What Are The Potential Side Effects Of Kratom?

Like any other organic chemical, kratom may not be suitable for everyone or in every situation. When you take in a substance for the first time, your body gives you a trigger warning before matters get worse. You shouldn't ignore that. Many consumers swear to the benefits of kratom but always advise to start with less and continue only if your body adapts to it. Side effects with kratom can be mild, from dry mouth or runny nose to as severe as liver or brain damage.

However, there are fewer chances of experiencing these effects when you stick to the recommended dosage and avoid co-administration of other drugs. 

In this post, we will address the kratom side effects that are most commonly associated with the intake of these evergreen tree leaves.

Is Kratom Considered Dangerous or Potentially Harmful?

At the very beginning, it's important to clarify whether kratom supplements can be considered harmful and toxic, and in what circumstances this evaluation would be correct.

Although many people report the beneficial effects of this herb, we definitely have enough data to support the claims that ingesting kratom comes with side effects - some more severe than others. Like with most substances intended for human consumption, some people will be more prone to experience those effects, while others may never struggle with kratom supplementation.

The fact remains that Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) considers kratom "a Drug and Chemical of Concern." This means that taking kratom can be associated with some considerable risks, and all kratom users should be aware of that.

It's especially vital to choose the right source of your kratom. The more reputable producer, the lesser chance your kratom supplement is contaminated and contains some harmful impurities, like heavy metals, etc.

It's also imperative to stick to the proper dosing of this plant-based supplement. Unfortunately, kratom addiction and its adverse effects are a real problem, and kratom overdose can be deadly.

What are the side effects of kratom? Let's take a closer look at some of the most common side effects of kratom ingestion.

Short-Term Side Effects Related to Kratom Use

Some side effects one can experience after taking low doses of kratom are:

  • nausea
  • dry mouth
  • sweating
  • constipation
  • loss of appetite
  • drowsiness
  • itching
  • rapid heartbeat
  • muscle spasms
  • respiratory depression

If you've been taking higher doses of the supplement, you're at a more significant risk of experiencing:

  • liver damage or liver failure
  • hallucinations and delusion
  • seizure
  • severe primary hypothyroidism
  • death

Of course, these extreme side effects are rather rare and oftentimes are connected with overdosing or mixing kratom with other opioids (which is dangerous and should never take place).

These short-term side effects can last up to five or six hours. If you've experienced any of them, it is advisable to consult a medical professional and consider resigning from kratom or lowering the dose.

Long-Term Kratom Side Effects

On the list of long-term side effects of kratom supplementation we will find:

  • weight loss
  • fatigue
  • insomnia
  • appetite loss
  • constipation
  • hyperpigmentation
  • dry mouth
  • frequent urination
  • seizures
  • psychosis

If you've noticed any of these symptoms after using kratom for some time, it's recommended to consult a doctor immediately. You might be asked to stop taking kratom, and you will be guided on how to do it safely.

Kratom long-term effects can be mild or serious, depending on the dose and the length of supplementation. Let's dive deeper into different kratom side effects and see whether they are proven by research and what can increase the risk of experiencing them.

Kratom causes cardiovascular distress

Is it true that kratom causes heart palpitations, heart attacks, abnormal heart rhythms, or high blood pressure? While many users advocate its relieving and relaxing properties, major concerns are brought up regarding its overdoses which can cause various cardiovascular disorders. It has been found that consuming increasing amounts and prolonged use of kratom can interfere with QTc interval in a dose-dependent manner, and these effects can be aggravated if the herb is consumed along with alcohol. 

Many other researchers claim that the most pronounced cardiotoxic effects of this plant are tachycardia and hypertension. Associated risk factors such as smoking and addiction to opioids can worsen the situation. They can also lead to many other problems, such as left ventricular hypertrophy, cardiac arrhythmia, cardiomegaly, and cardiomyopathy. The overall discussion on the damaging effects of Mitragyna speciosa on the cardiovascular system concludes that it is more associated with overdose and co-administration of other risk factors than with kratom alone.

Kratom can cause you to lose weight

Some consumers believe that kratom can cause weight loss, and they say this by affirmation based on anecdotal proof. Nevertheless, there is no official research that supports this claim. True or not, this effect of kratom can both be treated as a side effect and a primary effect making kratom consumption a potentially healthy factor in a weight loss journey (of course, consulting a dietician is strongly recommended here).

Consumers assign this property of this magical herb to the two most important alkaloids - 7-hydroxy mitragynine and Mitragynine. According to them, the high intake of both these chemical compounds reduces the appetite and thus minimizes your calorie intake. This property may differ with different strains. Some strains can actually increase your appetite. So, the selection of the right strain is crucial here. If you do not want to lose weight, you may want to discontinue using a strain that reduces your appetite.

Kratom might lead to dependency

Kratom is currently under FDAs critical eye because of its tendency to become a substance of abuse. Since it interacts with opioid receptors located in the brain, it can mimic opioid effects. It can cause dependence and withdrawal symptoms if discontinued after prolonged use. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, many users have reported becoming addicted to kratom. The most common withdrawal symptoms that are observed are muscle aches, aggression, irritability, runny nose, and insomnia.

Kratom addiction

Opioid addiction is a serious condition worth more consideration. So when we're asking, is kratom addictive, we're considering a range of problems here, from developing dependency and dealing with its effects on the body and mind to the dangers associated with opioid withdrawal.

