In recent years, the United States has witnessed a spike in the use of Kratom. And so has people’s concern about Kratom’s legality and safety has increased. Much has been talked about Kratom’s side effects lately. Before jumping into the adverse effects of Kratom, specifically in an activity as important as driving, it’s essential to have an insight into the drug.
Kratom is basically a botanical substance derived from a tree related to the coffee family in Southeast Asia. It has been used for positive purposes for years. To get rid of exhaustion, relieve pain, and increase their productivity, the farmers relied on Kratom by chewing the leaves or brewing in the tea. Later it was used as a beverage and an effective ingredient in cough syrup. Today, we see Kratom sold in a wide array of forms across the USA as a dietary supplement or tobacco shop.
Like any other drug, Kratom benefits when safely used by following the instructions, yet adverse effects when abused. The two main active compounds are mitragynine and 7-hydroxy mitragynine, which has minimal side effects when Kratom is used in isolation. Kratom offers relief from pain and diarrhea but unfortunately, it is also a means to disrupt everyday activities, such as wobbly eyes and jittery movements.
Driving With Kratom
For long drives, especially highway driving on long distances, presence of mind is the most critical requirement. You might have to drive straight for hours, amid pitch darkness, in a monotonous routine, and without any break. Any distraction might cost a driver his life and also be detrimental for the passengers. Kratom is legal in the U.S. for most of the states, yet its side effects cannot be ruled out. It should be remembered here that Kratom on its own rarely leads to any risk or an overdose. However, when Kratom is mixed with other drugs, including over-the-counter medications and alcohol, adverse effects are seen that can be life-threatening in the long run.
Benefits Of Driving With Kratom With Optimal Dosage
Just because most states support Kratom in no way means that one should drive after intake of Kratom. However, if one has to ingest Kratom in an absolutely urgent situation or due to medication, it should be taken in recommended doses and moderation as per the doctor’s advice.
Let’s first look at how Kratom can somewhat positively affect driving, considering the above conditions. Though not recommended, only if one has to. The effects of Kratom are typically felt within an hour.
Takes Care Of Hunger And Depression
Kratom works as an effective means to suppress hunger and relieve depression. When driving, being overtaken by either can be risky.
For that unbearable chronic pain, when the OTC Painkillers fail to take care of, Kratom comes to the rescue. Kratom has three varieties: red vein, green vein, and white vein. When attached to opioid receptors, they prove to be an effective remedy for pain. Research also states that one compound in Kratom is thirteen times more effective than regular Morphine. During driving, when the driver has sudden pain due to chronic history or before driving, the driver senses the symptoms; on the doctor’s advice, Kratom can relieve the pain during the journey.
The two strains of green and white are fast and moderate strains, and so have an immense energy boost effect. Ingesting them can make the driver more focused as it is equivalent to driving with a high caffeine drink or coffee.
It should be noted here that the right and optimal dose should be ingested if required. Abuse and excessive dose will result in adverse effects that are listed below.
How Safe Is It To Drive With a Kratom High?
Side effects of Kratom are Constipation, nausea, hallucinations, dizziness, sweating, Itching, and much more. Drivers who have been using Kratom for a prolonged time can face aggression, muscle and bone pain, and limb movement that can be jerky.
Below are some of the ways that can make driving with kratom a challenging and risky thing to do.
Intoxicating effects have been observed from drivers ingesting Kratom before driving.
The result is reckless driving which is of high risk to the driver and other vehicles on the road. If one senses intoxication, abstain from driving by all means until the situation is settled.
A driver may start to experience withdrawal symptoms in the middle of a long drive when they stop using Kratom or did not get an opportunity to ingest Kratom. The symptoms include muscle aches, runny nose, watery eyes, extreme abdominal cramps, dilated pupils, hot flashes, and blurred vision, to name a few. This agitated behavior coupled with bodily changes in the middle of driving is asking for trouble.
Blurry Vision/Wobbly Eyes
Driving is all about the visuals. Wobbly eyes and blurry vision due to getting high on Kratom can increase one’s risk of death. Wobbly eyes can be described as a state when one tries to look but cannot focus without twitching the eyes. It has been widely observed after consumers have taken Kratom. Research states that drivers with bad vision had a 31% higher mortality rate during the eight-year study period.
Nausea is one of the gastrointestinal effects of a high Kratom dosage, along with continuous vomiting and hepatotoxicity. The prolonged irritability caused by nausea for a driver creates a disturbing situation.
The red vein strain is comparatively slower as compared to the other two. For this reason, when ingested, it results in a soothing and sedating reaction. The driver can feel dizzy and sleepy. This can pose serious harm when driving as the driver is not focused. Dizziness, brain fog, and motion sickness are also side effects of eye wobbling.
Aggression In Driving
This can be dangerous as aggression can lead to overspeeding, screaming, swearing at other drivers, not stopping at red signals, and multiple negative behaviors.
Jerky Limb Movement
The involuntary movements are similar to that of being after getting drunk. It is harmful to the entire body when driving specifically. The tremor in limbs result in difficulty to operate tasks that a hand does while driving, e.g., controlling steering wheel, prolonged horns, etc
It’s a high matter of concern when the driver starts to feel jittery in the middle of a road trip. Having no control over oneself in the middle of a road can pose a high risk. This is possible due to an overdose of Kratom.
Due to hallucination, a driver can make some dangerous choices as he/she is drifting to an imaginary world, away from reality. A driver can have a catastrophic accident as he/she is not paying attention to road signs, other drivers’ signals, and much more. It can also lead to sudden mood swings while driving.
A driver who has been abusing Kratom for a long time and in high dosage can also have frequent urination issues. This can pose a problem on highways, where restrooms are not readily accessible over shorter distances.
How To Counter Adverse Effects Of Kratom While Driving
If you experience the aforementioned symptoms in the middle of driving:
· Pull over your vehicle immediately at a safe spot and call 911.
· Meanwhile, try to stay hydrated. Always carry extra water bottles.
· Always keep essential OTC medication handy for road trips.
· For withdrawal symptoms, take an OTC pain reliever for muscle aches.
· Taking OTC medication like Gravol can also help alleviate vomiting and nausea.
· Try to calm your body with breathing exercises to relieve anxiety.
For those seeking a long-term treatment for addiction due to Kratom, a professional detox facility is a solution as the probability of recovery from the withdrawal process is high.
U.S. Regulations For Driving Using Kratom High
Kratom is now legal in almost all United States except Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin.
The police drug test cannot assess Kratom through any of the drug tests. Be it blood tests, urine tests, mouth swabs, or others. For this reason, the officer can charge the driver for driving dangerously and recklessly and not DUI, i.e., ‘driving under the influence charges that apply to most drugs.
For the states that have Kratom illegal, the officer has all the right to charge the driver if the driver possesses Kratom during driving.
Any responsible citizen will pay heed to the above discussion to save one’s life and not put another driver’s life at stake. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), on its webpage in 2019, has issued a warning to consumers not to use Kratom as it leads to risk of abuse, addiction, and dependence.
Thus, to answer yes or no to the query of ‘whether it’s safe to drive Awith Kratom as a herbal supplement’ varies from person to person. One person might have had a different experience than the other, depending on the personal experience and body type. It is recommended that if a person is a new Kratom user and is uncertain of the reaction, driving should be avoided. For an experienced user, the driver in such a case can assess how the body will react and can make decisions accordingly.
Much research is still required on the effects of Kratom. It is highly recommended to consult your doctor before heading for long-haul road trips. Also, one should consult the pharmacist or family physician if one wants to add Kratom as a supplement to the diet.