Citation: Anatoli Smorin. "Putting More Hours in the Workday: An Experience with Kratom (exp115535)". Erowid.org. Aug 5, 2021. erowid.org/exp/115535
Kratom – Putting More Hours in the Workday
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This report is part of an eight-report collection. The collection consists of a summary report
that is retrospective and generalized in nature as well as seven [of which this is one] more detailed chronicles of my experiences with various chemicals used intentionally for work or study enhancement. Each report documents a single substance used for thirty days. The idea was to give each material a chance to show its strengths and weaknesses. The summary report has shorter descriptions and comparisons of my experiences with each material, as well as links to the other full-length experience reports for each substance.
I consider myself to be well versed in the realm of substance use. Previous experiences include opiates, stimulants and psychedelics spanning over more than a decade. A fair amount of my substance usage history includes novel research chemicals often in less than common combinations.
All of the kratom used in this month of regular scheduled ingestion was sourced from a reputable vendor from which I have made purchases before and been satisfied. I used a variety of strains, but all were an enhanced leaf type product. The dosages were prepared in 750 milligram 00 capsules.
This report was written using extensive written notes as well as audio recordings taken during the experiences.
I did not have any tolerance to kratom coming into the beginning of my month of using the substance.
My experience with kratom prior to this month long exercise was relatively comprehensive, but not extremely extensive. I’ve tried most of the popular ‘main’ strains in the more popular formats; plain leaf material, enhanced products, and high potency extracts. I’ve found the substance useful and enjoyable, sometimes both at the same time. Most often however, my kratom use was standing wholly in the recreational sector. I didn’t use it for pain remediation, concentration, withdrawal ease from another substance, or any of the other common therapeutic uses. I found that it gave me a nice buzz, an obvious change in headspace, and all around was a pleasant way to get away from sobriety.
For the month of regular schedule kratom ingestion, I rotated between several different strains. All of the dosages were taken orally. My choice of strain were not especially premeditated. I tried to stay with the same strain for no more than a few days in a row, as a method of strain rotation to assist in deterring tolerance buildup. Whether this helped or not is not clear, but I didn’t notice any need to increase my dosage throughout the thirty days in order to achieve the same type and intensity of effects.
My ingestion schedule was as follows:
Day 1/30: 3 grams [Green Vein Borneo]
Day 2/30: T + 00:00 4 grams [Green Vein Borneo]
T + 03:22 2 grams [White Vein Borneo]
T + 04:21 3 grams [White Vein Borneo]
Day 3/30: 4 grams [Green Vein Borneo]
Day 4/30: Off Day
Day 5/30: Off Day [200 mg throughout day O-DSMT
Day 6/30: 3 grams [White Vein Maeng Da]
Day 7/30: T + 00:00 3 grams [White Vein Maeng Da]
T + 01:50 1 gram [White Vein Maeng Da]
T + 02:21 1 gram [White Vein Maeng Da]
T + 04:00 1 gram [White Vein Maeng Da]
Day 8/30: T + 00:00 1 gram [Green Vein Borneo]
T + 00:53 1 gram [Green Vein Borneo]
T + 01:46 1 gram [Green Vein Borneo]
T + 02:13 1 gram [Green Vein Borneo]
T + 03:52 1 gram [Green Vein Borneo]
Day 9/30: Off Day
Day 10/30: Off Day
Day 11/30: Off Day
Day 12/30: T + 00:00 2 grams [Green Vein Borneo] + 1 gram [Green Maeng Da]
T + 03:17 3 grams [Green Vein Maeng Da]
Day 13/30: T + 00:00 2 grams [Green Vein Maeng Da]
T + 00:37 1 gram [Green Vein Maeng Da]
T + 00:51 1 gram [White Vein Maeng Da]
T + 01:19 1.5 grams [White Vein Maeng Da]
T + 02:22 1 gram [White Vein Maeng Da]
T + 02:40 1 gram [Full Spectrum Blend]
Day 14/30: Off Day
Day 15/30: 5 grams [Green Vein Maeng Da]
Day 16/30: Off Day
Day 17/30: 4 grams [White Vein Borneo]
Day 18/30: 2 grams [White Vein Borneo] + 2 grams [White Vein Maeng Da]
Day 19/30: Off Day
Day 20/30: T + 00:00 4 grams [Full Spectrum Blend]
T + 03:36 4 grams [White Vein Borneo]
T + 03:49 2 grams [Green Vein Borneo]
T + 09:35 7 grams [White Vein Borneo]
T + 10:11 3 grams [White Vein Borneo]
Day 21/30: T + 00:00 2.5 grams [Green Vein Maeng Da]
T + 01:10 2 grams [Green Vein Maeng Da]
Day 22/30: Off Day
Day 23/30: Off Day
Day 24/30: 7 grams [Green Vein Maeng Da]
Day 25/30: T + 00:00 3 grams [Green Vein Borneo]
T + 05:19 5 grams [Red Vein Maeng Da]
T + 11:17 8 grams [Green Vein Borneo]
Day 26/30: Off Day
Day 27/30: Off Day
Day 28/30: 3.5 grams [White Vein Borneo]
Day 29/30: T + 00:00 3.5 grams [White Vein Borneo]
T + 01:17 3 grams [Green Vein Maeng Da]
Day 30/30: 5.5 grams [Full Spectrum Blend]
Timeline | Duration Details
While the onset, duration, and intensity varied depending on dosage, what I’d eaten that day, my mood, and a myriad of other factors, I constructed the summary below to describe when I felt certain types of effects on an “average” day. Please note that this section is all based on a medium initial dosage without any re-dosing. Multiple dosages obviously makes the already difficult to create an average timeline of effects even more complex to then point that I feel I’d be writing with false precision. I try to comment on how multiple dosages might play in where I feel it is appropriate.
