People see kratom as the perfect antidote for alcohol withdrawal and opioid addiction. They also use it as an energy booster, mood enhancer, and pain treatment. But, kratom is not the “holy grail” you envision it to be.
Kratom abuse can have serious repercussions on your sexual health and cause erectile dysfunction in men, even in adults as young as 30 years. The problem is, not everyone fully understands the impact of the kratom plant, including what it can do for the human body.
That’s why we decided to analyze all the research and people’s experience with this herbal treatment. This is a detailed guideline on the kratom plant you’d wish you’d known sooner.
What Is Kratom?
Kratom is a substance sold in the form of powder, pill, capsule, or extract. It comes from the Mitragyna speciose, a tropical tree native to the southeastern parts of Asia. The leaves of the plant are packed with psychotropic compounds, which result in mind-altering experiences.
At the moment, the product is not illegal. It can be ordered online under many names such as Thom, Biak, Kakuam, etc. Those who prefer a more hands-on experience, chew the kratom leaves, or brew them in teas.
What Does Kratom Do to The Brain?
When ingested, kratom can have similar effects to stimulants and opioids. Its main properties that interact with the opioid receptors in the brain come from the two most potent compounds in the leaves – 7-α-hydroxymitragynine and mitragynine.
These compounds produce:
- Reduced pain
When taken in smaller amounts, the substance can increase alertness, sociability, and energy. However, it can be dangerous for health if taken in higher doses.
Based on a recent clinical analysis, when ingested, the mitragynine, which is the primary constituent of the kratom plant, binds itself to the alkaloids. Afterward, it partially activates the MORs (µ-opioid) receptors. The first influence is noticed in the brain, then the spinal cord, and eventually ends up in the gastrointestinal tract. The potency of the MORs receptors is just a tenth of the ones present in morphine.
According to Dalibor Sames, a chemist from the Columbian University, kratom is not that strong of an opioid. In fact, it has a more weak consistency than other drugs. Researchers have tested the impact of the kratom product on nonneuronal cells and molecules. But, more research is necessary to analyze the full extent and effect on the brain tissues. So far, however, it doesn’t express that much of an impact on receptors as other opioids do.
What Does Kratom Abuse Do to the Body?
The low doses provide the body with a quick focus and energy boost, while the higher doses are meant to provide pain relief and an opioid-like effect. The problem is that once you start taking higher doses, you expose the body to potential side effects.
The substance can cause a range of different adverse effects, such as increased kidney toxicity, blood pressure, bigger odds of liver failure, impaired cognition, and more. Another impactful aftereffect of kratom abuse is its addictive capabilities.
Many might ask, is kratom addictive?
The answer is, it can be. There is a slight possibility that the body may crave the substance after constant abuse. It can create a kratom addiction. However, one of its more less-known side effects is erectile dysfunction. Studies show that frequent kratom abuse can result in a temporary erectile dysfunction.
How Does Kratom Cause Erectile Dysfunction?
Sexual arousal in men is a complicated process. It engages the emotions, nerves, hormones, brain, muscles, and blood vessels. They have to work in sync for a man to get an erection. If one or more of these factors don’t work properly, it reduces a person’s sexual response and makes it immensely difficult to maintain an erection.
The kratom can interfere with some of the most impactful factors in maintaining an erection – the libido and hormones. Around 10% to 20% of patients with erectile dysfunction have hormonal abnormalities. Some are genetic; others are caused by exterior stimulators.
For people who’ve used the substance for a long time, kratom erectile dysfunction can be a serious issue. Medical professionals agree. Based on reports from the National Institutes of Health, some people who’ve taken the drug experienced sudden fluctuations in dopamine and serotonin levels.
Dopamine is a potent neurotransmitter that interferes with emotions and motor control. The serotonin, on the other hand, plays a direct influence on ejaculation and sends lasting signals throughout the brain to help people maintain their erection.
The problem is that the substance meddles with hormone production and makes it difficult for the nervous system to carry out its tasks. When the volunteers in the research stopped taking kratom, their erectile dysfunction dissipated.
