Kratom is gaining popularity in the western world, with many users claiming it boosts mood, increases energy levels, and alleviates pain. However, not much is known about kratom’s safety when mixed with other substances, including alcohol.
Both alcohol and kratom are capable of producing effects as strong as some illegal drugs. And countless people consume them together recreationally, whether it’s during a night out or a relaxing evening at home.
But is it safe to take kratom and alcohol together? What are the risks, and are there any potential benefits?
This article will cover everything you need to know about mixing kratom and alcohol, including its safety, whether or not there are benefits, and potential risks to be aware of.
What Is Kratom?
Kratom is a tropical tree species native to Southeast Asia, with leaves that produce psychotropic effects when consumed. Kratom is legal in the United States, but certain states have banned it due to safety concerns.
Traditionally, farmers in Southeast Asia used kratom as a boost to get through long, difficult workdays1. In the United States, people commonly use it to improve their mood and self-medicate for pain, although the FDA actively advises against taking it for any reason2.
What Are the Effects of Kratom?
Kratom can produce both stimulant and opiate-like effects, depending on the dosage you take. In small amounts, users report feeling more energized and sociable. But in large doses, kratom can make a person feel sedated and reduce sensations of pain3.
The kratom tree’s leaves contain the compounds mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, which interact with the opioid receptors in the brain4. These interactions are thought to contribute to kratom’s effects on the body and mind.
Can You Mix Kratom and Alcohol?
Kratom and wine sounds like a harmless combination, but the lack of research makes it impossible to say whether or not it’s truly safe. Until we know more about the interaction of the two substances, it’s not recommended to mix kratom and alcohol—no matter what you’re drinking.
Part of the issue is that drinking on kratom can have varying effects depending on the amount you take.
High doses of kratom have a sedative-like effect that could become dangerous in combination with alcohol, increasing the risk of overdose. Meanwhile, lower doses of kratom produce stimulant-like effects that could make you feel less drunk than you really are. Even a combination as seemingly harmless as kratom and beer could lead to excess consumption, or riskier behavior.
In short, medical professionals don’t recommend mixing alcohol and kratom. There is no evidence supporting its safety, and it’s best to err on the side of caution until more research is available.
Does Kratom Have Any Benefits for People Who Drink?
Anecdotally, numerous people report using kratom to boost their mood, increase motivation, or even help with opioid withdrawal. Some users even believe that kratom offers benefits for alcohol withdrawal and hangovers. But what does the research have to say?
Fact Check: Does Kratom Help With Alcohol Withdrawal?
So far, there is very little research on the use of kratom for alcohol withdrawal. Some people report that it reduces withdrawal symptoms or helps reduce alcohol intake, but kratom poses its own potential risks and can itself be addictive5.
Since this herbal substance may enhance mood and reduce feelings of nervousness in some users6, it may seem logical to use it for anxiety and other similar alcohol withdrawal symptoms. However, since kratom’s effects at varying doses are still unknown, it’s not clear whether it helps more than it hurts, or even if it’s fully safe for alcohol detox.
If you’re concerned about the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, it’s best to consult a medical professional. There are several FDA-approved medications that can help with symptoms, as well as more established natural remedies and mindfulness practices that are less risky.
Fact Check: Kratom for Alcohol Hangovers
Kratom enthusiasts report that small doses of this plant can alleviate the dreaded symptoms of alcohol hangovers. But others say that kratom makes them feel worse after a long night of drinking, causing nausea or fatigue. So, what is the truth?
As above, there is not enough research to suggest that kratom is useful or safe for the purpose of treating hangovers. At best, there are anecdotal reports from people who have had both positive and negative experiences. And since each person is different, it’s difficult to know how kratom for hangovers will affect you, personally.
For the time being, it’s best to go the classic route in managing hangovers, and take information about kratom’s therapeutic effects with a grain of salt. Hydrate, nourish your body with a healthy breakfast, and take ibuprofen if need be. With a little TLC, your hangover symptoms should pass in no time.
The Risk for Overdose on Kratom and Alcohol
Like any combination of drugs, there is a risk for overdose when you take kratom and alcohol together. A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that of 152 overdose deaths where kratom was found in the body, alcohol was present in nineteen7.
With that in mind, here are some important kratom and alcohol overdose warning signs to look out for:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Shallow breathing
- Excessively fast or slow heartbeat
- Chills or low body temperature
- Loss of consciousness
If you notice any signs of kratom or alcohol overdose, it’s essential to seek medical help right away.
Is It Possible To Take Alcohol and Kratom Safely?
Kratom’s effects can swing between energizing or sedating depending on dose, and it can be a bit unpredictable. All in all, the risks are not well-understood enough for it to be taken safely while drinking.
In summary, it’s highly recommended not to mix kratom and alcohol. But if you do, remember to exercise caution. Pay attention to signs of adverse side effects and overdose symptoms, drink plenty of water, and try to stick to small doses of both substances. Finally, if you notice any concerning symptoms, don’t be afraid to seek medical help.
While we’re still learning how best to treat kratom addiction, the good news is there are more options to treat problem drinking than ever before. If you feel that your alcohol use is getting out of hand and could use some support, telehealth programs like Ria Health can give you the tools you need, 100 percent online. You don’t even need to identify as an alcoholic to join.