Kratom is a tropical tree that is indigenous to Southeast Asia. It is an evergreen used for traditional medicine and other purposes in the region. Laborers chop and dry its leaves and make it into a tea. Users swear by kratom to combat fatigue and to aid withdrawal from substance abuse. Its stimulant- and opiate-like properties can both energize and uplift, as well as induce drowsiness. Today, it is gaining attention owing to two factors: the benefits that its users are claiming, and the regulation of some states owing to its yet-incomplete proofs of efficacy.
Who uses it and how long does kratom stay in your system? We tackle those questions here.
How Long Does Kratom Stay in Your System?
People in the East consider kratom to be a cure for a wide range of illnesses, including cough, diarrhea, and opiate withdrawal. In the United States, it has seen an uptick in use in people who are self-treating chronic pain conditions, as well as those who want alternatives to prescription medications.
In addition, it is believed to be beneficial by people who use it to manage their mental illnesses, such as depression. According to Veltri and Grundmann (2019), this American population of users is typically middle-aged, middle-income has private health insurance, and has completed some college. The American Kratom Association estimates its number of users to be around 1 million.
Kratom is available in many product forms in the US. They come as capsules, tablets, concentrated extracts, and even raw leaves. One of its main ingredients, Mitragynine, is a type of alkaloid that produces stimulating effects on the brain, like an opioid. At low doses, it helps combat fatigue; at high doses, it can help reduce or manage pain, as well as mimic opioid-like effects for those on opioid withdrawal. It is touted as a “legal high”, as it is legal in one form or another in all but six states: Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin. In states where it is legal to anyone over the age of 18, it is restricted or completely banned in certain local jurisdictions and for certain uses.
Those who are interested in using kratom have to contend with one important question: How long does kratom stay in your system? Taking kratom typically produces effects within 10 to 15 minutes. In small doses (about four to five grams), the effects can last up to two hours; in large doses (about seven to eight grams), the effects can last up to eight hours. The effects are heightened when kratom is taken on an empty stomach. Peak effects can be expected around an hour-and-a-half to two-and-a-half hours after it is taken.
So when the effects fade, does that mean that it is out of the system? Not quite. While research on kratom’s half-life needs to be more comprehensive, currently available studies suggest that its main ingredient mitragynine has a half-life of about 23.24 hours. So, how long does kratom stay in your system? It takes the body around a full day to clear half of its kratom content.
The rate with which kratom can be fully eliminated may also depend on individual history of use. For those who use it less frequently or at lower doses, the body clears it more quickly. For habitual users or people who use it at higher doses, the body requires at least five and a half days to completely clear it out of the system.
On top of that, several factors can affect the rate of elimination of the substance from the body. These are:
- Age. Younger people can process kratom and eliminate it faster than older people, due to their faster metabolism.
- Body Mass Index. Body Mass Index or BMI can also play a role in the body’s kratom detection window. Since mitragynine is fat-soluble, it is stored in fatty tissues. People with higher body fat ratio will have a longer time clearing it than those with lower BMIs or less body fat.
- Dietary Choices. How you eat and drink also matters. As mentioned earlier, taking kratom on an empty stomach enhances its effects, which means it is consumed faster by the body. Consequently, it will be cleared faster. Also, the more water you drink, the faster you eliminate it.
Additional research suggests that kratom alkaloids half-life may vary. Its fastest studied half-life is at around seven-plus hours, which marks its full elimination from the body at 1.6 days. Other studies say that some forms have longer half-lives, which pegs full elimination at about 9 days.
Does it show up in a drug test? In the next article in this blog series, we will discuss that. Stay updated by visiting the Ovus Medical Blog.