Active alkaloids in kratom

Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) contains several active ingredients, known as alkaloids, which are responsible for its psychoactive and medicinal effects. The most abundant and well-studied alkaloids in kratom are mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, but other alkaloids such as speciociliatine and paynantheine may also contribute to the overall effects of the plant. Here is a more detailed description of the active ingredients in kratom:

  1. Mitragynine: This is the most abundant alkaloid in kratom, accounting for up to 66% of the total alkaloid content. It is responsible for most of the plant’s psychoactive effects, including pain relief, sedation, and mood enhancement. Mitragynine acts as a partial agonist at the mu-opioid receptor, as well as the delta and kappa opioid receptors, and has some affinity for the serotonin and norepinephrine transporters. It may also have antimalarial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties.
  2. 7-hydroxymitragynine: This is a more potent and selective agonist at the mu-opioid receptor than mitragynine, but it is present in much lower concentrations in kratom (usually less than 2% of the total alkaloid content). It is responsible for the plant’s strong analgesic and euphoric effects, and may also contribute to its sedative and anxiolytic properties. 7-hydroxymitragynine has been shown to have some potential therapeutic uses, such as in the treatment of opioid addiction and chronic pain, but its high potency and addictive potential also make it a cause for concern. 
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  3. Speciociliatine: This alkaloid is structurally similar to mitragynine but has a weaker affinity for the opioid receptors. It may have some opioid agonist effects, but they are much less potent than those of mitragynine or 7-hydroxymitragynine. Speciociliatine may contribute to the overall effects of kratom, but its exact role is not well understood.
  4. Paynantheine: This alkaloid is also structurally similar to mitragynine and has some opioid agonist effects, but they are weaker than those of mitragynine or 7-hydroxymitragynine. Paynantheine may have some analgesic and smooth muscle relaxant properties, and may contribute to the overall effects of kratom.
  5. Speciogynine: This alkaloid is the second most abundant in kratom, accounting for up to 12% of the total alkaloid content. It has some opioid receptor affinity but is a weak partial agonist. Speciogynine may have some antinociceptive (pain-relieving) effects, as well as muscle relaxant and anti-inflammatory properties.
  6. Mitraphylline: This alkaloid is present in moderate amounts in kratom and has been found to have potential antihypertensive, diuretic, and immune-stimulating effects. It may also have some anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, but its exact role in the overall effects of kratom is not well understood.

Overall, the active ingredients in kratom have complex pharmacological properties that may vary depending on the dosage, route of administration, and individual differences. The plant’s effects are likely due to a combination of its alkaloids and other constituents, and more research is needed to fully understand their mechanisms of action and potential therapeutic uses.


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