University of Hertfordshire

By the same authors

  • Oliver Grundmann
  • Charles A Veltri
  • Diana Morcos
  • David Knightes
  • Kirsten E Smith
  • Darshan Singh
  • Ornella Corazza
  • Eduardo Cinosi
  • Giovanni Martinotti
  • Zach Walsh
  • Marc T Swogger
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalThe American journal of drug and alcohol abuse
Early online date7 Apr 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Apr 2022


BACKGROUND: Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa Korth.) use outside of Southeast Asia has increased over the past decade.

OBJECTIVES: This investigation clarifies kratom's role in perceived well-being, overall health, and temporal correlation with drug use to understand kratom's role in the self-treatment of substance use disorders (SUDs).METHODS: Between July 2019 and July 2020 an anonymous, cross-sectional, online survey was taken by 7,381 people who use kratom (PWUK) recruited through social media and other online resources. This included an assessment of (a) the relationship between self-reported overall health, concomitant use of drugs of misuse, and demographics; (b) the perceived effectiveness of kratom in self-treating diagnosed health conditions or symptoms; (c) the profile of PWUK primarily for drug dependence, pain, and mood or mental health conditions based on demographics.

RESULTS: A total of 5,152 valid responses (45.9% females/53.7% males) were collected. Kratom was primarily used for self-treating pain (73.0%) and improving emotional or mental health conditions (42.2%) without clinical supervision. Those with a SUD (synthetic opioids, methadone, benzodiazepines, or heroin) used kratom after discontinuing illicit or other drugs (94.8%). The primary substances taken before or concomitantly with kratom were cannabis, cannabidiol, benzodiazepines, or kava. PWUKs report a dose-dependent benefit for alleviating pain and relieving negative moods. Adverse effects were primarily gastrointestinal, typically at high (>5 g/dose) and frequent (>22 doses/week) dosing.

CONCLUSIONS: Kratom was primarily used as a harm-reduction agent for SUDs and self-treatment of chronic conditions. Healthcare professionals need better information about kratom, its potential adverse effects, and clinically significant drug interactions.


Funding Information: This work was supported in part by the Intramural Research Program of the National Institutes of Health, NIDA. Publisher Copyright: © 2022 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

ID: 27201433