Kratom

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A Guide To Use & Abuse

By Tyger Gruber

Kratom is dope, literally. It agonizes opioid receptors, so the argument could be made that it is an opiate.

That said, the effects are noticeably different from classical opiates. The key distinction would be that traditional opiates give an overall numbing feeling, whereas kratom creates a feeling of euphoria.


The Good

Kratom really shines in a few key ways. The best use I’ve found for it is it’s overwhelming ability to avert negative thought loops. You know those things that nag in your mind anytime the future is uncertain, or a social interaction goes poorly, or you receive bad news, or pretty much anything negative occurs…Those tend to start negative thought loops.

An example would be you’re planning to do something like go on a first date. For whatever reason, a negative thought enters your mind, and the thought loop begins. Here’s an example of what a thought loop looks like:

Thought – The date will go poorly because I have a zit on my nose.

Loop (Actions) – You aren’t your best self during the date, your actions are affected by thoughts that she dislikes you because of the zit on your nose. When in reality, she’s worried about her own flaw that she hopes you don’t notice. But she notices you acting weird and chalks it up to your character.

Outcome – She ghosts you and the loop completes. You get to confirm that the date went bad because of the zit on your nose.

Unfortunately, these sort of loops are human nature and negatively impacts the lives of many people. There are ways that people propose to cure yourself of these thoughts, such as mindfulness, meditation, exercise, and in serious cases ssri’s & benzodiazepines. While I agree that mindfulness is the best way to help with these by simply being aware they are occurring and interrupting them, kratom is a great way of battling them until you get to that point. Also, kratom is (in my opinion) a better alternative to ssri’s and benzos because it’s physical side effects are nil and mentally withdrawing is far easier.

You don’t have negative thoughts when you’re euphoric.

The main argument I see against this is what people always say about this sort of thing. “It’s just stunting your growth” or “But then what about when you stop” and so on. Well here’s the thing, if you use kratom as the tool it is, then it’s a beautiful substance. For me, I’m using it to keep my mind filled with positive thought loops until I reach a place in life where I’m content with my surroundings (financially independent) and then I’ll stop my use, or lower it’s frequency significantly.


The Bad

Kratom has two massive drawbacks. Addiction and dehydration.

Addiction – Almost everyone is addicted to something. It could be coffee, alcohol, nicotine, or even things that aren’t even a substance like reddit, facebook, video games, etc. So saying that Kratom is prone to addiction, is really not too much different than the warning that should be given before you make a facebook account.

If you haven’t explored your addictive mind, it may look a little different than you expected. Rather than trying kratom once and immediately falling into daily use, it will look more like:

  • Taking a rounded teaspoon as opposed to a level spoonful.
  • Dosing a second time that day because you didn’t feel the first dose.
  • Dosing two days in a row because you’ve got a big day ahead of you, or xyz
  • Seeing some news about the world going to hell and rationalizing that “meh, there are bigger things to worry about”

And many varieties of things along those lines. Your mind will try to rationalize and trick you down the slippery slope of addiction.

Fortunately, kratom doesn’t have many longterm negative health effects, and withdrawing is in line with getting a cold. So of all the ways to learn about addiction, kratom is a decent way to do so without negatively impacting your life.

Dehydration – Here’s the biggest hangup I’ve got with kratom. It’s not the end of the world if you’re only taking one dose every couple days, but when you’re in the throws of addiction with it, you’ll start noticing you’re all dried out.


Best Practices

Dosage – To get the most benefits with the least downside, I’ve found it best to keep doses around 1 teaspoon (2.5 grams) once a day, and ideally avoid dosing two days in a row.

Preparation – There are a few main ways to ingest kratom.

  1. The Main Method: Fill a small glass with 12oz with water or juice. Drop in your dose, and let it sit for 10 minutes. Kratom is hydrophobic so it takes a while to mix with the drink. Then it’ll settle at the bottom, so stir it up before you take a sip. This is bitter and gritty but does the trick.
  2. Toss n’ wash: you get a teaspoon filled with your dose, put some water in your mouth, dump the powder in there, and chase it with a few large gulps. This is a tricky way of doing it. If it goes well, you won’t even notice the taste, but if it goes poorly, it sucks having dry powder in the back of your throat.
  3. Capsules: The way most people tend to try it first, it’s tasteless and convenient, but comes at the cost of either paying more or capsuling it yourself. Also, you need to take a small handful to get your full dose.
  4. Brewing: This is my preferred method of ingestion. The biggest downside is that it’s weaker than other methods, and requires a slightly higher dose to compensate for potency loss. But you boil some water and mix in your dose. Stir it and let it brew for 5-10 minutes, then filter through a drip coffee filter. There’s always the option to sweeten it or brew with a teabag, or you can mix the end result with juice for a better taste. I like this method the most because you aren’t ingesting plant matter, so it’s less dehydrating and easier on your stomach.

Thoughts – I’ve got a hypothesis on how kratom could be used, but it’s entirely conceptual and I haven’t tested it. But on an oversimplified level, kratom stimulated dopamine production through mu, kappa, and deta opioid receptor agonism.

On a super reductionist level, one aspect of what dopamine does is act as a reward system. So I think a big potential effect of kratom in users is that it rewires your mental reward system.

The downside of this is that it can make you into a lazy SOB. Why exercise, have sex, learn new things, or do any of the other productive and enjoyable qualities in life when you could receive a larger ‘reward’ by mixing green dust into some water and drinking it? I think that plays a large role into the addicting side of kratom, and can lead to some bad outcomes for some people.

The upside of this is that you can use it as a tool for productively rewiring your brain. It takes a tremendous amount of willpower to not cave and only use it as a reward (an amount I’m still yet to find) but I believe it has a large potential for use in this aspect. Especially when it comes to tasks that we aren’t wired to feel rewarded for or the reward is too far out to associate it with the task. A great example of this is writing. We’re wired to receive dopamine for things that help us survive and procreate, and while being a productive writer may help in this aspect in terms of a career, it’s difficult to associate the act of writing with survival and continuing your genes. This is where kratom could come in. Exceed your daily writing goal? Treat yourself to some exogenously induced dopamine as a reward! The thought is that it would eventually click that writing is something that is beneficial for your wellbeing and you’d cultivate a stronger sense of motivation to do it.

I’d love to hear your stories and thoughts on kratom! Send me an email or comment below.


For more content, check out my show, Talks with Tyger, at https://talkswithtyger.com/

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