Nearly 34.2 million adults in the United States are current smokers, a fact that underscores the grip of nicotine addiction in the country. Yet, amidst this well-known struggle, you may find yourself intrigued by the rise of kratom, a substance that’s gaining popularity both as a potential aid in cessation efforts and a recreational product in its own right.
While you’re familiar with the effects of nicotine, you might not be as well-versed in kratom’s complex profile, which can range from stimulating to sedating based on the dose. As vendors increasingly offer these substances in tandem, you’re left to consider the implications of their interaction.
With limited research of kratom and nicotine, you’re now standing at the crossroads of curiosity and caution, pondering the consequences of this modern synergy on public health and personal wellness.
What is Kratom?
Kratom is a natural substance that comes from a tree related to coffee plants. At small doses, it acts as a stimulant, while at high doses, it can have effects similar to opioids. Its effects are quite complicated because of this. People say kratom can help with alertness and pain relief, but scientists are still arguing about whether it’s safe and effective.
The laws about kratom aren’t the same everywhere. In many places in the United States, it’s allowed, but the Drug Enforcement Administration is keeping a close eye on it. If you’re thinking about using kratom, you need to know what the law says about it. Studies on kratom are just beginning, but they show there’s a chance you could get addicted to it, especially if you take a lot of it. This can lead to a dependency and withdrawal symptoms.
It’s important to understand that there’s no strong proof that kratom helps with quitting smoking. Also, if you use kratom and nicotine together, it might be more harmful because of how they interact in your body. If you’re looking for other ways to manage pain or feel more energetic, it’s better to look for methods that are proven to be safe.
Read: Kratom and Ibuprofen
What is Kratom Used For?
Kratom is used by people who are looking for pain relief or who want to feel more relaxed. Research on kratom is still happening because scientists want to know exactly how it works and if it can be used as medicine. Right now, many people use kratom on their own to lessen pain or to help them get through withdrawal from opioids.
Whether you can legally buy and use kratom depends on where you live. It’s allowed in some places, but in others, it’s not because some people are worried it mightn’t be safe and that users could get addicted. Those who support kratom say it’s a safer choice compared to other drugs that are more dangerous.
Kratom might make some people feel better mentally, reducing their anxiety. However, it might make anxiety or depression worse in others. It’s important to be careful with kratom because even though it might help people who are addicted to stronger drugs, there’s also a chance of getting hooked on kratom itself. Before you start using kratom, it’s a good idea to talk to a doctor.
What Are the Side Effects of Kratom?
When thinking about kratom’s side effects, it’s important to know that using it with nicotine can make its stimulating effects stronger, which can cause problems like anxiety and trouble sleeping. When kratom and nicotine are used together, they can change how your body breaks them down. This might make their effects last longer and could make addiction more likely.
If you look closely at kratom’s side effects, you’ll notice both physical and mental issues that can come up, especially if someone uses it a lot:
- Physical effects: You might see weight loss, hard bowel movements, and even harm to the liver. If you use kratom regularly, your body might start to need it, and stopping it can cause withdrawal symptoms that are like those from stopping opioid drugs.
- Psychological effects: If someone uses too much kratom for a long time, they might experience rapid changes in mood, see or hear things that aren’t there, and could even develop psychosis.
- Long-term effects: Using kratom over a long period can lead to sleep problems, not wanting to eat, and trouble thinking clearly.
- Kratom tolerance: If you take kratom often, your body might get used to it. This means you’ll need more to feel the same effects, which can make the side effects worse and increase the chance of harmful results.
Using kratom safely means being careful and understanding these side effects, including how it can interact with things like nicotine.
Kratom Dosage Guideline
Given that kratom can have negative side effects, it’s important to start with a small amount. Begin with 1-2 grams to see how it affects you. This is especially true if you’re using it for pain relief or anxiety.
For those new to kratom, 3-5 grams is a good amount to feel its effects without going overboard. This range can help increase your energy or help manage anxiety. People who’ve used kratom for a while and want a stronger effect—for better sleep or to help with opiate withdrawal—might take 6-8 grams. But it’s important not to take more than 8 grams to avoid bad reactions.
Every person reacts differently to kratom, so finding the right amount for you involves some trial and error. Pay attention to how it affects you and change the amount you take accordingly. This careful approach is the best way to use kratom safely and get the most benefit from it.
Read: Kratom and Prednisone
What is Nicotine?
Nicotine is an alkaloid found in the nightshade family of plants (Solanaceae), predominantly in tobacco and to a lesser extent in tomato, potato, eggplant (aubergine), and green pepper. The compound is notable primarily for being the addictive agent in tobacco products.
In its pure form, nicotine is a colorless to yellowish liquid that is oily and hygroscopic (absorbs water from the air). It has a characteristic pungent taste and an acrid smell. Nicotine is a potent neurotoxin and is highly addictive. It acts as a stimulant in mammals, which is the main reason it is so widely used despite its health risks.
Nicotine works by binding to nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) in the brain, mimicking the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. This binding leads to the release of various neurotransmitters such as dopamine, which can create feelings of pleasure and reward. The stimulation of dopamine release is a key factor in nicotine’s addictive potential.
What is Nicotine Used For?
