Patterns of Kratom use and health impact in the US-Results from an online survey

Drug Alcohol Depend. 2017 Jul 1:176:63-70. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2017.03.007. Epub 2017 May 10.


Background: Kratom preparations have raised concerns of public health and safety in the US. Investigation into the demographics, perceived beneficial and detrimental effects of Kratom as well as common doses and purposes of its use are important to properly evaluate its potential health impact.

Methods: An anonymous cross-sectional online survey was conducted in October 2016 of 10,000 current Kratom users through available social media and online resources from the American Kratom Association. A total of 8049 respondents completed the survey.

Results: Kratom is primarily used by a middle-aged (31-50 years), middle-income ($35,000 and above) population for purposes of self-treating pain (68%) and emotional or mental conditions (66%). Kratom preparations present with a dose-dependent effect with negative effects, which were primarily gastrointestinal related including nausea and constipation, mainly presenting at high (5g or more/dose) and more frequent (22 or more doses/week) dosing.

Conclusions: Kratom shows a dose-dependent opioid-like effect providing self-reported perceived beneficial effects in alleviating pain and relieving mood disorders. Kratom was primarily used for self-treatment of pain, mood disorders, and withdrawal symptoms associated with prescription opioid use.

Keywords: Health impact; Kratom; Mitragyna speciosa; Opioid.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Analgesics, Opioid / therapeutic use*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mitragyna*
  • Mood Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Mood Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Mood Disorders / psychology
  • Pain / drug therapy*
  • Pain / epidemiology*
  • Pain / psychology
  • Self Care / methods
  • Self Care / psychology
  • Self Report
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult


  • Analgesics, Opioid