If you’ve ever experienced a kratom high, you know that it can be quite pleasant. Unfortunately, using kratom too often or in large quantities can also leave you dealing with less enjoyable experiences.
When taken in low doses, kratom generally produces minimal side effects. Larger doses or prolonged use of kratom can create some health risks. Long-term users risk developing physical dependencies, and even short-term use of large amounts of kratom can produce adverse effects. The best way to avoid kratom side effects is to stick with the lowest effective dose.
If you’ve never tried kratom, it’s hard to evaluate whether the benefits of kratom outweigh the risks. As you read about potential side effects, bear in mind that they represent worst-case scenarios, not everyday experiences.
Long Term Negative Side Effects of Kratom
Since kratom has only become popular in America within the last few decades, Western researchers haven’t evaluated its long-term effects. However, their counterparts in Thailand and Malaysia have studied the long-term adverse side effects of kratom on regular users. They have determined that long-term side effects are associated with using frequent, high doses of kratom.
These side effects can include:
- Lower appetite
- Unintentional weight loss
- Dry mouth
- Frequent urination
- And psychosis
The results of these Southeast Asian studies have yet to be confirmed by American scientists or physicians. Until they are, you should take them with a grain of salt. Even in areas where people have been using kratom for centuries, the worst of these side effects are uncommon. You’re far more likely to experience a lack of appetite or insomnia than seizures or psychotic episodes.
How to Avoid Long-Term Side Effects
The best way to avoid developing adverse health effects from long-term kratom use is to prevent kratom dependency. Use kratom responsibly by sticking to the lowest effective dose and taking it less than three times per day. If you’re using kratom as a daily wellness herb, it’s best to take just one dose per day.
Side Effects of Kratom on Your Liver
If you’re occasionally using low doses of kratom, liver damage shouldn’t be a problem. However, there is some evidence that long-term kratom use can cause acute liver injury. Livery injuries are rare and are only associated with chronic kratom use. So far, only around two dozen clinically diagnosed liver injury cases have been reported to the FDA. That said, if you already have liver problems, you should avoid this herb.
In most cases, liver injuries occur within one to eight weeks of chronic kratom use. The symptoms of acute liver damage can include nausea, fatigue, pruritus, and dark-colored urine. Eventually, they can progress to jaundice. Kratom users who have sought medical attention for acute liver injuries have healed after discontinuing the plant.
Side Effects of Kratom on Your Heart
Kratom use can elevate your heart rate, which can be a problem if you’re already at high risk of developing heart problems. For the average user of kratom heart health isn’t a problem. However, you can experience an abnormally fast heartbeat, especially if you are sensitive to stimulants.
The media has portrayed kratom as a severely dangerous drug that can cause heart attacks. The reality is far more complicated than this oversimplification implies. There have been a handful of cases where patients have experienced cardiac arrests with kratom in their bloodstreams. However, the vast majority of those patients also took prescription or illicit drugs. There is little evidence that mitragynine alone can cause heart attacks.
If you have existing heart problems, you may want to avoid kratom or at least discuss your use with your doctor. One study shows that mitragynine can potentiate abnormal heart rhythms known as torsade de pointes. Torsade de pointes is a particular type of abnormal heart rhythm associated with sudden cardiac death. Those with healthy hearts have little to worry about, but kratom could make it worse if you already have an abnormal heart rhythm.
Kratom Sexual Side Effects
Given that some people use kratom to boost libido, you may be surprised to hear that kratom can have adverse sexual side effects. This problem is primarily a matter of having too much of a good thing. Using small doses of kratom to decrease your performance stress and boost your energy before sex is OK. It’s only when you use it all the time that you’ll start to notice problems.
Chronic, long-term kratom use can lead to erectile dysfunction in men. In some cases, men who use kratom experience prolonged erections without ejaculation. In others, they have the opposite problem and cannot get aroused at all.
In rare cases, kratom can also cause a condition known as acute secondary hypogonadism. The symptoms of this condition can include low testosterone, fatigue, and low libido. These problems may manifest in the bedroom, but they start in the brain.
Patients who suffer from secondary hypogonadism have trouble sending signals from the brain to tell their testicles to produce testosterone and sperm. Thankfully, acute secondary hypogonadism related to kratom is rare, and it goes away after stopping the use of the plant.
How to Avoid Kratom Side Effects
The best way to avoid developing adverse side effects is to use kratom responsibly. You should keep your doses as low as possible. For newcomers to kratom, that means starting with just one gram of kratom powder per 100 pounds of weight.
Some kratom users recommend upping your dose as you develop a tolerance to mitragynine and the herb’s other alkaloids. That’s fine to an extent, but don’t go overboard. The more kratom you use, the more likely you will develop adverse side effects or physical dependency.
If you notice your kratom tolerance getting abnormally high, start cutting back immediately. Reduce your dose by 0.5g per day until you get back to an average level. You can also keep your tolerance low by switching between strains or taking days off from using kratom.
Managing Kratom Withdrawal
Since physical dependency is one of the side effects of prolonged kratom use, let’s take a moment to discuss kratom withdrawal. You’ll only experience withdrawal symptoms if you have been using large doses of kratom for a prolonged period. You can expect to start noticing withdrawal symptoms between 12 and 24 hours after your last dose. You could experience these symptoms for three to ten days.
Withdrawal symptoms may include:
- Muscle aches
- Joint pain
- Watery nose and eyes
- Mood changes
- Stomach upset
- Hot flashes
If you’re experiencing some of these symptoms, don’t panic. You should be able to manage them successfully at home using over-the-counter treatments and self-care. You can also taper off of kratom to reduce the severity of your withdrawal symptoms.
Quitting kratom cold-turkey after prolonged use can be challenging. Keep in mind that your withdrawal symptoms will not last forever, and they are unlikely to become severe. If you experience severe symptoms like seizures, seek medical attention. Otherwise, try to distract yourself.
Try meditating, doing some yoga, or performing deep breathing exercises to stay relaxed and deal with insomnia. Over-the-counter pain relievers can help with muscle and joint pain. Herbal remedies like ginger tea might help if you feel nauseous. Taking some time to relax by watching a favorite movie or calling up a good friend makes it easier to deal with the anxiety.
The bottom line here is that kratom withdrawal can be unpleasant, but it’s rarely dangerous. If the reason you’re trying to quit is that you’ve experienced severe side effects from kratom use, take heart. Once you’re finished dealing with the withdrawal symptoms, those side effects should also disappear.
Buy From Responsible Vendors
As long as you use kratom responsibly and in moderation, you shouldn’t have side effects or dependency problems. It’s equally important to buy your kratom from a vendor that guarantees purity. At Kratom Krush, we take your safety seriously and lab test all our products to ensure purity and potency. We also advocate for responsible use, so we provide information about the benefits and risks of kratom on our website.