Kratom, Mitragyna speciosa, is a tree that grows in Southeast Asia. Its leaves have been used for medicinal purposes for hundreds of years in other countries, but they are often abused recreationally in the United States. The leaves are brewed into a tea, smoked, or consumed orally in tablet form.

Retailers that sell kratom often market the drug as a dietary supplement or natural remedy, so consumers rarely understand the dangers associated with it. However, adverse events are often reported, including nausea, hallucinations, seizures, dependence, and addiction.

While the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has yet to declare kratom a controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act, they have labeled it a substance of concern. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also noted its potential for abuse, addiction, and negative side effects. Some states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Rhode Island, and Vermont, have even taken steps to ban the drug, but it remains federally legal.

With an estimated half-life of 24 hours, kratom can stay in your system for five to six days. The majority of standard drug tests do not screen for kratom, but in specialized tests, it can be detected in urine for up to a week. If you or a loved one have been abusing kratom and are concerned about failing a drug test, you may have a substance abuse issue.

Reach out to our supportive team at First Step Behavioral Health to speak with an addiction specialist and learn about your treatment options.

Understanding the Effects of Kratom

In low doses, kratom has stimulating effects, leading to increased energy, attentiveness, confidence, and elevated mood. In higher doses, kratom acts as an opioid with a depressant effect on the central nervous system (CNS). It can produce euphoria, sedation, and pain relief. As a result, people sometimes use kratom to try and ease symptoms of opioid withdrawal.

Kratom Metabolism and Half-Life

Kratom is taken orally. It enters the stomach and is absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract. Once it enters the bloodstream, it goes throughout the body until it reaches the liver. The liver breaks down the drug into metabolites or alkaloids and reduces the concentration of it in the body. Then, kratom and its metabolites are eliminated from the body (primarily through urine).

The half-life of kratom, which describes how long it takes half of a dose of the substance to be eliminated from the body, is about 24 hours. It takes 4-5 half-lives for a substance to leave the body completely, so it can take 4-5 days for kratom to be flushed from your system.

Can Kratom Be Detected on Drug Tests?

There are many different types of drug tests. Most standard drug tests do not screen for kratom, however, some advanced tests, like 10-panel drug tests, can detect kratom and its metabolites.

Below you’ll find average kratom detection types on various types of drug screens.

  • Urine tests – five to seven days after the last dose
  • Blood tests – five to seven days after the last dose
  • Saliva tests – kratom usually does not show up on saliva tests
  • Hair tests – limited data is available, but hair tests can detect many substances in the hair follicle for up to 90 days.

The most widely used type of drug test is a 5-panel urine test. These tests cannot detect kratom in urine because they do not screen for its metabolites and kratom alkaloids. However, if kratom use is suspected, the urine sample can be sent off to a lab for advanced testing.

Factors that Affect How Long Kratom Stays in Your System

Drug testing results can vary from one person to the next because there are various factors that affect how long kratom stays in your system. These include:

  • Metabolism – Individuals with faster metabolisms typically process substances more quickly, leading to shorter detection times.
  • Dosage – Higher doses of kratom may take longer to metabolize and eliminate from the body compared to lower doses.
  • Frequency of Use – Regular kratom users may have accumulated levels of the substance in their system, leading to longer detection times.
  • Method of Consumption – Kratom can be ingested in various forms, such as capsules, powder, or tea. The method of consumption may affect how quickly it is absorbed and metabolized.
  • Body Composition – Factors such as body fat percentage, hydration levels, and overall health can influence how kratom is metabolized and eliminated.
  • Liver Function – The liver plays a crucial role in metabolizing substances like kratom. Individuals with compromised liver function may process kratom more slowly.
  • Genetics – Genetic factors can impact how quickly individuals metabolize substances, including kratom.
  • Drug Interactions – Certain medications or substances may interact with kratom, affecting its metabolism and elimination from the body.
  • Urinary pH – Urinary pH levels can affect the excretion of kratom and other substances, affecting how long kratom stays in the system.
  • Detection Method – The method used to detect kratom can also influence detection times. Different tests, such as urine, blood, or hair tests, have varying windows of detection.

Kratom Dependence and Withdrawal

Heavy or long-term kratom abuse may result in physical dependence. People who are physically dependent on kratom experience withdrawal symptoms if they abruptly stop taking it or reduce their dose. Common symptoms of kratom withdrawal include:

  • Insomnia
  • Chills
  • Body aches
  • Mood swings
  • Runny nose
  • Muscle aches
  • Restless legs
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Depression
  • Cravings

Kratom withdrawal is very similar to opioid withdrawal and can feel extremely uncomfortable, often leading individuals to continue using kratom rather than go through with detoxification. Kratom withdrawal can last for several days and up to a week. Although it is not life-threatening, it is best managed under the care of a medical detox program.

Get Help for Kratom Abuse and Addiction

If you or a loved one are struggling with kratom addiction, it’s important to know that you are not alone and that there are treatment options available. 1st Step Behavioral Health is a licensed dual-diagnosis long-term addiction treatment facility that is accredited by the Joint Commission. We focus on the physiological rebalancing of the individual through medical, physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual care. We can help you detox safely and gain the tools and support you need to stay sober. To learn more about our addiction treatment programs or to get started with a confidential, risk-free assessment, please contact us today.

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