Citation: vostochnik. "Worthwhile After All: An Experience with Kratom (exp101323)". Erowid.org. Feb 25, 2018. erowid.org/exp/101323
Before writing about kratom directly, I would like to provide some background about my history with opiates and opioids. Hydrocodone was the first drug I ever used to get high, at age 15. For a while I would take hydrocodone and codeine tablets from my aunt's medicine cabinet. (Two full bottles well past the expiration date -- who could resist?) Just before that supply ran out, I was prescribed hydrocodone for my scoliosis. After a few months, my mom decided that I shouldn't see that doctor anymore. However, right as I was running out of pills, I had my wisdom teeth extracted and was put on Percocet.
That brings us to age 18, when cannabis finally worked on me for the first time. I was an instant pothead and quickly forgot about painkillers. When I was 21, I started to experiment with methadone, OxyContin, Dilaudid, and high-dose morphine. I eventually got to the point where I was snorting at least 200mg of morphine every night. This period lasted for 10 months. I quit cold-turkey (thankfully, I was prescribed a lot of Valium at the time) and suffered minimal withdrawal effects. I did have about 4 days of nausea, diarrhea, insomnia, and a bit of pain in my body, but compared to benzo withdrawal, it was a piece of cake.
I kicked my morphine habit right before I moved away for college. I went to school in Memphis, and for those of you who don't know, that city is flooded with high-purity powder heroin. So of course I ended up trying it a dozen times or so, sniffing and smoking. Those dozen incidents occurred over the course of four years, so it never seemed out of control. After I graduated and moved back home, I started taking 30-50mg of morphine orally before work 3-4 days out of each week. I knew it would be way too easy to slip back into my old habits. I expressed this fear to a sympathetic coworker who then gave me 5g of kratom.
I had tried kratom before. It never caught on with me because the 'friend' who sold me my first dose only gave me one gram and told me to smoke it. Not cool. I see a lot of people who come off with a negative opinion of kratom because of stuff like that, insufficient doses, and the crap quality of the kratom products carried in some headshops.
So I gave kratom another try on my coworker's suggestion. He gave me Eastern Balinese kratom in the form of dry, powdered leaves. In about half an hour, I felt a headchange. For the first 15 minutes, I felt like I had just done a rail of really good, clean coke, but a bit more relaxed. This transitioned smoothly into a sedation that had every symptom of opiate intoxication, minus the nodding off. I would compare that first dose with 20mg of methadone in that I wasn't all cloudy mentally, but I still felt amazing viscerally. This peak lasted all through my night shift and helped put me to sleep when I got home (about 5 hours, total).
I was instantly a fan of kratom. And I instantly stopped buying and using opiates/opioids. It didn't even feel like a conscious choice; cravings and impulses just reminded me of wasting time and money. I should make it clear that I do not believe that I had any kind of dependence on painkillers at that point in time. Therefore, I cannot fully say that using kratom alone will work to get through withdrawals when kicking, especially when methadone maintenance is involved. I have a friend who started taking kratom to ease withdrawals while he was in methadone maintenance. He moved and couldn't get into another clinic, so he was left with only kratom. He told me that it's been easier than normal for him to get through withdrawals. However, I cannot in good conscience recommend kratom as a sole means of kicking. It worked for me like a charm, but I do take kratom recreationally sometimes.
Nowadays, at age 28, I take kratom for maybe 3-4 days in a week once a month. If I have an unusual amount of back pain, I'll take a medium-sized dose if I have work that day. Now that I know I'm completely free of any opiate cravings, when I take kratom recreationally, I eat anywhere from 4.5g - 8g. The lower doses are great for work; they alleviate physical strain and keep me on an even keel socially. And, of course, I still get euphoria from kratom.
I'll close with some notes on kratom. Kratom has both stimulant and sedative (opiate-like) effects, which makes for some really intriguing pharmacology. In low doses (2 - 3.5g) its stimulant effects are the strongest, and the sedative properties are minimal. In the medium dosage range (4 - 6g) I can feel both the stimulant and sedative effects simultaneously, although the stimulation wears off well before the sedation does. With large doses (6.5g+) there is almost no stimulant effect; the sedation is heavy and very euphoric to me.
Kratom has a ceiling. In other words, at a certain point, I can keep taking more kratom, but I won't get any higher. I don't recommend trying to find this point because at a certain point, your body WILL feel the need to expel all that plant material. But the ceiling means that overdose is not possible. I have also noticed that I did build a tolerance to kratom, but it quickly capped. After the first handfull of times, I didn't need to increase my dose anymore.
Different strains of kratom do have different effects. Balinese, Malaysian, and Indonesian kratom all have very weak sedative properties in comparison to the Thai strains, and vice-versa. My personal favorite is red vein Thai. For the first time in my life, I've gone 6 months with absolutely no opiates. Kratom might just be a replacement, but I can go for weeks without it with no ill effects, and its use hasn't caused any health problems for me.
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