Drug Test FAQ

How Long Can Kratom Be Detected in Your System?

Green powder in a wooden bowl and on a wooden spoon

Kratom is an herbal drug that is not regulated by the FDA and is federally legal in the United States. However, as someone who has spent years analyzing synthetic urine products and detox solutions, I have experience working with people who had kratom detected in their drug tests. This article provides the results of my research on how long kratom stays in your system.

Summary of the Key Findings

  • Kratom is a drug created from the kratom tree’s leaves that have opioid-like properties.
  • The FDA does not regulate kratom, but it is legal in most states.
  • Kratom can be detected on a urine test for up to 9 days.

Where Does Kratom Come from?

Close up picture of Kratom leavesKratom comes from a tree related to coffee that is indigenous to Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar, and other parts of Southeast Asia known as Mitragyna speciosa. The leaves of the tree are traditionally chewed or brewed into tea. These days, they can also be ground into powder and taken in capsules.

Kratom has been used for centuries in traditional medicine as a stimulant (at lower doses), sedative and pain killer (at higher doses), and recreational drug (for its mildly psychotropic effects).

This drug contains kratom alkaloids known as mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, stimulating mu-receptors in the brain and producing opioid-like effects. This action produces dopamine which can create feelings of euphoria, alertness, pain control, and increased energy. It also has sedative effects at higher levels of ingestion.

“Because kratom research is relatively new compared to research on more widely used drugs, there is little evidence to determine how kratom use may affect someone over time.” – National Institutes of Health

Research shows that even at low doses, 7-hydroxymitragynine has a high potential for drug abuse and can lead to uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms like muscle pain and spasms, sleeping problems, and intense cravings [1, 2]. 

What Are Its Side-Effects?

A man having trouble eatingKratom has several known side effects, such as:

  • Loss of appetite and nausea
  • Mild hallucinations
  • Itching and sweating
  • Dizziness, seizures
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Abnormal heartbeat.

After ingestion, kratom takes 5-10 minutes to reach a noticeable effect [3]. Based on the elimination half-life, the influences of kratom can last anywhere from 2 to 5 hours, depending on the dose ingested and the person’s metabolism.

Kratom is not authorized for prescription by a medical doctor, but some people use it on their own to treat chronic pain when other treatment options have not worked. Unfortunately, it can lead to a substance use disorder and there are often people seeking addiction treatment for a drug that creates something like opioid addiction.

How Long Does Kratom Stay in the Body?

Kratom stays in the body anywhere from 3-24 hours, based on how accustomed kratom users are to the drug and how the drug is taken (orally or by injection). However, the kratom half-life is highly variable.

Kratom is metabolized in the liver and broken down by the CYP450 enzyme system with a primary metabolite of 7-OH-mitragynine [4]. This metabolite is also considered to be a significant factor in the effects profile of kratom.

It usually takes 5 times the half-life to be rid of the drug. This means that it will take anywhere from 15 hours to 5 days for the user to be free from all effects [5, 6].

8 Factors That Determine Kratom Detection Time

Someone holding a big leaf

The period kratom is detectable in a person’s system depends on a number of factors besides the half-life. Some of the most significant factors are:

  1. Dose. A large amount of drugs taken will take longer to leave a person’s system than a small dose.
  2. Frequency of Use. Depending on how frequently it’s used, kratom can stay in your system for several days to weeks. Those who use it daily may require over a week for it to leave their system, while infrequent users may only need a day or two.
  3. Weight and Fat Percentage. Like many drugs, kratom metabolites are fat-soluble and take longer to be excreted in high body fat percentage individuals. Persons with a lower body mass index will generally clear the drug faster than those with a higher body fat ratio and more fatty tissues.
  4. Genetic Metabolism. A faster metabolism will eliminate kratom from a person’s body quicker than a slower metabolism. Certain enzymes in the liver can also influence how quickly kratom is metabolized. People who naturally have more of these enzymes will break down kratom within a shorter length of time.
  5. Drug Interactions. Kratom can interact with other drugs and influence how long it stays in a person’s system. Some of these include other substances and CNS-active medications like anxiolytics and antidepressants [7].
  6. Age. Older individuals have a slower metabolism and may take longer to eliminate kratom. Younger people generally have a better renal function, take fewer additional medications, and don’t have age-related medical conditions. Thus, they will clear drugs faster than older persons.
  7. Diet. Eating a high-fat meal before taking kratom can delay the clearance of effects. Conversely, taking the drug on an empty stomach can lead to more rapid metabolization.
  8. Hydration. Drinking plenty of fluids will help flush kratom out of a person’s system faster than if you are dehydrated.

