EFFECTS OF KRATOM ADDICTION ON THE BRAIN AND BODY
Kratom has different effects in different doses. Smaller amounts of kratom have stimulating effects, often making the user more alert, talkative and energetic. In larger doses, its effects mimic those of opioids like morphine or hydrocodone; some users combine kratom with cough syrups containing codeine (a blend popularly called “4×100”) to heighten this type of high. Like opioids, the psychoactive substance in kratom works in sections of your brain that control pain, mood and emotional responses. Unlike opioid drugs, however, kratom does not contain a different version of your brain’s own opioid chemicals. Instead, a new chemical called mitragynine begins to take control of pain, pleasure and anxiety pathways. Researchers believe that this is the reason the drug produces different highs at different doses — some stimulation of your opioid receptors results in more energy and clarity, while overstimulation leads to drowsiness, uncoordinated movements and heightened emotions.
There is little research about the physical effects of kratom since it has only recently begun to appear on the U.S. drug scene. Currently, health experts warn against kratom abuse because its opioid-like effects can lead to dangerously slowed breathing and heart rate, and because when it is combined with other psychoactive substances — even prescription medications — it has the potential to be lethal.