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How Long Does Kratom Stay in Your System?

How Long Does Kratom Stay in Your System?

Kratom is a tropical evergreen tree that belongs to the same family as coffee plant. It is native to Thailand and other parts of Southeast Asia. Because it contains a number of therapeutic alkaloids, its leaves are often consumed by chewing or preparing a tea like formation for medicinal purposes. Some of the alkaloids present in Kratom plant include:   mitragynine, paynantheine, speciogynine, and 7-hydroxymitragynine. Out of these, mitragynine is the most prominent one. It produces analgesic effects similar to Buprenorphine upon consumption. Therefore, it is frequently used for chronic pain and inflammation. It is also used to treat Suboxone withdrawal symptoms. In recent years, the popularity of Kratom is significantly increased. Its use is legal in 48 states and it is often used by individuals for recreational purposes that results into development of addiction. Due to its addictive potential, certain tests are used for its detection within the body.

How long does Kratom stay in your system?

After quitting Kratom, a number of withdrawal symptoms appear indicative of the fact that alkaloids from the drug are leaving the system. It may take some time for the drug to be completely removed from the system depending upon its half life.

Not enough research has been conducted to establish a definite half life of Kratom. Recent studies estimated the half life of main alkaloid ‘mitragynine’ present in the drug to be 24 hours. However, there can be significant variations among individuals.

Considering the half life of Kratom to be 24 hours, it takes one full day for the body to remove 50% of the drug consumed and around 5 days to completely remove the drug from the system. Since half life can vary from person to person, the shortest half life with the fastest removal rate is estimated to be 7.17 hours. Considering this, the drug will be completely removed from the system within 1.64 days. On the contrary, the longest half life of Kratom with slowest clearance rate is 39.32 hours. It indicates that it will take 9 days to completely remove the drug from the system. People who have abused Kratom for extended periods of time will fall on the slower end of the clearance spectrum and vice versa.

Factors that influence how long Kratom stays in your system:

Studies suggest that for an average long term Kratom user, it will take around 5.33 days to completely remove the drug from their system. However, there can be significant variation from user to user based upon a number of factors such as alkaloid content of the drug and weight, age, gender and efficiency of metabolic system of the user.

  • Alkaloid content:

There are a number of different alkaloids present in Kratom leaves. The type and amount of these alkaloids can significantly vary depending upon the plant the leaves have been extracted form. However, mitragynine is the predominant type of alkaloid present in all types of Kratom plants. Some plants may contain higher amounts of mitragynine compared to others.

Kratom plants grown in Southeast Asia tend to have the highest content of mitragynine. On the other hands, the ones grown in green houses outside Southeast Asia tend to have negligible amounts of it. Consuming Kratom leaves with higher mitragynine content will elicit a stronger response and also, mitragynine will tend to stay in the system for longer durations of time. Leaves with low amounts of mitragynine tend to contain other alkaloids in higher amounts but they are unlikely to be detected on a drug test.

It is also important to consider the source Kratom has been obtained from. Some dealers tend to contaminate the drug with other substances such as spice etc. These additional chemicals administrated in the body can also be detected by a drug test.

  • Individual variations:

The time taken for the removal of same amount of the drug, taken at the same time by two different individuals may vary depending upon the factors given below:

Age: Usually, older people (65+) are not able to metabolize Kratom as fast as younger people do. It may be due to a number of reasons such as younger people tend to have a faster metabolic rate and better physical health.

Body mass index: The height and weight of a person also influence the time taken for Kratom removal. A person with more body mass will remove Kratom at a faster rate compared to a person with low body mass.

Body fat content: People with higher fat content tend to retain the drug for longer periods of time. It can be attributed to the hydrophobic and lipophilic nature of mitragynine. It becomes lodged in the fat content of the body and is removed slowly over time.

Genetics:  Although the kinetics of Kratom are not fully understood yet, certain enzymes involved in the process of Kratom metabolism are produced as a result of expression of certain genes present in the genetic makeup of a specific individual. Metabolic rate of a person is also determined by their genes.

Liver function: Liver function as well as the overall health of a person influences clearance rate of Kratom. It is suspected that people with liver impairment take longer to remove the drug from their system.

Renal function: A significant amount of Kratom alkaloids is excreted via urine. It shows that kidneys are involved in the excretion of large amounts of drug. Severe forms of renal impairment are known to affect the clearance rate of Kratom. The half life of the drug is also extended in such individuals.

