ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) is one of the most commonly diagnosed disorders, affecting millions of people. ADHD is characterized by an inability to maintain focus and attention on tasks. Hence, the “attention-deficit” part of the acronym.
While medications like Adderall and Ritalin are effective for improving ADHD symptoms, they do come with downsides.
Today we’re exploring how kratom interacts with ADHD.
Kratom is a species of tree, mitragyna speciosa, that grows in Southeast Asia. Its leaves contain two alkaloids, psychoactive compounds called mitragynine and 7-hydroxy-mitragynine (7-HMG).
Because of these active compounds, kratom has been used as a stimulant, a pain relief tool, and more.
We have written about all of these potential uses, and the risks that come with it, elsewhere on our website.
One of the leading theories behind the reason for ADHD is called the Dopamine Hypothesis of ADHD. As we wrote about in this article on 5 non-pharmaceutical interventions for ADHD, we know that ADHD medication increases dopamine, and we also know that dopamine increases attention.
From this, we can draw a simple conclusion: substances that are dopaminergic (increase dopamine) may help with ADHD symptoms. And kratom, as a matter of fact, does increase dopamine.
Both in mice studies and pharmacology studies, the mitragynine in kratom has been shown to both increase dopamine and serotonin, which explain kratom’s euphoric sensations. In fact, kratom has also been looked at as an antidepressant because of these neurotransmitter effects. Along with euphoria, dopamine improves attention.
Based on this simple logic, then, it seems that short-term kratom use improves ADHD symptoms. How effective this attention boost is, at this point we don’t know, and have to rely on anecdotal reports.
We know, from anecdotes and emerging research, that at relatively low doses kratom improves focus. It’s commonly both advertised by kratom sellers and touted by its users to be effective as a pre-work, or even pre-workout beverage.
Just because kratom increases dopamine, doesn’t mean it’s a good idea for all people with ADHD. After all, medication increases dopamine, probably substantially more, and that comes with downsides too.
First, it has been studied extensively that people with ADHD tend to be at higher risk for substance abuse and addiction. For example, a 2020 study showed among a sample of thousands of people that those with ADHD were 2-3 times more likely to develop nicotine, alcohol, cocaine, marijuana, or other substance abuse disorders than those without ADHD.
Second, while kratom can be effective for a lot of things and safe at controlled doses, it also has a relatively high addictive potential. Kratom acts on the same receptors as opioids, and frequent, uncontrolled use can lead to kratom addiction.
(However, this mechanistic similarity is also why kratom can be used to treat opioid addiction.)
So for those predisposed to substance abuse disorders, kratom shouldn’t be the first substance to move towards. There are other less addictive substances like caffeine, l-tyrosine, and l-theanine that may also improve systems without as much risk.
Simply, Those with ADHD are at a higher risk for kratom abuse.
If you’re currently using kratom to self-medicate your ADHD, you don’t have to stop immediately, or necessarily quit kratom altogether, as long as you can manage the dose safely.
First, which we believe is crucial if you take kratom, is to make sure you get it from a trusted brand. Because the legalities of kratom are complex, right now there’s basically no regulation about selling kratom in the US. This means sellers can (and do) lace kratom with all kinds of crap like a sketchy drug deal. DO NOT buy kratom from your local gas station.
That’s why the only kratom brand we endorse is Viable Kratom. Viable has the strictest third-party testing of their kratom in the industry, and is one of the only companies that’s completely transparent in their manufacturing process.
While we don’t have clear concrete research on the doses and frequencies that can lead to kratom dependency, users report that as long as they’re using under 5 grams on the days they take kratom, they avoid the serious health risks along with addiction.
Generally speaking then, it’s a good rule of thumb.
Similarly, we don’t have research to back this up, but as is the case with caffeine cycling, the strongest effects come when you take time away from the substance. That’s also the case with kratom. If you take kratom every day, then your body will get used to the dose, and you’ll want to take higher and higher doses. The solution to this is to take time off of kratom, which will keep its effectiveness for ADHD symptoms as high as possible.
Our recommendation is to look into other substances first. We have a series of articles on substances that may improve ADHD symptoms. So you can check out our articles on caffeine, l-theanine, l-tyrosine, and more for non-pharmaceutical ADHD interventions.
So if you want to use kratom, ADHD shouldn’t be the only motivation. If you also are using it for opioid withdrawal, for example, then the attention-improving benefits are just a bonus.
Lastly, we want to repeat that most kratom is total garbage, and that you should only get kratom from a trusted source.
What’s The Best Kratom Strain For ADHD?
Kratom comes in three types of strains: white, green, and red, as we discuss in this article on the kratom strains explained.
In sum, the strains have different concentrations of the two alkaloids responsible for kratom’s effects. White has more stimulating effects, while red has more sedating effects, and green is a combination of the two.
So if you’re using kratom for ADHD, and you want more of an energy boost, use white kratom. If you tend to get over-excited, then try a green kratom strain.
With all of this said, we recommend Viable’s White Vein Borneo kratom or Green Maeng Da kratom.
Disclaimer: This website does not provide medical advice and is for informational purposes only. Please consult your physician with any questions you have before taking a supplement of any kind.