Kratom, which is native to Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia, is a plant that we have been using for centuries in different forms as alternative medicine. You can find it in the form of leaves or powder.
Some doubt it as a cure for fatigue and depression — or even addiction to drugs like heroin — but there are also misconceptions about this herb that caused concern among regulators. You can buy Kratom with a credit card.
Here are eight facts about Kratom:
1. Kratom gets one high.
The FDA is currently analyzing Kratom. There's much speculation that it might be addictive because it produces effects similar to meth and cocaine. However, there has been no conclusive evidence on this yet. We know that there are reports of people using Kratom to get high.
2. Kratom can be deadly when abused in large quantities.
According to the National Institutes of Health, it can have lethal effects when consumed in large quantities over an extended period for people with addictive personalities or those with underlying mental health problems or liver disease.
3. It's legal in the United States.
In the United States, it is mostly unregulated and is legal in 44 states. The US Centers for Disease Control has linked 15 deaths to Kratom since 2011. The FDA issued an advisory about Kratom-containing dietary supplements and cautioned that these products could pose a risk for serious health consequences.
4. Side effects can come with nausea, vomiting, and severe withdrawal symptoms.
Some people had reported suffering from side effects such as constipation, dry mouth, lightheadedness, drowsiness, and loss of libido when consuming Kratom. Hence, it leads to severe withdrawal symptoms if they don't stop taking the herb.
5. It's considered a controlled substance in Thailand and Malaysia.
The use of many Kratom products is illegal in Thailand. It is known as unlawful in most of Southeast Asia, including Malaysia. It's a controlled substance because one can mix it with other drugs such as methamphetamines or other synthetic cannabinoids such as Bambu or Koca.
In 2014, Thailand did announce plans to regulate Kratom — but it has yet to proceed. The FDA has warned Americans not to consume any products that are reproductions of this plant because they could contain potentially dangerous compounds and Kratom.
6. It has addictive properties.
The plant association occurs with dependence and addiction, so the FDA is investigating its potential for abuse. However, this hasn't been determined with 100 percent accuracy. Unlike heroin, Kratom does not seem to have an opiate-like effect on the body when taken in low doses. But people who are addicted to opioids like heroin can still become addicted to Kratom if they use it in high doses over a long period — or when they mix it with other drugs or alcohol.
7. Kratom links to at least 15 deaths in the United States.
The American Association of Poison Control Centers recorded 15 cases where Kratom was involved in a toxic exposure between 2012 and 2016; however, only two said they died. Two were related to accidental exposures, and 14 of them involved suicide or homicide. Fentanyl and other opioids were involved in the rest.
8. Kratom is still legal in two other states in the USA, including Louisiana.
Right now, it's legal in 44 states. Its use is illegal in Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. It is not prohibited in Louisiana, however, which includes New Orleans. Kratom is a powerful stimulant of the Mitragyna species plant native to Southeast Asia. It produces a state of blissful tranquility at low doses and sharpens mental clarity; at higher doses, it has feelings of intense euphoria, stimulation, and pain relief.
Increasingly popular with opioid addicts as an alternative means to manage withdrawal symptoms without the drawbacks of other narcotics or medications that can worsen dependence and addiction, Kratom has prompted increased regulation by American officials.
Kratom is an opioid that combines features of opiates such as morphine with stimulants like caffeine. It has been famous for many years in Thailand, where it is called “Kratom” (pronounced “Kratom”) in its native Malay language. Nevertheless, Kratom remains legal and unregulated in the United States – and will stay as long as it is considered a food additive and not a drug, as it is now.
A common ingredient in Thai guidebooks, a tea made from ground Kratom leaves produces similar effects to coffee without withdrawal side effects. Both weaker Kratom and more hardy varieties can be purchased online or at head shops around the country.
The Kratom leaves are generally chewed or brewed into a tea to relieve musculoskeletal pain and combat fatigue. Some users of Kratom strains for anxiety also report using it to overcome the depression or anxiety caused by withdrawal from opiates.
These two effects – Kratom's relief from pain and its ability to help break opioid addiction – have drawn the attention of American researchers and doctors. Kratom is currently under consideration for inclusion in the US Registry of Controlled Substances as a possible treatment for opiate withdrawal.