Today, we embark on a journey to explore the intriguing and sometimes controversial topic of kratom and its emergence in the realm of substance use disorder recovery. As representatives of WakeUp Carolina, our primary goal is to provide balanced information to our community, fostering an environment where individuals can make informed decisions about their recovery journey. In this blog post, we’ll delve into what kratom is, its potential positive effects, and the concerns surrounding its use, all while citing reputable sources to guide our discussion.

Understanding Kratom

Kratom, derived from the leaves of the Mitragyna speciosa tree native to Southeast Asia, has been used for centuries for its potential stimulant and pain-relieving properties. As we navigate the uprising of kratom, it’s essential to understand both its potential benefits and drawbacks.

Potential Positive Effects on Substance Use Disorder

  • Pain Relief and Mood Enhancement: Kratom contains alkaloids that interact with opioid receptors in the brain, potentially providing relief from pain and enhancing mood. Some individuals have reported using kratom as a tool for managing chronic pain without resorting to traditional opioid medications.
  • Assistance in Opioid Withdrawal: A 2017 study published in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association suggested that individuals may use kratom to self-treat opioid withdrawal symptoms, with some reporting a reduction in cravings and withdrawal discomfort.

Potential Negative Effects and Concerns

  • Addiction and Dependence: One of the primary concerns surrounding kratom is its potential for addiction and dependence. The alkaloids in kratom can activate opioid receptors, leading to physical dependence in some individuals. This has raised concerns about the potential for kratom misuse.
  • Lack of Regulation and Standardization: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved kratom for any medical use, and there is a lack of standardized production and quality control. This raises concerns about the purity and consistency of kratom products available in the market.
  • Safety Concerns: The FDA has also expressed concerns about the safety of kratom, citing cases of adverse events, including deaths, associated with its use. The lack of regulation makes it challenging to ensure the safety of kratom products. Due to the lack of regulation, we’ve witnessed local establishments concocting their own batches of kratom with no guidelines in place.

Community Engagement and Education

At WakeUp Carolina, we believe in fostering open and honest dialogue within our community. It is crucial to recognize that individuals may have different experiences with kratom, and one size does not fit all. We encourage everyone to engage in informed conversations, seek professional guidance, and make decisions based on their unique circumstances.

As the wave of interest in kratom continues to rise, our mission at WakeUp Carolina remains centered on providing support, education, and a sense of community for individuals on their recovery journey. We acknowledge the potential positive effects of kratom but also emphasize the importance of caution and awareness due to its associated risks. Let us continue to navigate this evolving landscape together, supporting one another with empathy and understanding.

  • Swogger, M. T., Hart, E., Erowid, F., Erowid, E., Trabold, N., Yee, K., … & Walsh, Z. (2015). Experiences of kratom users: a qualitative analysis. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 47(5), 360-367.
  • Prozialeck, W. C., Jivan, J. K., & Andurkar, S. V. (2012). Pharmacology of kratom: an emerging botanical agent with stimulant, analgesic and opioid-like effects. The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, 112(12), 792-799.
  • Coe, M. A., Pillitteri, J. L., Sembower, M. A., Gerlach, K. K., & Henningfield, J. E. (2019). Kratom as a substitute for opioids: results from an online survey. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 202, 24-32.
  • Food and Drug Administration (FDA). (2021). FDA warns companies selling illegal, unapproved kratom products marketed for opioid cessation, pain treatment, and other medical uses. Retrieved from
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