During my rotation in the Psychiatry ward, I came across a patient who was on meds for depression for the past five years.
I asked him if he was compliant, to which he answered he was. Next, I asked him the reason why he wasn’t getting off meds.
He told me he wasn’t observing any improvement. I checked his previous medicine files, and surprisingly, I saw that he was being given stronger anti-depressants every 6 to 9 months, which have way more side effects than the common anti-depressants like SSRIs and SNRIs.
The side effects had adversely affected his lifestyle, and he wanted to hold on to something, to anything that helped him survive the day.
This was when he talked to me about observing some improvement recently. He spoke to me about Kratom.
As a doctor, I became curious. I looked at research to read about this substance and found articles linking to the efficacy of Kratom in the management of Anxiety, Stress and Depression.
This is a passage of an interview that I took from a doctor while doing my research on this miracle substance. Previously I was of the view that Kratom is taken as a substance of abuse, and this conversation with the doctor was an unexpected encounter for me.
It made me look at the other side of the picture, making me delve more in-depth in the literature of Kratom and its use in anxiety, stress and depression.
Below, I’ll explain the best types of Kratom for the management of above-said ailments and how they can be taken and in what dosage. The content is based on research from blogs, articles, journals and user reviews about Kratom.
So, before we go into the details of the various types of Kratom helpful for the management of anxiety and depression, let’s have a brief glance at the mechanism of action of Kratom, how does it work in these CNS disorders?
The main ingredient of Kratom is Mitragynine that is mainly responsible for the mechanism of action of Kratom.
Mitragynine acts on the Opioid receptors similarly to that of Opiates. It induces the release of certain neurotransmitters that when deficient cause the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
These neurotransmitters include serotonin, norepinephrine, epinephrine, melatonin and dopamine.
Deficiency of these neurotransmitters results in a low mood, lack of interest in activities that brought pleasure previously, disturbed sleep, disturbed appetite, weight changes.
If these symptoms persist for more than two weeks, it is labelled depression. On the other hand, anxiety is a condition in which one is excessively worried and irritable, and he feels palpitations, sweating and hyperventilation.
Kratom overcomes these conditions by increasing the levels of the neurotransmitters, as mentioned above in the plasma.
Once their action on the respective receptors increase, the symptoms start improving, and the condition of the patient gets better.
Unlike the typical medication prescribed for depression and anxiety, Kratom doesn’t cause headache, weight gain, sexual dysfunction or loss of libido, memory loss etc.
Some of the most notable forms of Kratom used for anxiety, stress and depression include the following;
1. Red Bali Kratom
This type of Kratom is readily available from many Kratom vendors.
Bali Kratom comes from an Island in Indonesia known as Bali and costs around $20- $30 for 100 grams.
It is known to enhance mood and help with the generalized body aches that are associated with depression and anxiety.
The patients who complain of disturbed sleep can use this too due to sedative effects.
It has a very notable role in the treatment of anxiety as it causes relaxation of the body and the mind.
2. Red Maeng Da Kratom
This is a powerful strain of Kratom and is popular amongst Kratom users for being an energetic strain that prevents low mood, anhedonia and lethargy.
It gives relief from stress and pain and helps in improving the quality as well as quantity of sleep.
However, one can build a tolerance to this red Maeng Da strain very quickly, so it is recommended to take it in controlled amounts.
3. White Vein Maeng Da
It is a high-quality Kratom strain that is rich in alkaloids and flavonoids. It is particularly useful in depression as it raises energy levels, improves focus and causes elated mood.
4. Green Indo Kratom
It has a high concentration of Mitragynine, which is why it is very potent and has high efficacy.
It delivers fast effects but has a shorter duration of action and usually, this strain is not readily available.
It is known to act as an analgesic and as an anxiolytic. This strain commonly originated from Indonesia.
5. Green Vein Malay
It has potent sedating effects and causes immense relaxation. Green Malay helps in promoting positive thoughts, improving sleep and mood and regulating appetite, most of which are deranged in stress, anxiety and depression. It is a Malaysian strain of Kratom.
6. Red Vein Thai Kratom
It is said to provide stimulation to overcome lethargy associated with depression. Red Thai Kratom helps in the regulation of mood and improves energy levels. It promotes positivity and helps one regain happiness. This strain comes from Thailand.
7. Borneo Kratom
This strain of Kratom acts much in a similar fashion to that of Benzodiazepines; thus, it is beneficial in the treatment of anxiety disorders.
It comes in three different varieties, i.e. red, green and white.
Borneo Kratom improves sleep and overcomes insomnia. This strain is grown in an island known as Borneo.
