Scientists haven't studied kratom effects in very much detail, but there is a fair amount of anecdotal evidence from people who use the substance. According to those familiar with kratom, it causes an effect similar to coffee if people only consume a small amount. When people consume more, they will often experience an effect that is somewhat similar to, but generally milder than, opium-based drugs. These effects include feelings of euphoria, sedation, and pain relief. Sometimes people consume kratom therapeutically, and sometimes they use it for recreational reasons.
Experts aren't certain why the kratom effects can be so different depending on the size of the dose. Some people think it has something to do with certain alkaloids present in the herb. In theory, the alkaloids may have the potential to either stimulate or sedate. Many experts believe that it takes a higher dose to reach the point where sedation is noticeable, while it may only take a small dose to get the stimulant kratom effects. If this theory is true, then the sedative kratom effects completely overwhelm the stimulant effects to the point where the latter aren't noticeable anymore.
Some people have been concerned that kratom might be addictive. There haven't been many studies into the subject, but there is apparent evidence of kratom addiction in the Asian country of Thailand. Many kratom vendors urge people to use caution when taking the substance to avoid becoming dependent. The general suggestion is not to use the substance more than once every two weeks. Based on anecdotal reports of addiction in Thailand, there can be physical withdrawal symptoms, and some of them are similar to those seen with opiate addiction.
People used kratom for many centuries in Thailand before it was outlawed. Some people relied on it as a pick-me-up to keep themselves alert while working during the day, while others used it as a pain medication. Some people even used it as a laxative. Thai people mostly took kratom extract in the form of small pellets, while in other countries, people usually turn it into a tea.
The safety of kratom is still subject to heated debate, and some countries have made it an illegal substance. Many people worry that there could be dangers with kratom, including the possibility of overdoses and addiction. Others suggest it's safe if used responsibly and relatively harmless compared to some other legal substances used for recreational purposes. Despite some concerns, kratom is legal in most places around the world.