Does Kratom Interact With Nicotine?
Taking nicotine and kratom together increases the chances of experiencing side effects from either substance.
Kratom contains over a dozen active alkaloids, but the most common are mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine — both of which have similar stimulating effects as nicotine. When combined, the stimulating effects of these substances become more pronounced — as do the potential side effects.
If using kratom and nicotine together, it’s wise to take a lower dose of both. This combination’s most common side effects are anxiety, muscle tension, dizziness, insomnia, and nausea.
Kratom shares a similar risk of negative interactions with other stimulants — both pharmaceutical and plant-based.
Additionally, kratom alkaloids and nicotine may compete for metabolism in the liver — prolonging the duration of effects (both the positive and negative effects).
The metabolization of nicotine occurs mostly in the liver and is done so mostly by the CYP cytochrome system, CYP2A6 being the major player .
We know that kratom is an inhibitor of the CYP2A6 enzyme . This means that kratom consumption could inhibit the metabolization of nicotine, leading to higher levels of both nicotine and kratom alkaloids within the body.
|Trade Names||Nicotrol, Nicorette, Commit|
|Interaction With Kratom||Increased (Agonistic) Effects|
|Risk of Interaction||Low to Moderate|
Is it Safe to Take Kratom With Nicotine?
Many people take kratom and nicotine together — this combination is very common.
While it’s safe to mix nicotine and kratom, it’s wise to reduce the dose of one or the other (or both). The risk of uncomfortable side effects from either substance increases with this combination.
It’s unlikely for this combination to result in any serious side effects.
What is Nicotine?
In terms of chemical structure, nicotine is what is known as a chiral alkaloid.
Alkaloids are a class of naturally occurring chemical compounds that are produced by a wide spectrum of organisms such as animals, plants, bacteria, and fungi. Nicotine is found most commonly in the tobacco plant but is also present in the seeds from Solanaceae plants like eggplant and potato.
As we all know, nicotine is a highly addictive substance and is mostly used recreationally via cigarettes. The average cigarette produces about 2 mg of absorbed nicotine .
Nicotine is classified as a stimulant drug and has moderate psychoactive properties.
Users often feel mild analgesic and stimulant-like effects, as well as mood-lifting (euphoric) properties. This is due to the way that nicotine affects the body’s central nervous system. It has been suggested that smokers use nicotine as a way to regulate their mood .
Products such as pipe tobacco, chewing tobacco, wet and dry snus, and nicotine-infused e-cig products like Juul all contain nicotine.
What is Nicotine Used For?
Nicotine is almost exclusively employed as a therapeutic supplement in the treatment of nicotine dependence.
This is done to reduce or eliminate the habit of smoking (as well as other forms of nicotine ingestion).
The addictive properties of nicotine and its withdrawal symptoms can make it quite hard to cease smoking . To counteract this, patients are administered controlled levels of nicotine through various methods such as gums, inhalers, dermal patches, etc.
According to the Cochrane Collaboration, these methods successfully increase the probability of quitting smoking by as much as 50%.
These nicotine products are specifically designed to minimize any chance of nicotine addiction. As opposed to cigarettes, which deliver a dose of nicotine that is rapidly absorbed, these products deliver the drug much more slowly.
However, it is important to note that nicotine is not solely responsible for the negative effects of smoking. In fact, the International Agency for Research on Cancer does not generally consider nicotine to be a carcinogen .
Generic & Brand Name Versions of Nicotine
Nicotine supplement products have a variety of different forms.
Here are some of the most common brand-name nicotine options on the market:
- Nicotrol Inhaler
- Nicotrol NS
- Nicorette (gum/lozenge)
- Commit (gum/lozenge)
- Habitrol (patch)
- NicoDerm CQ (patch)
What Are the Side Effects of Nicotine
Nicotine is a potent alkaloid with clear pharmacological effects. As such, there will always be a risk of side effects. The most common side effects are related to the stimulating effects of this substance — such as anxiety and insomnia. In high doses, nausea and dizziness are also common.
The potential side effects of nicotine include :
- Nausea & vomiting
- Gastrointestinal symptoms
- Insomnia & nightmares
- Chest pains
- Raches or skin irritations
- Allergic reactions
- Peptic ulcers
- Heart palpitations
- Muscle tension
Serious adverse events caused by nicotine supplements are exceedingly rare. However, we must also state that in very high doses, nicotine can result in seizures, hyperventilation, and even death .
What is Kratom?
Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) is a tropical tree from Southeast Asia. It’s a close relative to the coffee plant. The leaves contain a pharmacopeia of therapeutic alkaloids, such as mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine. These alkaloids account for the plant’s therapeutic effects.
Currently, kratom is an unregulated substance and fairly unknown to most people.
Nevertheless, the kratom community is going strong and growing every day. Kratom’s benefits have already changed the lives of thousands of people in the United States.
What is Kratom Used For?
The effects of kratom are unique because they can change dramatically depending on the dose or individual strain being used.
For example, low doses tend to have effects more similar to coffee — they’re stimulating and energizing.
Higher doses have the opposite effect — causing users to feel relaxed and offering potent pain-killing effects.
The kratom plant has three main uses:
1. Boost Energy & Focus
Kratom acts as a powerful herbal stimulant in lower doses. Much like coffee or coca leaf, kratom users report feeling an energetic boost. This is the main traditional use of the plant. Laborers would chew on the leaves throughout the day to boost energy and delay the onset of fatigue.
Today, this effect is revered by people working or studying in front of a computer. The energizing effects work on both the body and the mind — helping users remain focused for longer periods of time.
The trick to getting this effect is to ensure you don’t use too much. Low doses are stimulating, but if you take too much, these effects transition into more sedative qualities (which are not good for enhancing your work ethic).
