Kratom is considered to be a controversial substance. Some people swear by its benefits, and others advocate for its regulation. Currently, Kratom is legal to buy and sell in the United States, however, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued multiple warnings to Kratom retailers and consumers, including in this press release where the FDA warns against one particular strain of the substance.
In recent years, the media have published articles that are more critical of Kratom, including this one, which refers to several deaths linked to Kratom use. That said, Kratom is still a very popular substance.
The controversy on Kratom surrounds one fact: Kratom is a substance with effects similar to opioids. In fact, Kratom isn’t an opioid at all. It just acts like one. Let’s explain. Kratom is an opiate analog. That means, even though Kratom is unrelated to the poppy plant, its components bond to the brain’s opiate receptors the way any other opiate would. The effects of Kratom are euphoria, sedation, and mild stimulation – all of which are common characteristics of an opiate high. Unlike certain synthetic opiates, Kratom is natural. It is found in Southeast Asia and derived from the leaves of a tropical evergreen tree. It can be purchased online or in stores as capsules, leaves, or a powder. It comes either prepared or in its raw form. In this article, we’ll explore more about Kratom, what it is, and the truth about Kratom addiction.
The trouble with Kratom is it hasn’t been researched extensively. We don’t know its full range of benefits or side effects. What we do know is that people have reacted to Kratom similarly. Below are side effects of Kratom in low doses and in higher doses. In higher doses, Kratom has side effects similar to opiates, particularly as a pain reducer, sedative, and inhibition-lowerer. Kratom isn’t as strong as opiates, so these side effects can feel mild for regular users when compared to actual opiates, like fentanyl and heroin.
In the US, Kratom is legal to buy and sell, but, at the same time, Kratom is not approved or regulated by the FDA. The ultimate downside of this is that, when regulation is unchecked, so is the quality of the product. Kratom is shipped from manufacturers outside of the US. Many times, in countries abroad, there are no added layers of regulation. This leaves consumers vulnerable to poor-quality products and unexpected side effects. There are also examples of people receiving Kratom laced with other illicit substances, like bath salts.
Kratom can be addictive, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and other advocacy groups. The institute says that because of Kratom’s opiate-like effects, users may find themselves addicted and they may go through physical withdrawal when they decide to stop taking it. The symptoms of Kratom withdrawal are similar to other categories of opiate withdrawal. Symptoms include:
The most popular strains of Kratom are Maeng Da, Red Thai, Red Vein Indo, Red Bali, and Green Malay. Particular strains can be purchased online or in stores, and they are all generally ingested in the same ways, which are:
If you believe that yourself or a loved one is addicted to Kratom, look out for the following symptoms:
Many addiction advocates believe that Kratom is addictive. If you are concerned that you or someone you love is addicted, get help immediately. The sooner you address an addiction, the better the chance of success. In addition to evidence that Kratom may be addictive, it is also unregulated by the FDA. This means that when you purchase Kratom at a store or online, its contents have not been evaluated by an agency. Not only is Kratom unregulated in the US, the countries that produce Kratom and send it to the US generally don’t regulate either.