Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. The symptoms of ADHD often lead to focusing, disorganization, restlessness, and trouble controlling impulses. Even though stimulants like Adderall or Ritalin are commonly prescribed to treat ADHD, some people are exploring natural alternatives like kratom.
Kratom is an herbal supplement derived from the leaves of a tropical tree called Mitragyna speciosa. At low doses, kratom acts as a stimulant to boost energy, concentration, and motivation. At higher doses, it has more sedative and pain-relieving effects. Anecdotally, some people with ADHD and related conditions like ADD report success using kratom to ease symptoms and boost productivity.
Kratom may help relieve adhd symptoms
There is currently limited scientific research specifically on kratom’s effects on ADHD. The vast majority of evidence is anecdotal reports from users themselves. That said, research on kratom’s pharmacological actions suggests some theoretical benefits for relieving issues like distractibility, restlessness, disorganization, and poor concentration:
Boosts motivation and energy
At lower stimulant-range doses up to 5 grams, kratom may provide a sustained boost in alertness, attention, motivation, and physical/mental energy. By stimulating the sympathetic nervous system, kratom helps counter the lethargy, procrastination, and lack of drive common in ADHD.
By stimulating the release of acetylcholine and dopamine in the brain, low-dose kratom may enhance some aspects of cognition like attention span, concentration, and single-task processing for several hours. This combats attention deficits in those with ADHD who struggle with easy distractibility. Kratom’s legality is a subject of debate globally. While it is legal in some kratom country and states, others have imposed restrictions due to concerns about its potential health effects and abuse.
Via its action on mu-opioid receptors and kappa receptors, kratom may help dampen compulsive behaviours and rash impulsivity characteristic of ADHD. Through calming yet clarifying neural pathways, kratom may support self-control and thoughtful decision-making processes typically deficient in ADHD patients.
The catch is that most ADHD research on kratom is based on anecdotal self-reports posted online, not hard empirical science. Some users swear by kratom’s benefits, while others experience no effects or problematic side effects instead.
Scientific support for kratom and ADHD relief
While quality clinical trials are still lacking, there is some early research that points to kratom’s therapeutic potential for alleviating core ADHD symptoms:
- Boosts attention and focus
In one 2021 study published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, researchers in Malaysia assessed kratom’s cognitive effects in 63 regular kratom users. Measurements of alertness, contentment, and sustained attention showed significant increases on days when participants consumed kratom versus kratom-free days.
- Eases anxiety and restlessness
A 2020 survey of over 2,700 kratom consumers was published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs. Within this self-selecting sample, over 68% of respondents reported improvements in anxiety and over 65% noticed reductions in restless thoughts/behaviors when using kratom regularly.
- Enhances work productivity
In a 2017 paper in the International Journal on Drug Policy, a survey of over 10,000 kratom users found that over 90% reported improvements in productivity and concentration from regular kratom use. These self-enhancements allow them to complete mentally demanding work more efficiently.
While promising, it’s important to emphasize that these studies rely heavily on anecdotal self-reports from current kratom users. Controlled clinical studies are still needed to determine efficacy and safety.