Kratom: History, pharmacology, current user trends, adverse health effects and potential benefits

Oliver Grundmann, Robert G. Hendrickson, Michael I. Greenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa Korth.) is a tree native to Southeast Asia with dose-dependent stimulant and opioid-like effects. Dried, powdered leaf material is among the kratom products most commonly consumed in the US and Europe, but other formulations also exist including enriched extracts, resins, tinctures, and edibles. Its prevalence in the US remains debated and the use pattern includes self-treatment of mood disorders, pain, and substance use disorders. Most of the adverse effects of kratom and its alkaloid mitragynine have been reported in the literature as case reports or part of surveys necessitating confirmation by clinical trials. Toxicities associated with kratom consumption have focused on hepatic, cardiac, and CNS effects with the potential to cause fatalities primarily as part of polydrug exposures. Kratom may also present with drug-drug interactions primarily through CYP 3A4 and 2D6 inhibition, although the clinical significance remains unknown to date. The variability in composition of commercially available kratom products complicates generalization of findings and requires further investigation by employing clinical trials. Healthcare professionals should remain cautious in counseling patients on the use of kratom in a therapeutic setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101442
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • Kratom
  • Mitragyna speciosa
  • Mitragynine
  • Pharmacology
  • Toxicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Kratom: History, pharmacology, current user trends, adverse health effects and potential benefits'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this