Kratom: A Look At Its Major Alkaloids
Kratom is a powerful herbal remedy that can have profound effects on the body and mind. It is not some kind of quasi-scientific magic that is responsible for these effects, no - Kratom contains natural compounds that have been isolated and assessed. These compounds are known as alkaloids, and the following are the main ones found within kratom powder.
Kratom is thought to contain over 40 different alkaloids in various amounts! Each has its own unique interactions with the body, yet without a doubt, the two that have the most profound impact are mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine.
Of all the alkaloids found within kratom powder, it is mitragynine that is found in the greatest abundance.
The three main effects that mitragynine has been found to have are pain relief, stimulation (at low doses), and sedation (at high doses). It also possesses anti-diarrheal, anti-malarial, and anti-tussive effects. These effects are felt in varying degrees by each person, depending on their sensitivity to the alkaloids – which can be governed by a whole degree of other factors like height, weight, age, sex, and so on.
Please note that we are in no way advocating the curative use of Kratom and the listed properties have been assembled based on our experience, scientific studies and anecdotal experience.
The pain relief offered by mitragynine is not thought to be as powerful as 7-hydroxymitragynine, but as it is present is a much greater proportion, it has a significant effect, especially in strains that contain a relatively small amount of 7-hydroxymitragynine. Quite interestingly, mitragynine is one of the few pain killers out there that doesn’t cause respiratory depression – the main cause of death in opiate based painkiller addicts.
Increased energy and stimulation is almost always seen with moderate to high doses of mitragynine, but thanks to the alkaloid’s nature, and the fact that it is combined with soothing calmness, it is not the buzzing, twitchy, jittery energy that goes hand in hand with more traditional stimulants, like coffee. As such the stimulation has a more natural and balanced feeling.
Rather interestingly, mitragynine can also have the opposite effect, causing sedation when taken in higher doses. This is because it binds to adrenoreceptors within our cells, sending messages to the central nervous system that affect heart rate, breathing, and just general cause the body to chill out on a more balanced level. This combined with the pain relief tends to cause the feeling of a peaceful and meditative state. It makes it a very handy tool for those struggling to get sleep.
Unlike the main alkaloid mitragynine, kratom often only contains small amounts of 7-hydroxymitragynine. This however, does not make its effects any less significant.
7-hydroxymitragynine appears to have two main effects. The first is as a powerful painkiller – more so than mitragynine – and the second is as a tool for opiate withdrawal relief.
Only a very small amount of 7-hydroxymitragynine is required for significant pain reduction, which is fortunate, as it is only normally found in small amounts. You will find that all of the most effective pain reliving strains of kratom contain higher than average amounts of 7-hydroxymitragynine, which works in conjunction with mitragynine to make a strong and well-rounded pain reliever.
Kratom is also often used to wean people off of an opiate addiction, and rather interestingly, it is 7-hydroxymitragynine that has been shown to be the most effective alkaloid for doing this – only requiring small regular amounts to do it. Unlike opiates, kratom itself is not physiologically addictive, making it an ideal tool for such a purpose.
Despite knowing these great uses, we have still only scratched the surface of our understanding of the way the alkaloids within kratom work, there are still many more to look at in greater detail, and who knows what we will discover!