Since the time Opioid epidemic has been announced as a national public health emergency by the president of the United States, researchers and people are finding ways and supplements to combat Opiate addiction and the withdrawal of Opiates.
Some people have also sought kava kava for Opiate withdrawal. Kava is a natural herbal supplement that is mainly used for its anxiolytic function.
How to use kava for Opiate withdrawal? And does it really work? These are some questions that we will answer for you, but before that let us pledge to end this Opioid epidemic and lead healthy lives. Because of health matters!
Kava kava is generically called Piper Methsticum. It is a plant that is native to Western Pacific countries.
Kava kava is also called as awa contains kavalactones more than 40 in number.
These kavalactones act on various pathways in the central nervous system to make a person happier, less worried and stimulated.
Some of the kavalactones include; kavain, kavapyrones, methysticin, dihydromethysticin, dihydro kavain, yangonin, and desmethoxyyangonin etc.
Kava also has twelve other types of lactones, small amounts of awaine, pipermethystine and glutathione.
Kava kava has calming and painkilling properties. It induces relaxation, while simultaneously improving cognitive function and mental clarity. Kava, has a known function to reduce the intensity of the Opiate withdrawal symptoms?
How is Kava used for Opiate withdrawal?
Basically, the kavalactones present in kava act on some pathways that are responsible for alleviating the Opiate withdrawal symptoms.
The details of the Opiate withdrawal symptoms will be discussed ahead in the article.
The kavalactones are known for its sedative, psychostimulant, hypnotic, psychotropic and anxiolytic properties.
Kava reduces the symptoms of restlessness, insomnia, pain as well as anxiety and panic attacks which are associated with Opiate withdrawal. Kavalactones also help in the relaxation of muscles.
Kava works by a number of signalling pathways that include; Glutaminergic signalling, GABAergic signalling, Dopaminergic signalling and serotonergic signalling.
Kava enhances the GABAergic signalling by increasing the action of GABA on GABA A receptors which causes inhibition of neuronal pathways thus decreasing restlessness and anxiety associated with Opiate withdrawal.
Kava increases dopamine levels to reduce the effects of Opiate withdrawal like low moods and fatigue.
Kava is responsible for reversible inhibition of monoamine oxidase B and suppression of the synthesis of the eicosanoid thromboxane A2, which antagonizes GABAA receptor function.
How are the symptoms of Opiate withdrawal reduced by Kava?
Kava has the following effects that oppose the effects of Opiate withdrawal;
- Relaxation: by increasing GABAergic stimulation
- Euphoria: by inhibition of reuptake of dopamine and norepinephrine
- Anti-anxiety effects: by potentiation of GABA-A receptor activity to promote mental relaxation
- Analgesic effect: by the release of enkephalins and endorphins
- Muscle relaxing effect: induced by decreasing the muscle tone
- Relaxation: by showing agonist activity at the CB1 receptors.
Thus, these mechanisms can reduce the intensity of the Opiate withdrawal symptoms.
What is Opiate withdrawal and what are the symptoms?
Opiates like oxycodone, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, and others are used for prescription as well as nonprescription uses.
The abuse of these Opiates results in dependence (physical and psychological). Once a person stops using Opiates after becoming dependent on them, he/she experiences the Opiate withdrawal symptoms.
Now the person has to continue taking Opiates to get rid of Opiate withdrawal symptoms which ultimately lead to a vicious cycle of abusing drugs like Opiates and overdosing on it which may be even fatal.
Opiate symptoms can be difficult to manage and this can ultimately lead to some health complications.
The more the intense are the withdrawal symptoms, the higher the level of dependence on Opiates. The withdrawal symptoms include;
- Sore muscle
- Restless leg syndrome
How to use Kava for Opiate withdrawal?
Kava can be used in the form of kava tea, kava capsules, kava extracts or kava tincture. The consumption of kava tea should be started in regulated amounts when one plans on quitting the use of Opiates.
Kava tea bags are readily available but kava tea can be made from kava root too. You can continue the use of kava tea for 3 months only after that you need to take a break.
Kava must be taken whenever you start feeling cravings for Opiates. Kava tea should be taken before bed to have better sleep.
It must be noted that Kava shouldn’t be taken with other drugs for Opiate withdrawal as drug interactions may occur.
Side effects profile of Kava Kava
Some cases of kava intoxication have been reported which has led to hepatotoxic damage. The use of Kava should be regulated because one might get allergic to kava tea and develop a skin condition having scaly rashes.
Kava may also cause the discolouration of skin and nails. Frequent consumption of kava may have adverse effects on the hepatic and renal systems.
The Bottom Line
Kava is a useful herb that can be used for Opiate withdrawal but it is not as efficient as other herbs like Kratom because it is not a potent analgesic and it has some dangerous side effects.
However, kava doesn’t have addiction potential and thus it can be quite beneficial for Opiate addicts. So yes kava does work for Opiate withdrawal.