New Strains You Can Explore
Farmers from all over the world are aiming to grow Kratom to benefit from its benefits.
With this agenda, we have observed that new strains like Aceh Kratom, Jong Kong Kratom and Sunda Islands Kratom are coming in the market.
These strains are grown in the islands from where their names originate.
As compared to the strains mentioned above, some of the properties of the new strains are different.
They do have the same chemical composition, i.e. alkaloids, but they are invariable quantity.
According to user reviews, the new strains of Kratom are more potent, energizing and relaxing.
Kratom Dosage For Anxiety, Stress & Depression
In many of the blogs that I read, I came across this question about dosage.
Surprisingly, due to lack of research there is no standard dosing regimen.
It is however, recommended to start taking the medication at a low dosage and gradually increase the dosage to achieve the desired results.
Usually for anxiety and depression you have to wait for at least two weeks to observe any noticeable improvement.
Thus, it is suggested to wait for two weeks before increasing dose.
Also, if you are taking Kratom extract or tincture you need to take in a very small amount as they are very potent in comparison to Kratom powder.
In an online survey known as Patterns of Kratom use and health impact by Oliver Grundmann (College of Pharmacy, Department of Medicinal Chemistry, University of Florida, USA), we observed that the results stated that Kratom (5 grams) if taken thrice a day is adequate for the management of anxiety and depression symptoms.
Side Effects of Kratom
Though we have observed that Kratom has a multitude of beneficial effects, yet it is important to discuss the side effects of Kratom even though they are mild.
Foremostly, you can develop tolerance to Kratom very quickly, so it is necessary to ensure adequate spacing in Kratom intake.
Excess of Kratom dosage can bring about adverse effects like excessive sedation and reduced activeness.
It can also result in drowsiness, headache, nausea and vomiting.
Note that all strains do not have similar effects, so it is essential that you do not take different varieties for the same psychiatric issue.
The strains are different as they have over 70 different types of alkaloids in variable quantities.
Kratom Research For Anxiety and Depression
According to a study by Marc T. Swogger and Zach Walsh (Kratom use and mental health: A systematic review), it was observed that Kratom improves mood and thus helps in relieving symptoms of anxiety and depression.
In another cross-sectional study known as (Patterns of Kratom use and health impact in the US – Results from an online survey) by Oliver Grundmann.
In this study around 10,000 Kratom users from online resources and social media, especially those of American Kratom Association were contacted to fill an online survey.
A total number of 8049 responses were received, of which 66% of users took Kratom for mental conditions and benefited from it.
According to Mayo Clinic, Kratom is an unsafe and ineffective herbal extract for the treatment of medical conditions, and a lack of promising research backs this statement.
The blog post of Mayo Clinic refers to the various rumours spread about Kratom as well as the Salmonella outbreak associated with Kratom that primarily made this substance notorious.
Similarly, a medical toxicologist at the Albany Medical Center, Dr Alicia Lydecker shares her concerns about Kratom in the context that FDA has still not approved Kratom for the treatment of medical issues.
She emphasizes that though it is derived from a plant, yet it can be harmful similar to morphine and cannabis etc.
However, she acknowledges that a lot of patients have benefitted from its painkilling, anti-anxiety and antidepressant action.
An Associate Professor (Marc Swogger), from the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical Center, shares a different opinion.
He is of the opinion that no data indicates the various side effects of Kratom induced psychosis or violence.
Those who take Kratom regularly are functioning well and leading a normal life with jobs and healthy relationships.
He adds that there is a strong need for randomized clinical trials and longitudinal studies to understand the effects of Kratom, instead of relying on anecdotal reports and testimonials.
Best Kratom Vendors/Suppliers
Ketum Superior Kratom
This is an authentic Kratom vendor that sells Kratom and CBD products. They have a variety of Kratom strains and that too at very affordable prices. All the lab tests are available on their site so you can consider it a reliable website.
Super Natural Botanicals
This is one of my favourite vendors as it is highly authentic and credible and provides quality products at reasonable costs. They have a fantastic sale going on right now, and you can buy products in bulk. They offer efficient shipping.
All the products are laboratory tested. They have more than fifty types of Kratom powder and capsules, so you have a vast range of products to choose from. Their customer services are up to the mark.
This Kratom vendor is known for its quality Kratom powder, capsules, extracts, and tinctures. They also sell other products that include Akuamma seeds, Blue Lotus, and CBD products. They have a user-friendly site and fantastic customer satisfaction reviews.
Despite the beneficial effects of Kratom for stress, anxiety and depression, it is highly recommended to see a Psychiatrist and go for psychotherapy to get rid of the symptoms completely.