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Can You Smoke Kratom?

Jemi Fischbach

The short answer is yes. You can smoke kratom. But, like many things in life, just because you can doesn’t mean you should. There are several downsides to smoking kratom compared to ingesting it in other ways. Really, smoking anything is bad for your health. Our lungs, with all their oxygen-absorbing capillaries, are not built for dealing with smoke. So while it is possible to feel the effects of kratom by smoking it, it is not advised. Tea, powder, or capsules are all less harmful ways to ingest kratom.

Why Would Someone Smoke Kratom?

If smoking kratom is so unhealthy, why would anyone do it? Well, that’s a bit of a complicated question. But we can begin to look for answers by turning to other substances people regularly smoke, like tobacco or cannabis. No matter the substance, the body processes the smoke in a similar way.

Imagine for a moment, if you will, the structure of your lungs. It resembles an upside-down tree, with the trunk being your windpipe and branches, or bronchi, ending with air sacs, sort of like the fruit on a tree. Inside the air sacs are blood vessels, called capillaries, that transfer oxygen from your lungs to the blood, where it is taken to the brain and through the body.

When you inhale smoke of any sort, the chemicals in the smoke are absorbed by the capillaries and taken to the brain. This happens when you inhale any type of smoke, be it from tobacco, cannabis, kratom, or some other substance.

Because the chemicals from the smoke are absorbed directly into the bloodstream, you will feel the effects quicker than by eating a capsule or drinking tea. Studies of kratom are limited, but cannabis studies have found that the effects from smoking cannabis can be felt within minutes, whereas the effects from eating cannabis can take an hour or more to be felt.

This quick delivery system could be one of the reasons people smoke kratom instead of eating or drinking it.

How Does Smoking Kratom Work & Why is it a Bad Idea?

Kratom is a plant that grows naturally in Southeast Asia. It has been consumed for centuries by people in the region, traditionally by drying the leaves than either chewing them or brewing them in a tea. On occasion, the dried leaves are smoked, although this is rare.

In the United States, whole dried leaves are less common, possibly because the plant does not naturally grow here. Powdered kratom is far more common, and some people have attempted smoking the kratom powder by mixing it with other smokable substances, like tobacco or cannabis.

This can have unintended and adverse side effects. With cannabis, the effects of kratom may not even be noticed when the two are combined and smoked. However, it is possible that the two substances will have a compound and unpleasant effect.

Tobacco smoke is potentially toxic. Nicotine, aside from being addictive, is bad for the liver. If you are not already a tobacco user, smoking kratom powder by sprinkling it on a cigarette is not advised.

Smoking Kratom has Side Effects

Smoking kratom will, like smoking tobacco or cannabis, potentially lead to unwanted side effects in the long term. There is a lack of studies on the effects of smoking kratom, but we can look to the health effects of smoking other substances for some guidance here. In short, it’s bad. The smoke itself is the real problem here. It clogs up the alveoli, those little air sacs in your lungs. This can lead to several health problems, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The symptoms of COPD are what you would expect from anyone who has smoked for a long period of time. This can include coughing, being short of breath, and feeling a general tightness of the chest. This can all lead to problems in doing physical activities, in addition to COPD leading to a weakened immune system.

Safer Ways to Ingest Kratom

There are better and safer ways to ingest kratom than smoking it. With the dangers of smoking now being well known, it doesn’t make sense to try smoking kratom when there are fewer harmful options available.

Kratom Powder

Dried and powdered kratom is an easy-to-use, versatile way to ingest your dose. Unlike smoking, it is easy to measure a dose of kratom. This measured dose can then easily be mixed with a glass of water or made into a tasty tea. The versatility of powder—and the ability to mix with a range of liquids—make it a popular choice.

Kratom Capsules

If you’d rather not measure out amounts or are looking to minimize the taste of the kratom, capsules are a good option. They are also easy to ingest compared to loose powder.

Why Smoke Kratom?

With kratom available in easy-to-digest powder and capsule form, it is a wonder that anyone would choose to smoke kratom, especially when the potential negative health effects are taken into account. Rather than risk damaging their lungs, users would be better off sticking to the other methods.

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