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This article is the author's final published version in Molecules, Volume 29, Issue 5, March 2024, Article number 984.

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Kratom leaves, consumed by millions worldwide as tea or ground leaf powder, contain multiple alkaloids, with mitragynine being the most abundant and responsible for most effects. Mitragynine is a partial µ-opioid receptor agonist and competitive antagonist at κ- and δ-opioid receptors; however, unlike morphine, it does not activate the β-arrestin-2 respiratory depression pathway. Due to few human mitragynine data, the largest randomized, between-subject, double-blind, placebo-controlled, dose-escalation study of 500–4000 mg dried kratom leaf powder (6.65–53.2 mg mitragynine) was conducted. LC-MS/MS mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine plasma concentrations were obtained after single and 15 daily doses. Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine Cmax increased dose proportionally, and AUC was slightly more than dose proportional. The median mitragynine Tmax was 1.0–1.3 h after single and 1.0–1.7 h after multiple doses; for 7-hydroxymitragynine Tmax, it was 1.2–1.8 h and 1.3–2.0 h. Steady-state mitragynine concentrations were reached in 8–9 days and 7-hydroxymitragynine within 7 days. The highest mean mitragynine T1/2 was 43.4 h after one and 67.9 h after multiple doses, and, for 7-hydroxymitragynine, it was 4.7 and 24.7 h. The mean 7-hydroxy-mitragynine/mitragynine concentration ratios were 0.20–0.31 after a single dose and decreased (0.15–0.21) after multiple doses. These mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine data provide guidance for future clinical kratom dosing studies and an interpretation of clinical and forensic mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine concentrations.

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