What is White Kratom and Is It Addictive?

April 4, 2023

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White kratom, also known as white vein kratom, is one of the most popular forms of this southeast Asian supplement.

This guide outlines the potential dangers of using white kratom.

What is Kratom?

Kratom is not scheduled under the CSA (Controlled Substances Act) in the United States, meaning that the substance is federally legal. You can find kratom in stores selling supplements and alternative medicines. The substance is also widely available online.

There are many names for kratom, including:

  • Herbal speedball
  • Ketum
  • Biak-biak
  • Kahuam
  • Thom
  • Ithang

The scientific name for kratom is Mitragyna speciosa (a tropical tree that grows abundantly throughout Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia.

Kratom is used in parts of Asia as a mood enhancer and also for the treatment of:

  • Pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Cough
  • Fever

The dark green leaves of the kratom plant are dried before being powdered or crushed. People then add dried kratom leaves to tea or smoke the kratom powder. The leaves have psychotropic properties, meaning that while kratom is legal, it is also a mind-altering substance.

Up to 5 million people in the United States use kratom.

Small doses of kratom induce stimulant effects. At higher doses, kratom brings about effects similar to the effects of opioids. Kratom is not an opioid, but rather an evergreen plant in the coffee family.

What is White Kratom?

There are three different colors of kratom, including white kratom. Differences in color are due to differences in cultivation techniques.

  1. White kratom: Kratom leaves that feature a white central vein can be mood-enhancing and energizing. White kratom is sometimes used as a stimulant to improve sharpness and alertness, while minimizing fatigue. Taking white kratom late in the day can lead to restlessness and insomnia.
  2. Green kratom: Green vein kratom can improve alertness and may mildly boost energy levels. This type of kratom is also used to treat pain without inducing drowsiness or lethargy.
  3. Red kratom: Red vein kratom is the most popular form of kratom. This has potentially relaxing, calming, and stress-relieving properties. Different strains of red kratom have different properties, although most red veined kratom is used to promote rest and relaxation.

What Are the Effects of White Kratom?

White vein kratom is available in the following formulations:

  • Loose powder
  • Crushed leaf
  • Stem and vein
  • Encapsulated powder
  • Extracts

White vein kratom delivers effects that are uplifting, while other types of kratom promote feelings of calm and tranquility.

What Are the Risks of Using White Kratom?

In a 2017 study that examined the potential risks and benefits of kratom, researchers discovered that the substance triggers some adverse effects and some stimulant effects. Researchers also concluded that kratom may be effective for the treatment of depression.

Using kratom can also bring about the following complications:

  • Dry mouth
  • Vomiting
  • Jerky body movements
  • Memory loss
  • Aggression
  • Hostility
  • Euphoria
  • Psychosis
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Death

The effects of kratom kick in quickly. Feelings of calmness and happiness occur between 5 and 10 minutes after using kratom.

Sustained kratom use can cause the following negative effects:

  • Hair loss
  • Sweating
  • Itching
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Disrupted sleep patterns
  • Erectile dysfunction

Kratom has the potential for abuse and addiction. Current research suggests that kratom is less addictive than opioid painkillers, though.

When kratom is used regularly and long-term, the following unwanted side effects may manifest:

  • Appetite changes
  • Weight loss
  • Disrupted sleep cycles
  • Social problems caused by kratom use

The sustained use of kratom can cause unpleasant withdrawal symptoms to present in the absence of the substance. Kratom withdrawal is characterized by unpleasant symptoms and intense cravings for kratom, effects similar to those of opioid withdrawal, although milder in presentation.

Kratom withdrawal studies shows that effects like nausea and muscle aches accompany powerful cravings for kratom during detox. The withdrawal process lasts from three to ten days.

Using more than 5 grams of kratom daily exposes you to the risk of experiencing withdrawal symptoms. The duration and onset of kratom withdrawal depend on how much kratom you were using and how long you have been using the substance.

Kratom affects opioid receptors in the brain similarly to morphine, although research suggests that kratom withdrawal is not as long or intense as opioid withdrawal.

Expect any of the following adverse physical effects during kratom withdrawal:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Hot flashes
  • Appetite loss
  • Muscle aches
  • Severe abdominal cramps
  • Changes to blood pressure and heart rate
  • Runny nose and watery eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Dilated pupils
  • Seizures

The kratom withdrawal process is also characterized by an array of negative psychological side effects:

  • Aggression
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia

Even if you have become physically dependent on kratom, withdrawal symptoms should subside after ten days.

Kratom Addiction

Addiction is clinically described as substance use disorder. NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) defines substance use disorder as a chronic and relapsing brain condition that is incurable but treatable.

Kratom addiction is diagnosed according to the criteria outlined in DSM-5-TR (the revised fifth edition of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The criteria include:

  1. Taking more kratom than planned or using the substance for longer than intended.
  2. Trying and failing to stop using kratom or to moderate kratom use.
  3. Neglecting personal and professional commitments due to kratom use.
  4. Spending less time on hobbies and everyday activities in favor of kratom use.
  5. Using kratom in dangerous situations.
  6. Developing tolerance and requiring more kratom to achieve the same effects.
  7. Experiencing kratom withdrawal symptoms when the effects wear off.
  8. Ongoing kratom use even though it is causing or inflaming a health condition, either physical or mental.
  9. Spending lots of time obtaining and using kratom.
  10. Continuing to use kratom even though it is causing problems in your personal relationships.
  11. Cravings for kratom manifesting.

Addiction Treatment at Gratitude Lodge in Southern California

If you have been abusing kratom to the extent that you have developed substance use disorder, we can help you beat the physical and psychological components of addiction at Gratitude Lodge in Southern California. Our pet-friendly and inclusive rehab centers are located in Newport Beach, San Diego, and Long Beach.

Kickstart your recovery with a supervised medical detox, allowing you to withdraw from kratom as comfortably as possible. You can then transition into the most appropriate treatment program. These include:

  • Inpatient rehab (residential rehab)
  • Intensive outpatient programs
  • Dual diagnosis treatment programs (for co-occurring disorders)

All Gratitude Lodge treatment plans for kratom addiction will be individualized, drawing from science-backed and holistic interventions that include:

  • Medication-assisted treatment
  • Psychotherapy (talk therapy)
  • Group therapy
  • Individual counseling
  • Family therapy
  • Holistic therapies
  • 12-step immersion program

Whether you step down to a less intense form of treatment, or you transition straight into everyday life, you will leave Gratitude Lodge with an aftercare plan that includes healthy coping mechanisms, relapse prevention strategies, and access to a sober support system.

Start moving beyond kratom addiction and kickstart your recovery at Gratitude Lodge. Call 888-861-1658 for immediate assistance.


Help for you or a loved one is only one call away.

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Jenni Bussi

Jenni Russe MS, LPCC

Jenni Busse MS, LPSS is the Clinical Director at Gratitude Lodge. Jenni oversees the clinical program and the clinical team at Gratitude Lodge as a whole. Jenni has worked in treatment for almost 14 years. Her background as a licensed therapist and her passion for helping others intersected with addiction recovery when she started working primarily in detox residential treatment.
Joe Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore has been working in the addiction industry for half a decade and has been writing about addiction and substance abuse treatment during that time. He has experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.

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