Kratom Tolerance And Tapering

DISCLAIMER: The following content is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice or medical claims. If you are having a problem with kratom, see a doctor.

Kratom can be habit forming. Multiple studies and first-person consumer testimonials have shown dependence to be a relatively rare, mostly mild, but an unfortunate side effect of kratom. Long-time consumers understand that they can build up a tolerance, and if left unchecked, kratom can become an expensive and sometimes unpleasant habit.

Most kratom consumers report very mild withdrawals that are nothing like the violent illness that comes from opiate withdrawal, or the delirium tremens reported by some hardcore alcoholics trying to get sober.

Most people who consume any substance do not become addicted to it. Most people who have a cigarette do not become smokers. Most people who have a few drinks at night are not alcoholics. Most people who take pain medication after surgery do not become junkies. And most people who consume kratom do not become habitual users.

Addiction expert Gabor Mate says addiction does not come from a substance, but from the traumatic experiences of the addict:

Coffee, sugar, alcohol, cigarettes, prescription drugs, video games, and social media can all be habit forming to someone with an addictive personality. However, many former opiate addicts and chronic pain patients who take kratom daily say that while they depend on kratom, not every habit is as severe or devastating as the next. Even those who consume an excessive amount of kratom are able to function socially, hold a job, and maintain relationships. 

However, there are multiple reasons people would want to lower their tolerance or quit using kratom altogether. 

Click below to navigate to each section:

How to Know When You’re Taking Too Much Kratom

Most kratom consumers go through an initial period of finding their dose — enough to feel the beneficial effects, but not too much as to make one nauseous or dizzy. A typical dose might be 3 to 10 grams a day of quality kratom, depending on what it is being used for. Let’s say that you’ve found your dose to be five grams per day, five days per week. Then two months later, you find yourself taking 10 grams/day, every day. Another month goes by and you’re at 20 grams, and even those effects are starting to become dull.

In some cases your supplier might have a weak batch of kratom. But most likely, your tolerance is increasing to the point where kratom is starting to lose its beneficial effects.

“It’s not pleasant, trust me,” one kratom consumer told us. “Basically kratom stops having any effect other than causing nausea/headache. And not having it makes you very restless with restless legs syndrome symptoms. And that would make me very claustrophobic.”

Dealing with Withdrawal, and Tapering Off of Kratom

"Less Is More"

Most successful long term kratom consumers find their dose and stick with it.

User “Leafoffaith” posts about getting off Suboxone with heavier doses of kratom, then tapering from the kratom as well:

Take Regular Breaks

Drew Turner makes kratom tea from fresh leaf and follows a strict schedule.

The Science on Kratom Dependence

How serious are the abuse and addiction potentials of kratom?

Regular use of kratom, particularly at higher doses, can lead to tolerance and dependence (Galbis-Reig, 2016; Singh et al., 2014; Swogger & Walsh, 2018; Yusoff et al., 2016). However, available human reports suggest that abstinence from kratom is typically associated with milder symptomatology than abstinence from classical opioids (Erowid, 2016; Singh, Narayanan et al., 2018, 2014; Singh et al., 2016). At the same time, although these reports indicate that the effects of kratom can, in some ways, resemble those of opioids, many individuals report that the subjective effects of kratom are quite different from those of opioids. 

As noted previously, low to moderate doses of kratom tend to be somewhat stimulating, rather than sedating, and do not produce the “high” or strong euphoric effects associated with opioids, although some users have reported intoxication and euphoria after using higher doses (Erowid, 2016; Singh et al., 2016;, 2016; Swogger et al., 2015; Wisdom, 2016). 

This distinct spectrum of effects, including attenuated euphoria and abuse potential, is supported by two recent preclinical studies, which found that mitragynine is not self-administered by rats (Hemby, McIntosh, Leon, Cutler, & McCurdy, 2018; Yue, Kopajtic, & Katz, 2018). Further, even at high doses, kratom does not appear to severely depress respiration as do classical opioids (Singh et al., 2014, 2016). 

Thus, even though kratom has some potential for abuse and dependence, several investigators have concluded that kratom has both less abuse liability and much lower risk of fatal overdose than traditional opioids and that the potential benefits of kratom in the treatment of OUD may outweigh these risks (Henningfield et al., 2018; Singh et al., 2014, 2015; Singh et al., 2016; Swogger et al., 2015).

This does not mean that kratom is not sometimes used by people to get high and/or intoxicated because such use has been documented (Swogger et al., 2015). Such findings were also considered by Henningfield et al. (2018), who concluded that the overall assessment of kratom did not warrant it being listed as a controlled substance. 

They noted that many substances, including over-the-counter drugs (for cough and cold symptoms) and dietary ingredients, are also sometimes misused and abused for the purposes of causing intoxication and to get high, yet overall, seem appropriately left unscheduled.”

