There’s a lot of rubbish written out there on “reputable” kratom websites which claim to tell you about all the nuances between the different kratom colors and strains, and how they feel.
They will gloss over the huge side effects that kratom can have if you aren’t careful, or ignorant of what can happen.
When I started with kratom I had a vague idea, but I was led to believe there was a lot more to kratom then there actually is.
Plus, I also didn’t appreciate (because it’s never stated) that there are some significant side effect issues with using what is basically a strong opiate.
So can you use kratom safely, and how does it actually feel when you do?
I’m going to answer all of your questions around kratom effects right now, including whether it can get you high, and what the side effects can be.
Does Kratom Get You High?
The first question I want to answer is: does kratom get you high?
The reason I want to address that straight away is because kratom is seen by many people as a recreational drug that is often compared to opiates like heroin and morphine.
Now as will explain in a moment, kratom can be an agonist of the opioid receptors in the same way as opiate drugs are. But that’s not the whole story.
However, at high doses, it does work as an agonist of the opioid receptors, producing similar effects in the body.
So yes, at high doses, you can get a detaching, warm, overwhelming effect from kratom that is similar to an opiate high. But it’s not as intense, debilitating, or addictive.
How Does Kratom Work: Effects Explained
Now the thing is, kratom isn’t actually an opiate. But that’s not to say that it doesn’t act like one.
Kratom contains alkaloids that are similar in structure to opiates chemically. So in the body, they do interact (create effects) through the opioid receptors in the same way as opiates.
But it’s dose dependent, unlike opiates. What I mean is that the effects change at stronger levels of dosing, they don’t just get more intense.
So, a low dose of kratom won’t be a full agonist of the opioid receptors, where as a high dose has been shown in studies to be an agonist of at least two of the three different opioid receptors (Delta-, Kappa, Mu-).
Add to that, is the fact that kratom contains 40 or more other types of alkaloids, including some that are very similar to caffeine.
What you get with kratom effects then is a spectrum. That’s why I always refer to kratom as an “spectrum drug”.
It depends mostly on the dose you take. At the low end it’s a stimulant, with increasing dose it’s and analgesic and sedative.
This balance changes slightly (less than people think) depending on whether you take red, white, or green kratom. I’ll cover each strains traits in a moment.
Overall though, this is the effects profile of kratom:
- At low doses is a stimulant
- At higher doses is increasingly sedative and analgesic
- White, red, and green kratom have subtle differences in effects
- Kratom strains offer only minor differences
- At low doses the stimulant alkaloids dominate
- As doses increase the analgesic and sedative alkaloids dominate
So as you can see, anyone giving you “cookie-cutter” effect descriptions of kratom use is not telling you the truth.
It’s a very personal drug, and everyone reacts differently to it based on their own physiology and the other things they are putting in the body (medicine, alcohol, food).
Why Kratom Is Used For Opiate Addiction Relief
I’ve already alluded as to why kratom can be used successfully for opiate addiction pain relief.
At higher doses it is a sedative and analgesic. So it will calm you down, chill you out, and get rid of physical pain.
Opiate withdrawal symptoms can be vicious both physically and mentally, kratom offsets these.
Plus, at higher doses you can get a kratom high that not only mimics some of the effects with things like heroin, but also that dampens down the cravings for a hit.
However, it’s important to state here that if you are using it for opiate addiction relief you should have a strong tapering strategy in place, with other people involved, so that you do not just add to your existing addiction, or swap an existing addiction for a new one.
Kratom Can Be Quite Unpredictable In Its Effects
It’s important I tell you as a newcomer that kratom can be very unpredictable in the effects that manifest themselves.
There are so many variables here, some of which I’ve already talked about.
But even your mood, your feelings, at that time, can affect the experience you have.
Overall, these are the things that can make a dose of kratom unpredictable in the effects it produces:
- How you feel emotionally
- Physical problems
- Dose of kratom
- Type of kratom
- Alkaloid balance
- Other substances taken
This isn’t a kratom dosing guide, but overall, these variables and why are always say to newcomers to start with the lowest possible dose.
You will read people talk about seven, eight, nine, 10 or even more grams of kratom in the dose. Those are insane amounts for a beginner.
If you get yourself good quality kratom, start with a couple of grams. You will feel a mild stimulant and calming affect if it’s good quality kratom.
