Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) is a tree native to Southeast Asia. The leaves are filled with dozens of alkaloids and quite a few are psychoactive. Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine are the most important alkaloids in Kratom. They’re both opioids.

Ethnobotanicals aren’t in the same category as MDPV or phenazepam but I’m starting to see too much false information about Kratom appearing in the backwaters of the internet. Let’s make one thing perfectly clear — Kratom is absolutely addicting and if you start using regularly you will start building a tolerance and burning money. Mixing with other CNS depressants like phenazepam or alcohol can lead to respiratory depression and death.

Kratom’s effects, primarily mediated by 7-hydroxymitragynine and mitragynine, come from its action at the mu-opioid and delta-opioid receptors. To the inhabitants of SE Asia though, kratom is like how coffee is for us — a normal part of every day life that’s been around for centuries. Kratom effects are unique. Despite being an opioid it possesses both stimulant and depressant properties. Heroin and Vicodin (hydrocodone) both can leave people dopey and sleepy, but Kratom and Oxycodone both feel like a good cup of coffee on top of their opioid effects. Peasants there will chew the leaves to get the stimulating effect to work long, hard hours of physical labor without resting.

How does it feel? Kratom’s opioid effects are the touch of your lover. Within 10-45 minutes, you feel her hands run down your body. Each finger’s travels are electric. Your skin tingles. Hers is soft and smooth. You can feel the heat of her body transferring to yours. When you look into her big eyes, you find yourself serene, calm, and the music around you glows. She leans into your ear and her hot breath makes you melt. She whispers, “It’s ok. The day hasn’t been that bad and your burdens feel light as a feather.” She’s not jealous of your friends. In fact, she encourages you to meet new people and your magnetized body will be drawn towards others. It’s easy to talk, for once.

At higher doses being with her is dizzying. You begin nodding — a state favored by many heroin addicts where you rapidly go from sleep to wakefulness. You’re in a dream state. Reality falls away and you’re in bliss. You can live another life in the dream — one without the ugliness and alienation that persists in our post-industrial laissez-faire late capitalist society where suicide is now the single biggest killer of Americans, more than all cancers, accidents and shootings. But in 3-6 hours she’ll have to leave. No romance lasts forever. Her visit leaves you in such a good mood you don’t even feel that bad that she’s left.

Dosing of Kratom is difficult. It depends on the way it arrives to us here in the West, but it is always dosed orally. Effects can come faster on an empty stomach.

The most common form is leaf, crushed or whole. Your scale need only have 0.1g accuracy; it’s very loose. A dose starts at 2-3 grams of leaf. If it is not already finely crushed or powdered, break out a cheap coffee grinder and pulverize it. From here there are two methods: You can either do a Toss ‘n’ Wash or make Tea. The Toss ‘n’ Wash is the most effective. You get a thick or bubbly drink like OJ, hot chocolate or soda, as long as the flavor is quite strong. You take a pinch of the weighed, powdered leaf. Put it as far back as possible in your throat, and throw down your beverage. Repeat until you’ve taken your dose.

Kratom Tea is less reliable but some people prefer it to eating all of the plant. This should be done on an empty stomach. Again, grind up the leaf, but not too finely. Either drop it directly into your cup or use a metal tea ball to hold the contents. From here, you can either keep remaking the Tea until your dose is no longer changing the color of the water, or you can chug the entire thing, wet leaves and all. I find this process gross and concentrates the nasty flavors in Kratom and keep them on your tastebuds for as long as possible.

There’s another option, Kratom Extract or Tincture. The most famous is Full Spectrum Tincture (FST). All the exciting bits of kratom in a glass vial of around 2-5mL. They used to have an old school glass or plastic tube which could hold onto a “drop” of FST each time it was dipped into the vial. You had more control over how many drops, it was a more civilized method, for a more civilized time. These days you’re more likely to find a gasket, which like a bottle of Tabasco — you can only get out a drop or two at a time. But in that dim, cracked back doorbackdoor light by the dumpster, as you’re trying to get the amount right for the tongue of the chemically curious girl of the night you tap too hard, and 8 drops rush in. As they fall on her tongue you grab her face before she can swallow, and use your tongue to reclaim a few drops for yourself. “That was nice,” she’ll say. “I had to make you sure you didn’t OD,” you’ll respond. “I didn’t mean that…” and the night is different.

There’s a variety of websites you can buy all manner of kratom extracts. There are occasional sightings of pure 7-hydroxymitragynine solutions and even rumors of 7-acetoxymitragynine. The reason to be excited for that is that 7-hydroxyMG is to 7-acetoxyMG as morphine is to heroin. That acetoxy group makes it much more powerful. I’ve heard that the doses are anywhere from 15 to 65mg to start with. Of course, at this early stage there’s no way to know how pure it is.

You can also find wildly varying qualities of kratom at head shops packaged as “incense” similar to synthetic cannabinoids. These are either repackaged and marked-up kratom leaf you could have bought off the internet, adulterated, or in the case of the “Krypton” brand of “incense” it was actually inert plant matter that was sprayed with O-desmethyltramadol which is the active metabolite of tramadol, a prescription only opioid painkiller.

At low doses, you can just claim you’re drunk and social. At extremely high doses you’re probably lying around at home nodding, enjoying the nod dreams. Overdoses have yet to be reported, but they’re likely to be similar to other opioids, especially if you mix with alcohol or benzos which leads to fatal respiratory depression — you just stop breathing. The effects are entirely reversed by Narcan (naloxone).

Addiction to her is the serious problem. If you try to leave her, she’ll kick your ass. You’ll feel miserable, like she’s beaten you all over. Your muscles will be cramped and temperature regulation will fail you. She’ll knock you awake with discomfort and pain.

The best thing you can do is load up on mineral supplements, L-tyrosine, Xanax and a hot shower and ride out the withdrawal. You’ll be out of commission for 2 weeks and the symptoms are similar enough to the flu to pass for it. Congrats. You now know what it feels like to be method acting in Trainspotting.

Have fun; try not to die.