You can chew it, drink it, swallow it in pill form, even convert it into topicals like soap – what more could you ask from such a potent and versatile herbal remedy as kratom? Inevitably, there will be those whose curiosity is piqued enough to ask the question, “Can you smoke kratom, too?”
With so many healthy ways to consume the Southeast Asian “miracle” plant, why one would consider burning it is beyond us, but the answer is yes – you can. Should you? That’s a different matter altogether.
The Way Kratom Works
Kratom, or Mitragyna speciosa, is a deciduous tree that originates in the humid, tropical climates of countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. Long ago, the locals of these countries discovered, likely by accident, that these leaves were an excellent source of stimulation and sedation, and so began consuming them either by harvesting and chewing the leaves or brewing them into tea.
The leaves of the Mitragyna speciose plant are chock full of beneficial chemicals called alkaloids (mitragynine and 7-hydroxy mitragynine being the most prevalent, though dozens of others have been isolated), and these alkaloids, when they pass through the blood-brain barrier, connect with opiate receptor sites in the brain to bring about feelings of mild euphoria, pain-blocking, and more.
Today, we know kratom can prove useful in treating conditions like:
- Chronic pain and migraines
- Muscle aches and pains
- Mental clarity and focus
- Social anxiety
The Kratom Debate Rages On
Though the safety and efficacy of kratom remain up for debate in countries like the United States (kratom is legal here but there is a distinct lack of scientific evidence on either side of the argument, which has made it simple for governing agencies like the DEA to decry use and distribution of the herbal supplement), anecdotal evidence persists, and patients worldwide continue to safely incorporate kratom into their weekly routines.
This is not to say that there is no risk of addiction with Mitragyna speciosa, although the risk that does exist is negligible when compared to addictive substances like true opioids, alcohol, and others. In fact, even the National Institute for Drug Addiction amended the entry on their website regarding kratom’s status, noting that, on its own, kratom hasn’t been associated with fatal overdoses.
Responsible Kratom Consumption
The NIDA phrasing is key – “on its own” kratom is safe. You can develop a tolerance or dependency issue if you use it every day (you can avoid this by taking regular kratom breaks or doing a monthly cleanse), though this is easily reverse, and any withdrawal symptoms range from mild to uncomfortable, lasting upwards of two weeks.
Combined with other substances like opiates or alcohol, however, the sedative qualities of Mitragyna speciosa may be amplified, resulting in extreme lethargy and possibly overdose, which, in several cases, has proved fatal.
Practice safe consumption:
- Only use kratom when you need it, or once or twice a week
- Never combine kratom with other sedative substances
- If you must use kratom daily to treat chronic pain, alternate strains
- Avoid driving, operating machinery or engaging in activities that require you to remain focused and alert
- Always buy certified organic, pure kratom form a well-respected source
Can you smoke kratom?
Now we come to the crux of the issue – smoking kratom. It stands to reason that if you can smoke marijuana and tobacco leaves you should also be able to smoke Mitragyna speciosa leaves. And so you can, but in the grand scheme, smoking kratom is a bit of a waste, since the number of leaves one would need to constitute a typical dose would be more than you could easily smoke.
Think of cooking spinach – you pile handful after handful of spinach leaves into the pan until it’s overflowing but when you’re finished, you’re left with a wilted and sweating lump of green. Kratom leaves aren’t wilted, they’re crushed, but the principle is the same.
Just because you can, does not mean you should. We’ve been warned of the dangers of smoking in general, it should come as no surprise that the combustion of kratom leaves wouldn’t be free from negative effects.
Don’t put kratom in your pipe and smoke it
Like tobacco smoke deposits harmful carcinogens and tar into the lungs, so does the smoke from kratom leaves, leading to lung disease development. However, the effects are compounded with Mitragyna speciosa since you need to smoke a larger mass of leaves to reap similar results.
It’s safe to say that we’ve established kratom powder, capsules, and leaf supplements are more economical methods of consumption, not to mention they’re much better for your health.
We’ll take a moment here to point out another rare method of consumption that should probably go untested: snorting kratom powder.
In general, when you snort a drug it passes into the bloodstream faster than if you ingest it via swallowing. Technically, yes, you can snort kratom but, as with smoking, you’d need to get a lot up to your nose to feel the effects – it’s just not a cost-effective method of relieving pain!
Rather than waste time and money on experimenting with consumption methods that are more wasteful than anything, stick with using Mitragyna speciosa products that are easy to use and are more effective at doing the job for which they’re intended – visit our online shop for certified organic and pure kratom powders, capsules, and leaf products.