Some people use kratom precisely for its ability to interact with opioid receptors located in the brain, essentially using kratom as an opioid alternative to relieve pain. It's imperative to be aware of the risks involved. Although taking kratom instead of prescription painkillers, like morphine, codeine, or methadone, may offer some potential benefits, it would be a mistake to think about kratom as a consequence-free drug (kratom, of course is not a drug and should never be treated as such).

Kratom abuse may lead to overdosing and death. Granted, there haven't been many cases of such incidents, but the risk is still there. People who use kratom with other opioids, recreational drugs, and alcohol put themselves in possibly unsafe situations in the best-case scenario, which is enough of a reason to never attempt it.

We don't know which drugs can be safely administered with kratom. If you're taking any prescription drugs and you're thinking about trying kratom, you should always ask a doctor first. Also, if you notice any signs of dependency or experience withdrawal, you should consult a medical professional about the best strategy to navigate that situation.

Kratom can be toxic to the liver

Our liver plays a vital role in regulating and excretion of various chemicals. When any chemical is consumed in quantities that are more than your liver can regulate, it leads to conditions like toxicity and cirrhosis. The prolonged use of kratom tea has been reported to indicate various liver disorders. Even the healthiest of supplements can behave as toxins when taken in excess. Liver dysfunctions due to Mitragyna speciosa manifest as abnormal liver tests, lethargy or pruritus, dark colored urine, followed by Jaundice. Nevertheless, injuries have been found to go away once the supplement is discontinued. Additionally, these incidences are more common among people who use other drugs of abuse with the herb and those who stay on high doses of kratom.

Kratom is thought to lower testosterone levels

According to research conducted by the National Institute of Drug Abuse, kratom was casually associated with an increase in serum Prolactin and a decrease in testosterone levels. However, there still lacks enough evidence to support a clear relationship between kratom and lower testosterone levels. Research made in July 2018 published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology says that regular kratom tea/juice consumption over prolonged periods (>2 years) was not associated with testosterone-impairing effects in humans.

Various other research results failed to establish a direct link between kratom and the decreasing levels of gonadotropins even with regular daily intake. Many consumers say that healthy male adults do not experience any effect on their circulating testosterone, FSH, or LH levels. Any abnormality with testosterone level is related to the co-administration of other addictive drugs.

Kratom causes erectile dysfunction

There are no scientific statements that establish a direct association between kratom intake and Erectile dysfunction. Sexual arousal, however, is a complicated process involving factors such as emotions, nerves, hormones, brain, muscles, and blood vessels. Thus, a change in any of these can overall affect sexual performance. Though kratom may not directly influence erectile dysfunction in men, it may influence the associated factors such as libido and hormones, potentially contributing to sexual dysfunction and decline in sexual health.

The two most important hormones in maintaining sexual drive and erection are dopamine and serotonin. According to a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health, people who took the drug experienced spikes in dopamine and serotonin levels

Dopamine is a powerful neurotransmitter that interferes with emotions and motor control. On the other hand, serotonin has a direct effect on ejaculation. It sends persistent signals throughout the brain to help maintain an erection. Thus, the only role this herb has in causing erectile dysfunction is meddling with the roles of the nervous system. It is important to note that not all men using the herb experience changes in libido or hormone levels.

Kratom causes hair loss

People's concerns regarding kratom leading to hair loss are increasing. There are so many speculations over social media platforms, whether it is true or not or what in kratom causes hair loss. Though there is no substantial evidence that the herb causes hair loss, many consumers have reported it and say this with conviction since they found their hair growing back to normal after excluding the herb from their diet.

 Those who strongly believe in this connection suggest a number of reasons, such as the immunostimulant effects of the herb, the non-conventional ways of administering it (other than chewing leaves and brewing into tea), and the recently reported presence of heavy metals in kratom products.

Kratom and headaches

Again, no scientific evidence directly establishes a linkage between kratom and headaches. All the research that is available comes from individuals that experienced headaches while they were using other drugs along with Mitragyna speciosa. In many cases, kratom headaches are due to the user's carelessness, such as not drinking enough water to process kratom, getting bad sleep, using a poor quality strain, overdosing, and co-administering narcotics. In other cases, what you call a headache may be a kratom hangover that you may experience a day after the intake. These hangovers are quite common with overdosing.

How To Safely Consume Kratom Supplements

FDA does not require supplement producers to research and prove their products are safe and effective, which of course, applies to kratom supplements as well. For this reason, to stay on the safe side, it's always advisable to choose reputable manufacturers with third-party laboratory certificates and the highest safety standards.

Regular users should also closely observe their body's reactions to notice any changes in patterns and signs of addiction or withdrawal.

It's also important not to mix kratom with psychoactive drugs, other opioids, and potentially harmful substances intended for recreational use. If you want to do that, you should talk to your doctor first.


Kratom is an energy booster and a promising medicinal plant that can have a positive impact on one's physical and mental health. But including kratom leaves products in your diet can have profound implications as well.

Kratom overdosing or co-administration with other drugs can lead to headaches, general weakness, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. It can also cause lethargy, irritability, anxiety, sweating, loss of appetite, dry mouth, itching, aches, pains, or muscle cramps. In order to avoid these side effects, be sure to sleep well, drink enough water, and consume only quality kratom strains. Also, refrain from overstepping your recommended dosage.