True Life: I took Kratom everyday for a week
BY : JASON STEWART
do (or do not) try this at home...
The word “Kratom” seems like an ill-fitting name for an herbal supplement. Drawing less comparison to nature and more toward a character from the Marvel universe, or worse, a Dubstep DJ. Derived from a plant in Southeast Asia, the leaf is picked then ground into powder, taken orally either mixed with liquid, or in capsule form. I tried Kratom for the first time while tasting a bunch of wines with a friend and her husband. They approached with caution while producing a jar of Kratom from another room. It felt like the Moon Juice version of someone bringing out the coke tray at a party, as if to say “you guys wanna kick this up a little?” They mixed up a pint glass of the stuff and we took slugs of it between glasses of Glou-Glou. Already in a day-drunk haze, I have no idea if it did anything to me; I went home and forgot about it completely.
A month later Kratom popped back up in my life, people touting it for it’s homeopathic benefits; anxiety and stress relief without lethargic side effects, boosts of energy and mood with no hangover, mild and manageable feelings of euphoria and happiness. For anyone who’s wanted to feel like the first hour of a mushroom high without having to clear your schedule, or reap the benefits of a Xanax without feeling like you woke from a coma the next morning, Kratom is here. I figured I might as well make some content out of it and consume the supplement “Kratom” every day for a week and document the results.
It should be stated that Kratom has been under a lot of scrutiny lately, declared to have similar properties to opioids, making it an obvious natural remedy for people kicking their drug habit. Several cities have already banned the sale of Kratom until more testing is done, but Kratom-heads are fighting back; proclaiming the “war on drugs” needs a victory, and have unjustly placed Kratom in their sights for an easy kill. Although, the future of Kratom seems bleak so I wanted to give it a shot while I still could. This piece in no way encourages the use of Kratom, and is simply a diary of taking it for a week.
After trying to buy Kratom online, I found trouble having them ship to me in Los Angeles. Many slick looking sites sell it with free shipping and low prices but their credit card processing goes through an “offshore” bank and they don’t guarantee transactions will go through at all, it all seemed very suspect. I was luckily able to find some at a head shop. Just like pot, Kratom has multiple strains, three mainly: one with “euphoric” effects, one for pain relief, and one for calming and relaxing. Hybrids between the strains exist, and just like pot, you probably won’t be able to tell the difference between them. Around 2 grams of Kratom is a daily dose, so I picked up a weeks worth at $1 per g. The shopkeeper said Kratom tastes “bad,” he suggested mixing it with pineapple juice or something strong to mask the taste, but I’m quite used to drinking awful things in hopes of making me healthier. Using my kitchen scale, I weighed out 2 grams in a small glass with water and shot it down, it was indeed awful but not anything worse than veggie powder supplements or blue-green algae powders. After about an hour I *definitely* felt something. An overall warmth through my body, my brain humming at a higher frequency, I felt silly and high, but with droopy eyes. I was surprised that this powder taken for relaxing and calming actually had me lit! I’ve never tried a Quaalude before, but I’d like to think this is what taking maybe 1/6th of one feels like. Also starting to feel like the bit I said about not being able to tell the difference between strains was in fact false.
After a night in involving zero alcohol consumption I woke up feeling extremely sluggish, hoping it was not from the “Kray.” After two cups of coffee and fitness I was feeling back on track. I had my Kratom earlier in the day to hopefully offset a groggy morning, starting to worry this might have been a bad idea. An hour after sipping on a full stomach of quinoa and roasted veggies I was feeling relaxed but alert again. Normally my late afternoons are spent fighting back the urge to crash, almost always wanting to be horizontal, but was feeling productive. Overall, I had a warm fuzzy feeling but it didn’t hit me like a freight train as it did the day before. Full disclosure I also smoked pot with my Kratom last night…
I’m starting to learn how to deal with the sluggish Kratom hangovers, I’m fine once I get out of bed and start moving around, but it’s extremely hard to get up. Every morning this week has felt like I ran a marathon the night before, but with no pain involved. I imagine this is what it feels like to be addicted to painkillers. I offered to bring some Kratom to a friend’s intimate dinner party as a fun experiment, and maybe so I’d stop feeling like a crazy person with validation from my peers. Unfortunately for me, they were confused and turned off by the idea. I received a text saying, “Please don’t bring drugs to my dinner,” as if I said I was scoring an 8 ball for their kid’s birthday party. That afternoon I whisked my slurry intensely in coconut almond milk. After an hour I was hit with a high equal to my first day sipping, luckily my tolerance was not growing. After arriving to my friends dinner party I lubed up with a couple glasses of wine and my spirits were high, it felt good to sit upright and cross legged on the couch as opposed to lounged out like on pills or lean, I guess that was a good sign. I was able to resist the urge to pull out my powder, which was now glowing and beating like a CGI heart through my tote bag stashed near the door. Not because I wanted more, I was now extremely curious to see what my friends thought about it.
