This is going to be a very comprehensive discussion about how to use kratom for alcohol withdrawal. While kratom is a popular remedy for withdrawing from opiates, a growing number of people have successfully used kratom for alcohol withdrawal and to combat alcohol cravings in early recovery.
The Internet is full of personal opinions about kratom. But there are very few in-depth accounts about how kratom can help people cut down on alcohol or quit drinking. This article may be the first of its kind.
Let me begin by saying that I had never heard of kratom when I quit drinking. Years ago, I had searched for a natural plant that might provide some relief from alcohol withdrawal symptoms and especially alcohol cravings. I tried GABA supplements with no success and had limited success with kudzu root.
If I had known about kratom before I detoxed off of alcohol, I would have ordered a high quality powder and made some tea. Many people who have done this have reported that they no longer crave alcohol after about a week.
In fact, popular message board sites like Reddit are now filled with the experiences of people who are amazed by their ability to cut down on drinking, and even quit entirely, with the help of kratom.
Much of our knowledge of kratom at this point is anecdotal, and more research on kratom is clearly needed. But I know firsthand that alcohol withdrawal is hell on earth. Anything that may be able to help people feel better during this difficult time deserves to be considered with an open mind.
While severe alcohol withdrawal is a medical emergency, kratom may be able to help many people who suffer from mild to moderate alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
- What Is Kratom?
- How Kratom Works
- How Kratom Alleviates Alcohol Cravings
- Is Kratom Addictive?
- Best Kratom For Alcohol Withdrawal
- My Experience With Kratom
- How To Prepare Kratom
- 4 Steps to Quitting Drinking
What Is Kratom?
Kratom (mitragyna speciosa) is an 80 foot tall evergreen that grows in Southeast Asia. A member of the coffee family, kratom is most often found in Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia.
Kratom leaves have long been chewed or made into tea by people in these countries, who discovered that they could relieve pain and increase their energy levels without side effects. Kratom is known for being incredibly effective for relieving withdrawals from opium. Opium addicts often switched from opium to kratom and then simply quit chewing or drinking kratom.
In fact, the government of Thailand banned kratom in 1943 because it was interfering with their profits from the opium trade. While it is still illegal in Thailand, the government there is considering reversing the ban to help its population combat widespread drug addiction. (source)
In 2016, the American DEA announced plans to classify kratom as a Schedule I banned substance. In response, tens of thousands of people – including war veterans with PTSD, elderly people with arthritis, and professionals recovering from pain pill addictions – petitioned the government and successfully defeated the proposed ban on kratom.
Prematurely banning kratom would have also made research on kratom illegal, thereby shielding Big Pharma from the threat that science might vindicate kratom and chip into the sales of pain pills like oxycodone and maintenance drugs like methadone. Herbs can’t be patented, and that sucks for Big Pharma. But it’s becoming clear that draconian bans on plants with medicinal value are simply incompatible with the era of the Internet.
Before we move on, consider these interesting facts about kratom use in America:
Millions of Americans have already used kratom to get off opiates and other drugs. There have never been any deaths solely attributable to kratom. Now let’s look at its potential as a home remedy for alcohol dependence, and in particular how one might use kratom for alcohol withdrawal.
How Kratom Works
Unlike pain pills that kill tens of thousands of Americans each year, kratom is not an opiate.
The main alkaloid in kratom is called mitragynine, which is a partial opioid agonist. (Kratom is often referred to as mitra tea.)
Kratom binds partially to some of the opioid receptors in your brain. When it does this, it provides mental stimulation and/or pain relief, depending on how much you consume.
Kratom binds less potently to brain receptors than medications like oxycodone, heroin, and methadone. These three substances are full opioid agonists, meaning that they fully activate the brain’s opioid receptors and create a very powerful (“full”) opioid effect.
The difference between kratom and full opioid agonists can be better grasped once we clarify the difference between the three main types of opioid receptors. Mu, kappa, and delta opioid receptors have different effects when activated, with all of them offering varying degrees of analgesia (pain relief).
