Kratom is a plant with origins in South East Asia that is gaining mainstream popularity for its perceived health benefits.
You may have heard about kratom and its use as an energy booster, pain reliever, and treatment for alcohol withdrawal and cravings.
With that said, the truth about kratom is debated as there are safety concerns related to its use.
In this article, we’re going to look specifically at Kratom and alcohol to see whether or not it should be used together and highlight any dangers.
How does Kratom work?
Kratom is a tropical evergreen tree in the coffee family. Kratom is consumed in various ways but the most popular is called toss and wash which involves taking Kratom powder with water. It is also mixed with tea and in some countries, you’ll find it as a supplement capsule.
At low doses, kratom has stimulant properties with people reporting to have more energy, being more alert, and feeling more sociable.
At higher doses, kratom has powerful sedative effects, producing euphoria, and dulling emotions and sensations.
In fact, it acts on the same opioid receptors as morphine which is why there are concerns that its use can lead to abuse and addiction.(1)
Some people that practice Asian traditional medicine consider kratom to be a substitute for opium.
At the time of writing, Kratom is technically legal in the United States, but imports or sale as a supplement are banned. Kratom is not legal in Thailand, Australia, Malaysia, and many European countries.
Can you take Kratom with Alcohol?
Kratom takes effect after five to 10 minutes, and its effects last two to five hours. The effects of kratom become more potent as the dosage taken increases.
The main concern arises from the fact that Kratom is a nervous system depressant at higher doses. The same applies to alcohol. But what does nervous system depressant actually mean?
Essentially, it describes the signs and symptoms that present when a given drug disrupts and slows down the normal functions of your brain. These include:
- Hallucinations and delusion
- Depression and delusion
- Breathing suppression
- Seizure, coma, and death
Therefore, taking Kratom with alcohol should really be avoided.
The CDC reported 19 deaths associated with Kratom and alcohol use in the year 2016-2017 out of a total of 152.(2)
The fact that Kratom can stay in your system for up to 5 hours makes it particularly dangerous. At the same time, alcohol can stay in your system for several hours. Therefore, the sustained effects of both of Kratom and alcohol can be a real problem if too much of either is taken.
Is Kratom good for alcohol withdrawal?
Some people take kratom to avoid the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal and there are a few anecdotal case reports that it can help.(3)
Once again, these benefits have been attributed to the fact that Kratom can act on the opioid receptors.
However, using Kratom for alcohol withdrawal or reducing cravings is not recommended. Aside from the safety concerns regarding Kratom use by itself, it’s well-known to be addictive.(4)
As a result, there is a real risk that people could switch from being dependent on one drug to another.
Kratom is not recommended for the treatment of alcohol withdrawal symptoms and risks developing another addiction. In addition, there is no scientific evidence to show that kratom is effective or safe for use in alcohol withdrawal or cravings.
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Kratom and liver health
There are several reported cases of acute liver injury from Kratom use.(5)
Liver injury is sometimes seen which develops within two to eight weeks of regular use. The symptoms of liver damage with Kratom use are fatigue, nausea, itchy skin and dark urine followed by jaundice (skin and eyes turning yellow color).(6)
This poses another risk when taking Kratom with alcohol as both substances are known to affect the liver. It’s, even more, the case in those who drink regularly or are taking medications that are processed by your liver.
If you’re taking any regular medication, always discuss with your doctor before using herbal supplements. Despite being “natural”, interactions with medication are common.
Other Side effects
Aside from the important side effects mentioned above, Kratom has a number of other more common side effects, including:
- Dry mouth
- nausea and vomiting
- Muscle pain
- Stomach pain
Is Kratom good for hangovers?
Hangover symptoms are caused by drinking more than your body can handle. It’s a combination of dehydration, inflammation and poor sleep all combined which leaves you feeling rough.
People have been trying to find a hangover cure since the time alcohol was first discovered and to this day remain unsuccessful.
Taking Kratom may mask some of the symptoms of a hangover and give you a temporary boost in energy. However, the inevitable hangover will always follow.
Taking Kratom itself can cause a hangover even without alcohol. As with all psychoactive drugs, You are likely to experience a “comedown”. Typical Kratom comedown symptoms include low mood, low energy, nausea, and headache.
With that said, taking Kratom when hungover is probably safer than when there is alcohol in your system. Either way, neither situations are ideal.
Where to Buy Kratom
The Food and Drug Administration has called Kratom a dangerous opioid and sought to ban it by making it a Schedule 1 drug like heroin or ecstasy.
Right now, researchers at the DEA and FDA are evaluating the health effects of Kratom and whether it will become banned is being decided.
As a result, reputable supplement manufacturers steer clear from producing Kratom products. This means that Kratom products to buy online are often unregulated and not produced in facilities that meet minimum safety standards.
In fact, the FDA has published a list of Kratom products which have been found to be contaminated with heavy metals.
In March 2018, the FDA also found many Kratom products contaminated with salmonella.(7)
Because of all these issues, buying Kratom online doesn’t come without risks.
Kratom and Alcohol – Final verdict
That brings us to the end of our look into Kratom and Alcohol. There are several concerning health outcomes associated with kratom use and there are warnings from the FDA and National Institute on Drug Abuse.(7)
At higher doses, Kratom works as a sedative and combining this with alcohol can be life-threatening. The reported cases of death associated with Kratom use are usually in combination with another sedative drug like alcohol, morphine or benzodiazepines.
In summary, Kratom should not be mixed with alcohol.