for people who have already struggled with addiction. That said, a kratom addiction is probably better than a heroin addiction. The most important thing to remember is that kratom is not a silver bullet. It may relieve some of the withdrawal symptoms from quitting opioids, but addiction is about more than physical dependence. Most people will not beat addiction simply by taking kratom. Ideally, opioid addiction should be treated comprehensively, in a way that includes therapy, social support, and medical detox.



Smarmore Castle Private Clinic in County Louth, near Dublin was founded in 1988 as a residential rehabilitation hospital treating people suffering from drug and alcohol purposes. Smarmore Castle believes in helping patients lead a life of abstinence through 12 Step programs, detox and medical treatment, psychotherapy, and complementary therapies. For more information, please call 041-986-5080. For those who live out of the country, the international number is 00353-41-986-5080.

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