Full opioid agonists like morphine and fentanyl bind to all of these receptors, with a preference for the mu receptors. Methadone binds powerfully to the mu receptors. The mu opioid receptors are most associated with severe opioid addictions.
Kratom, as a partial opioid agonist, binds primarily to the delta receptors. It only activates mu and kappa receptors in large doses.
Kratom therefore mimics the more pleasurable effects of opiates (including endorphins), without activating a severe addiction by binding fully to your opioid receptors.
How Kratom Alleviates Alcohol Cravings
So, what do opioid receptors have to do with alcohol?
Using kratom for alcohol withdrawal may help stimulate opioid receptors that scream for endorphins (the brain’s natural opiates) that are released by consuming alcohol.
This is the mechanism by which kratom can defeat alcohol cravings and lessen the pain inflicted by alcohol withdrawal. Since other neurotransmitters including GABA are involved in alcohol withdrawal, kratom may be helpful for those with mild or moderate alcohol dependence, but not sufficient for severe alcoholics.
If you’re experiencing severe alcohol withdrawal, you will need anti-convulsant medications that can prevent seizures caused by low levels of GABA and high levels of glutamate.
With that said, I will now explain the relation between alcoholism, opioid receptors, and the potential for kratom to help with alcohol withdrawal.
Alcohol has an effect on many neurotransmitters – it mimics GABA, while increasing dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins. Endorphins are the brain’s natural opiates, and there is speculation among scientists that alcoholics metabolize alcohol differently – that their livers or brains turn alcohol into an especially potent opiate called THQ. This compound has been found to be multiple times more powerful than morphine.
Even if the THQ hypothesis is exaggerated, there’s no doubt that our brains release painkilling endorphins in response to alcohol. Moreover, it’s clear that alcoholics are addicted to this endorphin release. Research has shown that mice that have been genetically engineered to lack mu opioid receptors are much less prone to the addictive rewards of alcohol. (source)
In a sense, alcoholics are addicted to opiates – not external ones, but those produced within their own brains that are released by their consumption of alcohol.
People who gradually switch from alcohol to kratom can often avoid the pain of withdrawals by stimulating these endorphin centers with kratom instead of alcohol.
Since kratom is inherently less addictive than alcohol, many of these people then have a much easier time getting off of kratom. There are very few plants with the ability to destroy alcohol cravings, yet kratom seems to be one of them. (source)
In what might be considered the opposite strategy of taking kratom for alcohol withdrawal, The Sinclair Method involves taking Naltrexone, a drug that blocks the brain’s opiate receptors. With natural endorphins blocked, the alcoholic can no longer take any pleasure from drinking. Because there are many neurotransmitters involved in alcohol addiction, it can take months for the drinker to cut intake to negligible levels. But it’s worth noting that this treatment targeting opioid receptors for alcoholics has an 80-90% success rate.
I had never heard of either The Sinclair Method or kratom when I quit drinking. While the former strategy is much better established in medical circles (especially in Europe), the kratom method holds more appeal for me because I do not like the idea of blocking endorphins that I can get from exercise, delicious food, and everything else that life has to offer. Years ago, I would have jumped at the opportunity to try a tea that alleviates the stress and pain of quitting alcohol.
To be clear, I would have had to use kratom before I experienced kindling and severe alcohol withdrawal – when I could still stop without the help of an anti-seizure medication.
Is Kratom Addictive?
There have been reports of people who are addicted to kratom.
But after studying this plant and using it myself on numerous occasions, I really believe that kratom is far safer and less addictive than alcohol, opiates, or even benzodiazepines.
Unlike these other substances, kratom has a self-limiting factor: upping the dosage doesn’t simply make you feel better. There is a natural plateau for the effects of kratom, and people who intentionally ingest large amounts of it usually end up with a stomachache or a headache.
