Kratom is a herbal supplement obtained from harvesting the leaves of an evergreen tropical tree. The tree (a member of the coffee family) grows naturally throughout Southeast Asia and Thailand. Locals use the natural herb. They favor it to ease anxiety, cope with chronic pain, overcome post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and assist with opioid withdrawals. Kratom for therapy is becoming quite common, especially in the United States where the herb remains legal (despite control and prohibition in some states, counties, or cities).
The leaves of the Mitragyna speciosa undergo curing after harvest to create ‘kratom’. In SE Asia, kratom serves as a stimulant, relaxant, anxiolytic, and to treat pain. In the United States, the herbal supplement has risen in popularity as a self-medication therapy. It acts as a substitute for illicit and prescription opioids. Kratom for therapy does seem promising but clearly it does need more researchers such as controlled clinical studies. Clearly, the risks and benefits need to be determined in humans by accumulating and evaluating adequate data.
All About Mitragyna
Ten known species of Mtragyna speciosa exist. Each has ethnomedicinal uses. It appears to offer stimulant and analgesic effects. Interestingly the United Nations Drug Conventions still does not recognize any proven medical uses for kratom. However, certain European Union (EU) members, Australia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Myanmar have all classified and listed kratom under a variety of narcotic laws. In the United States, has the label of ‘dietary supplement’. Kratom remains legal nationwide although some cities and counties have instigated bans or other regulations.
The Push to Ban Kratom
In the USA, there is almost a constant push to ban kratom. Researchers who are looking at kratom for therapy don’t want to see that happen because it will black-market the herb. Scientific research becomes almost impossible after a substance becomes illegal for use.
According to Jack Henningfield, a professor of behavioral-psychology at Johns Hopkins, “If you make it Schedule 1, you kill research and create a black market, and that’s scary.” Henningfield has worked to create a comprehensive report about kratom He has tried to find evidence of misuse or death but failed. Henningfield also tried to investigate the possibility that kratom could pose a danger due to its potential to cause child poisoning. Despite a great deal of effort, he was unable to find any evidence to substantiate the claims.
Kratom Alkaloids and Opioid Receptors
Kratom alkaloid’s unique binding ability holds the promise of being a potential aid. The herbs’ ability to fight opioid addiction warrants more examination and research. Of course, kratom use and caution should go hand in hand. A study released by the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine clearly shows that the herb is less addictive than an opioid. The study examined 2798 participants and found that it was 91 percent effective in the treatment of pain, 67 percent effective to easting anxiety, and 65 percent for easing depression. Users also turn to kratom to cope and reduce their cravings and withdrawal symptoms from opioids.
Many individuals won’t enroll in a clinical study program but instead, rush out and purchase kratom for therapy. They will self-medicate to cope with pain, anxiety, PTSD, and opioid withdrawal. You can buy kratom in a variety of forms such as capsules, powders, teas, and beverages. The tree-derived supplement is widely available from online vendors. At My Kratom Club, we carry a wide array of strains to meet your needs HERE.
The Abuse Potential of Kratom
Kratom remains an all-natural herb
Kratom and therapy are enticing but is it too addictive? In September 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an official warning that urged kratom actuation. They informed public and health officials that kratom might cause similar effects as opioids and maybe an addictive herb.
However, despite the FDA’s aggressive stance against kratom, Dr. Gardia Romeu states the following about kratom and therapy research which clearly: “suggest that kratom doesn’t belong in the category of a Schedule I drug, because there seems to be a relatively low rate of abuse potential, and there may be medical applications to explore, including as a possible treatment for pain and opioid use disorder.”
The Widespread Use of Kratom for Therapy
The American Kratom Association (AKA), which is a well-known kratom consumer advocacy group, has released information showing that 10 to 16 million people in the U.S. frequently use kratom for therapy and recreation. They will often use ground kratom in food recipes or brew the cured leaves into a potent tea. Capsules and powders remain extremely popular.
