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Kratom Survey Results

June 14, 2023

Kratom Survey SaysImagine that the game show Family Feud asked the question: “Why do people use kratom?”

What would the #1 answer be? In what order would other answers appear? And do the results vary among different surveys?

Numerous large-scale scientific surveys have investigated this very question, revealing the reasons users report for taking kratom. In addition, some research studies have also conducted social media analyses to provide qualitative data about the motivations for kratom use.

Thanks to these results, it’s no mystery at all why people use kratom. All that researchers (or Steve Harvey) had to do was ask.

Kratom Survey Says…

The journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence has published multiple kratom surveys over the years, and the responses were consistent across all studies. While the percentages may be different, the same reasons appeared in the same order time and again.

Here are a few examples of the reasons that respondents gave for using kratom:

2017: Survey of 8,049 Kratom Users

  • Acute or chronic pain: 68%
  • Emotional or mental condition (anxiety, PTSD, depression): 66%
  • Prescription medicine dependency (opioid pain killers): 26%
  • Illicit drug dependency (heroin, cocaine, amphetamine, marijuana): 8%

2019: Survey of 2,867 Current Kratom Users and 157 Former Users

  • Pain relief: 48%
  • Anxiety, depression, or PTSD: 22%
  • Reduce opioid use and/or withdrawal symptoms: 10%
  • Increase energy or focus: 10%

2020: Survey of 2,798 Kratom Users

  • Pain relief: 91%
  • Anxiety: 67%
  • Depression: 65%
  • Stop or reduce opioid use: 41%

As you can see, the #1 answer throughout each survey was clear: pain relief. This makes sense given the analgesic properties that have been confirmed in multiple studies, including in a 2020 double-blind study published in the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine that concluded:

“Kratom decoction demonstrated a substantial and statistically significant increase in pain tolerance.”

Next among the top answers came mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression, followed by reducing opioid use. These results are also all supported by separate research, including a 2018 study from Drug and Alcohol Dependence that stated:

“Findings indicate kratom's potential as a harm reduction tool, most notably as a substitute for opioids among people who are addicted. Kratom also enhances mood and relieves anxiety among many users.”

Kratom in Social Media

In today’s social media landscape, everyone wants to share everything: opinions, stories, photos, videos, what they ate for breakfast. With all this sharing going on, it’s no surprise that kratom researchers have turned to social media as a valuable source of qualitative data.

YouTube Study

YouTube logoOne such research group in a 2021 study published in Emerging Trends in Drugs, Addiction, and Health focused on the YouTube platform due to its tremendous volume of user-generated content. They analyzed videos using specific criteria and methods to better understand this question of why people use kratom. After reviewing 500 videos with over 19 million views and over 134,000 comments, the team concluded that:

Overall, it was found that kratom was mainly used for self-medication, rather than recreational purposes, justifying the need for further clinical studies to better assess the safety and the efficacy of its use in a therapeutic context.”

The motivations for use that they identified included:

  • Opioid addiction: 83%
  • Pain relief: 75%
  • Anxiety: 67%
  • Boost energy: 50%
  • Depression: 42%
  • Substance use: 42%
  • Elevate mood: 25%
  • Nootropic effects: 25%

It is interesting to note that in this analysis, opioid addiction jumped to the number one slot. Whether that is due to an underreporting of this factor in the surveys or an enhanced emphasis on it in social media is unclear. However, the whole purpose of such an analysis was to determine whether independent online descriptions match survey results. While some differences did emerge, studies such as this help to fill in more pieces to the puzzle, providing further insights into the potential benefits of kratom as discussed by the users themselves.

Reddit Study

Reddit logo Another content-rich social media platform is Reddit. A different 2021 study published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence looked at a sample of 280 Reddit posts about kratom use.

Out of the 280 posts analyzed, the top mentions were:

  • Substance use: 48%
  • Opioid withdrawal symptoms: 37%
  • Pain relief: 21%
  • Anxiety: 13%
  • Depression: 11%

Similar to the YouTube analysis, this Reddit study shows the highest percentage of comments to be related to the mitigation of substance use and opioids. This does seem to be the kratom benefit most widely discussed online.

Some of the specific comments quoted in the study regarding kratom self-treatment for addiction and withdrawal include:

“I had a comparable experience switching to kratom. I went cold turkey off 100 mg of methadone, and it worked 100%. There were no withdrawals, and even a little relaxation and euphoria.”

“So now I’ve totally stopped using traditional opiates and opioids (I still take kratom, and plan to use kratom so long as availability persists). It easily changed my life.”

“Essentially, compared with my relationship to alcohol and compared with others’ drug habits, kratom is a miracle. My life has become infinitely better - my job, marriage, really all of my relationships, fitness, general happiness! I use kratom once a day and sometimes take days off to get better effects. It saved my life.”

The following overall highlights of this study were provided by the authors:

  • Kratom was often used to self-treat opioid withdrawal or as an opioid substitute.
  • Polydrug use that included kratom and at least one other substance was common.
  • Kratom was perceived as lifesaving, but also potentially addictive.
  • Kratom dependence and withdrawal symptoms were described in detail.
  • Most used kratom for pragmatic health reasons, rather than to achieve euphoria.

Summary of Social Media Analysis

Despite common assumptions, these studies prove that people overwhelmingly use kratom for its perceived therapeutic benefits rather than recreationally. They are self-treating a variety of health-related symptoms, not simply getting high.

This is an important distinction. Kratom truly is helping so many improve their quality of life, and people need to have accurate information about the true reasons others use it so that they can decide whether it might be able to help them as well. Knowledge and education about kratom are steadily improving, and safe, effective kratom use therefore continues to rise.

Koming Soon…

At MT Brands, we’re excited about the future of kratom. In fact, we can’t wait to reveal what’s coming soon. Don’t miss our upcoming announcement about a revolutionary new kratom product on its way.

Whatever your own reasons are for using kratom, this new product is sure to be your #1 answer.

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