Most importantly, kratom is much less toxic than alcohol. It’s dubious as to whether this plant, which contains many other nutrients and compounds, is even toxic at all. There has never been a single report of someone dying from a kratom overdose.
(I don’t know if kratom is safer than peanuts, but it’s definitely safer than alcohol.)
As with many other things, daily kratom use increases the risk for addiction. People who use kratom daily for months or years can experience mild withdrawals if they stop. At the same time, many people who have used kratom to get off opiates or alcohol report that:
You might now be wondering: Why would I use a potentially addictive substance (kratom) to help me quit an extremely addictive substance (alcohol)?
When I quit drinking, I was prescribed a benzodiazepine called Ativan for two weeks to treat my withdrawal symptoms. Perhaps this process was made easier because physicians controlled my access to this powerful tranquilizer. Every few days my dose was lowered until I was off of the benzodiazepines. The ease with which this took place was interesting to me, because I met many people who were in detox because of their addiction to benzodiazepines like Ativan.
If I had known about kratom before I quit drinking, I would have used kratom for alcohol withdrawal and then lowered the dose until I was off of kratom. Perhaps I would have merely switched addictions and become addicted to kratom instead. From all the accounts I have read, kratom dependence is more tame than alcoholism, which ravages our brains, distorts our actions and poisons every cell in our bodies.
While reading a fascinating book called Intoxication, it occurred to me that kratom is to opiates as coca leaf is to cocaine. Inhabitants of the Andes in South America have long chewed coca leaves and made them into tea, deriving energy from tiny amounts of what we would now call cocaine. The difference between stereotypical coke addicts and indigenous coca leaf consumers is like night and day.
Leaf-chewing and tea are the same methods that inhabitants of Southeast Asia have used with kratom for centuries. There are no coca leaf or kratom “epidemics” – there have never been any deaths attributable solely to these plants when taken in their natural form. In both cases, respecting natural levels of plant chemicals has proven to be much safer than synthesizing nature’s most potent compounds.For this reason, it’s extremely important to use the best quality kratom leaf you can find. There have been reports of super-potent extracts of kratom, some of which are laced with fentanyl, which is a very powerful opiate.
This problem can be easily solved by buying high quality, fresh, organic kratom powder from a trusted vendor.
Best Kratom For Alcohol Withdrawal
Because kratom leaves wilt and go bad quickly after they’re picked, the best option is powdered kratom that can be made into a tea or simply mixed with juice. I have sampled kratom from several very reputable vendors and my favorite one by a mile is Top Extracts, which is why I feature it on this site.
(Update: If it’s your first time ordering from Top Extracts, you can now save 15% on your order by using this promo code: Welcome Friends.)
Even when you obtain kratom from a trustworthy vendor like Top Extracts, the plant can produce different effects depending on:
Additionally, there are three main types of kratom and each is generally associated with a different effect:
Trial and error is the only way to determine what kind of kratom will best alleviate your symptoms. Some people find that red vein kratom stimulates them and that white vein calms them. I have a friend who prefers a blend of red and white vein kratom, and who dislikes green vein because it makes him anxious. The number of different strains can seem confusing, but if one doesn’t work for you, it’s very likely that another one will.
When using kratom for alcohol withdrawal, it’s important to use the smallest effective dose possible. For first time users, this amount is generally 2-3 grams. However, some people require between 5-10 grams to feel any effects.
My Experience With Kratom
I had been fascinated with kratom for several months before I decided to try it. Once I discovered Top Extracts, my experiences with kratom were very pleasant.
For me, kratom’s effects mimicked the euphoria and confidence that comes from drinking alcohol, minus the inebriation, poor judgment, and emotional swings. And of course – minus the hangover!
As I mentioned before, I did not use kratom for alcohol withdrawal. I have a passion for sampling natural remedies that might be able to help people get through what I once endured.
