Kratom and Blood Pressure: What You Should Know

October 19, 2018 Articles, Kratom Alkaloids, Kratom Research, Kratom Strains

Disclaimer: The research referenced and opinions expressed in the following post are not those of Kratom Crazy, its agents or assigns. No instructions for use or consumption should be construed nor any liability be implied. Kratom is not approved for medicinal use by the FDA.

As most of you already know, kratom powder is made from the leaves of Mitragyna speciosa, a plant in the same family as coffee. As such, it is an herbal stimulant and one that may affect those with blood pressure or heart conditions.

As the Western world has learned about the purported benefits of chewing or brewing kratom leaves, this Ayurvedic herb has grown in popularity. But along with that popularity comes a lot of concern and speculation.

So with all of that in mind, we decided to take a closer look at the ways in which kratom can positively or negatively affect one’s BP or cardiac health. Today we’ll be addressing the burning questions that have kept many from burning kratom for its known effects.

If you’ve been subscribed to any news sites in the last three years then you already know how controversial kratom has become. It has come under fire from the DEA and the FDA due to an industry-wide salmonella outbreak as well as a small number of kratom-related deaths.

Some of these deaths were proven to have occurred in persons who were taking prescription medications in conjunction with kratom, although this was barely covered in the mainstream press. However, an otherwise healthy young man did suffer a heart attack as a result of kratom use. This much is undeniable. But toxicology reports show that alcohol, antidepressants and, quite possibly, fentanyl were also responsible at least one 28-year old’s overdose.

In the case of the salmonella outbreak, the FDA called for kratom vendors to voluntarily recall their products until their kratom powder could be tested for the life-threatening bacteria. Most kratom vendors were all too happy to comply, although one vendor refused repeatedly which led to an unprecedented mandatory recall.

Given the potential for kratom hangover, kratom tolerance, kratom addiction and kratom overdose, some believe that it should be scheduled as a controlled substance for the safety of the general public. But advocates are adamant that it is a beneficial herb that should be studied rather than stigmatized.

From a purely neutral standpoint, it is obvious that kratom carries with it some risks, both in terms of abuse and interaction with other medications. Those with preexisting conditions should discuss kratom with their personal physician before taking it.

Like all other so-called drugs, kratom can have adverse effects, especially in those who are already on a medical regimen. With that being said, let’s talk about what we know about kratom and blood pressure.

WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT KRATOM & BLOOD PRESSURE

As I mentioned earlier, kratom has stimulant properties and may lead to faster heart rate or erratic heartbeat at certain dosages. It also contains alkaloids that produce an adrenergic response. This means that it can stimulate nerve cells that trigger epinephrine and norepinephrine to act as a neurotransmitter.

This is why kratom is said to be a bit of a nootropic as it effects one’s cognitive and behavioral abilities. This may sound good to those who are looking to improve their mood or increase their concentration, but adrenergic substances can also increase the rate and force of cardiac contraction since we have adrenergic receptors in our hearts.

These adrenergic responses may cause an increase in blood pressure (BP). When one’s BP spikes, it puts an extra strain on your heart and blood vessels. In the long term, this can lead to a stroke or heart attack.

The problematic thing about blood pressure is that many of us are unaware that we suffer from hypertension and are, therefore, at a greater risk than others when taking stimulants. For instance, if you are suffering from a mild case of hypertension, your BP may spike after taking a small dose of kratom.

Mild hypertension does not always present physically, so you may not even notice any change in the rhythm of your heartbeat. Consequently, you may end up taking an additional dose of kratom which could, unbeknownst to you, trigger a massive spike in BP. This would increase the potential for a cardiac event.

You can be forgiven for thinking that a cardiac event sounds less like a dinner for two with the Grim Reaper and more like a concert of some kind. A cardiac event is simply any incident involving your heart. One of the deadliest events is tachycardia, an abnormally rapid heart rate.

Tachycardia isn’t always serious if treated correctly, but certain kinds of tachycardia are more serious than others. Because tachycardia causes a reduction in oxygen supply, it can lead to symptoms such as shortness of breath, dizziness, lightheadedness, fatigue and chest pains.

Symptoms such as these are also very common side effects of kratom use which is why those afflicted with tachycardia should avoid it. If you are a kratom user and you experience any of these symptoms it is advisable to discontinue use and consult with your doctor at once.

WHAT ARE PEOPLE SAYING ABOUT KRATOM & BP?

On one sub-Reddit, a user posted about kratom and heart rate issues, seeking advice from the kratom community about taking kratom. He wrote, “I’m on the fence about trying kratom. I have SVT (supraventricular tachycardia) that is controlled with medicine. I’m also on Cymbalta for anxiety/depression…I don’t want to feel jittery with a racing heart, but I want the pain relief/euphoric/mood boosting properties. Which color should I choose and where is a safe place to buy it?”

Responses confirmed this user’s suspicions about kratom affecting those who are prone to fast heart rate with one user recommending red and gold vein kratom strains at a low dose for safest results. He adds, “i’m kind of prone to anxiety and sometimes if I dabble with [kratom] extract my heart rate will jump, but that rarely happens.”

Of course, everyone is different and results vary. Another Redditor wrote, “Saw some of the top cardiologists in the country. They had me wear a monitoring device and I wrote down days and times when I burned kratom. Comparing the results showed some heart rate increases, but nothing abnormal at all. Turned out my heart issue was a very minor thing I was born with and doesn’t impact my health at all. Just feel weird. But it was awesome to rule out kratom.”

On the other hand, those posting in /r/quittingkratom/ confirmed that heart problems can be a consequence of burning kratom. One longtime user writes, “Kratom has now started producing moderate CHEST PAIN in me. I doubted at first, that this was kratom related. But i kept experimenting for a few days, and found it UNDOUBTEDLY worsens with increasing my kratom dose.

“it ALWAYS potentiates in the afternoon when i take the majority of my kratom. Although I have NEVER had this sensation until now. Its like someone holding a lighter 2 inches away from my left pectoral. Its an intense warming feeling directly above my heart. And muscle pain in the exact same area. Its really uncomfortable at times, and totally beyond any placebo type effect. The warming sensation will randomly kick in, and it has made me jolt up multiple times in fear.

“When i lower kratom dose, this problem improves and disappears. So this is a new motivator for me to quit, because the correlation between this new heart issue and my affinity for kratom is undeniable.

Google ‘chest pain kratom’ You will see MANY people with the same complaint, and even some scientific journals of kratoms negative effect on the heart.”

KRATOM STRAINS TO AVOID

If you are someone who is prone to rapid heart beat or have a sensitivity to stimulants, it is best to avoid strains that are notorious for their stimulating effects. Examples of kratom strains to avoid include Maeng Da which is an extremely potent strain with both stimulating and energizing effects.

Other strains that are not desirable for those with stimulant sensitivity include White Vein Thai Kratom, Red Vein Sumatra, Red Borneo and Super Green Malay. Ultra Enhanced Indo or UEI is another kratom powder that should not be consumed by those with heart conditions.

BOTTOM LINE

If you have a heart problem or a history of high BP, it is not a good idea to burn kratom. Although this ancient Ayurvedic herb has been used as a folk medicine for hundreds, if not thousands, of years it can lead to acute symptoms in certain individuals.

Those burning kratom should invest in a home blood pressure cuff and regularly take their BP. Be safe, be smart and be well.

Bob Freville
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