Kratom is an herbal drug that is currently legal in the United States. It comes from the Mitragyna speciosa plant, which is native to tropical parts of the world. Mitragynine is the main active component in kratom and is responsible for the effects the drug has on the body. Mitragynine generates opioid-like activity in the brain and can reduce the sensation of pain like an opioid does. In low doses, kratom can have stimulant effects. Kratom addiction can develop over time through regular use.
What Does Kratom Do?
Kratom acts like a stimulant when taken at a low dose. At high doses, however, kratom can have opioid-like effects that cause sedation and euphoria. Often, people take kratom to self-medicate medical conditions like pain, depression, sleep and opioid withdrawal.
Kratom is usually taken by mouth, despite the fact that some forms of the drug are labeled as “not for human consumption.” Kratom can be purchased at smoke shops, bars and gas stations in several dosage forms, including capsules, tablets, loose raw leaves, gum and powder. When sold in leaf form, kratom is usually taken with liquid or as a brewed tea.
Sometimes, kratom is sold under alternate names like mitragyna. Street names for kratom include ketum, thom, biak and thang.
How Is Kratom Metabolized?
Researchers believe that kratom metabolizes in the liver and is broken down into 7-OH-mitragynine by certain liver enzymes. Experts suspect that 7-OH-mitragynine is the actual substance responsible for many of kratom’s known effects. However, studies have only been done in animals, so it is unclear if this occurs in humans as well.
It also appears that a small amount of mitragynine is eliminated in urine. However, this amount is so small that it is safe to say that most metabolism and elimination occurs in the liver.
How Long Does Kratom Take To Work?
A high from kratom occurs within five to 10 minutes, and euphoria from the drug can last anywhere from two to five hours. However, how long the effects last depends on how much of the drug you take, as larger doses last longer than smaller ones.
In a study of patients who abused kratom for an average of 1.75 years and were given controlled amounts of kratom tea for seven days, the average kratom half-life was almost 24 hours. This means that after 24 hours of taking a dose of kratom, one-half of that dose remains in the body. For example, if someone took two grams of kratom, after about 24 hours, there would still be one gram of kratom left in their system. After another 24 hours, there would be half of a gram left in the system, and so on.
In people who haven’t used kratom long-term, the half-life can be around three hours, which is much shorter. These differences in half-life measurements show that it can vary from person to person, especially depending on how long the person used kratom.
Does Kratom Show Up on a Drug Test?
Many people decide to use kratom instead of other substances because they believe it won’t show up on drug tests. Kratom testing is not a part of several standard tests, such as the SAMHSA-5. However, some kratom components and metabolites can be detectable with certain specialized drug tests, such as urine or blood tests.
How Long Does Kratom Stay in Urine?
Some kratom alkaloids may show up on certain specialized urine tests. While research is limited on how long kratom would be detectable in a user’s urine, there could be trace amounts detected in a urine test for over a week. For an average kratom user, it probably would be detectable in their urine within a five-day period after use. Some kratom metabolites might be detectable in the urine for over a week.
How Long Does Kratom Stay in Your Blood?
A blood test could be used to determine if someone took kratom and calculate how much they could have taken. Kratom is easy to detect in a person’s blood. If someone is a heavy or long-term user of kratom, there would likely be metabolites that could show up in blood tests for several days following use. However, since blood tests only provide a short detection window — usually just a few hours or up to a couple of days after substance use — urine tests are more likely to be used.
How Long Does Kratom Stay in Your Saliva?
A saliva test could be used to identify kratom or its metabolites in saliva. While this type of testing is frequently used to test for a variety of drug types, a saliva test for kratom is not currently available.
How Long Does Kratom Stay in Your Hair?
As with many other drugs, testing of hair follicles can show whether someone has used a substance in the past few months. It can detect use over a longer period of time than some of the other methods, usually up to 90 days. Currently, there are not any hair tests being used to test for kratom. It’s not known if the chemicals contained in kratom would be detectable in hair, so more research is being done in that area.
Kratom False Positive
It is unclear if false positives for kratom are possible. Experts have found that kratom itself can initially cause false positives in opioid drug tests, such as those for methadone. However, confirmation drug tests then show that the opioid is not present.
Factors Affecting How Long Kratom Stays in Your System
How long kratom stays in a person’s body depends on many factors, including:
- Kratom dose size
- Frequency of kratom use
- Type of kratom used and how the leaves were processed
- Route of kratom administration (snorted, ingested or smoked)
- Age, weight and sex of the user
- Body fat percentage (mitragynine is very soluble in fat)
- Genetic metabolism variables
- Overall nutrition and hydration status
How Long Does Kratom Withdrawal Last?
The length and severity of kratom withdrawal can vary from person to person, depending on how long they’ve been using the drug and how much they take. While some people may not experience kratom withdrawal at all, long-term users who take high doses of the drug often have profound withdrawal symptoms. The higher the dose of kratom and the longer you take the drug, the more severe the withdrawal symptoms tend to be.
Kratom withdrawal symptoms include:
- Runny eyes and nose
- Trouble sleeping
- Nerve pain
How To Detox From Kratom
Detoxing from kratom can be tricky because little data exists on the best — and safest — ways to stop the substance. For this reason, it is best to speak with your doctor before stopping kratom. This is especially true if you take a high dose of kratom or have used the substance for a long time. Your doctor may recommend tapering kratom (slowly reducing the dose over time) or attending a medically supervised detox program.
If you or someone you love is struggling with kratom addiction, The Recovery Village Columbus can help. Our addiction experts can help you address your kratom use and begin a healthier, drug-free life in recovery. Contact us today to learn more about kratom addiction treatment programs that can work well for your situation.
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