Because I used a relatively low dose each time, the effects of kratom were mild but much more noticeable than with coffee or herbal teas. These effects included:
Strangely, it seems that a little bit of either red vein or white vein kratom puts more pep in my step. More than that makes me feel happy and sleepy. I’m already happy, and I don’t want to feel sleepy until bedtime. But I know that this isn’t the case for everyone: I’m not enduring alcohol withdrawal.
I did feel a bit groggy after consuming red vein kratom from the first vendor I tried. After using this same vendor’s green vein kratom, I felt restless and uncomfortable for about 10 minutes. I concluded that perhaps kratom didn’t agree with my biochemistry. I’m really glad I didn’t give up!
With the kratom from Top Extracts, I have never felt any grogginess or restlessness. The kratom from Top Extracts is a bit finer/easier to dissolve than from the other place I ordered from, which was also organic but more clumpy.
Note: Top Extracts only keeps fresh products in stock and so they do business in small quantities. If a particular product from Top Extracts is out of stock, keep checking!! Kratom loses its potency within a few months. It’s very likely that I would have given up on kratom if I’d only tried it from the first vendor, whose kratom was stale by comparison. The occasional “out of stock” messages on this site are a direct result of their refusal to sell stale kratom.
If you’re in luck and they have your desired strain in stock, don’t forget to use the “Welcome Friends” promo code to save money!
Here are my brief reviews of Top Extract’s red and white vein kratom:
There are other strains of kratom on the site that you can explore for yourself. I have never heard anyone complain about Top Extract’s Red Bali, which seems to be the most reliable strain by far. However, there do seem to be a good number of people who don’t react well to the green strains, from Top Extracts or any other vendor.
Full Update: A few months later, I’m still a huge fan of Top Extracts and I’m glad I can join the chorus of positive reviews from certified buyers on their site. I’ve tried several other products they offer, including their kava, and my expectations have been exceeded each time. This company is awesome!!!
I once used kratom every day for two weeks, rotating different strains from Top Extracts to gauge their effects and to avoid building a tolerance to any specific strain. I was concerned that I might suffer from minor withdrawal symptoms when I stopped.
Instead: Nothing. The only difference I noticed was that I felt more clear-headed once I was off of kratom. Because I’ve proactively repaired my brain and body since quitting drinking, I don’t need any help feeling good most of the time.
I recently drank tea containing 4 grams of Red Bali before a wedding reception, and felt relaxed and mildly euphoric while other people’s behavior deteriorated. I woke up hangover-free and got an awesome workout in.
My kratom experience contradicts the view that alcoholism is an all-encompassing spiritual defect. At no point while using kratom have I felt out of control. At no point have I felt inclined to drink alcohol.
At no point have I reevaluated my belief that alcohol is a toxic waste of time and vital life force, empowered only by collective groupthink that can be rejected once you allow yourself to see how silly it is.
How To Prepare Kratom
Some people simply mix kratom with grapefruit juice, which potentiates (enhances) its effects. But because kratom leaf is not easily digested, this method can also be hard on the stomach for some people. I decided to spare my stomach any potential trouble and make tea instead.
It may be helpful to know that 1 teaspoon of kratom is 2.3 grams, and one tablespoon is 6.2 grams. (source)
However, I used a cheap digital scale to measure my kratom exactly.
My tea method is simple and involves a French press:
If you use more than a few grams, a serving of kratom can last for two steeping sessions. Last time I made kratom tea, I poured the first batch into an ice cube tray to see if it would preserve. I then consumed the second batch slowly over the course of an hour while I wrote.
A few weeks later, I put three kratom ice cubes into my evening chamomile tea. My roommate had a few ice cubes as well. The effects were definitely there!
Like many herbs containing natural alkaloids, kratom is bitter. It is an acquired taste and I did not mind it. If you have picky taste buds, some stevia powder and lemon juice might help to improve the flavor.
4 Steps to Quitting Drinking
If I could go back in time by five or six years and inform my alcohol-addicted self about kratom, I would be cautious yet very optimistic.
