After discovering kratom's benefits, some kratom users might use the plant occasionally for pain relief or relaxation. Others might turn to kratom for an energetic "pick-me-up" when they're feeling unusually tired.
But for others, kratom can become a daily habit. And while everyday use of a plant might seem acceptable, kratom is still a drug. And like all drugs, continuous daily use carries certain risks.
In this post, we'll explore what those risks are, why taking kratom every day isn't necessarily a good idea, and what you can do instead.
By itself, raw and unadulterated kratom is generally regarded as safe to consume. In an analysis of kratom's abuse potential published in 2017, researchers wrote that "common levels of kratom consumption are not generally associated with adverse health effects" (Henningfield et al., 2017, pg 3). Other researchers have made similar conclusions.
Instead, the danger of daily kratom use stems from the plant's addictive properties. Similar to coffee or tobacco, frequent use of kratom can be habit-forming (Hassan et al., 2013 pg 147). The plant's pleasurable effects can drive some users to begin taking kratom every day. At this point, their bodies will become temporarily accustomed or dependent on their daily dose.
However, kratom dependency can become especially problematic when a kratom-dependent user suddenly ceases consumption. Like missing your morning coffee or cigarette, a kratom-dependent user who forgoes their usual kratom dose will likely experience withdrawal symptoms. And although these symptoms aren't life-threatening, they can be highly unpleasant.
In a 2014 survey of nearly 300 dependent kratom users, researchers identified many physical kratom withdrawal symptoms. Their list included severe muscle pain and cramps, difficulty sleeping, decreased appetite, nausea, vomiting, muscle spasms, sweating, fever, abdominal pain, diarrhea, headaches, hot flashes, watery eyes and nose, hiccups, and shakiness or tremors. The same researchers also noted that kratom withdrawal symptoms were psychological, too, with reports of nervousness, sadness, restlessness, anger, tension, and depressed mood.
Thankfully, kratom withdrawal isn't permanent. The same study found that 64% of surveyed kratom users experienced withdrawal symptoms for 1-3 days. However, 36% continued to experience withdrawal symptoms for longer than three days. And users who consumed more kratom daily (≥3 glasses) were more likely to be severely dependent on kratom.
As this study and others suggest, daily kratom use can lead to kratom dependency and many unpleasant side effects. But thankfully, it is possible to continue using kratom while minimizing the risk of kratom dependency and withdrawal symptoms.
Science seems to recommend against taking kratom daily. However, by using kratom strategically, it is possible to continue enjoying kratom's benefits while minimizing its downsides.
Using kratom irregularly is one of the most popular ways to keep kratom dependency at-bay. By refraining from kratom use 1-2 days after your last dose, you should be able to "reset" your body's tolerance and reduce the likelihood of addiction.
For instance, you might use the "one day on, two days off" regimen, which involves waiting at least 48 hours before your next kratom dose. Alternatively, you could take kratom every other day while abstaining for an additional 48-hour period each week.
Most kratom vendors sell many kratom varieties, or "strains." Due to differences in cultivation and harvest, these strains often contain varying concentrations of kratom alkaloids. These alkaloids — primarily mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine — are chiefly responsible for the plant's psychoactive properties.
For instance, one kratom strain might contain 1.5% mitragynine, while another might contain more or less. Kratom dependency involves your body becoming accustomed to ingesting a specific amount of alkaloids like mitragynine. As a result, many kratom vendors and enthusiasts recommend switching or "rotating" your kratom strain. The theory here is that using different kratom strains can reduce your chances of forming a kratom dependency.
However, because all kratom contains the psychoactive alkaloids mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, it's unclear if strain rotation can prevent kratom dependency. As of this writing, researchers haven't evaluated the technique.
Some users insist on taking kratom daily to help them cope with chronic conditions. If you must use kratom every day, try taking regular tolerance breaks. By ceasing all kratom consumption for a week or more every month, you can decrease your chances of forming a dependency.
As a bonus, tolerance breaks will also "reset" your tolerance to kratom. This means that when you resume taking kratom, you should be able to take less kratom and get the same benefits you got from taking more.
Like coffee or cigarettes, kratom is a drug. And like all drugs, it's most safe when used in moderation. Using kratom daily can lead to a kratom dependency, and upon ceasing use, unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.
Thankfully, by taking regular tolerance breaks or using kratom irregularly, you can continue enjoying kratom while minimizing the plant's adverse side effects.
To learn more about kratom, be sure to check out our other kratom resources!