Then work up a gram at a time, leaving a couple of days between experiences. If it’s good kratom, around 4 g you should feel a significant effect kicking in.
How Does Kratom Feel: Red Kratom Effects
Let’s tell you how the effects differ between red, green, and white kratom. I’ll start here with red kratom.
Red kratom has the highest proportion of the alkaloid which produces analgesic and sedative effects, when compared to Green or white kratom (if they are high purity and not blended).
The most predominant alkaloid in kratom is called Mitragynine. However, red kratom has the highest proportion of the secondary variant called 7-hydroxymitragynine.
What’s important to understand is that this is secondary alkaloid converts in the body to something called Mitragynine Pseudoindoxyl.
It is an agonist of the two alkaloid receptors that deal most with pain and cognition, producing strong analgesic and sedative effects.
Mitragynine Pseudoindoxyl is actually classified as a rearrangement of 7-hydroxymitragynine.
Now, this is the vital part:
In the body,Mitragynine Pseudoindoxyl acts as an analgesic that is more potent than morphine.
So although it’s only in small quantities, at high doses, you are taking an analgesic that has incredible strength.
Put all that together, and its why strong doses of red kratom can be overwhelmingly sedative and analgesic. That’s why you have to be careful with dosing red kratom.
As I have said, at low doses all kratom is predominantly a stimulant due to the fact it contains a myriad of minor alkaloids related to caffeine.
However, as the dose moves into the predominant traits of the two main alkaloids, these are the effects you will experience from of red kratom dose (usually around 4 g or higher):
- Increasing sense of detachment
- Sense of calm and removal of anxiety
- Dampening of depressive symptoms
- Removal of increasing amounts of physical pain
- Increasing difficulty to stay focused
- At higher doses can cause complete detachment and sleep
- At higher doses can feel like a rush of warmth and detachment
The big warning here though is that high doses of kratom generally, and specifically red kratom, can lead to a loss of consciousness.
Just as with alcohol, which is also central nervous system depressant, you can fall asleep. Mostly that’s not a problem, but it can lower your heart rate and could cause a problem if it’s chronic use.
That’s also why you should never take kratom with alcohol. At high doses (usually 8 g or higher alongside significant amounts of alcohol) it can produce an overwhelmingly sedative effect that can slow (or in really rare circumstances) stop the heart.
How Does Kratom Feel: Green Kratom Effects
Now you understand the effects of red kratom, let’s talk you through how green kratom works and compares.
Green kratom is often referred to as being milder than white or red kratom.
That’s actually not true at all. Green kratom can be just as potent in terms of the effects it produces.
Where it differs is in its alkaloid balance though. Red kratom tends to have higher proportions of the alkaloids that offer sedation and analgesia, while white kratom has higher proportions of the alkaloids which produces stimulation.
But as the dose increases, that all evens out. 10 g of red, white, or green kratom, is going to be so packed full of the two predominant alkaloids that it’s going to be significantly pain relieving and sedating.
So what we are talking about is that middle ground. Where the dose isn’t so low that it’s mostly stimulant and minor, and not so high that it just kicks in to be overwhelmingly tiring.
Green kratom has the basic effects of red kratom, but they aren’t as predominant until you get to a high dose.
Let me put it this way, in the Far East, white kratom is referred to as morning kratom, and green kratom is afternoon kratom, and red kratom as evening kratom.
So it’s that progression of the alkaloids to produce a stronger sedative effect at the same dose.
If you want a decent amount of cognitive lucidity, but mixed with decent sedative and analgesic effects, there isn’t overwhelming at a moderate dose, then green kratom will be better at achieving that and red kratom at the same dose (assuming the same level of alkaloid content).
How Does Kratom Feel: White Kratom Effects
So now let’s move onto white kratom effects. How does white kratom feel when you take it?
White kratom contains the highest proportion of the caffeine-like stimulant alkaloids. It stands to reason then, that at the lower doses they will predominates.
That’s why white kratom is slightly more stimulating at low to moderate doses (up to around five or 6 g).
However, as with all kratom, the stronger the dose, the more the effects merge into one: that increasingly significant analgesia, detachment, and sedation.
Although all kratom will do this, white kratom (the white veins in the leaves) tends to be more stimulating and increases endurance. That’s why it’s been used in countries like Thailand for centuries by laborer’s during the day.
