Combining two drugs is a conventional technique that medical professionals use to treat severe medical and physical illnesses. By using different medications that work on different receptors, the hope is to provide people with the relief they don’t receive by using only one drug. Because of how common mixing medications is, many people believe the practice is always safe. An individual might come to think that it’s acceptable to mix any drug with another for any reason at all, but that’s not the case.
The Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy published a study that examines how 90 percent of hallucinogen abusers and 80 percent of amphetamine abusers admitted to taking multiple drugs at the same time. Blending these two drugs is a way to keep their high going indefinitely. Unfortunately, however, combining drugs can have catastrophic side effects that can lead to fatalities.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) publishes that treatment for drug abuse (singular or polydrug abuse) involves a complex interaction of an individual’s biology and behavior. Addiction is a chronic disease, which means one treatment attempt may not be sufficient.
Those who combine drugs put themselves in a position where this is an even more complicated process. Addiction specialists understand that some abusers may use more than one illicit substance at a time, and these people require specialized and complementary rehab services to safely treat their polydrug use.
One of the most dangerous combinations of drugs is benzodiazepines and opioids. With more research about kratom surfacing, there has been more evidence that puts kratom in a class of opioid drugs. There is still more testing required to understand kratom and its effects better. If it is classified to have similar properties of opioids, it means that the combination of kratom and Xanax may be more dangerous than we thought.
In 2016, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new guidelines for the prescribing of opioids and recommended that clinicians avoid prescribing benzodiazepines concurrently with opioids whenever possible. Opiates and prescription benzodiazepines now carry a “black box” warning from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on the label that highlights the dangers of using the drugs together. People who are prescribed any medications must inform their doctors about all other drugs and medications they use to avoid potential risks of using various drugs and substances together. So does this include a kratom and Xanax combination? First, let’s review a little more in depth what these drugs are.
What is Kratom?
Kratom is a tropical tree native to Southeast Asia, with leaves that contain compounds that can have psychotropic (mind-altering) effects. Kratom is currently a legal substance in some parts of the U.S. that can be purchased online or at smoke shops. It is sometimes sold in a green powder and labeled “not for human consumption.” This is a method commonly used to disguise drugs and skirt the law. Kratom has additional names such as biak, ketum, kakuam, ithang, and thom.
Kratom is usually taken as a pill, capsule, or extract, but some people chew kratom leaves or brew the dried or powdered leaves as a tea. In some instances, the leaves are smoked or eaten in food. There are various ways to consume the drug, and farmworkers in Southeast Asia often chew the leaves to experience some of their more stimulating effects. What shocks researchers is how it can have stimulating effects in one dose, and sedating impacts in another.
Kratom can cause effects that are similar to both opioids and stimulants. There are two compounds in kratom leaves containing mitragynine and 7-α-hydroxymitragynine, which interact with opioid receptors. In turn, it causes the brain to produce sedation, pleasure, and decreased pain. This phenomenon is especially true when taken in large doses.
Mitragynine also interacts with other receptors in the brain to produce stimulant effects. When kratom is taken in small amounts, users report increased energy, sociability, and alertness instead of sedation. Kratom, however, can cause uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous side effects.
Some health effects of kratom are:
- Dry mouth
- Increased urination
- Appetite loss
In 2017, the FDA issued warnings related to kratom consumption and documented 44 deaths related to its use. One of the reports is still being investigated but has been said to be pure kratom that caused the overdose. In many cases, overdose is attributed to adulterated products which other drugs are mixed with kratom.
What is Xanax?
Xanax is the brand name of the drug alprazolam, which is a prescription drug used to treat anxiety disorders. Xanax is typically prescribed for generalized anxiety disorders (GAD), which is anxiety associated with depression and panic disorder. On some occasions, Xanax is used to treat depression, but this is a less frequently used method.
Xanax falls into a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines, and it is available in several forms that include tablets, liquid, disintegrating tablets, and extended-release tablets. Xanax is made by Pfizer and was approved by the FDA in 1981.
The federal agency warns that there are serious risks associated with using Xanax or other benzodiazepines at the same time as opioid analgesics. To highlight what was discussed earlier, combining opioids and benzos can result in extreme sleepiness, slowed or difficult breathing, coma, and even death.
Xanax and other benzos are among the most widely abused drugs available, and Xanax is abused for the fast-acting high it offers. Xanax was responsible for most emergency room visits attributed to central nervous system depressants in 2009. Long-term abuse and addiction to Xanax are associated with depression, psychotic experiences, and aggressive or impulsive behavior.
Can You Safely Use Kratom and Xanax Together?
