Motives for using Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa Korth.) among regular users in Malaysia

J Ethnopharmacol. 2019 Apr 6;233:34-40. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2018.12.038. Epub 2018 Dec 28.


Ethnopharmacological relevance: The leaves of Mitragyna speciosa (Korth.) or kratom have been traditionally used in Malaysia and Thailand mainly to enhance work productivity, as a folk remedy for treating common ailments, and as a mood enhancer.

Aim of the study: This present study sought to investigate kratom use motives among regular kratom users in Malaysia.

Materials and methods: A total of 116 regular kratom users were recruited for this cross-sectional survey. The Drinking Motives Questionnaire (DMQ) was administered to measure kratom use motives.

Results: Our results indicate that heavy (>3 glasses daily, each glass contains 48.24-50.4 mg of mitragynine) kratom use was associated with coping (t87.09 =3.544, p < 0.001), and enhancement (t114 =2.180, p = 003). Single subjects had higher mean scores on the coping domain, relative to married subject (t113.89 =3.029, p < 0.003), while those earning more than RM1500 per month had higher mean scores on the enhancement domain, compare to those earning less than RM1500 per month (t107 =2.151, p < 0.034). Higher scores on the coping domain was significantly associated with higher (>3 glasses daily) kratom consumption (p < 0.0045).

Conclusions: Coping was associated with high (>3 glasses daily) kratom consumption among regular kratom users in traditional, rural settings.

Keywords: Coping; Kratom; Malaysia; Motives; mitragynine and opioid.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alkaloids / analysis
  • Humans
  • Malaysia
  • Male
  • Mitragyna*
  • Motivation*
  • Plant Leaves
  • Plant Preparations* / chemistry
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Thailand
  • Young Adult


  • Alkaloids
  • Plant Preparations