NIDA is rolling out a massive nationwide study of regular kratom consumers

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From the research team:

About The KEMA Study

We are conducting a new study on kratom entitled “Real-world momentary assessment of kratom use accompanied by product assays: A natural history study toward an interdisciplinary characterization of kratom use and pharmacology”!

That is a long name, so we typically refer to it as our Kratom Ecological Momentary Assessment (KEMA) study. Ecological momentary assessment is a method for collecting information from study participants in real time, in the moment, wherever they are. This is done using a secure app on a smartphone. This way, we can understand where, when, how, and why kratom is being used in people’s everyday lives.

We brainstormed about the best next steps for kratom research. We decided we need more information from people who use kratom, and we need it from each person over a period of time, not just at one time point, like when you complete a survey.

Kratom surveys have been very important, and we have used them to develop this study, but we need to get information from people using kratom as they go about their everyday lives where they can answer questions about kratom, its effects, reasons for use, and how they feel it is benefiting or affecting them.

We are also doing this study because we want to collect other types of information, such as what kratom products people are using, so that we can analyze their chemical composition. Sometimes, when we say “kratom” we are really talking about many different things, as kratom products can vary considerably. We want to better understand that variability.
By doing this study, we hope to develop even better studies to understand how kratom impacts people.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is part of the National Institutes of Health. It’s a federal agency that is legally bound to use funds for scientific research on drugs. Unlike the FDA or DEA, NIDA has no power to enforce laws.

NIDA is a federal scientific research institute under the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIDA is the largest supporter of the world’s research on drug use and addiction. NIDA-funded scientific research addresses the most fundamental and essential questions about drug use, including tracking emerging drug use trends, understanding how drugs work in the brain and body, developing and testing new drug treatment and prevention approaches, and disseminating findings to the general public, researchers, policymakers, and others.

Privacy may be a concern for some kratom consumers. KEMA’s FAQ (found in section 2 of addresses some of these concerns:

Does the app track my location or use other information from me?

No. Our study app only collects the information and data that you enter. It does not track your location or have access to anything else. It does not collect any form of passive data, just what you put in.

Does the app collect information from me that could identify me?

No. The only personally identifiable information we collect from you will be done during our online questionnaires on a secure platform that only our study team has access to. We will never use your study data with your personal information that could identify you or threaten your privacy.

Does NIDA share my identifiable data with anyone?

No. All data is used for research purposes only. Our study team will remove any identifiers before we or any of our scientific collaborators examine the data.

In addition to conducting its own research, NIDA has funded nearly $7 million to the University of Florida specifically for kratom research. NIDA recently updated its kratom information page that is filled with updated information about kratom science.

One of the study leads, Dr. Kirsten Smith, appeared on the Kratom Science Podcast #55 and again on #81. On episode 81 she spoke a bit about the study:

If you are a regular kratom using person in the United States and you’re an adult, you can take our screening questionnaire online. It takes probably five minutes, real short, and if you’re eligible then you’re prompted to complete kind of an informed consent quiz, because it’s a two week long study we want people to understand fully what they’re getting involved with. We talk about the ecological momentary assessment, which I’ll give everyone a brief nutshell version of right now, and then once people say, “Okay, I think I can do this”, it is compensated. We can’t pay a tremendous amount because we only have so much money, but we do try to compensate people for their time. We hope people will do it out of the spirit of wanting to advance the science on kratom. Once people decide that they want to do it, they’re interested, they think that it’s not going to be this horrible time commitment that they can’t really follow through on, then we give them the survey. After they do the survey, they have two days to download our study app, and it’s a secure app you don’t even have to put any identifying information in there. Once that app is on your smartphone…what we do is called momentary sampling. We hit people up at different times of day. Two of the times of day are an electronic diary. So there’s the beginning of day and the end of day and that appears for about an hour and a half around your bedtime and wake time. You just answer eight questions and at the beginning of the day…around your bedtime you answer six to ten questions…[as well as prompts in the middle of the day]. At the midway point we ask that you send in a small sample of the kratom product that you’re taking most often, and we provide all the shipping materials so no one has to pay for anything. Nobody’s name is on anything– we put our return address so that no one will know… There’s nothing identifying about you on there so we are very very very very serious about privacy, confidentiality, using your data only for scientific purposes and that’s really the gist of the study.

But it’s going to be exciting because we’ll be able to characterize the alkaloid content of the kratom products that people send us. So we can hopefully see how much mitragynine is in this product and..maybe we can correlate that with other self-reports during the time they were using this product and see that, oh, this product with higher levels of mitragynine actually ended up being more potent for them in terms of subjective self-report. That’s something we’re really excited about doing.

To enroll in the KEMA study, go to


2 thoughts on “NIDA is rolling out a massive nationwide study of regular kratom consumers”

  1. I’d very much like to be a part of this study. As a chronic pain patient I would not be a productive part of my community without this tea.

  2. Kratom saved my life. I am a chronic pain patient that is unable to get proper pain medication. I am able to get out of bed and do more than I could before.

    My spouse has had 4 back surgeries and a hip replacement at 48. He has to work a full time job on his feet. He couldn’t get thru the day without it.
    We are responsible consumers and abide by the law. Only pure, unadulterated loose leaf powder.
    We both are responsible consumers. Please help protect this plant.

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