Nicotine is mainly used as a stimulant in products like cigarettes to help people feel more alert and to lessen hunger, but it’s also known for being addictive and harmful to health. When you use nicotine, it quickly gets into your brain through your bloodstream. This causes your brain to release chemicals, such as dopamine, which make you feel good – that’s the ‘nicotine buzz.’ This good feeling is a big reason why people get hooked on nicotine; their brains keep wanting the good feeling that nicotine brings.
To help people quit smoking, there are nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs), including patches, chewing gum, lozenges, inhalers, and nasal sprays. These treatments give you a small, steady amount of nicotine to help you handle the tough symptoms that come when you stop smoking, like feeling cranky, anxious, or having trouble thinking.
Even though nicotine can make you feel more alert and can help in quitting smoking, it can also speed up your heartbeat and raise your blood pressure. So, it’s important to be careful with nicotine. It’s both a widely misused substance and a helper in quitting smoking.
Let me give you a specific example: If you’re trying to quit smoking, you might try using nicotine patches. They stick to your skin and give you a small amount of nicotine throughout the day. This can help you fight off the urge to smoke a cigarette.
What Are the Side Effects of Nicotine?
Nicotine can cause a faster heartbeat, blood pressure changes, and addiction. Knowing the risks of nicotine helps you make better choices about using it. Nicotine has a range of effects on the body, and its side effects can include both short-term and long-term health risks.
Short-term side effects
- Increased heart rate
- Elevated blood pressure
- Constriction of blood vessels
- Increased respiration
- Dizziness and lightheadedness
- Dry mouth and throat
- Nausea and gastrointestinal discomfort
- Coughing (especially in new users of inhaled products)
- Decreased appetite
- Irritation of the eyes (in the case of smoke exposure)
- Insomnia or disturbed sleep patterns
Long-term side effects
- Development of cardiovascular diseases, including coronary artery disease, heart attack, and stroke
- Increased risk of various types of cancer, particularly lung cancer, but also cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, pancreas, bladder, and cervix
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and emphysema
- Gum disease and tooth loss
- Complications during pregnancy, including preterm birth, low birth weight, and stillbirth
- Addiction to nicotine, leading to withdrawal symptoms when trying to quit
- Negative impact on brain development in adolescents, potentially affecting memory, concentration, learning, self-control, and mood
- Increased risk of peptic ulcers and esophageal reflux
- Weakening of the immune system
It is important to note that many of the severe health risks associated with nicotine come from the delivery method, such as smoking, which introduces thousands of harmful chemicals and carcinogens into the body. Nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs) like patches and gums are considered safer alternatives for those trying to quit smoking, as they do not contain these additional harmful substances.
If you or someone you know is experiencing severe side effects from nicotine use, it is important to seek medical advice. Health professionals can also provide support and resources for those looking to quit nicotine and tobacco products.
Does Kratom Interact With Nicotine?
Mixing kratom with nicotine can make the effects of both stronger, which may lead to uncomfortable side effects like feeling anxious or tense muscles. Since there’s not much research, people often base their knowledge on personal stories, which can be different for everyone.
Taking a small amount of kratom might help you think more clearly when you also use nicotine, but it could be risky. If you take a lot of both, they might fight over the same enzymes in your body, increasing the chance of feeling really sick. There’s also a higher chance of getting addicted to these substances if you use them together.
Some people say that kratom helps with nicotine withdrawal, but there’s no solid research to back this up. In fact, some people actually feel worse when they use both at the same time. Without enough studies, it’s best to be very careful with using kratom and nicotine together because we don’t fully understand how they might interact and affect your health.
Can You Mix Kratom and Nicotine Together?
Taking kratom with nicotine is a common practice and is not typically associated with severe side effects. However, caution is advised as the combination of these substances may increase the likelihood of experiencing uncomfortable side effects. To minimize potential risks, it is recommended to lower the dosage of one or both substances when using them together. Always consult with a healthcare professional before combining substances, including kratom and nicotine, to ensure safety and to discuss any potential interactions or contraindications based on your individual health status.
For example, if someone takes a small dose of kratom to feel more alert and then smokes a cigarette, they might find that they feel even more focused. But if they’re not careful and take too much kratom, they might end up feeling shaky or anxious. It’s like when you have one cup of coffee to start your day versus having four cups and ending up with jitters.
Can Kratom Help With Nicotine Withdrawal?
Kratom for reducing nicotine cravings is an area of interest due to its psychoactive properties, which can mimic some of the effects of nicotine. When you’re using kratom to ease nicotine withdrawal symptoms, the alkaloids present in kratom leaves may interact with your opioid receptors, potentially diminishing the intensity of cravings and withdrawal discomfort.
However, it’s pertinent to note that the efficacy of combining kratom and nicotine for smoking cessation isn’t well-documented. While anecdotal accounts exist, empirical evidence is limited. Therefore, you should be cautious and consult with a healthcare professional before using kratom as a natural remedy for nicotine addiction.
The best approach to managing nicotine withdrawal should be based on evidence-based treatments, which can include nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), prescription medications (like varenicline or bupropion), and behavioral therapies. It is recommended that individuals looking to quit smoking or manage nicotine withdrawal consult with healthcare professionals to find the safest and most effective treatment plan.