Polydrug use: Before any other drugs are used in combination with Kratom, it is important to know how they interact with Kratom. Some drugs can slow down the clearance process of Kratom while the others can speed it up.

  • Frequency of use:

The time taken for the clearance of Kratom is dependent on its frequency of use as well. For frequent users, it takes longer to clear it out of their system since it becomes incorporated in certain body tissues such as fat cells and hair. Also, frequent users are more likely to take higher doses to cope with tolerance. It further promotes its accumulation in body tissues.

With frequent use, the system of the user becomes adapted to function in the presence of drug so it doesn’t metabolize it as efficiently as it normally would.

  • Dosage of the drug:

The time drug stays in the system for depends upon the amount of it consumed. It is important to consider the potency of the drug since the alkaloid content may vary as mentioned earlier. Taking larger amounts of the drug rich in mitragynine will extend the time taken for its removal.

Kratom absorption, metabolism and excretion:

Following oral administration of Kratom, the main alkaloid mitragynine is found to be absorbed into the blood via gastrointestinal tract and reach peak plasma levels within 50 minutes post ingestion. However, the absorption time may be altered by eating food, particularly if it is rich in fat. Via blood, mitragynine is carried to all parts of body including liver where it is broken down to its metabolites with the help of certain enzymes. Enzymatic breakdown of mitragynine is known to produce two main metabolites: 5-desmethylmitragynine and 17-desmethyldihydromitragynine. Further studies need to be conducted to determine the extent to which these metabolites are pharmacologically active and the extent to which they are further metabolized. Some studies suggest that due to lipophilicity of mitragynine, it is able to pass through blood brain barrier. However, further studies are needed to confirm the exact phenomenon.

The second most important alkaloid found in Kratom is paynantheine. It is metabolized in a way similar to mitragynine. Considering the half life of these alkaloids and their metabolites, Kratom is likely to be cleared from the system within 6 days after last use.

Different types of Kratom drug tests:

Standard drug tests such as SAMHSA-5 cannot detect Kratom. However, certain tests such as urine tests, blood tests etc are used to detect alkaloids like mitragynine and paynantheine from the drug.

  • Urine tests:

A sample of fresh urine is obtained from the subject and tested in laboratory for the presence of alkaloid metabolites. The time duration for which Kratom can be detected via urine tests is undetermined. In fact, it is highly variable from user to user. In most cases, it can be detected in urine for up to 5 days. Trace quantities of the drug remain detectable for up to a week. For infrequent users, it is highly unlikely for the drug to remain detectable in urine after a week.

Since urine tests are non-invasive and easy to perform, they are preferred over other modalities of testing.

  • Blood tests:

Since Kratom plasma levels reach their peak values within 50 minutes of oral ingestion, blood tests can be taken to detect the drug. Blood tests can also detect how much Kratom has been consumed. The cases of Kratom overdose can easily be detected via blood tests.

The main alkaloid mitragynine remains highly detectable in the blood during first 24 hours. For infrequent users, the drug can be detected for up to several days. Since blood tests are invasive and provide a short window to detection, they are not performed unless necessary.

  • Hair tests:

Hair tests in case of Kratom are highly unlikely to be conducted but it is possible that they are performed in certain cases. With prolonged use, mitragynine becomes accumulated in hair follicles and as a result, the outgrowths of hair contain mitragynine that can be detected in laboratory.

The advantage of performing hair tests is that they provide a longer window of detection. In some cases, mitragynine can be detected in hair for up to 3 months.

  • saliva tests:

Currently, saliva tests are not performed for the detection of Kratom. However, with an increase in its use, it is possible that devices that collect oral fluid will soon be used by law enforcement agencies to accurately detect Kratom use.

Tips to clear Kratom from the system faster:

After quitting drug use, it takes its time to leave the system. However, certain measures can speed up the process of its removal.

  • Mitragynine is an alkaline substance. In an acidic pH, it is broken down. It suggests that increasing the intake of acidic food will speed up the process of its removal.
  • Doing regular exercise can boost the metabolism and as a result, clearance rate of the drug. Also, the drug is stored in the fat of the body. As the exercise helps to lose fat, the drug is also lost with it.

Taking certain supplements such as Calcium-D-Glucarate may fasten up the process of Kratom removal. However, a doctor should be consulted before taking any other drugs or supplements.