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What’s kratom: The popular opioid alternative

Kratom (Mitragyna Speciosa) is a tropical tree in the coffee family. Located in Southeast Asia (Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia , and Vietnam), Kratom has been used medicinally by natives for thousands of years. Many who stand by the kratom assert that it will boost mood , increase concentration, alle


Kratom (Mitragyna Speciosa) is a tropical tree in the coffee family. Located in Southeast Asia (Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia , and Vietnam), Kratom has been used medicinally by natives for thousands of years. Many who stand by the kratom assert that it will boost mood , increase concentration, alleviate pain, and increase strength.

Traditionally, the kratom leaves are chewed, fermented in tea or ground to be fried with rice. Nowadays, kratom is either smoked or taken orally as a tablet.

Most recently, kratom is used as a miracle drug to help heroin patients conquer their addiction. While there is insufficient evidence in medical literature that kratom is useful in the treatment of addiction attributable to opioids or prescription opioid medications, anecdotal data abounds.

Kratom is usually sold as a herbal remedy in powder form. The leaves of the plant can also be chewed and the dried kratom can be eaten or brewed.

However, medical professionals caution that kratom users can trade one addiction for another. Kratom can also cause severe side effects, which is why many countries have banned kratom drugs.

Officially, kratom is a controlled drug in Thailand, Malaysia, Australia and a number of European countries. At present, kratom is legal in most of the United States, although it might not be that long. In 2016, the Drug Enforcement Administration ( DEA) introduced a ban on kratom, a policy that is still under consideration so more testing surfaces can offer more information about the pros and cons of kratom use.

Which are the effects of the kratom?

Chemical compounds in the kratom bind with receptors in the brain to create symptoms similar to opioids and stimulants.

At small doses, kratom is a stimulant that helps consumers feel more active. There are also numerous so-called kratom bars and cafes in the United States where users drink the substance recreationally as though it were coffee.

Nonetheless, at high doses, kratom makes you relax, with patients recording feeling like they’re in a dream-like state.

Two compounds in the kratom for sale plants, mitragynine and 7-5-007-hydroxymitragynine, communicate with the brain’s opioid receptors , causing sedation, relaxation, and reduced discomfort. The calming activity is due to mitragynine, which also interacts with other brain receptor structures.

In fact, kratom contains more than 20 alkaloids, some of which may be active in pain-relieving behavior, according to a comprehensive analysis of more than 35 research papers conducted prior to 2012.

Symptoms of a kratom kick after 5-10 minutes and last for two to five hours. These can differ greatly depending on the dosage and from person to person.

Is it Safe to Use Kratom?

Kratom is widely reported to induce diarrhea and constipation, as well as muscle tremors, itching, vomiting , dizziness, dry mouth, epilepsy, hallucinations, and even liver harm. In severe circumstances, kratom can cause hallucinations, coma , and death. Both of these side effects are somewhat similar to drug withdrawal.

“The immediate adverse effects of kratom encountered by many patients tend to be a direct consequence of kratom inducing and opioid activity. Stimulant symptoms can be expressed in certain people as anxiety , irritability, and heightened aggression. Opioid symptoms include sedation, fatigue, constipation, and scratching. Once, these symptoms tend to be dose-dependent and greatly differ from person to person. Chronic, high-dose use has been linked with a variety of adverse effects. Hyperpigmentation of the cheeks, tremor, anorexia, weight loss, and paranoia has been observed in people with long-term addiction. Reports of severe toxic effects are uncommon and typically require the use of fairly small doses of kratom (> 15 g). A number of reported cases of seizures of people that have used large doses of kratom, either alone or of conjunction with other medications, such as modafinil, is of specific interest, “wrote researchers in a review published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.

As of 2019, the FDA reported 44 deaths associated with kratom use, but most of these deaths involved certain medications or kratoms that were tainted with other substances or bacteria, such as diphenhydramine (antihistamine), alcohol , caffeine, benzodiazepines, heroin and cocaine. At least one outbreak investigated by the FDA claims to be linked to the use of pure kratom.

