Kratom has gained global recognition because of its effectiveness when it comes to treating pain and other health conditions. However, this has left a lot of people thinking:
Do Drug Interactions Happen with Kratom?
Some people try combining drugs to demonstrate their effectiveness. Others believe that in so doing, they will be able to boost their body’s immune system. In most cases however, this does not hold true. Combining kratom with other medications doesn’t show significant physiological effects most of the time. Adverse interactions may occur. Below are some of the notable drug interactions:
Kratom and Prescription Opiates
Users of kratom may try combining it with prescription opiates in order to achieve more pain relief. However, this must be avoided at all costs because it is known to cause life-threatening side effects. It has been proven that just like opiates/opioids, kratom has a sedation property. So when the two are combined, a synergy takes place and results in increased sedation and respiratory depression. It can even lead to death.
Other kratom products are already adulterated, meaning they contain opiates like fentanyl and morphine. Hence, it is generally advisable that the public buy kratom products from reputable sellers. People should educate themselves about the product and read or compare reviews posted online. Opiates are potent substances so they must not be mixed with kratom.
Kratom and Stimulants
Stimulants refer to substances that increase the levels of physiological activity in the human body. Common examples include amphetamines, cocaine, coffee, herbal drugs such as guarana and yohimbine. As a rule, these must not be combined with kratom because they further raise the level of stimulation.
Doing otherwise could lead to potentially serious side effects like anxiety, excessive sweating, heart palpitations, and general agitation. Additional life-threatening side effects include hypertension and lowering of the seizure threshold. For experienced users, kratom can be combined with a small amount of coffee. However, this must be avoided by beginners because of their low tolerance.
Kratom and Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs)
MAOIs were the first class of antidepressants to be developed and sold to the public. They soon fell out of favor over concerns pertaining to numerous drug interactions. They also inhibit gastric enzymes known as monoamine oxidases. Therefore, kratom must not be combined with MAOIs. Food and herbs containing MAOIs should not also be consumed together with kratom. Lethal adverse effects can result from such combination.
Foods containing high quantities of amino acid tyramine must also be avoided. The substances in these food items can act as monoamine oxidase inhibitor. The following are herbs with MAOIs property: ayahuasca, bay bean, kava, sean bean, nut meg, passion flower, Syrian rue, among others. Avoid consuming them while on kratom.
Kratom and Depressants
Depressants, or downers, are drugs that lower neurotransmission levels. They are meant to depress or reduce arousal in different areas of the brain. Depressants include the following: alcohol, anti-anxiety drugs, central nervous system (CNS) depressants like benzodiazepines, and other types of tranquilizers.
It is generally contraindicated to combine such medications with kratom since they have the same effects as opiates. Hence, combining depressants with kratom will lead to a synergy effect of severe sedation. Consequently, this will result in further increase in level of sedation and respiratory depression.
Caution must also be observed when taking kava as a beverage. Kava is known to possess a mild depressant property which can also cause the above mentioned consequences.
Kratom and Alcohol
Combining kratom with alcohol results in varying effects among different users. Some claim that the combination yields more intense and prolonged effect. These users, therefore, insist on taking alcoholic beverages as it makes kratom work more effectively. In contrast, others state that they experience side effects when they combine alcohol and kratom. Such side effects include headache, hangover, and nausea.
The combination of kratom and alcohol is affected by physiological factors, hence the varying effects among users. Therefore, it is advisable not to consume large quantities of alcohol while on kratom.
Kratom and Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are a class of drugs that are used in the treatment of major depressive disorder and anxiety disorders. Currently, there are no definitive studies about the effect of combining kratom and SSRIs. The effects of kratom are primarily induced by its interaction with the μ-opioid receptor in the brain. SSRIs, on the other hand, produce their effects by interacting with serotonin receptors.
It is believed that since kratom and SSRIs both act on receptors that can occasionally be involved with each other, an interaction may or may not occur. Nonetheless, it is best to use caution and refrain from doing things with unknown safety profiles.
Kratom and Marijuana
Research suggests that combining kratom with marijuana is highly effective. Side effects like headache and stomach upsets rarely occur. The combination has been proven to promote a state of calm and relaxation. However, the combination must be used with caution and kratom can only be combined with a small quantity of marijuana.
Kratom and Psychedelic Drugs
Psychedelics are a class of drugs whose main action is to trigger psychedelic experiences through “serotonin receptor agonism.” This results in altered state of consciousness, thought and visual/auditory changes. Major psychedelic drugs include Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), mescaline, psilocybin, and N, N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT). Some people claim that combining kratom with psychedelics is beneficial because it promotes calmness during the come-down phase.
However, such is not the case for a number of consumers. The combination has been reported to cause unwanted side effects because of the enhanced stimulatory properties that exceed the threshold. Mental blocks and increased level of anxiety are some of the side effects. They cause mental distress and bizarre behavior among users. As such, combining kratom with psychedelics is not advisable and should be avoided.
Clearly, kratom is susceptible to drug interactions (like anything else). Among the kratom combinations discussed above, only a few are considered “safe”. Any time you begin mixing psychoactive substances you are flirting with unwanted side effects. Excess sedation and respiratory depression can occur, which can be life-threatening in high enough dosages (especially combining kratom and opiates).
However, mixing kratom with other drugs can also promote synergy. For some, this is the desired effect, but for others, it can be an unintended side effect (particularly prescription meds). If it is a must to use other medications while on kratom, it is recommended to seek medical advice. Kratom on its own is very safe, but there is very little data about its effects in combination with other drugs. And keep in mind that every reported case of death from kratom has been the result of a user abusing multiple other drugs in combination. Don’t become the next statistic.