Last update: February 10, 2017 Once I stopped using Vyvanse, I started to investigate the benefits of using kratom for ADHD. This article reveals everything that I learned about using kratom to treat ADHD symptoms.
I first heard about kratom from someone who had a difficult time with an opioid habit. Kratom is great at helping people stop using addictive painkillers.
And, while Adderall and Vyvanse are far from being painkillers (Adderall and Vyvanse are prescription stimulants for ADHD), prescription ADHD medication comes with its own set of potential risks.
So, let’s look into this issue a little more closely, and see if we can answer the question:
Is kratom a better alternative than Adderall or Vyvanse for treating ADHD symptoms?
Note: This article is intended for entertainment purposes only. Please also keep in mind that federal law prohibits kratom from being sold for human consumption. Kratom is sold only as an incense in the US, and there is an ongoing battle regarding kratom’s legal status.
Benefits of using kratom for ADHD
Since people have used kratom for hundreds of years, it has to have some good qualities, right?
Let’s take a look at the potential benefits of using kratom:
Natural stimulant and sedative
Kratom is a plant native to Southeast Asia. The plant is commonly used because of the stimulative and sedative effects that it can provide some people with.
Though not an opiate, the plant is said to affect opioid receptors in the brain, which is similar to how prescription opiates work.
However, the major difference between kratom and prescription opiates is that kratom acts on mu receptors in the brain, while opiates act on delta receptors.
Kratom is often considered to be naturally effective at providing physical and mental pain relief, which is likely the reason why it’s used by millions of people around the world.
Temporarily kills anxiety
Many people claim that kratom can temporary kill feelings of anxiety for 2 to 5 hours after ingesting the plant.
Prescription ADHD medications like Adderall or Vyvanse can either increase or reduce anxiety, depending on the user.
I know that for me, the worst part of using Vyvanse or Adderall is the anxiety-related side effects.
Since ADHD and anxiety are related disorders (though not necessarily dependent on one another), this leads me to believe that kratom can potentially help to alleviate some ADHD/anxiety symptoms as well.
One of the most interesting benefits of kratom is that many people claim to feel clearheaded after using the plant.
The level of mental clarity that some people experience after using the plant depends on the strain of kratom used.
- Red strains of kratom typically provide the most ‘sedative’ pain relief, and the least amount of mental clarity
- Green strains of kratom typically provide moderate amounts of pain relief, and moderate mental clarity as well
- White strains of kratom typically provide the least amount of pain relief, and the most mental clarity
It appears as if white varieties of kratom may provide ADHD sufferers with the greatest mental clarity.
However, red and green strains of kratom may also provide powerful mental benefits, in addition to stronger pain relief.
Risks of using kratom for ADHD
Of course, you can’t have the good without the bad.
So, kratom obviously has some potential downsides that people should know about.
Let’s explore the potentially negative aspects of using kratom as an ADHD treatment option:
There’s a chance that kratom can potentially damage the liver, kidneys and/or stomach
There is some evidence that attests to the health risks of using kratom. However, the internet is also full of second-hand testimonies regarding the dangers of using kratom. This means that you have to be extra careful of the sources that you use to assess kratom’s health risks.
For example, one official government resource claims that chronic recreational use of kratom has occasionally been associated with hepatotoxicity, which is a chemical-driven liver injury. This resource refers to research conducted by HJ Zimmerman, who has published several books and studies on the topic of drug-induced liver toxicity.
A quick search on Reddit also reveals a number of testimonies where Kratom users have written about having stomach ulcers, elevated liver enzymes and a number of other anecdotal issues related to kratom. These anonymous testimonies are obviously a lot harder to verify as being medically accurate, or even truthful for that matter.
But, generally speaking, there are enough case studies, medical journal entries and testimonies available online to suggest that kratom may spark health concerns in at least some of its users.
A select number of people claim to have gotten jaundice after trying kratom (a life-threatening condition)
Some of the most surprising information that I discovered involves cases where some kratom users may have developed jaundice after excessive or even casual use of the plant.
One case study claims that a man with a schizoaffective disorder was admitted to a hospital for jaundice and a liver injury after ingesting kratom for 3 months.
In a book called Kratom and Other Mitragynines, the author refers to a case where a kratom user developed jaundice and eventually hepatitis after using a potent kratom extract and crushed kratom leaf.
There are various other anonymous testimonies scattered across the internet, where kratom users claim to have gotten jaundice after using the herb. But, it’s difficult to find any hard evidence (medical documents, pictures, video footage) to support these claims.