Related: Best Kratom For Energy & Focus.
2. Manage Pain
The kratom plant is also known to provide powerful pain-killing effects. Much like opiates, it binds to opiate receptors in the central nervous system and dampens pain, making it an excellent option for chronic pain patients.
Related: Best Kratom For Pain Relief.
3. Alleviate anxiety
At higher doses, kratom can promote feelings of generalized calm and sedative-like effects. Many people now take kratom for its anti-anxiety benefits, preferring to go with a herbal option instead of pharmacological antidepressants.
Lastly, the kratom plant has also been shown to be effective at treating symptoms of opioid withdrawal.
Large-scale studies are still needed to discern all of kratom’s possible benefits.
Related: Best Kratom For Anxiety.
What’s the Dose of Kratom?
It’s important to get your kratom dosage right.
The effects of the kratom plant are highly dependent on dosage. If you want to make the best of your kratom experience, choose the right dosage for the job.
Just keep in mind that everyone’s bodies are different, and formulaic dosage recommendations are generally best avoided.
Having that said, here are the generally recommended kratom dosage ranges:
- Low dose: 1 – 3 g
- Medium dose: 3 – 6 g
- High dose: 6 – 12 g
Remember: low doses are best for the stimulant effects, while medium to high is preferable for analgesic and anxiolytic benefits.
What Are the Side Effects of Kratom?
The most common side effects of kratom could also be considered beneficial effects. For example, people who take too much kratom may report feeling sedated or fatigued — but this is also a benefit of the herb if the goal is to alleviate pain, anxiety, or insomnia.
Additionally, some people find kratom too stimulating (lower doses) — which is a benefit for people using kratom to help them remain energized and focused.
Outside of these effects, unwanted side effects such as headaches, nausea, and dizziness can also present. The higher the dose, the more likely you are to feel side effects.
Of course, if mixing kratom with nicotine, these side effects may present at an even lower dose.
Kratom consumption can cause the following side effects:
- Itchiness in the skin
- Loss of muscle coordination
- Low blood pressure
- Low libido
- Poor appetite
What Are the Different Types of Kratom?
As if the suite of benefits offered by kratom weren’t enough — kratom also comes in various strains.
All kratom strains share the same basic spectrum of properties, but each strain can potentiate distinct parts of the spectrum more potently.
The variation in the strains is thought to arise due to slightly divergent alkaloid profiles within the plant as a result of differences in soil composition and harvesting methods.
A) White Vein Kratom
The white-veined strains sit on the stimulant, euphoric end of the kratom spectrum.
These strains are known to promote the mind-based benefits of the kratom plant more strongly. They are perfect for a morning pick-me-up and are usually popular with those early-risers.
If you want to promote mental energy, creativity focus, and better moods — try a white-veined kratom strain!
B) Red Vein Kratom
Red vein kratom can be found on the opposite side of the spectrum than white —it specializes in the analgesic and sedative-like qualities of kratom.
These attributes make red-veined kratom strains quite popular with chronic pain patients who want to avoid addictive pharmacological pain killers, as well as ibuprofen and acetaminophen — which are unsafe to use long-term.
Red vein kratom is also great at promoting calm and controlling anxiety.
C) Green Vein Kratom
Green vein kratom rests comfortably in the middle of our handy kratom spectrum.
As such, green-veined strains are known for having a great mix of the effects found in both red and white kratom strains.
This makes green vein an excellent choice for someone who wants to experience everything kratom has to offer — unfortunately, you do sacrifice the targeted experience of a white or red-veined strain.
D) Yellow Vein Kratom
Last but not least is yellow vein kratom.
Yellow vein arises out of a mixture of white and red vein kratom. This is why users often compare it to green vein kratom.
They have the same basic qualities except that yellow vein kratom is milder, making it a popular choice for beginners.
Key Takeaways: Is it Safe to Mix Kratom & Nicotine?
There is a considerable difference in risk depending on whether you are ingesting nicotine through smoking or via nicotine supplementation as prescribed medicine. Nonetheless, in both cases, this combination is relatively safe.
The main concern of taking nicotine and kratom is that you’ll experience side effects from both substances more easily.
Start with a lower dose of both to reduce the chances of feeling dizziness, headaches, nausea, or anxiousness.
Consult your doctor if you are having trouble limiting either one of these compounds.
- Sobkowiak, R., & Lesicki, A. (2013). Absorption, metabolism, and excretion of nicotine in humans. Postepy biochemii, 59(1), 33-44.
- Hanapi, N. A., Ismail, S., & Mansor, S. M. (2013). Inhibitory effect of mitragynine on human cytochrome P450 enzyme activities. Pharmacognosy Research, 5(4), 241.
- Mayer, B. (2014). How much nicotine kills a human? Tracing back the generally accepted lethal dose to dubious self-experiments in the nineteenth century. Archives of toxicology, 88(1), 5-7.
- Benowitz, N. L. (2010). Nicotine addiction. New England Journal of Medicine, 362(24), 2295-2303.
- McLaughlin, I., Dani, J. A., & De Biasi, M. (2015). Nicotine withdrawal. The Neuropharmacology of Nicotine Dependence, 99-123.
- International Agency for Research on Cancer. (1986). Tobacco smoking. IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of the Carcinogenic Risk of Chemicals to Humans, 38, 83-126.
- Hartmann‐Boyce, J., Chepkin, S. C., Ye, W., Bullen, C., & Lancaster, T. (2018). Nicotine replacement therapy versus control for smoking cessation. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (5).
- England, L. J., Bunnell, R. E., Pechacek, T. F., Tong, V. T., & McAfee, T. A. (2015). Nicotine and the developing human: a neglected element in the electronic cigarette debate. American journal of preventive medicine, 49(2), 286-293.