With kratom being so closely related to opioids concerning where it affects the brain, it is irresponsible to say that a kratom and Xanax combination is a safe one. With opiates and benzodiazepines causing so many problems that the FDA released a black box warning, the drugs should not be mixed. However, this has not stopped those from using the two drugs together which has caused problems. As mentioned earlier in the article, kratom has been linked to 44 deaths, and most of those deaths are related to polydrug use.
The difference between kratom and other drugs is that they have gone through rigorous FDA reviews for safety and efficacy. Kratom has not gone through this stringent level of testing that other legal drugs have, and this presents another problem with the substance. The quality of kratom can be suspect, and you may never know what you are buying. Kratom should never be used to treat medical conditions, nor should it be used as an alternative to prescription opioids. To add to this, the drug should never be used in conjunction with any benzos including Xanax. This could provide less than satisfactory results and end in coma or death.
If you or someone you know has been using kratom and Xanax together, they could be risking their lives or developing a substance use disorder that ends in addiction. Addiction is a chronic and progressive disease that can be fatal if not treated. If you or someone you know has moved to polydrug use, you must immediately reach out to someone for help.
Kratom and Benzos
Although in lower doses, kratom is considered a stimulant, when consumed in higher quantities, it produces more sedative effects. Since kratom is similar to an opioid, using it in conjunction with benzos is dangerous and can increase your odds of developing side effects, including nausea, constipation, seizures, or hallucinations. Doctors and other medical professionals recommend you never mix these two substances.
When you mix benzos and kratom together, you also put yourself at an elevated risk of a kratom overdose. Similar to other drug overdoses, this can also be fatal. Since kratom can produce stimulating effects, it could lead to anxiety attacks, which is why a person might be compelled to use benzos. Xanax, Klonopin, and Valium are used to reduce anxiety and suppress panic attacks.
Those who mix these substances together do so for the following reasons:
- Help them fall asleep if they’re battling insomnia
- Increase their feelings of euphoria
- Assist in their quest to manage chronic pain
- Reduce their symptoms of drug withdrawal
None of these substances are medically approved and could be signs of substance abuse.
Side Effects of Kratom and Benzos
The use of kratom on its own can lead to sedation, drowsiness, nausea, constipation, and other opioid-like effects. Since benzodiazepines are known to cause side effects, such as lightheadedness, dry mouth, reduced blood pressure, and reduced concentration, it makes them dangerous to mix. Doing so increases your odds of adverse side effects from each substance. You also double your odds of a fatal overdose from either drug. If you experience stimulating effects from kratom, it can overshadow the sedative effects of benzos, causing you to take more until it’s too late.
Risk of Overdose from Kratom and Benzos
A study released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that more than 22 percent of kratom overdose deaths showed the presence of benzodiazepines. Toxicology reports found that benzodiazepines were the third most common substance found in those who overdosed on kratom, only behind heroin and fentanyl.
Benzodiazepines alone are harder to overdose on. However, the risk still exists. When they interact with other substances like opioids, it can lead to a kratom overdose.
Signs of a kratom overdose include the following:
- Extremely slowed breathing
- Unconsciousness or coma
Long-Term Risks of Kratom and Benzos
If you’re mixing kratom and benzos, it indicates that you’re not using the substances as directed, which is a sign of a substance use disorder (SUD), meaning continued drug use comes at the cost of your mental and physical health. In severe cases, drug and addiction and withdrawal will occur when you try to stop alone. Kratom withdrawal is similar to opioid withdrawal, while benzo withdrawal can be extremely dangerous.
Withdrawal symptoms from both substances include the following:
- Muscle aches
- Increased heart rate
- Changes in behavior – becoming less rational
It’s known that kratom has a similar effect on our opioid receptors as regular opioids. Two chemicals in kratom cause pain-relieving effects, which is why the long-term risks, such as withdrawal, like opioids. Benzos and opioids both affect the central nervous system (CNS) when used together, creating toxicity at low doses. Kratom is not a controlled substance but can lead to physical dependence. Repeated use of the drug can put your health at considerable risk.
Kratom has been widely available in Southeast Asia for centuries. However, the use of the drug has become widespread in recent memory. Its interactions with other drugs still require research, but the potential for long-term abuse and dependence has already become an issue. It’s a habit-forming drug, especially when used in conjunction with other habit-forming substances like benzodiazepines.
Stop Using Kratom and Xanax Today
Polydrug addiction is a serious disease that can be fatal if left untreated. Fortunately, Arete Recovery can help people who are trapped in active addiction rebuild their lives. We are an addiction rehab center based in Florida, that is dedicated to healing broken minds, bodies, and spirits.