T + 00:00
Down the hatch go the capsules. I generally tried to warrior through and take the entire dosage, which was sometimes an unpleasant amount of 00 capsules, all in one go using several glasses of water. I don’t think from the first capsule to last capsule ever took more than five minutes.
T + 00:30 – T + 01:15
This is generally when I’d get the first hint of an onset. Most of the time the first thing I could feel was a light tingling that began throughout my body, often concentrated in my forearms. This wasn’t a pulsing sensation, but rather a slow, slow, and steady vibration. My eyes were cozy in my head with a soft pressure pushing them back towards my skull. The physical sensations were more obvious than mental ones during this portion of the experiences. By the end of this timeframe, I’d always be at a solid ± if not approaching a +.
T + 01:30 – T + 02:00
Full swing peak intensity was usually achieved within this time range. The physical effects often culminated with a pleasant warmth radiating out from each of my joints, especially the sockets in my shoulders.
If I was really busy at work, these physical sensations would be less intense. Concentration seemed to stifle and/or delay the euphoric effects for at least an hour.
Depending on the day, I’d say I floated between a + and a ++ by the end of this timestamp.
T + 02:00 – T + 04:00
This would be the peak of the experience. A unique mental energy was usually at its strongest here; I wasn’t stimulated in a way that makes me sweat, tap my fingers, and think rapidly. The kratom’s stimulation was more of an immersion, a focus that was not recognized until I looked up at the clock, surprised at how much time had sped past. On days where my dosage was higher a swirling wave of slow motion pin pricks would circle around the inside of my head. Usually I found this pleasant although a clear sign I was toeing the line between a strictly performance enhancing experience and one of a more hedonistic nature.
T + 03:45 – T + 5:30
With the peak concluding, and the return to baseline beginning, this part of the experience could be lackluster. The intensity seemed to drop off rapidly. This was not necessarily a negative thing. This taper allowed me to sink into the final work tasks of the day, or transition to free time, which often included a few alcoholic drinks. I liked alcohol as a transition assisting substance with kratom because it seemed to replace the other but with a more sedating feel. This section of the timeline is a great example of why I re-dosed on so many of the days during my kratom month. Four or five hours doesn’t complete even half my typical workday, sometimes that’s more like a third of the way through. As noted above, I’m basing these time stamp ranges based on a single dosage experience with no booster dosages.
T + 5:00 – T + 7:00
Truly on the well and down, the physical sensations were usually reduced to a distant echo of their former selves. A lingering hint of the warm vibrating opiate effect remained along with a headspace that gradually became emptier and emptier. Simple, stupid, television programs or mindless internet browsing were things I found myself drawn to as the kratom’s effects continued to dwindle.
T + 06:00 + . . .
Most days I’d be back to baseline by this point, other days not quite yet. My notes commented that sometimes the kratom would have an extended comedown at a ± or + level that could last several hours longer than other days. I never detected any pattern to this duration mystery. This tail end of effects manifested as an unexciting awareness that I wasn’t sober; that I had done something earlier in the day, but certainly wasn’t severely or even mildly intoxicated any longer. A slight restlessness; an inability to veg out, and a mildly uneasy stomach were the most frequent ways in which I documented the elongated effects in my note taking and journaling. The restlessness would translate to an inability to fall asleep on days which I dosed multiple times. The insomnia had a special flavor to it. I would feel sedated and stoned, my mind blank by the end of the evening. These “downer” effects were accompanied by a deep energy that resulted in a very relaxed, but not sleepy state of being. I typically used zolpidem or benzodiazepines to achieve sleep, especially on these multi-dose or later in the day dosage occurrences.
