Can You Vape Kratom? Is It Safe?

Vaping kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) isn’t common, but some users claim it’s the fastest method of feeling its beneficial effects.

But is it safe?

Most experts agree that the potential consequences of vaping kratom far outweigh the positives.

In fact, heating kratom through a vape destroys most of the active ingredients anyway — there’s really no reason to vape kratom in the first place.

Last updated 2 months ago by Wade Paul

Can You Vape Kratom? Is It Safe?

How Does Vaping Work?

Using an electronic cigarette is much more in vogue today than smoking an actual cigarette. Also known as vape pens, these devices heat an e-liquid, thereby producing an aerosol byproduct. The resulting vapor seems safer to inhale than a cigarette’s smoke, but many health risks remain.

As of February 18, 2020, there have been more than 2,800 people hospitalized for vape usage.

The people who vape the most are in middle school and high school. By 2018, there were almost 21 percent of students who vaped. Adult usage is much lower, at only 9 percent.

Vaping Kratom: So-Called Pros and Cons

Some people will tell you that vaping kratom is the best way to go, but it’s not so cut and dry. While vaping has some pros, the practice has many cons.

Overall, vaping kratom isn’t worth it. 

Pros of Vaping Kratom

  • Faster means of consumption
  • Better alternative to smoking
  • Avoids the bad taste of kratom

Cons of Vaping Kratom

  • Heating kratom can harm your lungs
  • If kratom is introduced to too much heat, the active ingredients are destroyed
  • Byproducts remain in your lungs and on your teeth
  • Large amounts of kratom will go to waste
  • It’s not cost-efficient

As you can see, having a faster consumption method that requires less kratom can be good. However, the potential for damage to your lungs is real, and vaping kratom can even nullify its positive impact.

In the long run, vaping kratom isn’t advisable.    

What Comes in a Kratom Vape?

Finding dedicated kratom vaping juice is difficult but not impossible. If you find one, the ingredients list will likely contain the following:

  • Propylene glycol (PG)
  • Vegetable Glycerol (VG)
  • Kratom alkaloids
  • Nitrosamines, acetaldehyde
  • Flavors

This is different from just taking kratom, so make sure you pay close attention.

Nitrosamines can be harmful to people, especially if there are impurities.

Acetaldehyde can irritate the respiratory tract, skin, and eyes. It can also mimic the symptoms of alcoholism if you’ve had long-term exposure. 

Propylene glycol is generally considered to be safe [1]. However, exposure to high quantities may result in some serious side effects (long-term):

  • Worsened kidney and liver disease
  • Kidney failure
  • Increased risk of heart attack
  • Dermatitis

Vegetable glycerol is also generally considered to be safe, but it can cause some side effects, including [2]:

  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Excessive thirst
  • Gas
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Kratom Vaporization Level (Vape Temp)

If you decide to try vaping kratom despite all the risks, you must make sure the heat doesn’t exceed 347 °F to 392 °F (175 °C – 200 °C). Anything higher than these levels will start to break down the alkaloids, which could defeat the entire point of vaping kratom to begin with.

Vaping pens usually have heat settings between 315 °F – 480 °F. Be sure you stay on the lighter end of the heat scale.

Higher quality precision vapes will allow you to set lower temperatures, so if you’re dead-set on vaping kratom, make sure you’re using a decent vaporizer.

Using an Herbal Vaporizer

Because kratom vape juice isn’t usually available, you’ll probably need to use a herbal vaporizer.

This type of vaporizer allows you to vaporize dried plant matter. This device is an alternative to using a bong or pipe.

The problem is that these devices are optimized for coarse-ground herb — not powder. The powdered kratom that’s usually available will quickly clog up your vape and may cause it to burn when it comes into direct contact with the heating element.

If you’re able to find dried kratom leaf, that’s going to be the best option for use in a dry herb vaporizer.

Choose the largest herb chamber possible. Fill it with ground-up, dried kratom. Your chamber should be bigger than you would use to smoke cannabis.

