Kratom is a tropical tree that is native to Southeast Asia (primarily Malaysia and Thailand). Leaves from the tree have been used in those countries for centuries as traditional medicine to relieve pain, increase energy and ease opioid withdrawal. The leaves are traditionally brewed as tea or chewed.
Is it safe to use kratom? 
  • Since kratom products are not regulated or required to be tested, there may be a risk of contamination by toxic substances or other drugs.
  • Kratom has the potential to interact with other drugs, which could result in toxic effects.
  • Some studies have concluded that using kratom, especially in combination with opioids or other psychoactive drugs (drugs that affect the brain), has resulted in death.
  • Some studies have concluded that using kratom, even when not mixed with other prescription or illicit drugs, might on rare occasion result in death.1
What does the FDA say about kratom?  
  • The U.S Food and Drug Administration says consumers should not use kratom, which appears to have properties that expose users to the risks of addiction, abuse and dependence due to the opioid-like chemicals in the plant.2
What are the psychoactive effects of kratom?
At low doses, kratom has stimulant (increased energy) effects, and at higher amounts, it has opioid-like effects such as pain relief and feelings of well-being.
Is kratom a legal substance in Colorado?
  • It is legal to possess kratom in Colorado. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved kratom for use as a drug, food ingredient or dietary supplement. 
  • The Denver Department of Public Health and Environment restricted the “sale or service of kratom for human consumption” in Denver in November 2017. 
  • Many other states and cities have made kratom illegal.
  • The Drug Enforcement Administration withdrew its proposal to make kratom a Schedule I controlled substance in October 2016, pending scientific evaluation and scheduling recommendation by FDA.
How is kratom used?
Kratom is available in the U.S. in the form of powders, capsules, tablets and liquids. A common method of use is mixing kratom powder in a glass of orange or grapefruit juice. 
What are common reasons for kratom use?
From a large online survey conducted in 2016 in collaboration with the American Kratom Association, respondents reported using kratom most frequently for treating pain; treating emotional or mental conditions (anxiety, depression, PTSD); and for reducing or stopping use of opioid pills. 
What are common side effects from kratom use?
From the online survey mentioned above, the main side effects were nausea and constipation. Other surveys have documented chills/sweats, dizziness/unsteadiness, vomiting and itching.
Is kratom use addictive?
For some, kratom is addictive, with withdrawal symptoms that resemble opioid withdrawal syndrome, although less severe. Limited studies in the U.S. suggest that approximately 10 percent of regular users experience withdrawal symptoms after stopping use.
For questions or to report an adverse reaction
  • Call Rocky Mountain Poison & Drug Center - 24/7 hotline: 1-800-222-1222
  • Health care providers can report kratom-associated illness to CDPHE at 303-692-2700


Gershman et al., 2019. Deaths in Colorado Attributed to Kratom. New England Journal of Medicine, 380:1