However, there are regional differences. Studies have shown that Thai varieties of kratom tend to have a higher amount of Mitragynine than Malaysian ones, and the Malaysian ones instead have a higher proportion of 7-hydroxymitragynine.
So all things being equal, Malaysian kratom should be more sedative; even the white and green strains.
Now, I’m not completely convinced that’s the truth. But the studies give hugely broad percentage brackets for content, and in terms of the Western package kratom you buy, you have literally no idea exactly where it’s come from.
So something labelled as “white Malay kratom”, might not actually be exactly that at all. So you cannot just say white Thai kratom will be far more stimulating than white Malay. It doesn’t work that simplistically in reality.
But overall, white kratom at doses of around 6 g or less (with a decent alkaloid content of up to 2%) will produce a noticeably more stimulant effect than comparable doses of green or red.
Are Maeng Da, Super Kratom, And Kratom Extracts Really That Potent?
Maeng Da kratom is a complete myth. It’s not a strain of kratom at all, despite what you will be told.
Maeng Da actually translates in English as “pimp grade”. That in itself should tell you that it’s not a traditional strain.
Even talking to kratom sellers, they are vague about what it actually is.
Some will tell you that it’s any type of kratom that stronger. So it could be a white Malaysian batch that is richer in alkaloids than usual, so they label it up as “Maeng Da”.
All, it could be a blend of white kratom, or even a blend of different vein colors, that produces a generic kratom that has a higher alkaloid content than normal.
At the worst end of the scale, unscrupulous Western sellers just label up any kratom they have as Maeng Da and then sell it at a premium price, despite the fact it’s not stronger at all.
Super kratom is allegedly constructed from larger leaves with bigger veins, that are picked from the upper reaches of the tree where more sunlight hits them.
The claim is that super kratom gathered in this way is then dried to create kratom that is rich in alkaloids than normal.
However, I’ve never seen any real evidence that that is true, and from research online, I’ve never found any evidence that kratom farmers dry them out separately or undertake any special picking techniques to gather the leaves differently from a single tree.
Kratom extracts though, these are definitely more potent.
Kratom extracts are made by boiling down kratom into a resin. That way, more alkaloids are packed into the same amount of physical volume.
That’s resin is then turned into a powder. That’s in comparison to normal kratom powder where the leaves are dried out and then ground.
So as you can see, although both result in a fine powder, kratom extracts by powder volume amount of reduced down kratom leaves (and therefore a higher alkaloid content).
Now I don’t believe some of the claims around 50X (50 times the standard amount of leaves and therefore claim strength).
However, for my own experiences, it’s undeniable that genuine kratom extracts are significantly more potent.
I found that a single gram good quality kratom extracts can be as potent as around 5 g of standard kratom.
So if you want a stronger experience, or you don’t want to deal with as much of that awful tasting kratom powder, then kratom extracts are definitely something you should look at.
Just be aware though, they are far more potent and a high dose (even two or 3 g) could send you into a state of complete sedation in 60 minutes or less.
Is There Evidence Kratom Has Effects On The Prostate?
In terms of how kratom feels, its effects, there is a side effect that some people mention.
They claim that kratom effects the prostate gland. They claim that kratom can cause long-term effects, including potential enlargement and cancer.
There is absolutely no evidence of this though. Not a single study has ever been done that concluded that, or even looked into it.
So please ignore the Internet myths, there is zero evidence that kratom causes long-term negative prostate problems in men.
However, opioids do affect the prostate when doses are high. They can basically send it to sleep.
It’s never happened to me, but I’ve seen guys online saying that they have actually been in physical pain because they can’t urinate when on kratom.
It appears that at high doses it can send the prostate to sleep, and means that you struggle to urinate, and if you do it’s a trickle.
That’s probably where this myth about kratom wrecking the prostate comes from. Frequent kratom users see this effect of lowered flow and urination problems, and just assume that it’s a permanent problem with their prostate, when in reality it’s just the constant opioid use.
Can You Experiment Safely Without Side Effects?
The big question then is can you experiment with kratom without having to deal with significant side effects?
The answer that question is definitely yes. But it means you have to be educated and you have to go slowly and sensibly.
