Can You Get High on Kratom?

girl drinking kratom tea to get high

Can You Get High on Kratom?

Even though kratom is readily sold at gas stations, vape stores, and even specialty kratom and kava stores, the substance was once used medicinally. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has warned consumers to avoid using kratom because there are no FDA-approved uses and the substance’s properties may expose users to the risk of addiction and dependence.[1] Still, many people view this substance as a weak, harmless plant, and they wonder whether or not it’s possible to get high on kratom.


Kratom, formally known as Mitragyna speciosa, is a tropical evergreen tree that belongs to the coffee family and is native to South Asian countries like Thailand, Malaysia, and Myanmar. The leaves and the extracts that come from the leaves are used as both a stimulant and a sedative to treat pain, digestive problems, and opioid withdrawal. However, there are not enough clinical trials and evidence-based studies that prove the medical efficacy of kratom.[2]

Kratom can be purchased legally in almost every state despite being under investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Many people mistakenly believe that the substance is merely an herb that presents no serious threat to their well-being. In all honesty, using Kratom can be dangerous, especially for people who have a history of opioid dependence and addiction. In fact, taking large amounts of kratom can produce a high similar to that of prescription opioids.

Why Do People Use Kratom?

The kratom that you find in stores is made from the leaves that have been dried and crushed or made into a powder. After drying and crushing the leaves, kratom may be put into a paste, capsule, or tablet form for consumers to purchase. People may swallow kratom, however, most people brew the substance into tea.

Kratom contains two psychoactive compounds: mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine. These are alkaloids that are thought to have an analgesic, or pain-relieving, effect. When taken in low doses, kratom works as a stimulant drug by giving people more energy, alertness, and sociability. At higher doses, on the other hand, kratom works as a sedative that produces opioid-like effects of pain relief and euphoria.

Using Kratom for Stimulant Effects

Some people may take kratom in low doses to produce energizing effects. By taking just a few grams, users may feel more alert, talkative, and giddy. The effects typically set in within 10 minutes and last for about an hour to an hour and a half. That being said, most people who get high on kratom are doing so for its sedative-like effects, so they will take a much higher dose.

Using Kratom for Sedative Effects

Other people will take kratom in high doses by taking between 10 and 25 grams to produce a sedative-like effect. People who get high on Kratom in this way may experience calmness, euphoria, and feel as though they have taken an opiate. In high doses, kratom is thought to have an anti-inflammatory effect that may reduce pain or ease symptoms of chronic pain conditions, such as fibromyalgia. As such, many people use kratom as a way to self-medicate pain or symptoms of opioid withdrawal.

The Dangers of Trying to Get High on Kratom

There are many dangers of using kratom and many reasons why the substance is under investigation. For example, many individuals who struggle with opioid addiction will use kratom to try and manage their withdrawal symptoms. However, trying to detox or come off opioids at home is dangerous and is never advising. Using substances like kratom in place of actual FDA-approved detox medications like Suboxone is dangerous and may not give you the support you need to get sober.

Not only is abusing this substance to cope with withdrawal symptoms dangerous, but kratom itself is also a moderately addictive drug. Kratom binds to opioid receptors in the brain, so long term use leads to physical dependence just like it would if a person were taking opioids. As a result, the brain and body will start thinking it must have kratom in order to function normally. This is how addiction to any type of substance, including kratom, forms.

Although limited studies have been done on the effects of using kratom to get high, one study conducted on animals suggests that mitragynine, one of the psychoactive alkaloids in kratom, has addictive properties similar to that of morphine that lead to withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, sweating, tremors, insomnia, and even hallucinations.[3]

In addition to the risk of addiction, kratom can cause a variety of unpleasant side effects. These include:

  • Numbness of the tongue
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dry mouth
  • Excess need to urinate
  • Constipation
  • Aggression
  • Delusions or hallucinations
  • Thyroid problems

In extremely high doses, kratom poisoning can cause difficulty breathing, brain swelling, liver damage, seizures, and death.[4]

Find Help for Kratom Addiction Today

Even though it is possible to get high on kratom, it doesn’t mean you should do it. Many people who abuse kratom end up getting addicted to it or progressing into using stronger, more potent opioid drugs. Make no mistake – kratom is a real drug and it comes with all of the consequences and side effects of drug abuse.

If you or a loved one are using kratom and think you may be addicted, there’s nothing wrong with reaching out for help. Call now to speak to a dedicated addiction treatment specialist.