Expectations | Hopes | Concerns Going In
I hadn’t ever used kratom with the intention of any therapeutic or performance enhancement. Given that my previous usage was entirely recreational, I was a little skeptical of the substance’s well documented ability to provide a heightened mental performance and therapeutic effects. I knew that kratom could offer increased energy because in the past I’d often found myself staying up later than intended on nights when I took kratom. My only concerns revolved around the idea of becoming too intoxicated during a workday. If I had a ‘hope’, it would be that the sedating side of kratom might assist me reign in the irritability and short temper that have been becoming more constant over the past few months at work.
In the name of science, I began the month with an open mind, but without a lot of hope this would be a wildly successful experiment.
The kratom offered mild music enhancement, especially during the comeups and peaks. I found that I enjoyed music during work more than the average sober day, which was lovely, but also surprising because I usually can’t work effectively with music playing at all. Unfortunately I was not given the gift of being able to listen to music while I think through data puzzles. Unless I’m doing something very repetitive, I typically have to work in silence in order to achieve complete focus.
Kratom was a tool that let me break away from sobriety, in a hedonistic way, while retaining my ability to not only do my job, but to do it well. Given my work from home status, it has not been unusual in the past for me to consume alcohol throughout the day. This is, of course, enjoyable, but I have found that it can result in decreased motivation and productivity, depending on the dosage and other situational factors. I didn’t find kratom as enjoyable as alcohol, but it was convenient way to break away from my sober baseline without compromising my abilities as long as I didn’t dose heroically.
One positive aspect of my kratom dosing wasn’t obvious to me until I began to retrospectively search for trends within my daily notes. On over half of the dosage days I mentioned an increased ability to multi-task. This often involved continuously working on a financial report while answering unrelated messages from coworkers. Seamless transitions from the two, three, four, or more streams of thought increased my efficiency by allowing me to give quick responses to those who needed them, without requiring me to recenter my focus when returning to my main task. I wouldn’t miss a beat while switching from one conversation to another or back to my main project.
Least Favorite Aspects
The enhanced leaf capsules I was taking for this month were sometimes unpleasant, just due to the volume of unusual content being digested by my body. The results of this were never severe, but would at the very least make my stomach feel a little topsy turvy and awkwardly full. This wasn’t unexpected, it’s an awful lot of plant material and capsules to be digesting at one time. Going forwards I’d certainly like to explore more potent extracts that could reduce the workload on my digestive system.
Neutral Aspects | Additional Commentary
With higher dosages [5 grams at once or 3.5+ grams repeated on an hourly basis] this substance made me feel like I should be too high to work, yet I still was able to function as needed. The overwhelming sensations in my body and mind dropped into the background on their own accord. I didn’t have to put any effort into calming down I was overwhelmed one minute then suddenly able to concentrate and get back to work. This was unlike with LSD or the stimulants. If I went to far on these, there was no recovery without benzos.
If dosed late, the substance would keep me awake late into the evening. Although I didn’t feel any “rushing” or stimulated, I almost always found myself up at 3:00 a.m. or later, not really feeling like I needed to go to bed yet. I often stayed more productive during these late nights than when I do so sober. Maybe I put on Netflix in the background, but I didn’t switch over to watching it completely; I kept on with productive tasks like writing, editing, or at least researching and learning something online.
Despite generally feeling positive and “good”, the substance never qualified as “euphoric” for me. If I became frustrated at work, I remained frustrated. High on kratom? Sure, but still frustrated. The substance didn’t alleviate negative feelings on its own, or provide any special path to overcome even everyday irritations. It did however create a warm vibrating physical sensation and a stoned but high functioning mindset that was pleasant in comparison to sobriety when dosages were kept appropriate.
- Starting weight: 184 lbs
- Ending weight: 189 lbs *not related
- Heart Rate Notes: Nothing noteworthy – no slowing or hastening either on a regular basis or during any singular incident.
- Sexual Effects: None noted.
- Sleep Effects: The lurking energy felt throughout the experience would resurface later in the evening if I re-dosed, sometimes interfering with my ability to fall asleep, as well as my desire to fall asleep. I found this was not true with the red vein strains, but very much so with either green or white. There was no change in dream topic or recall ability.
- Creativity: Kratom scored pretty much a zero on a scale to ten in the creativity department. If anything, I felt a bit dulled down by kratom, I didn’t once feel sparked by the substance; coming across any spectacular ‘outside the box solutions’.
