Kratom is a federally legal herbal supplement in the US, although the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies it as a chemical of concern. Furthermore, the herb is a Schedule 1 controlled substance in six USA states; Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and Vermont.
So, kratom’s legal status in the US remains dicey, despite kratom consumption advocacy bodies like the American Kratom Association (AKA)’s efforts. Given its ambiguous legality, it makes sense to establish whether Green Malay kratom is detectable on drug tests. So, find out how long kratom stays in your system below.
Before exploring kratom’s half-life and its potential to appear in drug tests, begin by understanding the herb and how it works. Kratom is a shrub originating from the tropical regions of Southeast Asia, where native communities use its leaves for specific therapeutic effects. Moreover, blue-collar workers in the region chew on kratom leaves before resuming work to ward off fatigue.
However, the herb is currently gaining popularity in Western countries, with a survey conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic showing that approximately three million American adults consume kratom regularly. Moreover, the survey further revealed that most kratom consumers take the herb for pain relief, relaxation, and mood elevation.
As stated above, kratom is barely a decade old in the country, so research on its full potential as an alternative therapeutic agent is limited. However, preliminary research of the herb shows that it is rich in alkaloids, with its two dominant alkaloids, mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, having therapeutic effects. One research study into the two said alkaloids concluded that they exerted analgesic and antidepressant-like effects in a dose-dependent manner.
According to the study, mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine interact with the endogenous opioid system’s receptors to deliver therapeutic effects. However, while typical opioids like heroin and morphine, known to cause dependency issues, bind fully to the opioid system’s receptors, kratom only binds partially. The partial binding capacity makes kratom an atypical opioid and substantially reduces its propensity to cause dependency.
Kratom is available in multiple consumable forms, including capsules, powders, and teas. It is also available in various strains, with each stain purported to have a dominant therapeutic property.
A drug’s half-life (elimination half-life) is the estimated duration it takes for that drug’s active ingredient concentration to drop by 50%. The drop in concentration usually occurs as the liver breaks down the active compound, facilitating its release via excretion.
Kratom typically kicks in within 10-15 minutes (30 minutes tops) after consumption and peaks after one to two hours. Overall, its therapeutic effects last four to five hours, depending on the dosage potency and kratom strain consumed.
According to one research study on mitragynine’s pharmacokinetics in man, kratom lasts approximately 24hours in your system. Moreover, after mitragynine’s concentration falls by 50%, it will take another 24 hours before the remaining active ingredients fall by another 50%. Therefore, it may take up to five days for the kratom to clear entirely from your system.
As explained above, a drug’s half-life is an estimated figure, meaning the drug may have a longer half-life, depending on various individual-specific factors. Below are some factors that could directly impact kratom’s half-life.
Many biological factors change with age, including how your body metabolizes drugs. For instance, according to one literature review on age-related changes in pharmacokinetics, body fat increases with age, increasing the distribution surface area for fat-soluble drugs.
Mitragynine is a fat-soluble or lipophilic substance and has a larger volume of distribution when consumed by older citizens.
A larger volume of distribution means the body needs more time to expel mitragynine entirely, giving it a higher than average half-life among elderly citizens.
2. Body Composition
Body composition influences a drug’s half-life because visceral fats (excess fat deposits found around the abdomen and organs) increase the distribution surface area. According to one research study, fat-soluble drugs have a higher half-life when administered to obese patients.
Unique genetic factors determine how drug-metabolizing enzymes conduct drug transportation and action functions. Consequently, the half-life for kratom and other drugs may vary significantly, even among healthy individuals.
4. Drug Interaction
Taking kratom alongside other drugs, like alcohol, forces your liver to prioritize which drug to metabolize first. If the liver prioritizes the other drug over mitragynine, it automatically extends mitragynine’s half-life.
5. Dosage And Frequency
Taking larger kratom doses means your body will have to work harder and longer to rid the body of all mitragynine content. Moreover, individuals who take kratom frequently also have to wait longer to expel its metabolites from their body systems.
As stated above, kratom is a reasonably new substance in the USA market, and it is federally legal. Consequently, the available standardized drug test kits do not screen for kratom alkaloids or their metabolites.
However, given the controversy surrounding kratom’s legality, research bodies, including federal institutions, are working on tools to improve kratom alkaloid detection in forensic toxicology. Such pioneering kratom detection tools include the 10-panel and the 12-panel drug tests that can identify kratom metabolites up to seven days after consumption.
The tests utilize urine, saliva, blood, and hair-follicle samples. Although, unless you live in a state where kratom consumption is illegal, a positive kratom test should not be grounds for prosecution.
Kratom can show up in your drug test, depending on multiple factors, including the type of drug test. So, abstaining from the herb is best if you live in a jurisdiction where kratom consumption is illegal. Moreover, trustworthy kratom brands do not ship products to the said jurisdictions.