By Crystal Lindell, PNN Columnist
Here’s the thing about kratom. It works. It seriously works. If you are having a horrific pain flare and you put some under your tongue, your pain will be gone in less than three minutes. True story.
It also made me gain 27 pounds because it acts like an antidepressant in a lot of ways, and my body always gains weight when I’m on drugs like that.
And it’s pretty expensive — about $20 for 30 grams if you don’t get it in bulk, which is about six servings. For me each dose only lasts between two to five hours depending on how bad my pain is. You can get it in bulk, which I recommend, and then it’s $150 for 1 Kilo — so much cheaper per serving.
But even if you get it cheap, it’s really disgusting. I take it by shoving a spoonful under my tongue, saying a prayer, holding back the urge to vomit, and chugging Gatorade to get it down. It’s not the only way to take it, but it’s the only way that hits you in less than three minutes.
I’ve heard others put it in tea or smoothies, and of course there are capsules, but those take longer to kick in and don’t seem to work as well.
There’s also a lot of brands and strains and it can be hard to find the ones that works best for you.
Trainwreck Kratom by Earth Kratom is by far the best version I have found, and it literally relieves my pain as much as hydrocodone would on most days. It’s a mix of 11 different kratom strains and they seem to work better together.
But even with all the drawbacks, kratom has some serious advantages.
First and foremost, I have access to it. There’s no need for a prescription or a trip to the doctor — just a quick stop by the local smoke shop and I’m all stocked up. And it’s completely legal in most states, so there’s no need to worry about some of the issues that come with marijuana usage.
In addition to helping with pain, it also helps with depression and anxiety, which is great seeing as how most people in chronic pain have one or both.
It’s also the perfect way to get through a physical opioid withdrawal, as it will eliminate your symptoms in most cases. Yes, then you’ll have to go off kratom after that, but it’s much easier than the withdrawal that hydrocodone tends to bring with it.
One drawback is that most doctors don’t know much about it, so it can be hard to explain to them that you’re using it and they likely won’t be able to tell you how it will interact with other medications. There’s also been some bad press around it, including reports of deaths, so doctors may be wary about you using it at all. The FDA considers kratom to be an opioid and says it should not be used to treat any medical condition.
But if you’re dealing with serious chronic pain, and you’re sick of jumping through hoops to get an opioid prescription or your medication just isn’t cutting it, I would highly recommend you give kratom a try.
Just don’t try to take it with a carbonated beverage. The bubbles will lift it into your sinuses, and it feels like you’re being waterboarded with dirt. But other than that — it’s awesome!
Crystal Lindell is a journalist who lives in Illinois. She eats too much Taco Bell, drinks too much espresso, and spends too much time looking for the perfect pink lipstick. Crystal has hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.
Crystal writes about it on her blog, “The Only Certainty is Bad Grammar.”
The information in this column should not be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is for informational purposes only and represent the author’s opinions alone. It does not inherently express or reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of Pain News Network.