Halfway through now and I’ve accepted my new life as a mud sipper. I woke up around 7am and forced myself out of bed to make coffee. I have no hangover from drinking wine and taking pot but I do feel like my brain is brittle and yellowed like the center of a Butterfinger bar. I’ve found myself analyzing my body and brain more than normal, which I suppose is healthy. My ability to motivate myself is more difficult than usual but that could easily be for reasons not involving Kratom. Once I actually do things like complete mental or physical tasks, my dopamine reward hit is amplified with Kratom. As I type this I feel like I’m not inside my body in front of a laptop, but more so hovering slightly above my skull watching my body type away. It’s not wonderful but I can make it three more days.
By now I had been feeling sluggish and strange all week, I was having a very hard time coming out of a haze in the mornings and was feeling unmotivated and scattered. Last night was St. Patrick’s Day so I spent the evening eating corned beef and taking shots of Jameson. It was by far my biggest night of drinking in maybe a month, and I was expecting some form of a hangover. I woke up with zero headache, the sluggishness was completely gone. Maybe it was Kratom related, maybe I ate something weird that had me off, maybe both. I spent the day running all over town and felt totally fine. I had some Kratom around 6pm before visiting some friends in the hospital who just had a baby. I was hit with the usual strong and warm fuzzy high from the Kratom, my bedside manner was charming as I became much more talkative, confident, and energized. It felt great, lasted for maybe 5 hours, and smoothed out just fine. Starting to wonder what’s going to happen after day 7.
Woke up feeling sluggish again, I did a lot of exercise the day before so my body could just be sore from fatigue. At the gym I overheard some guys chatting about the benefits of “kava” and I couldn’t help but chime in about my precious. Neither of them had heard of it, and since none of my friends or loved ones seemed the slightest bit interested, I found myself quickly over sharing. Shilling the stuff like Marc Maron pushing Stamps.com, I had both of them looking puzzled yet interested. The only part of the pitch where my confidence dropped was when they ask, “Where’d you buy it?” and my mental thesaurus quickly began cycling for anything but, “A head shop.” I called it, “Kind of a natural herbal remedy place health supplement thing,” but it was indeed a bong store with jars of Kratom in the back. After the gym I immediately pounded my Kratom before lunch and within 20 minutes I was high as a Georgia Pine. Floating around my house cleaning up here and there, firing off emails to strangers that had words like fuuuuuuuuck in it, and not caring. I felt focused, not particularly interested in dicking around on Instagram, but I did feel a little wound up.
Last night I went out to dinner with my brother, we got some pizza and wine and complained about stuff together. I pulled out my sleeve of Kratom and asked if he’d like to try it. He grew up working in health food spots and was no stranger to gulping down mysterious green things. After finishing our cheesecake I asked the bartender for a spoon, eyeballed about 2 grams into his glass of water as he stirred it up for a couple minutes. He shot it back with no hesitation or stink face and said it was fine, choosing to walk off our meal all the way home. I told him to hit me the next day if he felt anything, 30 minutes later I got a text saying, “it worked.”
The next morning he texted me this: “It hit me hard while I was walking, numb in the face, mostly the lips. I caught myself smiling ear to ear, absorbing my surroundings. It felt like a mushroom high without and visuals and i woke up feeling completely normal.” I’d have to agree with him too. After taking it for a week it didn’t really change me that much, kind of how taking CBD for pain and anxiety when you don’t really have either doesn’t do much more than make you feel, “pretty good.”
Will I ever take Kratom again? Absolutely. It’s been a week since my Kraycation and I’m not jonesing for a hit, which is a good sign. It helped me get work done, helped me get over the late afternoon slump, and keep me on track until dinner time with a little giggle woven in thanks to my little green secret.