Although Kratom is discussed rather thoroughly in the analgesic section since it seems to be an effective anti-depressant I thought maybe it deserved its own thread here.
History of Kratom
Kratom is a tree that grows in the Asia pacific islands. It has been used by the people there for thousands of years. The alkaloids of the plant are known to stimulate the opioid receptors but may also have other unknown affects. At lower doses of Kratom it mostly agonizes the kappa and delta receptors, but at higher doses it begins to agonize mu receptors. When consumed as a whole leaf higher doses usually induce nausea preventing high levels of mu agonism from occurring. When the alkaloids are extracted high dosage does not induce nausea allowing for users to experience high levels of mu agonism.
Daily low dosage Kratom use is not likely to cause significant harm. The delta and kappa opioid receptors are not generally associated with addiction. As the dosage is increased the risk of problems from addiction increases significantly. Withdrawal from high dosage Kratom use is reported to be as bad or worse then serious opioid withdrawal. Most often this occurs in users of tinctures, extracts, or enhanced products; however, some users of plain leaf have reported problems although not until after they had increased their consumption to very high levels.
My Personal Experience
I have had Major Depressive Disorder since my early teens. My first real treatment began only a few years ago. I self medicated with a research chemical for almost a year. Although I found it to be very helpful in bringing me out of a very bad place it drove me into a persistent manic state. Fortunately I still had enough of a mind to realize that the way I was self medicating was unsustainable and I did bring it to an end after about 9 months.
Afterwards I set up appointments to see a psychiatrist to begin medically supervised treatments. While waiting for my appointment I did some research on analgesics for depression because the RC I had been treating myself with was classified as an analgesic. I discovered that Tramadol (Ultram) had been shown to be effective at treating depression in a number of cases, and I happened to have a bottle that had been prescribed to me for back pain several months back that I never took. I started taking the Tramadol and found it to be about as effective as the RCs that I had been medicating with although without the induced mania.
I got my appointment with the Pdoc around the time I was running out of Tramadol and explained my situation to her. She immediately informed me that I would not be prescribed Tramadol; however, I expected this and was willing to follow her recommended course of treatment. She first prescribed me Zoloft. This actually had a negative affect on me (I became tired all the time and severely unmotivated). She next tried Wellbutrin, which had a positive affect; however, at the minimum dose it was only partially effective.
I had a desire not to increase my dose of Wellbutrin so I began to research and try supplements for depression and also nootropics. I never found a supplement for depression that was able to totally correct my problem; however, one nootropic - Phenibut - corrected it completely. Unfortunately Phenibut can not be used on a daily basis because it is extremely physically addictive. Shortly after beginning my Phenibut use I discovered Kratom.
After researching Kratom for a bit I suspected that since other opioids had been so effective Kratom may as well. I decided to give it a try and immediately discovered that it was as effective as Tramadol for me. Since that time I have been using it daily; however, I do take breaks for a few days a couple times a month. I have not found that I ever needed to increase my dosage and I do not get any cravings to take it more then I should. My breaks are always on my days off because I do feel fairly depressed and unmotivated when I do not take it; however, it is not what I would call a severe or even moderate withdrawal.
Based on my research I feel confident that I can continue to use it this way as long as I do not begin to increase my dosage. I understand that if I do I would be putting myself at significant risk for addiction problems that I would rather not deal with. Before my last psychiatrist appointment I actually ran out of Wellbutrin and was not able to take it for several days. Once before this had happened to me when the pharmacy did not have it available and I felt quite tired and lethargic without my Wellbutrin. With the Kratom I found that I had no problems at all. The only reason why I am inclined to continue with the Wellbutrin is because I want to maintain my relationship with my Pdoc, and have something readily available to me in case some problem occurs that I can not continue the Kratom usage.