Kratom and Anxiety: Everything You Need to Know
More than 40 million American adults are living with anxiety. This mental illness affects over 280 million people worldwide — that’s nearly 4% of the population. Women are twice more likely to experience anxiety than men.
This health condition goes hand in hand with depression, panic disorders, and chronic stress. It has both physical and mental symptoms, including fatigue, tiredness, and restlessness. Some people may also experience digestive symptoms, excessive sweating, or hyperventilation.
As it turns out, there’s a negative association between kratom and anxiety. Kratom, or Mitragyna speciosa, has been used for centuries as a natural remedy. It not only relieves anxiety and depression symptoms but also alleviates pain.
Kratom is safer than anxiolytics and other prescription drugs. Some strains calm the mind and body, while others have stimulating effects. Red Bali kratom, for example, has analgesic and calming properties.
But how does kratom work? Is it really that effective for anxiety disorders? Let’s find out!
What Is Kratom?
Kratom has emerged as a safer alternative to opioids. Thousands of people are using it to relieve chronic pain and inflammation.
What you may not know is that kratom can be just as effective against anxiety and panic attacks. Its efficacy depends on the strain and dosage used.
At low doses, this plant has energizing effects. When used in higher doses, it may reduce pain and mental tension.
Kratom comes from the leaves of Mitragyna speciosa a tropical evergreen tree that grows in Myanmar, Thailand, and other South Asian countries. Its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties are largely due to mitragynine, an alkaloid with psychoactive effects.
After ingestion, mitragynine and its derivatives act on the central nervous system. This results in feelings of euphoria and relaxation.
Centuries ago, people in Southeast Asian countries chewed kratom leaves or added them to herbal teas. This plant was also used during religious ceremonies. Today, it’s available in powder form, but you can also buy crushed leaves.
The leaves of kratom can be also dried and smoked or boiled into a tea. Some manufacturers sell kratom tablets, capsules, or tinctures. Regardless of the administration route, it’s important to choose a trusted supplier and adjust the dosage to your needs.
How Does Kratom Work?
This herbal extract is prized for its energizing, uplifting, and analgesic proprieties. Its effects are similar to those of opioids — but without the drawbacks.
In fact, thousands of Americans use kratom to treat opioid addiction. This dietary supplement may ease withdrawal symptoms, allowing you to get your life back on track.
Kratom contains mitragynine and other active compounds that interact with opiate receptors in the brain, increasing the flow of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. This may provide relief for anxiety, depression, and even psychosis.
According to research published in the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine (YJBM), kratom leaves boast more than 40 alkaloids. Despite its opioid-like effects, mitragynine is not addictive. Other key compounds include 7-hydroxymitragynine and corynantheidine.
The effectiveness of kratom depends on the dosage used. Generally, lower doses increase alertness and mental focus. Higher doses may reduce pain and induce relaxation.
Note that each kratom strain has distinct properties.
Yellow vein kratom, for instance, has long-lasting relaxing effects. When used in appropriate doses, it can lift your mood and enhance mental focus. Other benefits may include:
- Greater energy and stamina
- Pain relief
- Reduced anxiety
- Feelings of mental well-being
- Enhanced memory
Red Bali kratom has similar effects, but it’s best known for its ability to relieve pain. Since it’s not as energizing as other strains, it’s ideal for those days when you want to relax.
Kratom and Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety is one of the most common health complaints worldwide. If left unaddressed, it can become chronic and affect your quality of life.
This condition affects everyone differently. Some people experience low energy, fatigue, and diminished mental focus. Others report physical symptoms, like stomach pain, tremors, and shortness of breath.
While some anxiety is normal, too much of it can interfere with your daily activities. It’s one thing to feel anxious before making a speech, and another thing to experience feelings of doom and worry around the clock.
Generalized anxiety disorder, for example, tends to occur along with depression. Sufferers are constantly worried about money, health, work, and other aspects of daily living. This condition affects over 6.8 million people in the U.S. alone.
Anxiety treatment depends on your symptoms. Most times, doctors prescribe anxiolytics, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or counseling.