Kratom hasn’t been studied thoroughly enough to know whether it’s safe for long-term use
Since kratom has largely been unregulated and understudied, there isn’t any solid evidence available to know whether kratom is safe for long-term use.
I did find some claims inferring that kratom has been safely used in Asian countries for hundreds of years.
I trust that kratom has been used in Asian countries for hundreds of years.
But, it’s still pretty difficult to determine if the plant was used safely in these countries.
There’s just too much uncertainty to know whether kratom is truly safe for long-term use, or if it’s potentially hazardous.
While kratom is still legally sold as an incense in most U.S. states, the plant is outright banned in a handful of U.S. states, and illegal to possess in a number of countries as well.
The DEA also planned to make kratom a Schedule 1 (highly illegal) substance in the U.S. in September 2016. But, U.S. citizens sparked enough outrage over this decision to force the DEA to temporarily overturn their ban.
Now, as of February 2017, kratom is undergoing legal limbo in the U.S. There’s a heated battle taking place to keep the plant legal, or at the very least, have the plant regulated by a branch of the U.S. government (like the Food and Drug Administration).
I will update this article once kratom’s legal status in the U.S. is more clear.
Most people experience some discomfort after stopping their use of kratom.
Withdrawing from kratom is actually supposed to feel like having a mild cold for one week.
But, after quitting the herb, it seems like most people are able to move on with their lives accordingly.
This seems to be typical of most ADHD treatment options on the market today as well.
Withdrawing from kratom actually seems a lot like withdrawing from Vyvanse or Adderall.
Questionable quality control without any real oversight (may change in 2017)
While I’m not normally one to suggest that more government regulation is a good thing, I do think that the regulation of kratom could be a positive idea that I’m willing to get behind.
Kratom is typically imported from regions of Asia where there aren’t any solid quality control measures in place.
So, there currently isn’t any kind of process in place to manage how kratom is grown, harvested and processed.
I get the feeling that some farmers will use harmful pesticides, fertilizers and other chemicals to grow kratom without much regard for safety.
If it can be proven that a source of kratom is grown organically and safely, I think that the plant would be much more accessible as an ADHD treatment option.
Using kratom probably isn’t a comprehensive solution for ADHD
I know that this should come as an obvious point, but it’s still one worth mentioning.
Using kratom probably isn’t a comprehensive solution for ADHD, just as Adderall and Vyvanse aren’t comprehensive solutions for ADHD either.
After all of my research, it seems like kratom could be a great partial solution for people with severe cases of ADHD.
But, treating ADHD effectively requires a total lifestyle shift with or without kratom.
Kratom vs. Adderall
Here’s the bottom line when it comes to comparing kratom and Adderall.
- Adderall is a prescription medication that’s intended to treat ADHD
- Adderall is a stimulant that contains a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine
- Kratom is a natural plant, and Adderall is a pharmaceutical product made by Shire
- I’ve used Adderall off and on over the past four years, and I believe that it’s an extremely effective treatment option for ADHD (though not my personal favorite, as it makes me feel too ‘edgy’)
- While there’s evidence that kratom and Adderall may provide similar relief of ADHD symptoms, the two substance are far too different to compare
Kratom vs. Vyvanse
Here’s the bottom line when it comes to comparing kratom and Vyvanse.
- Vyvanse is a prescription medication that’s intended to treat ADHD
- Vyvanse is a stimulant that contains lisdexamfetamine dimesylate
- Kratom is a natural plant, and Vyvanse is a pharmaceutical product made by Shire
- I’ve used Vyvanse almost daily for a period of over one year, and believe that it’s an extremely effective treatment option for ADHD
- While there’s evidence that kratom and Vyvanse may provide similar relief of ADHD symptoms, the two substances are far too different to compare
I can’t recommend that people with ADHD use kratom, as the plant is currently undergoing an intensive legal battle in the U.S.
But, I can say that from everything I’ve experienced, kratom appears to have strong merit as a powerful tool for treating severe cases of ADHD.
Based off of the research I’ve conducted, I have zero doubt that kratom is a life-changing plant for many people who are experiencing severe pain in one form or another (physical, mental, social).
If kratom is regulated in the US, then I will use it as an ADHD treatment option.
Who knows? There’s a chance that kratom could be the perfect treatment for ADHD symptoms. It just needs to be studied, tested and possibly lightly regulated, first.
Because, once people can experience peace of mind while trying kratom for ADHD, that’s also the point when kratom can gain acceptance as an effective option for treating ADHD symptoms.