To determine the safety of the plant mitragyna speciosa, more commonly known as kratom, we look to existing data on toxicity. We also look at parallels and comparisons to determine reasonable safety. At some point absolutely everything (even good’ole H2O) becomes too much and can be toxic.
How Much Kratom is ‘Too Much’ (i.e. toxic)?
There are a handful of research papers that reference mitragynine or kratom alkaloid extracts which were used to determine LD50 toxicity in animals. Lethal dose (LD50) is the amount of an ingested substance that kills 50 percent of a test sample. It is expressed in mg/kg, or milligrams of substance per kilogram of body weight. In other words, how much (milligrams) of a substance does it take to potentially kill you per weight (kilogram). The higher the LD50 number, the safer the substance as it takes more of it to be harmful.
The pharmacology book, Kratom and Other Mitragynines by Raffa, cites acute liver toxicity in rats at higher doses of 1000mg/kg of mitragynine extract, but no axons or dendrites toxicity (brain cells are fine!). A comparative safety risk assessment study for alkaloid extract of Malaysian Mitragyna Speciosa, estimated acute toxicity at 477 mg/kg for mitragynine. For comparison, caffeine is 140 mg/KG and aspirin is 200 mg/KG. It takes over twice as much mitragynine to be dangerous versus aspirin and 3-4 times more mitragynine than caffeine.
For a person weighing about 150 lbs, the amount of pure kratom alkaloids where it is toxic is about 40 grams a day. Keep in mind that when you are using 100% whole-leaf kratom (like with ETHA Natural Botanicals), about 2% of the leaf is made up of alkaloids. So, the toxic amount is over 2,000 gram a day of kratom leaf. A typical person uses 2.5 to 9 grams a day…much less.
How Much Mitragynine is in Typical Use?
If typical use is 2.5-9 g kratom a day for an average 150 lbs. (68 KG) human and mitragynine is ~1% in the dried leaves (typical total alkaloids are 0.5-1.5%) this means that a typically person uses ~0.37 -to- 1.33 mg/kg, WAY, WAY below 477 mg/KG limit for mitragynine! You’d have to use over 3,000 grams of kratom (typical use is 2.5-15 grams) to be toxic!
Are There Negative Side Effects?
Along with kratom’s main use of alleviating symptoms of pain, it is also known to have other effects. Depending on the alkaloid distribution in a particular kratom harvest, people can experience an increase in energy, focus, reduction in inflammation, muscle relaxation, or tension release. While there are many positive benefits with kratom, there are some reports of minor and temporary negative side effects. According to an anonymous survey conducted by the College of Pharmacy, Department of Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Florida of 8,049 current kratom consumers, only 51 or .65% of the 8,049 respondents reported any negative side effects. The side effects were similar to those commonly reported by opioid users, mainly temporary nausea, constipation, and drowsiness or dizziness. The side effects did not last and subsided within the first 30-60 minutes. No one reported any lasting negative impact from kratom use. Learn More.
Is ALL Kratom Tea Safe?
We can now ascertain that pure kratom leaves can be safe especially when used responsibly. This does NOT mean that ALL kratom being sold is safe though. Too many times, vendors and suppliers distribute kratom that has adulterants, contaminants like salmonella, or dangerous levels of heavy metals. Local pollution and a lengthy and convoluted supply chain contribute to these dangerous practices. That is why it is so important for vendors to thoroughly test their kratom before making it available. Make sure your vendor is testing for heavy metals, adulterants, and validating kratom purity (no fillers, other plants, or chemicals) and treating their kratom for potential contaminants. If you want peace of mind, go with ETHA Natural Botanicals Kratom Tea products – SHOP