- Focus: The longevity of my ability to stay focused, motivated, and working was seriously increased by kratom. Red vein products were the only exception to this I found. Unlike some stimulants, that offer laser focus, I felt relatively in control and normal; able to take breaks throughout the work day, not feeling completely glued to whatever task I was working on. This was a nice mix of sensations that did allow for me to be more productive, but due to the fact that I could put in more hours without slowing down. If I cut myself off at an eight hour workday, I don’t think I would have found this material to have had much, if any, ability to increase my focus. It kept away the feelings of the tired and burnt out on a project or task.
- Social effect: Kratom tended to drive me in an internal, rather than external direction. Nothing about being on kratom enhanced or persuaded me to interact with coworkers. This was a substance that I had the opportunity to work some days at the office, and others from home, before COVID-19 restrictions had fully developed. Even on days when I was sitting close to people that I enjoy working and conversing with, I felt slightly more withdrawn. I was typically heads down on projects, which was fitting and comfortable. With the general sense of feeling intoxicated and high, I sometimes felt awkward interacting. I was afraid my intoxication might become obvious if I ever found myself having to answer fast paced, technical questions on the spot. I enjoyed this substance most in social interactions I could control the length of, with a preference towards solidarity.
I chose to divide this section into portions of time because after reviewing my notes at the end of the month, the most distinct patterns of mood changes were correlated to specific timelines. The comments below held true for nearly all of the kratom dosage days.
- Mid Experience: I wouldn’t say that kratom was particularly euphoric in a mental way. The feel good effects were mostly physical. I enjoyed myself; the kratom made days go by fast and having a buzz was generally uplifting. I didn’t find that I was more positive to the point where frustration or anger couldn’t occur. This was not an MDMA type state of mind where everything was going to work out and I’d smile not matter what happened. Sure, I was slightly more likely to shrug off an annoyance, but only slightly.
- Come-Down: Kratom has pretty long duration for me, and I generally find the journey from peak to baseline to be pretty enjoyable. Without a crash or sense of fiending for more, my mood was typically unaffected by the kratom itself during this period of time. My mood was mostly situationally driven, like any normal day, with a slight buffer of extra positivity provided by the kratom. A bad day, was still a bad day; the kratom didn’t have any power to completely reverse stress and anger like a benzodiazepine or a high dosage of a euphoric stimulant can.
- Next Day(s): Hangovers or afterglows were not common with my kratom usage in this month of performance enhancement focused dosing. Higher doses taken after 10:00 PM would
often result in at least an hour or two or buzz the following morning. This is more known to me from other kratom experiences than this particular month where I was dosing early in the day and not necessarily continuing on into the night. These morning leftover buzzes were a pleasant haze that was just present enough for me to know something was causing my to be off baseline, although sometimes it would take me a few minutes to realize it was kratom carrying-over from the night before.
In summation, I didn’t find that kratom significantly shifted my mood in any one direction. I also didn’t find that the substance potentiated or muted the intensity of my natural mood. The good moods weren’t better and bad moods weren’t worse than they would have been regardless of my kratom intake.
Kratom shined in the arena of physical effects. I found it was very capable of soothing physical aches and pains, like a stiff back from an extra long day at the computer or muscular soreness from an extended workout. Beyond the medicinal application, kratom, especially the green and white strains, made me feel pretty darn nice. I’d get low level opioid/opiate effects: tingling throughout the body and a lovely internal glowing warmth.
I never found myself having gross motor skill impairment. No clumsiness walking or maneuvering through the house or office. Fine motor skills were affected, with my handwriting looking sloppier than normal, especially at higher dosages. This wasn’t extreme, but there is a clear distinction between the quality of my handwriting at the beginning of the experience, versus during the middle, or at the end.
This was accompanied by some itching, especially at higher dosages that were typically happening at the end of a day, breaking away from being strictly performance enhancing and into recreational territory. Compared to other opioids and opiates the itching, even at its most intense sat no higher than a five on a scale to ten.
I never got intense euphoria from the substance, even at the highest dosages I took during this month. Using a Shulgin Scale, I wouldn’t say I ever got past a ++ type intensity level.
- Ketamine: My combo ketamine [racemic] experiences included two low dose experiences and one hole experience [+++ intensity]. Only one of the low dosage instances qualified as a true combination. The other times were ketamine ingestion which occurred way after the kratom had dwindled back towards baseline. On the one leitimate combo, I didn’t find much interaction between the two substances. The ketamine dosage of thirty milligrams wiped out all of the kratom’s bodily tingling within half an hour. I re-dosed sixty additional milligrams of ketamine an hour after the initial insufflation. This erased all evidence another substance had been taken. The kratom dosages were six occurrences throughout the day, beginning in the morning. The last few grams were taken at the same time as the introductory ketamine dosage.