As I’ve said, start with a couple of grams, and work up 1 g at a time. Leave several days between experiments, and see what happens when you reach for grams, or maybe 5 g in total.
Tried up with red, white, and green kratom strains and then you will be in a great position to understand kratom effects better.
The problems with kratom come at higher doses and with more persistent use.
Persistent dosing of 5 g or more of kratom, starts to have an ongoing buildup effect. More than that, it can start to cause dependency.
On top of those problems, persistent kratom use can lead to development of tolerance. That means you’ll need a higher dose to get the same feelings.
So go slow, find the ceiling at which it gets uncomfortable act, and experiment with the different feelings that varieties of kratom offer rather than going all in to get off your face on it.
Here’s What My First Few Kratom Experiences Felt Like
I want to finish here by just telling you about my kratom experiences when I first begun using it.
I’d written about it for other people and was curious, so I did order some green kratom. It was a few grams of Green Malay I remember.
The purity was stated to be good, with an alkaloid content of just under 2%, which is very good (anything above 1.5% is good quality kratom).
The first time I took it, I took 2 g. I felt small rushes of stimulation, a little happiness, a little warmth, and for a couple of hours I momentarily felt a bit weird as well.
But overall, it was very minor and I didn’t really think much of it is an experience. I knew it was only a very low dose.
I then took 3 g, and felt the same as before but just for slightly longer slightly more intensely.
It was it for grams that I had a good experience, when I mean good, I mean a rounded kratom experience rather than fantastic.
I felt calm, I wanted to just chill out and listen to music for a couple of hours. Little rushes of mental and physical energy and clarity, that came and went in a strange pattern.
After about three hours I just felt really tired and went to bed. It wasn’t the kratom that made me tired, it was just coming out of the experience, and feeling really chilled because of it.
Here’s the thing though, the next time I took 5 g and had a really nasty experience with kratom.
I have had “white outs” with cannabis a couple of times in my life. That’s where to start to feel nauseous, things start to spin, you get massive anxiety, and your heart rate goes through the roof.
I think part of the problem was I had three or four bottles of beer. So a central nervous system depressant, followed by a moderate – strong dose of good quality kratom.
Initially I felt good, really smooth, really chilled out, really tuned into music and visuals. It was a lovely experience for around an hour.
Then I started to feel soaring anxiety. It would peak, and then it would fall. It would then peak again 20 minutes later, and fall again in a rhythm. It was horrendous because you knew it was coming back.
This peaked after about an hour where I was literally hanging out of the window getting fresh air because I could feel myself struggling to remain awake.
I could also feel my heart rate moving from being very fast into being increasingly slow. 40 bpm or lower is classed as bradycardia, which can be a significant life-threatening problem.
I have a heart monitor app (Kardia). At its worst, I was down to 30 bpm for about 10 minutes. That was a real concern for me on top of the overwhelming tiredness.
I opened all the windows, kept walking to stay alert and up my heart rate, and took a couple of small caffeine doses (half caffeine pills).
After about 20 minutes I could feel my heart rate going back up, and the waves of anxiety every 20 minutes got less and less.
So for about 90 minutes this was a horrendous experience for me. It came out of nowhere, and was very strange because even at a gram less it was actually very pleasant.
Something about the combo of the strength of the dose of kratom, the alcohol, and my physiology meaning that I could sometimes react very negatively to cannabis (and evidently opioid receptor agonist), started to really mess me up.
Now I don’t want to put you off here, because it can be fantastic. And I have learned that since.
But what I have learned is that you should always take the minimum possible dose you need, and you should never mix kratom with alcohol or any other type of central nervous system depressant.
I’ve never had a bad experience with white kratom, but green kratom did it to me, and red kratom tends to drown me out a bit as well, even at low doses.
So it’s all about who you are, and it’s about experimenting safely. But if you get the balance right and are sensible, with good quality kratom and the right approach, you can have very positive experiences with kratom which can be beneficial for lifting mental health, dousing physical pain, and even overcoming obstacles related to addiction.
I hope you can see the honesty in this piece. Kratom can be great, and used sensibly you’ll have a great time. To get yourself some high purity kratom from a reputable seller and experiment. You won’t regret it.
But don’t believe some of the trash that is written online about it, it’s not a side effect free answer to any problem. It needs to be treated with respect, and I hope what I’ve written here will allow you to experiment more positively.