Kratom and Alcohol

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Medically Reviewed By: Diana Vo, LMFT

February 14, 2023

Table of Contents

Alcohol and kratom do not mix well.

Kratom is a tropical evergreen tree native to Southeast Asia. The leaves of the plant deliver both stimulant and sedative properties. Alcohol, by contrast, is a CNS (central nervous system) depressant.

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While there is not currently much hard data available on mixing alcohol and kratom, it is inadvisable to combine these classes of drugs. This guide highlights the potential dangers of mixing kratom and alcohol.

Mixing Kratom and Alcohol

Alcohol is a depressant of the central nervous system. As such, the substance inhibits the functioning of the CNS, at the same time as blocking messages traveling between the brain and nerve receptors. Resultantly, alcohol impacts your senses, movements, and perceptions.

Kratom has both stimulant and sedative qualities. In low doses, kratom delivers stimulant effects. Ingesting larger doses of kratom – from 10g to 25g of dried leaves – can trigger sedative effects that last for six hours.

Combining a CNS depressant with a substance capable of delivering both stimulant and sedative effects is not recommended and potentially dangerous.

Ingesting kratom in isolation can produce positive and negative effects which are dose-dependent. Doses of less than 5g of kratom leaves are associated with fewer adverse effects than doses of more than 8g.

Lower doses of kratom can induce the following positive effects:

  • Decreased pain
  • Increased focus
  • Boosted energy
  • Elevated mood
  • Relaxation

Other less desirable effects include:

  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Itching
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Sedation

Research shows that the majority of adverse effects, hospitalizations, and overdoses related to kratom also involve other addiction substances.

Severe adverse effects associated with kratom may include:

  • Irritability
  • Agitation
  • Vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • High blood pressure
  • Tachycardia
  • Central nervous system depression
  • Seizure

There are many immediate effects of alcohol on the body. These effects differ in presentation and intensity depending on the degree of alcohol intoxication.

The side effects of consuming small amounts of alcohol are rarely dangerous, but as you consume more alcohol, so the risk of serious and adverse side effects increases.

Small quantities of alcohol can cause the following immediate physical effects:

  • Impaired coordination
  • Slowed reflexes
  • Delayed reaction times

Consuming moderate amounts of alcohol typically intensifies the physical effects, causing:

  • Vision problems
  • Slurred speech
  • Flushed skin
  • Skin reaction
  • Increased urination
  • Sleepiness

Consuming large amounts of alcohol triggers the most intense and potentially dangerous physical side effects, including:

  • Problems with bowel control
  • Vomiting
  • Irregular breathing
  • Losing consciousness
  • Alcohol poisoning
  • Coma
  • Death

Why is mixing alcohol and kratom dangerous, then?

What are the Dangers of Combining Kratom with Alcohol?

These are the primary risks to consider when combining kratom and alcohol:

  • Addiction
  • Heightened risk of overdose
  • Contamination

Addiction

NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) reports that kratom may trigger physical dependence and withdrawal symptoms upon discontinuing use. The sustained use of this substance may cause kratom addiction to develop.  

All addictions (substance use disorders) are classified as chronic and relapsing brain conditions characterized by ongoing and compulsive substance use despite obviously negative outcomes. While there is no cure for substance use disorder, evidence-based treatment typically delivers positive outcomes.

Heightened risk of overdose

You may be at increased risk of overdose when mixing kratom and alcohol. Combining the substances can intensify the effects of each substance, leading to:

  • Respiratory depression
  • Respiratory arrest
  • Kidney failure
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Coma

Seek immediate medical intervention if you or a loved one experiences the following effects after taking kratom:

  • Hallucinations
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Slow, shallow breathing
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Agitation
  • Clammy skin
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Seizure

Contamination

Contamination is another risk with kratom. In 2019, the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) issued a warning after many kratom products tested positive for heavy metals like nickel and lead.

Chronic kratom use may heighten your risk of heavy metal poisoning, leading to:

  • High blood pressure
  • Anemia
  • Certain cancers
  • Kidney damage
  • Damage to the nervous system

There have also been concerns raised by the FDA about high rates of salmonella in kratom products. Bacteria from salmonella can cause:

  • Severe diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Muscle pain
  • Fever
  • Bloody stools
  • Dehydration

Kratom Rehab at Renaissance Recovery

Here at Renaissance Recovery Center in Huntington Beach, we can help you fight back against kratom abuse without needing to pack your bags and head to residential rehab. Choose from one of the following outpatient treatment programs at our luxury beachside rehab:

  • PHPs (partial hospitalization programs)
  • IOPs (intensive outpatient programs)
  • Dual diagnosis treatment programs
  • Virtual IOPs (remote rehab programs)

Whatever level of treatment intensity makes the best fit, all Renaissance treatment programs offer access to individualized kratom addiction treatment that combines holistic and evidence-based interventions. These may include:

  • Medication-assisted treatment
  • Group therapy
  • Individual counseling
  • Psychotherapy
  • Family therapy
  • Holistic therapies

Whether you step down to a less intense form of care or you transition directly into sober living in Orange County, you will leave Renaissance with a comprehensive aftercare plan that includes coping mechanisms and relapse prevention techniques, as well as access to our alumni program. Take the first vital step by reaching out to the friendly team at 866.330.9449.

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Joseph Gilmore has been in the addiction industry for three years with experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.

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