Kratom has long been used in Southeast Asia, and is often associated with providing relief from physical discomfort. While some users report positive effects from taking kratom, there is not a definitive, research-backed answer yet showing how effective kratom can be for treating pain — including pain resulting specifically from fibromyalgia.
Due to the lack of clear indication for kratom’s effectiveness, and the growing interest in kratom as a natural botanical, there is significant confusion and concern regarding its potential benefits and applications; several states in the U.S. have banned it as a precaution.
There are two active compounds found in kratom leaves — mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine — which interact with certain receptors in the brain that may be associated with perceiving pain, and which are the focus of research on kratom’s potential uses.
Trials specifically focused on the active pathways of 7-hydroxymitragynine showed some promising indications in subjects, in that it may have analgesic effects. However, these early studies focused on mice, and highlight the need for further research on humans to fully understand how these alkaloids work.
Additionally, more research is needed on the brain pathways implicated by these compounds. The nature of pain receptors in the brain is still not fully understood, making it difficult for studies of new compounds (or even conventional pain medication) to yield definitive insights into how it can be safely treated.
Given the lack of certainty and the need for further investigation, those with chronic pain conditions who wish to explore the potential benefits of kratom are often forced to rely on reports from other users. While these informal self-reports are no substitute for clinical research, they do provide some insight into the wider experiences of kratom users.
A survey of more than 8,000 kratom users in the U.S. found that “self-treating pain” was the most common reason for trying kratom at 68% of responses, with “emotional or mental conditions” coming in a close second at 66%. These self-reported uses are consistent with the traditional usage patterns in regions where kratom is cultivated.
A smaller survey, conducted jointly by the American Kratom Association and Pain News Network, asked 6,150 for more information about their use of kratom for managing pain from more specific chronic conditions. 93% of respondents reported that kratom was “very effective” for managing pain associated with fibromyalgia.
However, such anecdotes and traditional usage have not yet been thoroughly vetted through clinical research. It is important to note that there are no FDA-approved uses for kratom, and research is still going on to understand if kratom is a safe and effective treatment for a variety of ailments — including chronic pain.
Kratom produces a variety of effects for their users, and Different strains of kratom are cultivated to contain varying concentrations and proportions of active alkaloid compounds. Strains are named in accordance with the region in which they are cultivated, and the color of the leaf or stem of the plant itself when harvested — both of which can impact the exact makeup of the kratom, and how it affects users. However, different strains of kratom can also be categorized more simply according to the intensity of their effects, and the “speed” at which they act.
For relief from physical discomfort, slow strains of kratom are said to be best. Users struggling with symptoms of fibromyalgia may want to start with a strain that acts subtly — with the effects coming on at a slow to moderate speed. Strains with these capabilities include:
While these slower strains are often associated with relief from physical discomfort, it is important for any new users, especially those with chronic conditions like fibromyalgia, to consult a physician before experimenting with herbal supplements of any kind.
In addition to consulting a physician, it is essential to dose kratom correctly to safely enjoy its benefits.
According to kratom users, a moderate-to-high dose of kratom — 5 to 15 grams — is enough to produce temporary relief from physical discomfort. It should be noted, however, that if you aren’t familiar with kratom or a specific kratom product, it is best to start small and take less. As with most drugs, tolerance and dosage needs are different for everyone.
Fibromyalgia is a painful condition, and treatment of the associated pain can be ineffective with over-the-counter meds and may expose patients to addictive pharmaceuticals. Users have reported that using kratom for the chronic pain associated with fibromyalgia is effective, and comes without the potential consequence of addiction to opioids. Although more research is needed to decide if kratom is a scientifically viable pain management supplement, those with chronic pain (and who live in states where kratom is legal) are considering the supplement.