Updated: May 6
Opiate addiction is a harsh reality more and more people are finding themselves in during America's opioid epidemic. This addiction can be such a tough one to beat because of the nature of opiate withdrawal — which has been described as walking through hell. Many opiate addicts will do anything to avoid withdrawal symptoms. Fortunately, many have found success using kratom for opiate withdrawal to help them alleviate their symptoms, overcome their addiction, and get back to a life worth living.
Unfortunately, the science on kratom for opiate withdrawal is lacking — and the FDA's staunch dislike of the opiate alternative hasn't helped that move along. But kratom has been in use for thousands of years, and current anecdotal evidence shows kratom's extreme beneficial power. In the midst of the highest rate of opioid overdose deaths in history, it is definitely worth considering this natural herbal remedy as an alternative to harsh prescription opiates. Let's take a closer look.
What Is Kratom?
First, let's talk about what exactly kratom is. Kratom, or mitragyna speciosa, is an evergreen tree in the coffee family native to Southeast Asia. It is known for its pain-relieving effects, as well as its role in elevating mood and energy.
Kratom leaves are harvested from the tree at varying levels of maturity to produce different color vein varieties. Once harvested, leaves are dried and then ground to produce a fine powder. The powder is kratom's final form, unless it is packed into gel capsules for ease of ingestion; plain kratom powder is often mixed with juice or water for ingestion.
Kratom's Historical Use
Kratom has been in use for centuries in Southeast Asian countries, including Thailand, Malaysia, and Myanmar. One of its largest historical uses has been in rural areas by working men, who chew on raw kratom leaves to stave off pain and fatigue. After work, kratom has been used as an evening drink to increase relaxation and sociability. Kratom has even been used in some Thai villages as part of religious ceremonies and offerings.
The Science Is Limited
Unfortunately, the science on kratom is limited. The most abundant scientific literature you'll find on kratom is actually literature reviews — or, when a scientist gathers the available material on a specific topic, reviews all of it thoroughly, presents their findings, and then makes recommendations for further use.
Most of what's out there about kratom are these literature reviews, often reviewing self-reported, anecdotal evidence from kratom users and evidence of kratom's historical use. Interestingly, most of these reports end with the same conclusion: that kratom has a low potential for abuse, and that further controlled studies are necessary to pin-down kratom's safety and use.
Though there is not a lot of scientific evidence to go through when doing your research on kratom for opiate withdrawal, there is a ton of anecdotal evidence from kratom's users online. Advocacy groups like the American Kratom Association have taken the time to collect stories and testimonials about kratom en masse. The overwhelming theme from many of these testimonials: "kratom saved my life." Below are some of these stories.
Another place to find people sharing their stories is on the forum site, Reddit. There, you can find story after story about kratom's life-changing effects. We've picked out a few stories to showcase below.
"There’s no doubt in my mind I would still be slamming dope if it wasn’t for this plant."
"I used heroin for 10 years and tried everything I could to stop. I was a suboxone and methadone addict, after using them to stop heroin. Quitting both just got me right back where I started. I was reading online about home remedies not expecting much and came across a post on kratom. I ordered an ounce of red bali not really thinking it would work but not having much to lose. From the first dose I was in shock. Not only at the level it brought down my physical withdrawal but also my anxiety level. It also gave me appetite and helped me sleep, in all reality it took like 90% of all my physical withdrawal symptoms. It also helps with the PAWS, which was always the hardest part to get over for me and I still deal with at times. I don’t like to use the term “miracle drug” but it was one of the greatest helps I could have asked for. Kratom saved my life by getting me through the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I hadn’t experienced contentment without opiates in over a decade so I’m happy with where I am physically and mentally. I have been clean almost 3 months now and although the desire to use is always there I’m able to stay strong. The fact kratom was almost banned while they prescribe things like methadone like its nothing is crazy to me. Subs and methadone were harder to stop than heroin. They always just put me back to square 1 when I was able to quit. Kratom has so many benefits that I have to tell other addicts to at least try it. That was my experience with kratom and obviously I consider it a positive one. There’s no doubt in my mind I would still be slamming dope if it wasn’t for this plant."
"With kratom now, I'm good to go."
"Almost 15 years, heroin, methadone, and the last 5 on suboxone w heavy heroin use… Suboxone is the worst. Suicide was better than that withdrawal. Overdosed a bunch. Tried all of the BS the VA gave me. Then, a fellow vet said to try kratom. In 15 years the longest time clean I had was 9 days. Even on suboxone, I mentally wanted to keep shooting up.
With kratom now, I’m good to go. The psychology of kratom is weird in a good way. I don’t think about dope. Ever, anymore. It’s only been four weeks, but things are looking up."
"I tried kratom and it was a godsend. I transitioned from my drigs to a regular kratom usage with NO withdrawals."
"I was an addict for many years . 51 now and I started at 18 years old. Went from many pills to heroin and everything in between. Been in rehab 4 times and almost died twice. I was in a methadone program a few times but I always used other drugs. Tried suboxone and exceeded recommended doses many many times. Withdrawals was a nightmare, days of no sleep and much physical agony.
Finally 4 years ago I tried kratom and it was a godsend. I transitioned from my drugs to a regular kratom usage with NO withdrawals. I used an incredibly large amount of drugs and the question of my body having withdrawals was a given. Comparing heroin withdrawal with a supposed kratom withdrawal is ludicrous. I was able to reconnect with my wife and children and find (and keep) a decent job. No relapse or further drug use. To ME it was a lifesaver and hope others can find this out as well."
Kratom's Legal Battles
So, with the glowing success so many people are touting about kratom for opiate withdrawal, you'd think that researchers would be hot on the case with research into these conditions. So why is there such little research available?!
Well, surprise surprise, it's almost as if a natural product in competition with the $25.4 billion opioid market might ruffle some feathers. The FDA has been on the hunt for kratom, going recently so far as to try to urge an international ban with the World Health Organization, and in previous years even boldly lying to the public and actively withholding information regarding kratom.
Science Is Trying
Even with the FDA trying to label kratom as a schedule 1 drug, there are scientists fighting for the availability of truthful and accurate information. It's happening slowly, but it is happening. Science has found "kratom has a low potential for abuse and a low dependence liability and there is insufficient evidence of personal harm, adverse health effects or detriment to the public health."
Kratom for Opiate Withdrawal — A Final Word
Though the science is lacking, we're optimistic about the information available from individuals whose lives have been improved by kratom for opiate withdrawal. We look forward to continuing research in the field as it pinpoints the details of how kratom for opiate withdrawal works.
If you've got any questions regarding kratom, or anything else, come on into any one of our 7 Mr. Nice Guys locations throughout Corpus Christi and talk to our knowledgeable staff to get you started with kratom. And as always, have a nice daze!