Around 2011 and 2017, U.S. poison control centers received about 1,800 calls involving kratoms, some of which resulted in death. A 2019 FDA review of 30 different kratom products marketed online found traces of heavy metals in others, including lead and nickel, at excessive levels. “Based on these test findings, a normal long-term kratom patient may theoretically cause heavy metal poisoning that could involve nervous system or kidney injury, anemia, elevated blood pressure, and/or decreased risk of certain cancers,” according to the FDA report.

“We have issued several alerts about the significant risks involved with the use of kratoms, including alerts about contamination of kratom products with elevated salmonella levels, which placed people consuming kratom products at risk and resulted in several illnesses and recalls,” said FDA Commissioner Dr. Ned Sharpless in a statement. “Despite our recommendations, marketers are trying to market this dangerous substance and are making false medical statements that are not backed up by research or other credible empirical facts.”

Is Kratom Addictive?

While a lot of people resort to opioids to overcome their opioid addiction, kratom can induce addiction on its own. Increasing withdrawal signs include pain, breathing problems, vomiting, mood disturbances, and fever.

Because kratom is still under-studied, there is no known medicinal diagnosis for kratom addiction.

While many people use kratom to relieve withdrawal symptoms induced by opioid addiction or other harmful substances such as alcohol, there is no empirical evidence that kratom is currently useful for this reason.

However, a study of more than 2,700 self-reported herbal drug users conducted by Johns Hopkins found that “a psychoactive agent very similar to opioids is expected to have a lower risk of damage than prescribed drugs for the treatment of pain, anxiety , depression and addiction.”

According to the poll, some 41 per cent of survey respondents reported taking kratom to combat opioid withdrawal, and 35 per cent reported taking kratom to treat opioid withdrawal more than a year after taking prescription drugs or heroin.

“These results indicate that kratom may not fall under the range of Schedule I drugs, since there seems to be a fairly low degree of risk for misuse, and therapeutic uses can be investigated, such as a alternative cure for pain and opioid use disorder,” said Albert Garcia-Romeu, a psychological and behavioral sciences professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

“There has been a bit of fear-warming,” he says, “because the kratom is addictive, and because of the cost of our ongoing opioid crisis.”

For much of the United States, kratom is still legal for the time being. The Food and Drug Administration ( FDA) has not licensed kratom and has also voiced reservations over its use, but because it is marketed as a drug, it can be sold legally.

On 31 August 2016, the DEA released a notification that it was preparing to put kratom in Schedule I, the most stringent designation under the Controlled Substances Act. The timetable did not exist, however, after hundreds of congressmen, as well as kratom supporters, protested that the possible therapeutic effects of kratom warrant more time for deliberation.

Nonetheless, it is illegal to buy, possess, or use kratoms in Mississippi, Arkansas, Indiana, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin. Many states and jurisdictions have marked kratom as “illegal for human use,” which is why you will find it listed as incense.

Elsewhere, kratom is listed as prohibited in Israel, Japan , Thailand, Burma, Malaysia, Singapore , South Korea, Australia , New Zealand, Vietnam, and several European nations. The list is by no means full and any country could adjust the way it regulates the use and delivery of herbal supplements.

Kratom is quickly purchased online and is mostly sold as a green substance labelled ‘not for human consumption.’

Bottom line: Most people are conscious of the medicinal benefits of kratoms with near-zealous fever. There are, however, many health issues regarding kratom, including its propensity for abuse and the possibility of contact with other potentially harmful substances. Kratom may have medicinal effects, but the evidence so far remains minimal and needs further study. The FDA is very specific on this: there is no clinical evidence to justify the use of kratom for medicinal reasons, nor can it be considered as an alternative to prescription opioids. What’s more, kratom isn’t monitored and you don’t have a guarantee that what you buy online doesn’t contain highly dangerous substances.

While Buy kratom is extracted from a herb, consumers should not be misled by the misconception that something natural is 100% healthy. Most medications with adverse side effects are botanical in origin, including opium, cocaine, and nicotine.