What most users don’t realize is that it’s possible to experience slight fluctuations in the testosterone levels. While the changes in testosterone may not be that overwhelming, it can become a serious issue in the long run. Though there is nothing physically wrong with the body, the substance can mess with the hormone levels.
The downside is that the effects of the kratom can really kick in in males. It can interact with the testosterone levels. However, these effects don’t appear in everyone. There are still kratom users that don’t experience any changes in their libido or sexual health after taking the substance.
Is Kratom the Only Cause for Sexual Dysfunction?
People believe that poor libido has a lot to do with inactivity and unhealthy diets. When you combine these factors with kratom abuse, it increases the odds of erectile dysfunction.
When we consume too many carbs in meals that lack any nutritional value, we put a lot of strain on the heart. The arteries get clogged and stall the blood flow to the penis. The sugars, salt, and fats make the problem a lot worse.
Since the hormones are the ones that fuel our sex drive, we have to take good care of them. That means including a lot of different nutrients in meals and boosting the cardiovascular system.
Lack of exercise has a similar impact. The reason is nitric oxide. Our body relies on the nitric oxide to stimulate the molecules and start an erection. When the molecules are vulnerable to a heavy body or a poor diet, the blood vessels start to suffer, which in turn, results in sexual difficulties.
Since both diet and physical activity have a crucial role to play, affecting them, even more, can cause a debilitating sexual problem. While the kratom effects are temporary, they can cause a lot of stress.
Some People Use Kratom As a Sex Enhancer – Does It Work?
Users rely on kratom for a range of different problems. Some believe it can help them perform better sexually. Certain female users have stated that after taking kratom, it takes them a while to achieve an orgasm.
That’s because the substance decreases the sensitivity of their sexual organ and requires more time and effort to achieve any stimulation. But, in men, it seems to have the completely opposite effect.
While there is limited research on the effects of kratom for erectile dysfunction, it seems that it can reduce libido in men. Not only will it take them longer to orgasm, but it will also make it difficult for them to keep an erection.
In other words, the kratom could be helpful for female users, but not that effective for males.
How Long Will the Effects Last?
Many kratom users have no clue what to expect after taking the first kratom dose.
This substance provides quick results and takes around 30min to cause effects. The analgesic lasts for about 4 to 5h, while the stimulation can persist for about 2 to 5h. Kratom is at its highest peak of 1 to 2h after taking it.
But, when it comes to kratom abuse, the results are a little bit different. For users who are constantly taking high kratom doses, it’s possible they might experience withdrawal. These withdrawals can last for 12h straight post discontinuation. Its highest peak is within the next 24 to 36h.
In acute cases, the withdrawal can persist for 5 to 7 days, which in some cases might require a psychological adjustment, stated the Recovery Centers of America.
How to Treat Erectile Dysfunction from Kratom Abuse?
There is no full-proof method that can help get rid of the effects for good. But, it’s a good idea to control kratom dosage or stop using it completely until the problem disappears.
When dealing with kratom abuse, the key to solving the problem is to learn how to control the cravings.
If you don’t think you can handle it alone, you can talk to a counselor or psychologist. Roll in rehab for kratom addiction as soon as you can. Inpatient rehab for men can be helpful. Experts might suggest behavioral therapy or any specifically-tailored treatment that can help get your system back on track.
The kratom plant is praised for its numerous health properties. However, if you don’t pay attention to the dosage, you increase the risk of erectile dysfunction. All the information listed here can help you spot the problem on-time. Now that you know the impact of a substance such as this, you can take the right precautions and have the perfect sex life.
John Eckelbarger is a Business Development Representative for Stonegate Center. With a BSA in Chemistry from the University of Texas at Austin, he has an interest in the neurobiology of addiction & pharmacology of drugs. He hopes to bolster Stonegate Center to the forefront of addiction medicine through bold, innovative content. He is currently pursuing his MBA in Finance from Texas Christian University.