Does Suboxone block kratom? Yes, it probably does, at least to some degree. This is because kratom, a Southeast Asian tree in the coffee family, contains alkaloids known to activate the brain’s opioid receptors. Kratom also eases opioid withdrawal considerably, which it likely couldn’t do if it didn’t have at least some binding affinity for the MOR or mu opioid receptor. The brain has three main opioid receptors, the mu, the delta and the kappa. It’s the mu most associated with pain relief, euphoria and opioid withdrawal symptoms.
Suboxone, a synthetic opioid combination drug containing buprenorphine and naloxone, also binds to the mu opioid receptor. However, buprenorphine, the synthetic opioid part of Suboxone, is only a partial activator of the mu receptor. This is why it doesn’t typically produce a feeling of being high when taken orally as directed, especially compared to such powerful full mu receptor activators like oxycodone and fentanyl. Buprenorphine activates the mu receptor just enough to suppress opioid drug cravings and withdrawal symptoms. It’s also very long acting. These features make Suboxone and excellent choice for MAT or medication-assisted treatment.
Kratom and Suboxone
So what is the relationship between kratom and Suboxone? Kratom is a Southeast Asian tree in the coffee family. Its leaves contain alkaloids, which are nitrogen compounds classified as opioids. An opioid is a drug that produces opioid-like effects through its action on the brain’s mu receptor, regardless of its source. Opioids can be from either a natural or synthetic source and are not necessarily obtained from the opium poppy plant. Kratom’s alkaloids include mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine. Both are partial opioid agonists of the mu receptor. These compounds produce dose-related effects. In low doses under 5 grams, kratom tends to have something of a mild stimulant effect, which is not surprising considering it’s related to the coffee plant. However, at higher doses of 5 to 15 grams, profound opioid-like effects, such as sedation, pain relief and euphoria may be produced.
Suboxone works by attaching to the mu. It has a much higher affinity for this receptor than most other opioids. As long as the buprenorphine molecule is occupying the mu, no other molecules can. This results in a blocking effect for other opioids and discourages the recovering addict from taking them. Since Suboxone has a higher preference for the mu than the kratom alkaloids do, it makes sense that it would indeed block kratom. If the kratom alkaloids cannot bind to the mu because the buprenorphine molecules are in the way, then they can’t have any opioid-like effects.
Kratom and Opioid Withdrawal
Kratom has long been used in both its native countries and in the West to help reduce opioid withdrawal symptoms. It works so well that it’s actually enabled former opioid abusers to stop using their opioid of choice. Many people remain addicted not so much for the drug’s effects, although that is certainly a powerful factor as well, but because they’re afraid of opioid withdrawal. This fear is so strong it actually keeps people addicted. There are good reasons for this: Opioid withdrawal is horrific. The vomiting, nausea, insomnia, restless leg syndrome, bone and muscle pain, headache, backache, sweating, cold and hot flashes and the generally terrible feeling are to be avoided at all costs. The stomach pain feels like worms with knives crawling around in there. It’s no wonder no one can stand it.
Suboxone will usually relieve these symptoms, but it’s an addictive substance itself that will produce the same type of opioid withdrawal syndrome that other opioids do. Some even say withdrawal from the buprenorphine in Suboxone is even worse and lasts much longer. Many people have been able to use kratom to ease withdrawal symptoms for as long as necessary and then stop the use of opioids and the kratom altogether.
Is Kratom Addictive?
Yes, anecdotal evidence and science would both say that they can be. It’s unlikely that any substance capable of activating the mu receptor would not carry a risk of addiction as well. However, this risk appears to be much lower. Users have reported that the kratom dose can be gradually reduced with little problem. Others have reported replacing former opioid use with kratom. Whether this is replacing one addiction with another is hard to define. Kratom is legal in most areas of the United States, and it has a higher safety profile than most other opioids do. There have been reports of liver toxicity with daily use of high doses, but kratom doesn’t produce the life-threatening respiratory depression typical of opioids.
For More Information
It wouldn’t make much sense to use kratom and Suboxone together, and side effects are always possible. We can provide you with the information you need about both. Just call us at 844-639-8371 anytime. A trained staff member will be happy to answer your questions.