Opiates are drugs that are naturally derived from the original natural narcotics in the opium poppy flower. Opium poppies have been one of the most popular drug sources for centuries. Did you know that in 1821, Thomas de Quincey published Confessions of an Opium Eater? As a result of the drug’s ready use, thriving international business, and lots of money to be made, opium dens quickly sprang up in both Europe and America.
Modern opiates are fentanyl, codeine, morphine, oxycodone (pharmaceutical names of OxyContin and Percocet), hydrocodone (pharmaceutical names of Vicodin and Lortab), and heroin. Technically, the opioids are prescription drugs, and the natural drugs like morphine and heroine are opiates.
Thanks to skyrocketing prescriptions for opioids, an epidemic is currently raging in the United States, with 210 million opioid prescriptions written in 2010. They’re prescribed for chronic pain, most commonly during post-surgery recovery or from suffering injuries. After becoming addicted to lesser opioids, some users seek out morphine or heroin, which are much more dangerous and do result in thousands of accidental overdoses each year.
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Opiate Addiction: A Complex Experience
Like its pure opium predecessor, opiates are highly addictive. Addiction is a complex and full-body experience that involves brain chemicals, physical symptoms like cravings and constipation, severe changes in mood like elation or euphoria followed by sedation and drowsiness, a very decreased appetite, and psychological changes due to problems with staying actively conscious. It can also affect the user’s outside life, altering both their financial and social situations in a negative way. There are also long-term symptoms, like a weakening immune system, severe gastrointestinal issues, and significant respiratory depression (using too little oxygen and too much carbon dioxide to breathe).
When users try to withdraw from opiates, they have horrible symptoms. They suffer from migraine-style headaches, severe nausea and vomiting, heavy diarrhea, sweating, fatigue, high levels of anxiety, and complete sleeplessness. The symptoms turn the user off from withdrawing, so they turn back to the opiates. Also, a higher and higher dose of the opiates is needed to get the same ‘high’ as the previous dosage.
This creates a never-ending cycle of addiction, seeking a bigger high, the attempt to withdraw, and then returning to addiction again.
Kratom: An Ethnobotanical
When an opiate user seeks medical treatment to help with their addiction and withdrawal symptoms, they’re often prescribed (yes, more prescriptions!) different drugs that will help them. The two most common are methadone and buprenorphine.
But there is a substance made from the Southeast Asian Mitragyna Speciosa tree that also might help with opiate addiction and withdrawal. It’s an ethnobotanical known as kratom and actually has multiple benefits. It has been used since at least the 19th century, to help Victorians withdraw from their opium den usage! So, it’s been a solution for at least 150 years, if not longer.
How Does Kratom Help with Opiate Addiction and Withdrawal?
Opiate addiction starts with brain chemicals like dopamine and serotonin essentially firing on all cylinders, creating those extraordinary feelings of euphoria, elation, and bliss. Kratom also works on a neurological level. There are high levels of alkaloids like mitragynine and 7-hydrozymitragynine, which are part of the kratom’s leaves and processed into the powder. These alkaloids bind to the opiate receptors in the brain, but their effect is much lower. Also, these alkaloids have a lower half-life, meaning they last longer and tolerance takes a much longer time to build.
You’ll want to use kratom during withdrawal, because it lessens all of those uncomfortable symptoms during the entire transition process. Many strains, including red strains and some green strains, are also highly sedative. So, they will help you get the rest and sleep you need. Recovering from addiction is a healing process, and the more sleep you get, the better you’ll feel.
Withdrawal doesn’t just end with the physical symptoms, though. There is also PAWS (Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome) to get through afterwards. Unfortunately, the opiate cravings are at their strongest during this stage. Making the switch to kratom can help prevent any relapse and using opiates again. Kratom users also report that when they increase the kratom past a certain amount, it makes them feel nauseous rather than blissful. So, it’s much easier to keep a lower dosage and gradually reduce cravings.
You are cautioned when using kratom for opiate withdrawal, since these leaves have addictive properties of their own. Just like their coffee tree cousin and caffeine, you might experience kratom withdrawal symptoms as well. With that said, just be aware of what you’re taking and study it in-depth before usage.
The Best Kratom for Opiate Withdrawal
In essence, there are three types of kratom and they’re called strains: the red, white, and green kratom strains. They are found in many Southeast Asian countries like Indonesia, Borneo, Malaysia, Sumatra, Thailand, and Vietnam. The best for withdrawal is the red strain, but since it’s the most sedative, it can be mixed with a little green or white strain for more energy. Below, we list the best kratom for opiate withdrawal.
This kratom comes from the island of Borneo, and is considered one of the best overall strains for addiction treatment. It has a very high 7-hydrozymitragynine count, which contributes to its effectiveness.
If you’re still feeling chronic pain but want to withdraw from opiates at the same time, the red strain of Bali is the best kratom for you. It has high pain-killing properties and is a good analgesia, too. It’s very sedating, though, so take it in the evening first.
Indonesia is the largest exporter of kratom, and this red strain will also help with opiate withdrawal. It also acts as a painkiller, and those effects last longer than other Indo strains. This is also a sedation strain.
When using kratom to effectively wean yourself off opiates, look for those that have a high 7-hydrozymitragynine level. That is the key ingredient that will help you reduce and eventually eliminate painful withdrawal symptoms. Kratom will help you get – and stay – clean.