Look, Old Me: Here is a natural plant that can help to lift the dysphoria of alcohol cravings and the pain of alcohol withdrawal. Use it as needed and take care not to use too much for too long, for it stands to reason that anything that actually works this well has potential for abuse.
Because alcohol activates GABA receptors that essentially freak out when you quit cold turkey, I would use small doses of kratom to help me taper off of alcohol.
Most people can tolerate small doses of kratom along with alcohol. If you’re ready to learn how use kratom to free yourself from the ravages of alcohol addiction, then read on.
Step 1: Order Kratom and Calm Support
On the Top Extracts website, select Red Bali and/or White Borneo, and any other strain you’d like to try.
Taking Calm Support in conjunction with kratom will help your brain-body system rebalance much more quickly as you quit alcohol. You can read my review of Calm Support here.
A small package of kratom from Top Extracts and one bottle of Calm Support will be all you need to get started. Use trial and error to determine which type of kratom works best for your symptoms.
Step 2: Write Down A Drinking Tapering Schedule
Be 100% honest with yourself about how much you drink. Plan to cut your drinking down to zero by one drink per day.
Five or six years ago, cutting down in this way would have taken me around a week or two.
Drinking tapers are notoriously ineffective without biochemical support. This is why we will be using both kratom and Calm Support to make this process easier.
Step 3: Start Taking Kratom and Calm Support
Once your kratom and Calm Support arrive, you can execute your plan. You will now:
Prepare your kratom as described above before you start drinking for the day. Only you can determine which strain, if any, can help make the process of tapering off alcohol easier.
Once you have selected a strain of kratom that agrees with your system, adjust the amount to combat any alcohol cravings, dysphoria, or anxiety that arise as you cut down on alcohol.
Know that if you take a big dose of kratom and start slamming drinks, you’ll probably feel sick. The only way to use this method is to achieve a delicate balance.
If you can follow this process as described, don’t be surprised if you are able to stop drinking alcohol much more quickly than you expected.
You may be able to discard your taper plan and simply use kratom for 1-3 weeks to resolve your symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.
It’s helpful to have multiple strains of kratom on hand that work for you. This way, you can rotate them and avoid using the same strain for two days in a row. Rotating strains will help you avoid the “kratom stopped working for me!” problem that arises when people build a tolerance to a single strain by using it every day for days or weeks.
Step 4: Finish Calm Support, Stop Taking Kratom, And Be Free From Alcohol!
Once you have tapered off of alcohol, you can simply finish your 30-day supply of Calm Support. Stop taking kratom every day and use it only as needed going forward.
Most people who stop taking kratom after a few weeks have no withdrawal symptoms.
Once you get to this point, you will be clean and free!!!
Of course, this does not mean that life will be easy all of a sudden.
External support, nutritional support, exercise, meditation, reframing your perception of alcohol, and finding your purpose in life can all help you to transcend drinking culture forever.
Find yourself and establish new pathways in your brain for releasing feel-good chemicals that alcohol monopolized for so long.
Honestly, life as a nondrinker is more incredible than I could have imagined years ago.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this article on how to use kratom for alcohol withdrawal. For even more information, check out my comprehensive article on kratom and alcohol.
I want to emphasize that because everyone is different, nothing I write on this site is a definitive recommendation for anyone.
My goal is simply to provide information about many potential solutions for the physical trap of alcoholism. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, and if you’re as addicted to alcohol as I was when I quit drinking, medical detox is your best bet.
I’m not promoting a lifestyle of daily kratom usage, although I don’t judge anyone who uses kratom long-term. My favorite highs come from milder herbs like Yerba Mate (using the same French press method as kratom) and a great workout in the sun. If I’m with old friends, I’ll smoke a good cigar. I use meditation almost every day to calm my brain.
These days, nothing feels better to me than waking up with a clear mind and feeling at peace with raw, majestic, mysterious reality.
If you have any questions about how to use kratom for alcohol withdrawal, please leave them in the comment box below.