Nature is full of benefits, and for many centuries people have found and used it. There are herbs and plants that people use for many decades. One of them is a very well-known cannabis plant with multiple therapeutic properties and psychoactive effects. But besides it, there is also another popular one - known by the name kratom. Many people are familiar with this component because they read health news or visited vitamin stores. It is usually sold in the market as a mood enhancer, energy booster, pain reliever, and antidote for opioid withdrawal.
The Origin Of Kratom
Kratom is a tree, which initially grows in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Papua New Guinea. People used the herbal extract of the leaves of this tree for medical purposes. Nowadays, this leaf extract is used as a recreational drug. The fresh leaves can be chewed, used in cooking, or brewed into tea. The leaf extract can be crafted into a liquid product, mainly used for muscle pain, to stop the spasms and diarrhea or suppress appetite. Sometimes kratom is used as a medication for panic attacks. Its leaves traditionally have been used as medicine, but now they are also being used as a recreational drug. This extract is considered to act on opioid receptors of the brain. Many people use it for withdrawal from morphine, heroin, and other opioid drugs. Also, to fight depression, eliminate the cough, anxiety, and other conditions. However, there is no reliable scientific confirmation to support these practices. It contains stimulant narcotic 7 - hydroxy mitragynine and mitragynine, becoming an alternative method to pain management. Mitragynine acts like other opioid drugs such as morphine and codeine to ease the pain. At low doses, kratom is a good stimulant for making its users feel extra energetic. But at higher doses, it decreases pain and may give a euphoric feeling. Using kratom in very high doses makes it act as a sedative, which causes sleepiness. Some people think that as it is a natural compound, it is safe. They use kratom to relax or in other recreational settings. Sometimes kratom is used in musical festivals.
Nevertheless, the number of active ingredients in this leaf extract can differ considerably, making it difficult to measure the effect of a given dose. Using kratom may be very dangerous, depending on the user's health condition and the plant's ingredients. Some people prefer using kratom because they can easily buy it at online markets.
Research On Kratom
Some researches show that this leaf extract can be a safer alternative to other opioids and pain medications. Nevertheless, studies on kratom's effects have classified no visible benefits and many safety concerns. If taken with other prescription medications, it can cause abnormal brain function. This effect can cause severe headaches followed by communication ability lost and becoming confused. In some testing treatments where kratom was used for symptoms of opioid withdrawal, studies have shown that people who took it for six months described withdrawal signs similar to those occurring after opioid use. These symptoms indicate that kratom users may become addicted to it and may require treatment for opioid addiction. Moreover, using kratom can be unsafe. Several cases are connected with kratom users linked to severe side effects, including liver damage, seizures, hallucinations, withdrawal, and death.
Side Effects And Safety Matters
Many people believe in the usefulness of kratom. And yet, researchers who study this extract are concerned about its safety problems and side effects, which may exceed its beneficial properties. There are several death reports connected with the use of kratom. The death reports indicate the use of kratom with other medications. It may cause death if taken with other strong substances, including opioids, illicit drugs, benzodiazepines, fentanyl, caffeine, cocaine, gabapentin, alcohol, and other medications, such as cough syrup. People take it as a capsule, pill, or extract, forgetting about the other drugs they have been taken earlier.
Furthermore, kratom is often packaged as a dietary supplement, which has been mixed with other compounds that can cause death. Everyone should consult with their doctors about the safety of mixing kratom with other medications.
There are several known side effects of kratom use, which are:
- Muscle pain
- Dry mouth
- Weight loss
- Liver damage
- Changes in urine and constipation
- Chills, nausea, and vomiting.
Kratom also influences the nervous system and mind, causing:
- Depression and delusion
- Seizure, coma, and death
- Breathing suppression
- Hallucinations and delusion
Kratom influences after five to ten minutes, and the effects continue for two to five hours. Depending on the quantity which has been taken, its effects become stronger. In some studies with animals showed that this leaf extract is even more potent than morphine. Many problems connected to pain medications often happen because of their use over a long period and increased dosage. Researchers don't know yet the exact dosage of kratom which causes intoxication, but it is highly likely to overdose on kratom.
As for now, there is no precise regulation on the legality of kratom in the US. It would be safe for you to consult with your doctor before taking herbal treatments for pain management.