10 thoughts on “Tolerance and Tapering”

  1. Hello,
    I just started listening to your podcast which led me to this web site. I’d like to know more about this organization and who the author of the website and podcast is as well as company structure. Just like to know who I am listening to and a bit of background. Thank you! Ann

  2. Back in 2018, I was addicted to opioids (I have no idea what they were btw) to where I couldn’t go more than 10 hours without it. I actually went cold turkey and all withdrawal symptoms went away within a week, BUT IT WAS TERRIBLE. HORRIBLE. I then relapsed 3 weeks later and after a month I was introduced to kratom and quite the use of those opioids. I got my friends that were hooked off of those things. Some had a bad reaction to it like nausea but they took too much in hopes of getting rid of the withdrawals. I didn’t have a scale but roughly 6 grams (a rounded teaspoon) was the sweet spot whenever I felt the chills and slowly I tapered to 3 grams (half a teaspoon) once in the morning and once in the evening. You definitely still build tolerance so when I would catch myself taking 12 grams or more I would just take away one of the doses.

    I’m still a daily user of kratom and now I’m better at regulating my doses to 6 grams a day maybe 9. But the performance and mood boost is worth it since I work in a high stress, fast-paced restaurant.

    1. I’ve been using Kratom for 8 years. I have had high blood pressure managed well with Rx for the duration. I did not need any adjustment to my Rx meds for HBP when I started Kratom. In my experience it can have a modest lowering of BP. Of course, this is a sample of one and YMMV.

  3. After taking 12 grams of kratom every day for about a year I quit without thinking about having any withdrawal. At day three I realized what was happening and started back on kratom and tapered down to zero over the course of about a month. I managed to take three equal doses per day with the help of a digital scale. I made a tapering schedule chart and stuck to it. Tapering this way minimized my withdrawal. I had no withdrawal when I approached zero. The pains that led me to find kratom certainly came back. I started taking kratom again and I am taking between 12 and 15 grams a day now. No dose is larger than 3 grams. The best part about kratom is that it works for my pain plus it certainly improves my moods. No doctor is needed but you must be a responsible adult and use this stuff accordingly. When its time to quit for whatever reason, please taper slowly and save yourself from pain and depression.

    1. Thank you so m much for your share. I’m getting off tramadol with it. Knowing what people are dosing and what works is really helpful. I am nowhere near the 12gr a day people are talking about and plan on staying low. I once did 7 gr and it was definitely a high but no required for the pain I had. Experimenting. I dont take that much at once ever now. 5gr seems goo but sometimes 3 is enough. I am aware that if I abuse this medicine I might lose it and that is not an option. This seems to be a real solution to my chronic pain and it’s my responsibility to self prescribe properly. Everyones posts here are gold for me at this point. Due to the opioid crises in the west my doc would not give me anything so I was taking over the counter stuff that was wreaking havoc on my liver. Acetaminophen with small amounts of codeine (8mg codeine/500 Acet.) I had to take up to 10 a day to manage pain and that’s just too much Acet on a daily basis for months so after the pains started in my liver I told my doc. We did a liver function test and he said my liver is fine. I did all the imaging known to mankind to try and find the pain cause. Nada. I would up in a country where the codeine/Acet combo was not available and switched to tramadol. the pain in my side went away. I’m fairly sure it was the Acet. So…docs in the west are not prescribing what they shouldand sending us off on our own to take Naproene (does nothing of me), Paracetmol, Acet etc…. It’s quite sad. A friends father was just in the hospital for over medicating on over the counter stuff – internal bleeding was the result. I discovered kratom and am excited to to get off the tramadol and onto kratom at a level that is safe for one term pain management. Cutting up leaves and drying this evening. When I am dreading the day in the morning some of this and an hour later my whole world has changed. I’m not really high, I just feel like it’s going to be a great day and my pain and crap feeling is gone. To b continued…with caution.

      1. hello ! how many mg of tramadol were you taking before? when you switched to Kratom, how long had you been without tramadol ‘ 24 hour break, will it be safe to start Kratom?

  4. I usually take Kratom to manage my anxiety and stress. I have started to taper now to keep my dose from getting too high. I brought my dose down to 2-4 grams a day then took a few days off completely.

    What I didn’t realize was how much Kratom has been managing my aches and pains. Without it I felt so tired and didn’t have any energy through the day. Also, I felt a lot of aches and pains in my lower back and neck all day.

    When I finally started up again, I felt so much better! Aches and pains were almost completely gone and I felt energized. My mood was better and had much better focus on my work. I’m always amazed at how much better I feel with kratom. I’m so happy that it’s legal and I can get some relief from my usual pain without having to hassle with doctors!

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