- Alcohol (beer, wine, & hard): This was the most common combination during the kratom month. I found they played very nicely with each other. Sometimes they got along a little too well. As I’ve previously mentioned, I often unintentionally stayed up pretty late into the evenings. If I started drinking, I usually continued to do so until bed. The kratom most certainly dulled my ability to feel the effects of the alcohol on both my mind and body. I would wake up finding bottles of whiskey much more empty than I would have guessed them to be, and feel a bit more of a hangover as well. The actual effects of the two materials combined was a comfortable buzz that developed both mentally and physically. The buzz became a haze, one that allowed time to slip by quickly, episodes of shows to pass without me catching more than a few sentences, but this was perfectly fine with me. I usually had been distracted with something interesting on the internet or fallen into a productive trance, working on a bit of writing.
- Benzodiazepines: For the sake of brevity, I won’t discuss each of the benzos I used in tandem with kratom. The interactions were almost indistinguishable from one another. I took small dosages [ex. .25 - .5 milligrams etizolam orally] of benzos during the workday on a few occasions to help myself calm down or to relieve an alcohol hangover. These low dosages typically achieved their desired results but otherwise didn’t drastically alter the kratom’s noral effects. At most they reduced the intensity of the kratom by a few percentage points, but nothing more.
The few other times I took benzos were usually in the evenings to relax or assist with sleep. A few of these later instances were higher dosages and did really cross paths with the kratom. When both the kratom and benzos were essentially at full strength at the same time – the benzos didn’t blast over kratom as I might have expected. This combo gave a smooth calmness to the less refined energy of the kratom. When the larger benzo dosages were employed as a tool to induce sleep they did so very well. This was a more comfortable transition than using zolpidem which could make me feel almost dizzy with tiredness, where I wouldn’t feel effects of the sleep aid until they were fully on top of me, sometimes after multiple re-doses because the onset was so much more delayed than on a standard night.
- Cannabis: This was another combination that happened with relatively high frequency during my month of kratom usage. Cannabis was almost always consumed through a vape pen that uses an oil extract type product. When layered together I received a large boost in whatever kratom effects where present at the time I smoked. This intensification occurred almost instantly and would last for no more than a few minutes. I did note that on several days, the vaping would slow down my brain’s processing speeds, and some short term memory issues presented. Never too damning, but I had to re-read sentences I had just written a few extra times to ensure I was understanding and remembering things correctly. There were rarely errors found, but there was clearly a reason I felt inclined to move a little slower and review things more closely. This is true of work and cannabis for me in general, so it may not be a kratom combo specific effect.
Outcome | Summary | Takeaways
There were positives and negatives with taking kratom regularly for the thirty days. Before getting into those, I will note that I continued using kratom for several weeks on a pretty regular basis after the scheduled four weeks. The difference between these weeks and the others was that I rarely took any in the morning. I used the kratom as a springboard, usually around 2:00 PM to pursue a productive evening when my natural energy began to fade.
One thing I enjoyed about kratom was its generally forgiving nature with dosages. There was not a clear cut line of “oops took too much for work and am now problematically way past the performance enhancement realm”. This line of “intoxication becoming too distracting for me to function at work” was far more forgiving with this substance compared to any of the other substances involved in this series of reports. Many other substances offered up the potential situation where I could somewhat easily overdo it and find myself uncomfortable in the work setting.
Re-dosing kratom was pretty straightforward. I liked using at least a few grams to start and then after a few hours begin smaller re-doses, gauging the timing mostly by feel, but also having a general plan of no more than a few hours between the boosters. This usually allowed me a stable level of effects all day without too many peaks or valleys. I found it difficult to really ramp up in the evening for a recreational experience without at least doubling my morning dosage.
The issue I had with kratom is the actual physical material required. Eating grams and grams and grams of plant material can be challenging for the average stomach. With my weakened gastrointestinal system, I found that most days I encountered some level of discomfort in my a stomach as the capsules opened and the spoonfuls of ground up natural material was released into me at one time. The average day this would mean cycles of nausea and mild cramping. These pains rarely got to the point where I decided to reduce a dose or eliminate a booster dose, but they were my least favorite part of the kratom experiences without a doubt.
While the overall effects were pleasant, I can’t help but think that my proclivity to being under the influence of something
landed kratom higher in my ratings than it might for other people. I enjoyed being semi-intoxicated with pleasurable feelings during the work day from a substance which I found easy to control. This wasn’t unlike having a few beers or cocktails in the afternoon; meetings are just more fun that way.
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