Kratom brewed as a tea appears safer than when used in powder form, according to Darshan Singh, Ph.D., at the Center for Drug Research in Malaysia. He goes on to state the following, “Currently, in the West, most of the reported adverse events associated with kratom use stemmed from kratom powder. Prolonged storage can render kratom toxic. In traditional settings, users prefer using freshly brewed kratom tea than kratom powder.”
The Effects of Kratom
Traditionally, most view kratom as a stimulant but with ongoing use, it will eventually start to induce a slight sedative-like effect in users. Oliver Grundmann, Ph.D., Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Florida states, “The subjective experiences of kratom users differ widely depending on the doses that are being consumed. In low doses, the effects appear to be primarily increasing energy and focus for some.
Meanwhile, higher doses relieve acute and chronic pain and reduce sleep irregularities and even emotional or mental burdens such as depressive and anxiety disorders. Users felt energetic, active, happy, and strong after drinking kratom. Illicit opiate users commonly used kratom to reduce their dependence on opiates. Kratom helps to reduce unpleasant opiate withdrawal symptoms during cessation from opiate use.
Dr. Singh goes on to state the following about kratom for therapy, “So far, based on my personal observation, no one has developed any adverse effects or side-effects from kratom use. Kratom is used for various medicinal benefits among rural populations, but its therapeutic effects or medicinal relevance have not been thoroughly documented.”
Many vendors sell kratom products
Clinical research involving kratom continues to be sparse. In the U.S., most of the kratom being sold comes from Indonesia “It is difficult to perceive the number of individuals who are ingesting this product in the US and it is near impossible to get a clinical trial initiated,” according to Christopher McCurdy, Ph.D., Director of Translational Drug Development Core at the University of Florida. “This is mainly since there is little traceable raw material that can be utilized.
“Much of the kratom that is available in the US lacks a reliable chain of custody and therefore it is difficult to know what the plant was exposed to, with regards to pesticides, fertilizers, or other chemicals. This includes post-harvest processing of the material in drying, storage, grinding [most likely source of heavy metal contamination], transportation, shipping, and more. All of this implicates the safety of the final product. No matter the vendor product in the Western world, they are all different from the way kratom is utilized in a traditional setting. We are extremely interested in studying traditional preparation and how it is different from any product that is available in the Western world.”
The Misinformation Surrounding Kratom in Research
It is hard to gather firm information on kratom for therapy due to the widespread misinformation that exists. “Despite a number of reported deaths that are claimed by some regulatory agencies to have been caused by kratom, almost all fatalities involved either the exposure to multiple substances such as prescription medication, over-the-counter medication, alcohol, or illicit drugs or were even were the result of a homicide or suicide,” Dr. Grundman goes on to explain.
“There are plenty of misconceptions surrounding kratom use,” Dr. Singh adds. “Regulatory and healthcare providers believed kratom is an opioid, thus its use could be more harmful than opioids. The increasing number of case studies from the West showed kratom causes toxicity and mortality incidents. All these reports are poorly described and the cause leading to this uneventful reporting is largely attributed to many factors such as adulterated kratom products or underlying unresolved medical problems. At times, healthcare providers give wrong information regarding kratom to patients.”
Dr. Grundmann concludes the interview by stating, “I do hope that the kratom market will eventually evolve in this direction and avoid unsubstantiated health claims. They should also limit dosing ranges, as well as include potential adverse effects that require consultation with a healthcare provider prior to taking kratom products. That would certainly serve both the kratom industry and consumers best and is the responsible step to take.”
Clearly, unbiased scientific research will ultimately prove the effectiveness of kratom for therapy. However, individuals can opt to use kratom as needed. At My Kratom Club, we offer a wide array of kratom products. Please contact us today to learn more.
Hailing from the serene landscapes of Connecticut, Benjammin Stafford is a passionate advocate for natural herbal remedies and holistic living. For the past five years, he has devoted his writing expertise to shed light on the transformative power of herbal supplements and holistic health practices.
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