Kratom, a natural botanical derived from the leaf of the Mitragyna speciosa plant, has a long history of use in its native Southeast Asia, and has become a topic of interest both to casual users and medical researchers. While the clinical evidence for kratom is still in development, there are many reasons people choose to use kratom.
If you’re new to kratom, you should learn more about what you can expect from the experience — especially how long it can stay in your system. While kratom is generally considered safe to use, it’s still a psychoactive substance that you should be careful with. Further, if you know how to use kratom properly, you’re more likely to have an enjoyable experience with it. If you take too much, you may feel overwhelmed or encounter unpleasant side effects, like nausea or headaches. However, if you take too little, you won’t be able to feel its effects at all.
To ensure you have the best possible experience with kratom, here’s what you need to know about how long it takes to affect you and how long it can last after the fact:
There are a variety of different factors that impact the length of time it takes to feel kratom’s effects after taking it. First and foremost, how you take kratom will play a major role in how long it takes to kick in, as some methods work more quickly than others. Smoking is the fastest delivery method, as it will cause you to feel kratom’s effects almost instantly. However, smoking any substance can carry other health risks that users may prefer to avoid.
On the other hand, eating or drinking kratom — such as by taking a capsule, using the powder in a drink, or enjoying an extract — is a slower delivery method. Generally, it takes between 30 to 60 minutes to start feeling the effects of an edible product. Even between different types of edibles, there can be some variation in how long it takes to kick in.
Be careful when taking edibles, especially if you don’t feel the effects right away. Avoid taking another dose while waiting for your edible to kick in, as both doses could hit you at once, which can make for an overwhelming or negative experience.
The amount of kratom you take, both in terms of your actual dose and the frequency of use, can also influence how long it takes for you to feel its effects. Typically, if you take a larger dose, you will feel the effects of kratom sooner and more intensely than if you take a smaller one. If you’re new to kratom, it’s always best to start small and gradually work up toward larger doses.
If you take kratom frequently, you likely have a higher tolerance to it, meaning you’ll need to take a larger dose of kratom to feel the same effects. Luckily, there are ways to manage your tolerance without continually taking higher doses.
Additionally, the type of kratom you take plays a role in determining onset time. There are many strains of kratom, each of which is used for different purposes and has different effects. Depending on your strain, your kratom could be fast-acting or take longer to set in.
Finally, there are several biological and habitual factors that can affect the onset time of kratom. Some, such as your age and gender, are beyond your control and may simply require you to be patient while you wait for kratom to take effect. Others, such as how recently you’ve eaten, are easier to change so you feel kratom’s effects sooner.
There is some variation in how long the effects of kratom can last. The duration can be affected by many of the same factors as onset time, including personal biology and individual consumption habits.
In part, it depends on the ingestion method. Smoking kratom may be fast-acting, but its effects tend to fade more quickly. On the other hand, when you eat or drink kratom, it takes longer to feel its effects — but you will likely feel those effects for a longer amount of time. Similarly, if you take a larger dose of kratom, you will likely feel a more intense onset of the effects that lasts longer than a small dose.
There is limited clinical research available about the duration of kratom effects. According to anecdotal evidence and self-reporting in surveys of kratom users, the effects of kratom can last anywhere from 1 to 8 hours. Users report that duration can also depend on where you buy your kratom, as well as the quality and purity of your product. It appears that high-quality kratom from a reputable seller will produce longer-lasting effects than lower-quality kratom, or kratom that has been adulterated in any way.
There is a similar amount of variation in how frequently you can take kratom, as it depends on your own personal preferences, health needs, and lifestyle choices. While some people can reportedly take kratom multiple times per day without major issues, others may be more sensitive to its effects or otherwise be unable to take it often.
There is limited research about frequent or long-term kratom use, as well as the safety or health impacts of doing so. Of the studies and reports that do exist, there are mixed results. A study of 77 kratom users in Malaysia found that regular and even heavy kratom consumption did not appear to alter or impact the “hematological and clinical-chemistry parameters” of the test subjects, suggesting that kratom may not have serious impacts on certain aspects of physical health. However, many government agencies and health officials in the United States, particularly the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), have publicly shared their concerns about kratom. The FDA believes that kratom could be addictive, cause overdoses, or even be fatal. However, some experts counter that it may be an adulteration of kratom, rather than the herb itself, that is responsible for these health risks.
Dr. Christopher R. McCurdy, Ph.D., a leading kratom researcher, explained, “adulteration of herbal supplements has been a perennial problem in the dietary supplement market. Weight loss supplements and ‘men’s wellness’ products have been repeatedly found by the FDA to be adulterated with current or former prescription weight loss drugs and erectile dysfunction drugs, respectively. So common are these episodes that the agency maintains a testing program for these products. But weight loss and men’s health supplements haven’t been criminalized.”
The general lack of extensive clinical trials and peer-reviewed research makes it difficult to know exactly how often you can safely consume kratom, or how much you can safely take in a single dose. Even tried-and-true kratom users report that, because everyone is different, you may have to experiment to find what works well for you. Further, it’s always best to follow the manufacturer’s dosage recommendations when taking kratom. Doing so will help ensure that you have an enjoyable and safe experience with their product.
It’s not entirely clear how long kratom can remain in your body, even after its effects have worn off. Your age, weight, frequency of kratom use, and tolerance level are just a few of the factors that could affect how long kratom stays in your system.
It’s worth noting that kratom can show up on a drug test. One drug testing company was even able to develop a test that could detect kratom use several months after the fact. However, it’s likely that standard drug tests — which often only test for certain substances — won’t be able to pick up on kratom, no matter how recently you last took it.
Researchers do have some insight into the half-life of kratom. The half-life of a substance refers to the amount of time it takes for that substance to decrease by half while in the body. One study found that mitragynine, one of the major alkaloids in kratom, has a terminal half-life of about 24 hours. This was a small study in Thailand, with only 10 participants, and it only looked at males who used kratom regularly. It also only assessed the terminal half-life, not the full amount of time required for the substance to be fully eliminated from the body.
When looking specifically at the elimination half-life, studies have had differing results. One study in rats found the half-life of mitragynine to be around 4 hours, while another determined it to be longer, closer to 9.5 hours. Another study of rats suggests that the method of ingestion could influence kratom’s half-life, with oral ingestion having a longer half-life than an injection. Because all of these studies had varying results and were done in rats, it’s uncertain how the half-life of mitragynine differs in humans.
Everyone is unique, and kratom will affect each individual differently, making it even more difficult to know how long kratom will last or stay in your system. With more detailed research, curious, casual, and consistent kratom users alike will have a better understanding of how to use this botanical as safely and effectively as possible.