Is Smoking Kratom Safe?

Kratom enthusiasts are getting majorly creative with their kratom consumption methods. From the old toss-and-wash, patrons have graduated to things like tinctures, resins, capsules, tablets, teas, chocolates, and more. As it seems, the possibilities are endless.

Being that kratom is an herb, it was only really a matter of time before people started asking if it could be smoked — like tobacco or hemp. And while that might seem like a viable possibility, there are some major considerations that need to be taken into account before you wrap up that dry leaf and puff on that blunt.

What’s in Kratom?

First things first — what compounds are found in kratom and how do they work? There are two major components in the kratom plant that is responsible for producing the plant’s iconic effects. These are mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine. They work by binding to opioid receptors in your brain, and thus produce any combination of the following effects:

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  • Drowsiness
  • Calm and relaxation
  • Clarity of mind
  • Discomfort relief
  • Sleep support
  • Improved focus and creativity
  • Stress reduction

In higher doses, it’s possible for these compounds to produce effects like dry mouth, nausea, dizziness, headaches, and perhaps even confusion or loss of consciousness. The effects are different for everyone, and no two people will react to the herb in the exact same way.

These days, the most widely accepted method of taking kratom involves simply tossing a dose into your mouth and washing it down with water. Of course, other methods have surfaced since its advent, and most (if not all) of them involve taking kratom orally.

Can You Smoke Kratom?

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In theory, yes you can. But that doesn’t mean that you should. Unlike hemp which has compounds that get activated when subjected to heat, kratom doesn’t need a change in temperature to activate its chemistry.

That’s why in places like Malaysia and Indonesia where the plant grows native, locals simply pluck the leaves from the plant and chew them raw. They don’t need extra preparation or procedures in order to work.

And while you might be able to smoke the dried leaves and experience the plant’s effects, it’s not a perfect method of use because the heat can actually cause the alkaloids to deteriorate. What that simply means is that when you burn kratom, it loses potency.

That’s why most vendors don’t sell kratom vapes, kratom cigarettes, and other kratom products that would require heating the herb since it actually works against the plant’s chemistry.

Dangers of Smoking Kratom

Aside from affecting the herb’s potency, smoking kratom can also affect your body in various negative ways. While the studies are limited, existing reports reveal that the dangers of smoking kratom may far exceed its alleged benefits:

  • Lung irritation – The structure of the lungs is delicate, and this allows us to inhale oxygen and absorb it into our systems. However, the same function also means that introducing foreign substances like smoke will cause us to absorb contaminants. The byproducts of burning kratom — although herbal — can cause irritation in the lungs and may result in potentially dangerous effects in the long run.

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  • Ineffective dosing – The problem with smoking kratom is that you won’t experience the same potent effects since burning the herb will damage the alkaloids. So people tend to up their dose when smoking in order to reach the same threshold. Unfortunately, this can lead to increased tolerance, forcing users to permanently hike up their doses in order to experience the plant’s effects.
  • Long term dangers – Studies on smoking kratom are scarce, but available data suggest that smoking the herb produces byproducts and contaminants that can exacerbate existing medical conditions, or cause the development of a variety of problems.

The Best Way to Take Kratom

There’s really no need to experiment with smoking kratom since there are so many other ways to use the stuff. Generally speaking, the oral use of kratom proves to be the most ideal way of consuming the herb since it doesn’t pose the same health risks as smoking or vaping.

Here are just some ways to try kratom:


  • Powders and capsules – Used for ‘toss and wash’, powders and capsules are convenient and provide the easiest methods for measuring doses.
  • Tinctures and resins – These concentrated kratom formulations are produced by extracting the plant’s chemistry to provide more powerful effects.
  • Shots – A liquid kratom shot is usually a single-dose product that combines any number of other natural ingredients to produce more targeted effects.
  • Tea or tisane – For low tolerance users, kratom powder and crushed leaves can be used to make tea which may be a more palatable way to enjoy the herb’s effects.
  • Food – You could always just add kratom powder to your food. If you’re looking to try something new, there are various kratom-infused foods to try like kratom chocolates, gum, candies, and more.

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Let it be known that consuming kratom has not been found to produce adverse reactions. Even when smoking the stuff, it isn’t the plant’s chemistry that causes the problems, but the byproducts of the burning process.

More Than One Way to Skin a Cat

Can’t smoke kratom? Well, it’s not the end of the world. While smoking might appeal to certain people, it’s not really the best way to enjoy kratom. Oral consumption of the powerful herb still proves to be the ideal method to truly experience the power of its effects. And with more than one way to safely take kratom, you’re sure to find the best method to match your distinct preference.

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