Liquid Vaporizers or E-Cigarettes

If you can find kratom E-liquid, you can use it in any refillable vape pen designed for use with vape juice.

Using kratom E-liquids is risky because of the abundance of unethical companies selling products that contain contaminants and concentrated kratom extracts (which are dangerous).

You should only order these products from reputable vendors and check for evidence of third-party testing to confirm the contents.

Even if all these precautions are taken, there’s always a chance the products you use contain harmful contaminants or chemical byproducts.

Is it Safe to Vape Kratom?

Long story short, there’s absolutely no concrete evidence either way. The risk of damage to your lungs is real, though. 

However, we know that smoking kratom in any form isn’t the usual way to consume it. Instead, it’s almost always been consumed as a powder, or the leaves have been chewed.

We don’t recommend anybody try vaping kratom.

Side Effects of Vaping

  • Abnormalities in respiratory function
  • Airway epithelial injury
  • Cytotoxicity
  • Human carcinogen
  • Impairment of endothelial function
  • Increased arterial stiffness
  • Increased inflammatory markers
  • Increased platelet and leukocyte activation
  • Lung edema
  • Oxidative stress
  • Respiratory irritation
  • Sustained tissue hypoxia

Vaping is safer than cigarettes, but it is very far from safe [3]. With the side effects of inappropriate kratom use, it’s a much better idea not to smoke it.  

How to Deal With The Bad Taste of Kratom

Many people consider vaping kratom possible purely because of how uncomfortable this herb is to take normally.

Kratom tastes horrible; there’s no getting around that.

But there are some things you can do to either improve the taste or minimize the amount of discomfort.

The safest and most effective way of eliminating the taste is to take kratom capsules. These bypass the tastebuds entirely and enter directly into the digestive tract. The downside is that you’ll need to take several capsules to achieve any reasonable dose of kratom.

The most common method of using kratom is the “toss and wash method.” This method embraces the taste and rips it off like a bandaid. You dump a scoop of kratom into your mouth or a small cup of water, and down the hatch, it goes. Follow it up with a quick chug of some juice to wash it down. This method is uncomfortable but over with quickly. This is how most people take kratom.

Preparing a kratom tea with other herbs, lemon, or other forms of flavoring can also help make this herb a little more palatable.

Alternatively, you can mix kratom into a smoothie or even cook it into foods (just be cautious not to heat it too much, or you’ll destroy the active ingredients).

How to Shop For Kratom

Kratom on its own can have some issues with safety. This is due to its lack of regulation in most areas. The last thing you want to do is purchase bad or adulterated kratom and then add it to your vape juice.

Always purchase your kratom from a reputable dealer to stay as safe as possible. Additionally, if you’re planning to buy kratom juice, be certain you’re purchasing it from a reputable kratom vendor.

You’ll want to avoid fly-by-night vendors and those selling cheap, low-quality products. Instead, look for vendors that provide test results and batch numbers. This is your best practice, regardless of what you plan to do with the kratom.

Key Takeaways: Can I Vape Kratom?

Vaping kratom is just not worth it, and it’s also less healthy than taking kratom on its own.

The worst part is that vaping kratom causes you to waste much of it, making your expenses shoot upward.

When you combine this with the risk of burning away some of the alkaloids’ effectiveness, it just doesn’t make much sense to vape kratom. 

References

  1. Lim, T. Y., Poole, R. L., & Pageler, N. M. (2014). Propylene glycol toxicity in children. The Journal of Pediatric Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 19(4), 277-282.
  2. Eaton, D. L., Kwan, L. Y., Stratton, K., & National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. (2018). Toxicology of E-Cigarette Constituents. In Public Health Consequences of E-Cigarettes. National Academies Press (US).
  3. Marques, P., Piqueras, L., & Sanz, M. J. (2021). An updated overview of e-cigarette impact on human health. Respiratory Research, 22(1), 1-14.

Further Reading