What is Kratom?
Kratom is a tropical evergreen tree belonging to the coffee family. Its scientific name is Mitragyna speciosa. Kratom is found in Thailand, Myanmar, and other South Asian countries.
Kratom is a compound of alkaloid Mitragyna and 7-hydroxy mitragynine.
Leaves or leaves’ extracts are used as a sedative or a stimulant or a recreational drug. It has also been used for treating chronic pains, withdrawal from morphine, heroin, and opioid drugs. Many people use it for relief from cough, stress, anxiety, depression, and several other conditions. It is even used as a digestive ailment. An increase in energy levels and improved mood are other reasons why people use kratom.
However, there is not enough clinical trials or scientific evidence to support the use of kratom in health beneficial ways.
What does look like?
Kratom plant has dark green leaves. These leaves are dried and crushed or powdered. Kratom is available in powder, paste, capsule, and tablet form. Kratom is also available in the form of kratom tea and kratom coffee.
How do people consume?
Traditionally, the fresh or dried leaves of Mitragyna speciosa trees are chewed. People also prefer brewing it into tea or making a drink similar to coffee. Occasionally, the dried leaves are smoked by people.
In general, Kratom is legal in the United States. But, there are some specific details to keep in mind before purchasing it. Many states in the US have set or are in the process of setting a regulation on/banned the use of kratom.
Kratom is not legal in Australia, Thailand, Malaysia, and several European Union countries.
Does Kratom have FDA approval?
Kratom hasn’t officially been recommended for medical purposes.
The Alkaloids present in kratom have pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory, and muscle-relaxing effects. But, the same substance, if taken in excess, has strong, opposite effects on the body.
Regular dosage/intake of kratom may cause dependence as mitragynine (major alkaloid of kratom) has certain addictive properties. This dependence often leads to nausea, sweating, tremors, constipation, insomnia, and hallucinations. Large doses of kratom can cause breathing problems, brain swelling, liver damage, and even death.
Due to these serious health and safety concerns, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continues to warn people to avoid using kratom and its extracts. FDA hasn’t approved the safety and purity of the herb, hence, hasn’t set any standards for the safe production of kratom.
Consumption of Kratom
According to a report by the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), kratom when consumed in small doses produces stimulating effects. It is thought of combating fatigue after long working hours or long journeys. This can last up to 1½ hours.
When consumed in large doses, kratom has a sedative effect on the body. It brings a feeling of calmness and euphoria. This can last for about 6 hours.
Side Effects of Kratom
Regular or high dosage of Kratom may lead to:
- Dry mouth
- Increased urination
- Lack of/Loss of appetite
- Sensitivity to sunburn
- Weight loss
- Liver damage
- Muscle pain
Kratom is not advisable to
Pregnant and breastfeeding women are advised not to consume Kratom as it may result in withdrawal symptoms in the baby. Later on, these babies would require special treatment for addiction.
People with alcohol dependence who consume Kratom have higher tendencies of committing suicide than the ones who consume Kratom but don’t have alcohol dependence.
Kratom consumption by people suffering from mental disorders may worsen the existing conditions. The number of suicides committed by people suffering from mental disorders who consume kratom is higher than the ones who do not have mental disorders.
Kratom has both beneficial and harmful effects. There is not much medical evidence available to determine its dosage and approved methods of consumption. You must consider these details before the consumption of this drug.