The problem is that most medications only provide temporary relief. On top of that, they may carry serious side effects. Anti-anxiety drugs, for instance, may cause:
- Blurred vision
- High blood pressure
- Sexual dysfunction
- Changes in bowel habits
- Digestive distress
- Weight gain
- Heart palpitations
- Suicidal thoughts
Kratom has its share of side effects, but it’s much safer than most drugs. Plus, you can always adjust the dosage to prevent adverse reactions.
Current evidence supports the use of kratom for anxiety relief. As the researchers note, this herbal extract reduces anxiety symptoms and improves your mood.
Additionally, it’s less likely to cause withdrawal symptoms and addiction compared to traditional medicines.
What Does the Research Say?
Several studies suggest that kratom may reduce anxiety and enhance mental well-being. These potential benefits are due to mitragynine.
The YJBM, for example, reports over 66% of consumers use kratom for anxiety and depression relief.
This herbal extract stimulates the release of dopamine and serotonin, leading to improvements in mental health disorders. Its low toxicity makes it an appealing alternative to anxiolytics and other conventional drugs.
Another review notes that kratom elevates the mood, lowers anxiety levels, and eases the symptoms of opioid withdrawal. Although it may cause indigestion and vomiting in some users, it’s safer and better tolerated than other medicines.
This herbal supplement has both physical and psychological effects. It not only improves mood and mental focus but also boosts your energy. Moreover, it relaxes your muscles and relieves pain.
Best Kratom Strains for Anxiety
Certain kratom strains are particularly effective against anxiety. These include:
- White Thai kratom
- Red Borneo
- Red Maeng Da
- Green Maeng Da
- Indo kratom
- Bali kratom
- Malaysian and Thai strains
Maeng da, for instance, has stimulant effects, but it may relieve anxiety when used in low doses. Bali kratom may reduce chronic pain, which is a contributing factor to anxiety and depression.
Borneo kratom works well for those struggling with stress and anxiety disorders. Its sedating effect is much stronger compared to other strains. Malaysian kratom, on the other hand, has both sedative and energizing effects.
If you’re new to kratom, consider using red vein strains before trying other varieties. Red Bali, Red Borneo, and other red vein strains exhibit mild sedative effects and induce relaxation. They may also help with muscle aches, fatigue, and inflammation.
Kratom Dosage for Anxiety and Stress
There are no official guidelines on kratom dosage. How much you should take depends on your age, sex, and health goals, as well as the strain used.
A 2017 survey conducted that over 8,000 people reports that most consumers used up to 15 grams of kratom powder per day, split into three doses. Those who didn’t exceed 15 grams per day experienced fewer side effects than users who consumed eight grams or more per dose.
As the scientists note, doses of five grams or less taken up to three times per day are sufficient to reap the benefits of kratom. More than 80% of users reported increased energy, pain relief, and mood improvements.
To stay on the safe side, start with the lowest effective dose. See how your body reacts and increase the dosage gradually if needed. If you’re using kratom powder, add it to smoothies, milkshakes, and other homemade treats.
Generally, a low dose is anywhere between one and five grams. Doses of five to 15 grams are considered high and may increase the risk of side effects. Taking more than 15 grams at once is likely to cause sedation and adverse reactions.
What to Expect
If you get the dose right, you should experience feelings of calmness, reduced anxiety, and euphoria. You’ll also feel more relaxed yet energized. Any pain you’re dealing with should decrease in intensity.
As far as the side effects go, some users report nausea, drowsiness, dry mouth, or irritability, according to the above survey. Low blood pressure, agitation, and rapid heartbeat are common, too. If you notice any of these symptoms, take a lower dose.
Don’t Let Anxiety Take Over Your Life
While more research is needed to understand how kratom works, its benefits are backed up by science.
This herbal extract has been proven effective against chronic pain, anxiety, depression, and mood disorders. Plus, it’s safer and better tolerated than conventional drugs.
Now that you know more about kratom and anxiety, go ahead and choose a strain that meets your needs! In the meantime, visit the rest of our blog for more information on the benefits of kratom.
We’ll show you how to use kratom powder, what to expect, and much more!