Kratom has become a controversial herbal supplement that is growing in popularity across the nation. A few years ago, there were only about three to five million people using kratom in the U.S. and that number has now increased to 16 million according to the Kratom Information & Resource Center. (1) In this article, we will explore kratom facts so you can learn why this herb has become so popular.
Kratom is obtained from the tropical tree Mitragyna speciosa, which is a member of the coffee family. The leaves of the tree are harvested and cured. Once dried, they are usually pulverized into a powder or small particles which are brewed into tea. The powder is not cut with any synthetic materials. It is always all-natural. The locals in SE Asia have used kratom for centuries to enhance their ability to perform hard labor and relieve pain, as a social beverage, and during festivals. Many consider the effects of kratom to be like that of opioids.
Alkaloids Found in Kratom
The active compounds found in kratom are alkaloids. There are two main ones: Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, the alkaloids appear to activate receptors in the body in much the manner as opioids do.
Kratom Consumption Methods
As mentioned, in SE Asia, the users often chew on the leaves in much the same way that Americans chew on tobacco products. However, in the United States, most kratom users prefer to ingest the herb as a powder using a toss and wash method which entails placing a spoonful of powder in their mouth and washing it down with water. Many who do not like the better flavor of the plant’s natural alkaloids opt to take the powder in capsule form. Brewing kratom in tea with a dash of honey is another method to enjoy the supplement.
Where to Buy Kratom?
Nowadays, gas stations even frequently sell kratom
Kratom is available online at a wide array of vendors. In many parts of the world, such as the U.S., you can also purchase it at vape or smoke shops, naturopathic stores, and gas stations.
Does Kratom Works Similar to Opioids?
Many use kratom in place of opioids
The Texas Medical Center reports, “These particular alkaloids work in the system by binding to opioid receptors,” said Austin De La Cruz, Pharm.D., clinical assistant professor at the University of Houston College of Pharmacy. “The main opioid receptor that we’re primarily concerned with is the mu opioid receptor. This is the opioid receptor that leads to analgesia, which is pain release; it could also potentially lead to euphoria, as well.” (2)
In an article with Practical Pain Management, Oliver Grundmann, Ph.D., FCP, a clinical associate professor from the Colleges of Pharmacy and Nursing at the University of Florida, shared his expertise by stating,
“It is under discussion in the scientist world. Yes, these compounds bind to the same opioid receptors in the brain and throughout the body but the effects that happen once they bind to the opioid receptors are not exactly the same as with morphine or oxycodone. We don’t necessarily see the same respiratory depression [which may occur with chronic opioid therapy]. We don’t see the same degree of constipation. However, we do see an analgesic, or pain-reducing, effect.”
“There is also a tendency for users to use kratom for self-treatment of mood disorders, for example, for anxiety or depressive disorders or PTSD [ie, post-traumatic stress disorder]. A minority who are users or consumers use it to mitigate withdrawal symptoms from a variety of prescription drugs or even illicit drugs. We do not have good clinical trial information. That should give us pause and caution in making solid recommendations about the use of kratom.” (3)
What are the Slang Names for Kratom?
Since kratom has been used for centuries, it has garnered quite a few slang names. Some of the most popular are:
What to Expect When You Use Kratom?
Kratom often provides energy to the user
At a low dose, most users report that kratom provides a stimulating effect that makes them feel sociable, motivated, and energetic. Depending on the strain, some might also have a euphoric experience. Without a doubt, the stimulating effects provide an edge if you are a shy person.
You might feel more inspired to meet new people or even give a speech in front of a large audience. Students in colleges often use kratom to enhance their cognitive abilities. In fact, many credit their higher grades on tests to their occasional use of kratom to enhance their studying abilities.
Depending on the strain, you might also experience feelings of relaxation that help you sleep or take the edge off anxious feelings. Sufferers of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) often enjoy using kratom to find a certain calm that they lack on a day-to-day basis.
In high doses, kratom usually creates a sedative-like effect. The users have feelings of deep contentment and can easily fall asleep and experience a restful, fulfilling slumber. With elevated doses, many enter a dreamlike state that they find difficult to explain. This is common with potent strains like Maeng Da and only in high doses which are favored by those experienced in taking kratom.
Kratom Facts and Libido
Yes, kratom is favored as a sexual enhancer. For men who suffer from erectile dysfunction, men often start to feel nervous and embarrassed so they are unable to keep or maintain an erection. Kratom can take the edge off those feelings of anxiety. Other male users turn to kratom to prevent premature ejaculation. Depending on the dose used, many men who decide to use kratom are unable to achieve a climax which is often considered a perk or drawback, depending on the situation.
What is the Correct Kratom Dosage?
When exploring kratom facts, you are probably wondering about dosage. Dosage with kratom is complicated because of the varying alkaloids found in the different strains. Newbie users might want to start out with a low dose of only two grams. A moderate user might favor five grams, and those who are frequent users could opt for nine grams. However, you need to remember that some strains, like Maeng Da, are extremely potent so you’ll want to keep the dose low.
It’s hard to determine the correct dosage of powder so taking capsules are a great option because you can quickly decide what is the correct dosage. Capsules usually come in 350 to 750 mg doses. You can start out taking one capsule and even increase the dosage as needed by taking more capsules.
When brewing kratom as a tea, it is virtually impossible to determine the correct dose so why not start out with a simple cup and then move to another cup. Moderation is the key to using kratom. Have a wait and see attitude to decide if you feel any different or if you need to use more kratom to achieve the desired results.
How Long do the Effects of Kratom Last?
How long does kratom last?
With kratom, you’ll want to wait about 30 to 45 minutes to see how it impacts you. If you don’t feel the results you desire after such a time span, then you can increase by a gram until you finally achieve satisfaction. If you decide to use kratom on an empty stomach, then you will feel the effects in about 15 to 20 minutes.
Depending on the strain, the intensity is usually a slow build and peaks in about two hours and then you start to come down. It will take about four hours for you to return to normal after using kratom. Also, these doses and the effects can vary depending on your weight, how frequently you use kratom and which strain you choose.
The Many Strains of Kratom
When exploring kratom facts, you’ll encounter a multitude of strains and brands. You’ll find many strains in varying leaf colors and all have different alkaloid levels. Maeng Da has the reputation of being one of the strongest kratom strains. Green Maeng Da is the most popular followed by Red Maeng Da and White Maeng Da. The impact of both varies depending on the dosage. Most would concur that it packs a significant punch and is not always ideal for all users, especially newbies
Frequent users can build up a tolerance to kratom.
Many people, especially those seeking pain relief from chronic health conditions, will use kratom every day but if they will often end up building a kratom tolerance. One of the kratom facts is your body starts to adjust to the herb and you need a higher and higher dose to achieve the same benefits. Eventually, you reach a plateau where you no longer can achieve any results from the herb. However, you can avoid kratom tolerance by alternating strains every day.
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