Kratom Use: Reported Dosage and Self-Medication

Kratom has become a popular, semi-legal drug for recreational use and self-medication in both the US and European countries. The vast majority of people who report using it for self-medication usually do so to counter symptoms of mental disorders (depression, anxiety) or to manage chronic pain. I analyzed comments on r/Kratom to see how many grams users commonly consume in one sitting and over a whole day. I’ll first present the descriptive statistics and correlations and then go on to add a few words on limitations.


Here is the distribution of the dosage per sitting. The average dosage is 5 grams, with reported values ranging from a minimum of 1 gram to a maximum of 35 grams. Most users seem to stay within a moderate dosage of 3-6 grams, though 7-10 grams also doesn’t seem that uncommon. Note that the final data points are off-scale.

The dosage per sitting seems to depend on both the reason for consumption as well as the experience with the drug. People, who report taking Kratom to manage pain, report a higher dosage on average (7 grams or 40 % above the median) than those taking it for reasons of mental issues or those that did not state a reason.

Looking at the duration of usage, there seems to be an increase in dosage per sitting over the first two years of consumption. People seem to start out with a dosage of around 2.5 grams (roughly one teaspoon) and increase that to a typical value of 4 grams per sitting after one year and 6 grams after two years. The dosage per sitting keeps increasing past this time frame as well, but one can observe a massive divergence, with some users leveling off at around 6 grams after two years and others steadily increasing that.


This is what consumption per day looks like. The average is 12 grams per day, with values ranging from mere 2 grams to an impressive 100 grams. Most users stay within 4-20 grams per day, but a noticeable minority also settles somewhere in the range 34-42 grams. Again the last two data points are off-scale.

The dependency on reason seems to hold true here as well. People, who use Kratom to manage pain, take a higher daily dosage (22 grams or 80 % above the median) than those who take it to combat mental issues and those who did not state a reason.

Consumption per day also increases with experience and here the explained variance is even higher. People seem to start out with 4.5 grams a day and increase that to 8.5 grams after one year and 13 grams after two years. Past this time frame the average consumption keeps increasing, though with the same noticeable divergence with some users leveling off after two years.


Further remarks:

  • Not surprisingly, there is a strong correlation between dosage in one sitting and daily dosage. The linear regression line should not give the impression that a linear dependency should be assumed. It is just there to highlight the trend. The same is of course also true for the two regression lines seen above.
  • Most users did not provide a reason for Kratom consumption in the comment that laid out their pattern of consumption, though among those that did, 22 % reported using it to combat symptoms arising from a mental illness alone and 78 % said that they are using it to manage chronic pain and the mental fallout from that. No one stated purely recreational use, though there are certainly people who do this.

Limitations:

  • The population of users discussing their consumption on r/Kratom is not necessarily representative of the population of all Kratom users. So the averages found above should be assumed to be biased.
  • Sample size is only n = 138 users, which is good, but not great.

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