Before exploring how long kratom stays in a person’s system, it’s valuable to understand exactly how kratom works. Since it is such a new introduction in the U.S. market, a lot of people have misconceptions about kratom, or simply don’t know much about it.
This herbal drug is often promoted in the U.S. as a legal psychoactive substance, and mitragynine is the main active alkaloid in the plant responsible for its effects. Mitragynine stimulates opioid-like activity in the brain, and it reduces pain response. When the active components of kratom reach the brain, they influence mood and anxiety. They have been shown to create a euphoric effect similar to what happens with opium or heroin.
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How Long Does It Take for Kratom to Take Effect?
When someone takes kratom, the effects usually begin around 10 to 15 minutes later. The effects of a small dose of kratom can last for around two hours, and with higher doses, effects may last as long as eight hours. A dosage of four to five grams generally leads to somewhat potent effects that last for about two hours, while seven to eight grams lead to longer effects. The peak effects of using kratom are believed to be around 1.5 to 2.5 hours after someone takes it.
Kratom’s effects are heightened if someone takes it on an empty stomach. If someone eats before taking it, the effects might not occur for an hour or more. If someone takes the capsule form of kratom, it can take longer for the effects to take hold because it has to dissolve in the person’s stomach.
Half-Life of Kratom
People often wonder how long kratom stays in the system when they are considering stopping their kratom use. Someone who is dependent on kratom and wants to stop using the substance may be worried about the withdrawal effects and when they will begin. Also, someone might wonder how long kratom stays in their system if they are going to be drug tested, although kratom doesn’t show up in many traditional drug tests.
Since there hasn’t been a lot of research done on kratom, the half-life isn’t completely understood. It’s only been studied in-depth in animals. However, based on the research conducted thus far, it’s believed that the primary alkaloid found in kratom, mitragynine, has a half-life of around 23.24 hours.
Based on that information, it would take around a full day for someone to eliminate 50% of the kratom in their body. It would take just over five days for kratom to be fully cleared from the system, based on this half-life information.
Based on current research, the fastest half-life of kratom alkaloids could be just over two hours, which would put full elimination at around a half day. However, on the slower end of the half-life spectrum, it could take around nine days for all of the kratom to be eliminated from a person’s system.
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There is evidence suggesting that someone who has used kratom less frequently or uses lower doses would eliminate the substance more quickly than long-term or habitual users.
What Influences How Long Kratom Stays in Your System?
As with any substance, there are quite a few variables that would determine or influence how long kratom would stay in a person’s system. Some of the factors that can determine the elimination time and, ultimately, how long it will stay in your system include:
- Age: Older people tend to have a longer elimination half-life than younger people. This is the case with kratom as well as with most orally-ingested substances. This is usually due to factors such as renal function, age-related physical changes and the use of other medications. It’s safe to assume that if you’re older, and particularly over the age of 65, kratom will stay in your system longer than it would in a younger person.
- Body fat: Another personal characteristic that can play a role in how long it takes kratom alkaloids to be eliminated is the person’s percentage of body fat. The mitragynine in kratom is very fat-soluble, which means individuals with a high body fat percentage will likely retain the kratom metabolites longer than someone with a lower body fat percentage.
- Genetics: Certain genetic markers and enzymes may play a role in the speed at which kratom is eliminated from the user’s body.
- Food and water intake: If you were to take kratom with a high-fat meal, it could lead to faster absorption, which could also speed up how long it would take the substance to reach its peak concentration levels. If you’re well-hydrated, it can also play a role in how long it takes for kratom to be excreted via urine.
Other personal factors that can play a role in how long kratom stays in your system include your renal function, urinary pH and metabolic rate. These aren’t factors that are exclusive to kratom. This is the case with many substances.
Does Kratom Show up in a Drug Test?
One of the biggest reasons that many people decide to use kratom, especially as opposed to other opioids and substances, is that they believe it won’t show up on drug tests. Kratom doesn’t show up on many standard drug tests like the SAMHSA-5, but some kratom alkaloids can be detectable on certain drug tests, such as urine or blood tests. Because blood tests provide a shorter detection window for substances and are more invasive, it’s more likely that a urine test would be conducted. There is a specific kratom drug test called the kratom 10-panel drug test that can be given as well.
- Detection in Urine Tests
Some kratom alkaloids may show up on certain urine tests. While research that indicates how long kratom would be detectable in a user’s urine is limited, there could be trace amounts detected in a urine test for over a week. If kratom were to become illegal in the U.S., there would likely be more focus on urine testing as the preferred method to determine if someone was using it.
- Detection in Blood Tests
A blood test could be conducted to determine if someone took kratom and how much they theoretically took. Blood tests can show concentration levels of kratom, and it is a substance that’s easily detectable in blood. If someone is a heavy or long-term user of kratom, there would likely be metabolites that could show up in blood tests for several days following ingestion. Because blood tests provide a shorter detection window for substances, and they’re more invasive, it’s more likely that a urine test would be conducted.
- Detection in Hair Tests
With many drugs, testing of hair follicles is seen as a reliable way to test for substance use. It can also be done for a longer period of time. With kratom, however, there isn’t currently any evidence of hair tests being used. It wouldn’t be likely that kratom metabolites would appear in hair follicles. As more research is done on this herbal substance, more work could be done on accurate testing, which could include hair follicle tests.
- Detection in Saliva Tests
A saliva test could be used to identify kratom metabolites. Oral fluid testing is frequently used to test for a variety of types of drugs, but since this is most often done for illegal drug tests, and kratom isn’t currently illegal in the U.S., this testing isn’t commonly performed for this herb.
Parthasarathy, Suhanya; et al. “Determination of mitragynine in plasma with solid-phase extraction and rapid HPLC-UV analysis, and its application to a pharmacokinetic study in rat.” Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, July 2010. Accessed June 20, 2020.
Trakulsrichai, Stariya; et al. “Pharmacokinetics of Mitragynine in Man.” Drug Design, Development and Therapy, April 29, 2015. Accessed June 20, 2019.
Meireles, Vania; et al. “Mitragyna speciosa: Clinical, Toxicological Aspects and Analysis in Biological and Non-Biological Samples.” Medicines (Basel), March 2019. Accessed June 20, 2019.
Suhaimi, Farah W; et al. “Neurobiology of Kratom and its main alkaloid mitragynine.” Brain Research Bulletin, March 25, 2016. Accessed July 16, 2020.
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