Recreational drug kratom hits the same brain receptors as strong opioids

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First we need some SHOCKING headlines about Teens These Days and their Kratom Sex Parties!


And the Prozac you take with your morning coffee hits the same serotonin receptors as the party drug ecstasy.


Is this anything like Giggle Pig?

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I have tried Kratom, few strains.

Alas, I have barely ever been prescribed opiods, and have generally stopped taking them ASAP because I would rather be in pain than feel… however? Fuzzy and numb I guess. And low energy.

Kratom is nice, but keeps me awake all night. So that is also a no go. I am probably better off sober anyways.


One week later, this headline (and subhead):

Teens discovering that opioids are ‘total buzz-kill’ for sex parties
Youth now spending entire evenings literally watching Netflix and chilling


Prozac mainly blocks reuptake of serotonin (though it does act as a weak antagonist at the serotonin 2C receptor). MDMA blocks reuptake and acts as a full agonist at serotonin receptors. Big difference. And at recreational doses, it does this so well that it induces downregulation (read: winnowing) of those serotonin receptors. With enough recreational doses, this downregulation can become permanent.

Therapeutic doses of MDMA are much lower though, to my knowledge, the peer-reviewed research studying its clinical efficacy for depression hasn’t yet determined its therapeutic index.

My advice: skip the party, take some shrooms with a good friend, and go for a stroll in the meadows.


I actually went completely off my psych meds in preparation for a mushroom trip.

/because eliminating mania without doing anything for depression or anxiety (sorry, but a beta blocker isn’t cutting it) seems to be the modus operandi for any doctor I see


I know a couple of people who were fairly long-term opioid users who shifted over to kratom successfully and who are now worried that their method of diversion might be denied them.

I’ve done it a couple of times and the stuff works ok, but it tasted so horrid (it must have a ph like a million) and made me fairly nauseated. I don’t know if I could do enough to make it worthwhile as a recreational drug considering I live in a city on the West Coast. I can get real opioids pretty easily for around the same money as kratom.

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Yeah, pretty much any med that blocks 5-HT2A is effectively an ‘ABORT’ button for shroom trips.

For all you psychonauts out there, that list includes all the second-generation antipsychotics and the antidepressants trazodone and mirtazapine.

Do not rely on those last two for aborting an acid trip, though. That requires the heavy hitters (first-gen antipsychotics, some second-gen). So I’ve heard anyway.

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I’ve tried MDMA while simultaneously on prozac. It was like drinking a glass of water.


Just did a quick Google. The Bluelighters concur with your experience 100%.

I’m out of hypotheses for this one. Time for me to go back to the literature.


I’m guessing fluoxetine just has a higher binding affinity for the receptors. Same as naloxone for heroin.

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That’s what snags me. Naloxone is an inverse agonist—not just an antagonist—of mu-opioid receptors. And given its efficacy, probably a noncompetitive one at that.

Fluoxetine, at least what I know of it, doesn’t have any such mechanism. Direct mechanism, anyway. It’s plausible that it has an effect on second-messenger systems that somehow blunts response to MDMA, but that’s just a conjecture.

One thing I can say—from experience, not journal articles—is that mirtazapine will bail your ass out of a bad shroom trip in no more than fifteen minutes and will absolutely steamroll any nausea you might have had.

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  • Ton of metal and glass moving at lethal speeds?
    Okay for recreation.
  • Firing weapons designed to kill?
    Okay for recreation.
  • Climbing, diving, gliding, etc risking injury/death?
    Okay for recreation.
  • Consuming part of a plant to feel different?
    Criminal activity.

You forgot “Internet”

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Kratom in moderation is wonderful. And the nausea plus horrible taste is a feature, not a bug.

I’m sorry.

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My point was that just because kratom hits the same receptors as “hard” drugs, that doesn’t necessarily mean it has effects anywhere close to those chemicals as OP’s sensationalism would suggest.

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Totally agree. The headline could easily have been ‘Recreational drug kratom is in fact a weak opioid’. The original headline’s use of the word ‘strong’ is superfluous. Either it targets the same receptors or it doesn’t (or only some of them, or additional others, etc). All other things being equal, binding affinity and agonist type (partial, full, super) are the main factors determining ‘strength’.