What is kratom?
Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) is a tropical evergreen tree in the coffee family. It’s native to Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, and other South Asian countries.
The leaves, or extracts from the leaves, have been used as a stimulant and a sedative. It’s also been reported for treating chronic pain, digestive ailments, and as an aid for withdrawal from opium dependence.
However, there haven’t been enough clinical trials to help understand the health effects of kratom. It also hasn’t been approved for medical use.
Read on to learn what is known about kratom.
Is kratom legal?
Kratom is legal in the United States. However, it’s not legal in Thailand, Australia, Malaysia, and several European Union countries.
In the United States, kratom is usually marketed as an alternative medicine. You can find it in stores that sell supplements and alternative medicines.
At low doses, kratom has been reported to work like a stimulant. People who have used low doses generally report having more energy, being more alert, and feeling more sociable. At higher doses, kratom has been reported as being sedative, producing euphoric effects, and dulling emotions and sensations.
The main active ingredients of kratom are the alkaloids mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine. There is evidence that these alkaloids can have analgesic (pain relieving), anti-inflammatory, or muscle relaxant effects. For this reason, kratom is often used to ease symptoms of fibromyalgia.
The plant’s dark green leaves are usually dried and either crushed or powdered. You can find fortified kratom powders, usually green or light brown in color. These powders also contain extracts from other plants.
Kratom is also available in paste, capsule, and tablet form. In the United States, kratom is mostly brewed as a tea for the self-management of pain and opioid withdrawal.
Uses & Effectiveness
Insufficient Evidence for
According to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), a small dose that produces stimulant effects is just a few grams. The effects usually happen within 10 minutes after ingesting it and can last up to 1 1/2 hours. These effects can include:
- reduced motor coordination
A larger dose of between 10 and 25 grams of dried leaves can have a sedative effect, with feelings of calmness and euphoria. This could last for up to six hours.
Kratom hasn’t been studied in-depth, so it hasn’t officially been recommended for medical use.
Clinical studies are very important for the development of new drugs. Studies help to identify consistently harmful effects and harmful interactions with other drugs. These studies also help to identify dosages that are effective yet not dangerous.
Kratom has the potential to have a strong effect on the body. Kratom contains almost as many alkaloids as opium and hallucinogenic mushrooms.
Alkaloids have a strong physical effect on humans. While some of these effects can be positive, others can be causes for concern. This is all the more reason why more studies of this drug are needed. There are significant dangers of adverse effects, and safety hasn’t been established.
Results from one animal studyTrusted Source suggest that mitragynine, the major psychoactive alkaloid of kratom, may have addictive properties. Dependence can often cause side effects like nausea, sweating, tremors, the inability to sleep, and hallucinations.
Also, the production of kratom hasn’t been regulated. The FDA doesn’t monitor the safety or purity of herbs. There are no established standards for safely producing this drug.
Reported side effects of long-term use of kratom include:
- lack or loss of appetite
- severe weight loss
- discoloration of the cheeks
There are numerous calls into the CDC poison centers for kratom overdose every year.
There are reports of beneficial effects from using kratom. In the future, with the proper supporting research, kratom may have proven potential. However, there is no clinical evidence yet to support reported benefits.
Without this research, there are a lot of things about this drug that remain unknown, such as effective and safe dosage, possible interactions, and possible harmful effects including death. These are all things that you should weigh before taking any drug.
Narcotics are also called opioid pain relievers. They are only used for pain that is severe and is not helped by other types of painkillers. When used carefully and under a health care provider’s direct care, these drugs can be effective at reducing pain.
Narcotics work by binding to receptors in the brain, which blocks the feeling of pain.
You should not use a narcotic drug for more than 3 to 4 months, unless your provider instructs you otherwise.
NAMES OF COMMON NARCOTICS
- Fentanyl — available as a patch
These drugs can be abused and habit-forming. Always take narcotics as prescribed. Your provider may suggest that you take your medicine only when you feel pain.
Or, your provider may suggest taking a narcotic on a regular schedule. Allowing the medicine to wear off before taking more of it can make the pain difficult to control.
Contact your provider right away if you feel you are addicted to the drug. A sign of addiction is a strong craving for the drug that you can’t control.
Taking narcotics to control the pain of cancer or other medical problems does not itself lead to dependence.
Store narcotics safely and securely in your home.
You may need a pain specialist to help you manage long-term pain.
SIDE EFFECTS OF NARCOTICS
Drowsiness and impaired judgment often occur with these medicines. When taking a narcotic, do not drink alcohol, drive, or operate heavy machinery.
You can relieve itching by reducing the dose or talking to your provider about switching medicines.
To help with constipation, drink more fluids, get more exercise, eat foods with extra fiber, and use stool softeners.
If nausea or vomiting occur, try taking the narcotic with food.
Withdrawal symptoms are common when you stop taking a narcotic. Symptoms include strong desire for the medicine (craving), yawning, insomnia, restlessness, mood swings, or diarrhea. To prevent withdrawal symptoms, your provider may recommend you gradually lower the dosage over time.