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The Dangers of Mixing Kratom and Alcohol

kratom and alcohol

Mixing kratom and alcohol is a subject that sparks concern and debate among both users and healthcare professionals. Kratom has gained popularity in recent years due to its purported medicinal properties. It contains alkaloids that interact with opioid receptors in the brain, leading to effects similar to those of opioids, stimulants, and sedatives, depending on the dosage.

Alcohol, on the other hand, is one of the most widely consumed psychoactive substances in the world, with effects that can range from relaxation and euphoria to impaired judgment and motor skills. When kratom and alcohol are combined, their interactions can amplify the risks associated with each substance individually, leading to a host of adverse effects.

What is Kratom?

Kratom is a tropical tree native to Southeast Asia. Consumption of its leaves produces both stimulant effects in low doses and sedative effects in higher doses. Consumption can also lead to psychotic symptoms as well as psychological and physiological dependence.

The kratom leaf contain two major psychoactive ingredients: mitragynine and 7-hydroxymytragynine. Kratom leaves are crushed and then smoked, brewed with tea, or placed into gel capsules.

Kratom has a long history of use in Southeast Asia, where it is commonly known as thang, thom, and biak. In the U.S., the abuse of kratom has spiked in recent years, as its availability in vape shops and online is widespread. 

While there are no uses for kratom that have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, some people use kratom to manage drug withdrawal symptoms and cravings—particularly those related to opioid use—as well as pain, fatigue, and mental health issues.

At low doses, kratom produces stimulant effects with users reporting increased alertness, physical energy, and talkativeness. At higher doses, users experience sedative effects similar to those of morphine.

A psychoactive substance, kratom is not controlled under the Controlled Substances Act, though there some state regulations exist that prohibit the possession and use of kratom. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved kratom for medical use, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has listed kratom as a Drug and Chemical of Concern.

A 2019 study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that analyzed reports of more than 27,000 unintentional drug overdoses across 32 states and Washington, D.C. found that 152 of those reported overdose deaths were found to have kratom in their system. Of these overdose deaths, kratom was found to be the cause of 91 deaths.

Is Kratom Addictive?

While research on kratom is still in its early stages, there is growing evidence suggesting that chronic use may lead to tolerance, dependence, and withdrawal symptoms similar to those of opioids. Combining kratom with alcohol may exacerbate these issues, potentially leading to a cycle of escalating use and dependence.

Dangers of the Kratom-Alcohol Combination

Some of the physical and mental effects that can occur with mixing kratom and alcohol include:

  • Sleepiness
  • Dizziness
  • Anxiety
  • Fast heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • Loss of muscle control or coordination
  • Tremors
  • Altered perception
  • Increased risk of alcohol addiction

Despite kratom having some stimulant properties, particularly in low doses, it also has depressant properties similar to those of opioids. Since alcohol is also a depressant, mixing the two substances can be highly dangerous and can result in alcohol use disorderRead on to learn of the more common dangers of mixing kratom and alcohol.

Respiratory Depression

One of the primary dangers of mixing kratom and alcohol is the potential for respiratory depression. Both substances can depress the central nervous system, slowing down breathing and heart rate. This effect can be intensified when the two are mixed, increasing the risk of respiratory failure, particularly at higher doses. Respiratory depression is a serious concern, leading to oxygen deprivation and even death, if not addressed promptly.

Cognitive Impairment

Mixing kratom and alcohol can exacerbate cognitive impairment. Of course, both substances on their own can impair judgment, coordination, and cognitive function. When consumed together, however, users may experience increased confusion, difficulty concentrating, and impaired decision-making abilities. This can lead to accidents, injuries, and risky behaviors like driving under the influence or engaging in unsafe sexual practices.

Mental Health Concerns

Mixing kratom and alcohol can worsen mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, and bipolar. Both substances affect neurotransmitter levels in the brain, leading to changes in mood and exacerbating mental health symptoms. Moreover, people with a history of substance abuse or addiction issues may be particularly vulnerable to the reinforcing effects of combining kratom and alcohol, increasing the risk of addiction.


Another significant danger of mixing kratom and alcohol is the possibility of overdose. Kratom and alcohol have dose-dependent effects, meaning that higher doses can lead to more profound and potentially dangerous outcomes. 

When combined, users may inadvertently consume excessive amounts of both substances, which increases the risk of overdose. Symptoms of overdose include severe respiratory depression, loss of consciousness, seizures, and even death.

In conclusion, mixing kratom and alcohol presents serious physical and mental health risks. From respiratory depression and overdose to exacerbating mental health conditions, the dangers associated with combining these two substances should not be underestimated.

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