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Kratom and Caffeine: Dynamic Duo or Unwise Combo?

Kratom and caffeine

In today’s bustling world, it’s no wonder that people are seeking ways to stay energized. From long work shifts to demanding academic lives, sometimes we need an energy boost to help us get through the day.

When it comes to staying awake, caffeine is the king of energizing substances . However, in recent years, kratom — the ground leaves of the mitragyna speciosa tree — has also gained popularity as a novel plant-based stimulant.

Researchers have observed that, when used in small doses, kratom can increase energy, motivation, and focus in a manner similar to caffeine. Perhaps the similarities between the two plants aren’t very surprising, though: after all, kratom is in the same botanical family as the coffee plant, Rubiaceae.

Given that kratom and caffeine are similar substances, some energy-seekers have been intrigued by their potential synergy. But when combined, are kratom and caffeine stronger together — or a mismatch of disastrous proportions?

Let’s take a look!

 

The Advantages of Kratom and Caffeine

When used separately in moderate quantities, kratom and caffeine possess various beneficial properties.

Caffeine has been repeatedly proven to reduce fatigue, improve alertness, and increase cognitive function. In comparison, kratom possesses a broader range of benefits — such as stimulating, pain-relieving and mood-boosting properties — but these effects are less well-understood.

When used in combination, kratom and caffeine appear to be complimentary. While researchers haven’t thoroughly explored the effects of both substances in-tandem, there are benefits to using both simultaneously.

Increased Energy and Focus

Caffeine’s primary mechanism of action involves adenosine, a chemical that’s naturally found within the body. Normally, adenosine levels in the blood slowly increase over the course of a day, eventually causing you to feel tired.

However, when you consume a caffeinated beverage, caffeine enters your bloodstream and prevents adenosine from doing its job, which reduces fatigue and increases alertness.

Unfortunately, while effective, ingesting moderate-to-high amounts of caffeine can also cause anxiety and restlessness. Thankfully, this is where kratom and caffeine seem to mix well: because kratom has anxiolytic, or anxiety-reducing properties, combining kratom could offset an increase in anxiety caused by caffeine, thereby restoring focus.

On the other hand, caffeine could help reduce the fatigue and sedation that often accompanies kratom use , particularly when kratom is used in moderate-to-high dosages. That said, caffeine’s synergy with kratom in this department will likely depend on which kratom strain you’re using. While white kratom strains are generally characterized as “energizing” and don’t cause much fatigue, users of sedating green and red kratom strains may notice a more pronounced alleviation of fatigue when combining their kratom with caffeine.

Increased Mood

For some, caffeine acts as a mild euphoriant, meaning that it can increase one’s mood. By influencing the activity of dopamine receptors and stimulating the release of dopamine, a feel-good neurotransmitter , caffeine can essentially lift our spirits and make us feel happier.

In fact, caffeine’s mood-boosting properties are so prominent that consumption is associated with decreased depression and lowered suicide risk .

Like caffeine, kratom also has mild mood-boosting properties . By interacting with mu-opioid receptors in the brain, kratom can reduce sensations of pain and, by extension, increase one’s mood.

In addition, some researchers have observed that kratom has a binding affinity for dopamine D1 receptors — the same receptors involved in caffeine’s mood-boosting mechanism of action. As a result, the two substances could synergize to provide a strong, uplifting effect.

 

The Disadvantages of Kratom and Caffeine

Although kratom and caffeine seem to have a promising synergy, both substances also have notable side effects. When used individually, the side effects of caffeine and kratom can be relatively tolerable. However, when used together, the side effects of kratom and caffeine can compound and endanger the user in several ways.

Overdose

Caffeine is a stimulant, and kratom has stimulant-like properties, especially when used in smaller quantities. As a result, taking too much of either substance can result in sweating, nausea, heart palpitations, and anxiety. When consumed together in higher-than-tolerable amounts, these symptoms could be intensified.

Although the effects of a kratom or caffeine overdose are temporary, we recommend exercising caution if you’re using both substances or if you’re planning to combine the two in the future.

Fluid Loss

Caffeine and one of the naturally-occurring compounds found in kratom, mitraphylline, are diuretics , meaning that these substances cause the body to expel sodium and water at a higher-than-normal rate.

If someone fails to replenish the fluids lost to caffeine or kratom use, they can become dehydrated — a condition in which the body has less fluid than it needs to operate efficiently. Mild to moderate dehydration can cause dizziness, fatigue, and confusion, while severe dehydration often requires hospitalization.

Although new research suggests that caffeinated beverages aren’t as dehydrating as previously thought due to their fluid content , kratom is often consumed without water. If you’re adding kratom directly to a caffeinated beverage like coffee, you may want to ensure that you’re drinking more fluids to compensate for any diuresis that will likely occur.

Addictive Potential

Both kratom and caffeine have addictive properties. If either substance is consumed regularly, a user can form a dependency and eventually experience withdrawal effects when usage is discontinued. Many of the withdrawal effects of kratom and caffeine are very similar, and include:

  • Irritability

  • Dysphoria

  • Nausea

  • Trouble focusing

  • Cold symptoms

  • Headaches

Using both kratom and caffeine daily for a week or more can cause a user to form dependencies on both substances. At this point, suddenly discontinuing use can lead to withdrawal effects that are more intolerable in comparison to withdrawing from either substance independently. As a result, kratom and caffeine should only be used in moderation.

Conclusion

When used occasionally, kratom and caffeine make for a powerful combination that can aid focus, boost mood, and stave off fatigue. However, like all superheroic duos, this botanical blend has a dark side, and irresponsible use can lead to unpleasant side effects that quickly overshadow its usefulness. To get the most out of your kratom and caffeine, start slow, and always use discretion!

Works Cited

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