Does It Show up on a Drug Test? 

A doctor taking off glovesKratom doesn’t usually show up on a drug test. This substance is not screened for in many standard drug tests like the SAMHSA-5, so it’s unlikely to show up unless specifically tested for. However, it can be found with specific drug tests to detect kratom abuse.

Saliva tests and hair follicle tests are used to detect many drugs, but kratom is not one of them at this time. The best guess is that it could be found in the hair follicles for up to 90 days. Further research may create this sort of testing capability, but there are no current FDA-approved hair tests, or saliva tests, for kratom. 

Blood tests can identify kratom, but these are not commonly used in general testing. Blood tests may be ordered to identify if there is acute ingestion as part of a medical visit and possibly as part of a kratom addiction treatment plan. However, the detectability is only hours to days for kratom in the blood test.

Urine tests are the most common type of drug screening test, but kratom constituents are not routinely screened by urine testing. However, urine does retain kratom metabolites and they can be detected for up to nine days by high-performance liquid chromatography [8].

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FAQs

Does kratom have false positives?

Kratom has false positives on drug tests [9]. Kratom can cause a false positive on a methadone test because it is similar to the metabolite 2-ethylidene-1,5-dimethyl-3,3-diphenylpyrrolidine.

This means you should discuss kratom use with licensed medical professionals or your employer if you think a kratom false positive may interfere with a drug test.

How long does kratom withdrawal take?

Kratom withdrawal usually takes 3-10 days. Withdrawal symptoms generally start 12-48 hours after the last kratom dose [10]. The treatment process for substance abuse takes into account this withdrawal and seeks to treat the physical dependence.

Does the military test for kratom?

The military does not routinely test for kratom. That said, the drug is on the Department of Defense’s prohibited substance list, and military laboratories have the ability to do a specific kratom drug test [11]. If the military suspect someone of taking kratom, they will be able to test for it.

Does DOT test for kratom?

The DOT does not regularly test for kratom as part of its 5-drug panel [12]. 

Should you drive after using kratom?

You should not drive after using kratom. Although kratom is not on the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration schedule of controlled substances, operating a commercial or personal vehicle while under the influence of a mind-altering substance is illegal. Given how long kratom stays in the system, people should not drive for hours after taking the drug.

How Long Does Kratom Stay in Your System?

Though legal for use in all but six states, kratom does have metabolites that can be detected in a person’s blood and urine. Further, it can be mistaken for an opioid on some drug testing. That said, it is unlikely to be detected longer than nine days after its last use.

If you want to know which drug tests have the most potential to detect kratom, take a look at our review of the best at-home drug tests on the market. 


References:

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29949228/
  2. https://doi.org/10.1080/02791072.2018.1562133
  3. https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_chem_info/kratom.pdf
  4. https://www.physiciansweekly.com/cyp450-mediated-metabolism-of-mitragynine-and-investigation-of-metabolites-in-human-urine
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4425236/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7309668/
  7. https://nd.az.gov/sites/default/files/news/Kratom.pdf
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6373705/
  9. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/346468760_A_Kratom_Metabolite_Causes_False_Positive_Urine_Drug_Screening_Results_for_Methadone
  10. https://www.dovepress.com/current-perspectives-on-the-impact-of-kratom-use-peer-reviewed-fulltext-article-SAR
  11. https://www.operationmilitarykids.org/military-banned-supplements-list/
  12. https://www.transportation.gov/odapc/DOT_5_Panel_Notice_2018

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