This leaf from Southeast Asia is mostly sold at smoke shops, but it’s now being touted as a natural painkiller.
Many use kratom to quit opioids; others just want to get high. There's a push to regulate the plant-derived drug—but experts disagree on its safety.
As a result, kratom sits in the regulatory no-man's land of botanical medicines as foods. As long as no direct disease treatment claims are made, retailers can sell all manner or herbal products unless they are proven unsafe by the FDA. It seems that the latest announcement by the agency is an attempt to move in that direction, with the potential goal of prohibiting sales of kratom in the U.S. The herb is already subject to import seizures, and a domestic U.S. cultivation industry, like that for herbs such as echinacea and turmeric, has yet to emerge.
The Department of Health and Human Services has recommended a ban on the chemicals in kratom that would make the popular herbal supplement as illegal as heroin or LSD, according to documents obtained by STAT.
Even today, Kratom may be a safer alternative to other manufactured “maintenance” solutions like methadone and suboxone. I’m unwilling to criticize either of these substances because it’s factual that they save lives. However, each has their own particular baggage and price tag. For one thing, they’re both opiates and cause respiratory depression. Also, the barrier for entry is quite high. Meaning, people are unwilling to admit their addiction in the early stages, and thus these drugs are often prescribed much later into the development of the disease.
I first caught wind of kratom back in 2016, when filmmaker Chris Bell told me at that year’s Olympia Fitness and Performance Expo in Las Vegas how he was making a documentary entitled A Leaf of Faith. It was about the life-changing impact of kratom, or as it’s known in scientific circles, mitragyna speciosa, a plant that when ingested can apparently do everything from helping you kick an addiction to opioids to keeping you awake and attentive for hours on end.
Wouldn’t it be great if a safe and readily available plant could help curb opioid addiction?
That’s the idea being promoted by a group called the American Kratom Association (AKA), which has been campaigning to block a federal ban of the Southeast Asian herb due to safety concerns.
Although I am in agreement with the FDA's science, it does not exist in a vacuum. When determining the risk of using a drug or chemical it is essential to also consider the risk of not using it. This is why I "changed my mind" about kratom. Kratom did not change, but the situation did. The risk of not having kratom available, despite all its liabilities, may be greater than whatever harm the drug may cause.
Kratom is an evergreen tree in the coffee family, known scientifically as Mitragyna speciosa. It contains the psychoactive compounds mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, which affect the same opioid brain receptors as morphine. Like morphine, kratom is addictive, the FDA says.
The FDA’s recent action on kratom follows the US Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) 2016 move to list the substance as a Schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substances Act—in other words, a drug with a high potential for abuse, and, therefore, effectively illegal. That decision was stalled by Congress, which responded to public outcry that a thorough analysis of the drug be carried out first.
Across America, thousands of people are throwing away their prescription drugs and picking up kratom, a plant-based drug from Southeast Asia usually brewed as a tea. Within the leaves of this tropical tree are opioid-like compounds that users say provide pain and anxiety relief, and the ability to wean off street drugs like heroin. But some health organizations warn kratom can be addictive itself or even deadly.
An estimated five million people use kratom regularly, according to the American Kratom Association (AKA), a pro-kratom lobbyist group. And the rising popularity of this herb has caught the eyes of federal government regulators, who have made several unsuccessful attempts to ban it. But that may soon change.
What do you get when you cross extremely high-test coffee with sleeping pills? What has the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) been planning to ban because it represents an “imminent hazard to public safety”? What is Thailand considering for legalization because it is seen as a safer alternative for meth addicts?
Kratom: Medicine or Menace? Kratom is a complicated plant that is not fully understood, either by the scientific community or by the global community. It is likely that language has played a part in shaping perceptions about kratom, with some sources referring to it as an opium “substitute” and other sources referring to it as an opium “remedy.”9 Different perceptions of the plant have led some to celebrate it for its medicinal potential and others to malign it for its abuse potential.
Thailand is considering legalizing kratom as a safer alternative for meth addicts, and U.S. researchers are studying its potential to help opiate abusers kick the habit without withdrawal side effects. Is that a good thing?
Given the opioid addiction crisis, it would seem preposterous that an opioid is legal for use in the United States and can be purchased at tea stores, convenience stores, over the internet and, yes, even from vending machines.
However, kratom is not your average opioid. The Drug Enforcement Agency found this out when it tried to ban the herb in 2016.
Public outcry from users and 51 congressmen around the country from both political parties was loud. The DEA has since dropped its attempt to ban kratom, although its use is banned in Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Tennessee, Vermont, Wisconsin and Louisiana.
More recently, on Nov. 14, 2017, the FDA issued a public warning about kratom, citing 36 deaths that the agency has attributed to kratom use.
Some kratom users claim that preparations can be used to treat opiate addictions. But data to support its effectiveness and safety is scarce, especially considering that these claims have been made on anecdotal evidence and have not followed the usual rigorous scientific procedures.
Vinson felt stigmatized for asking for help and decided she would take matters into her own hands: She stopped taking the pills. But not only did the pain come back even stronger, the withdrawal symptoms weren't manageable. She began researching natural remedies to treat pain and came across kratom.
But, have you heard of the latest legal drug craze to hit a gas station near you? It’s called Kratom, and unlike bath salts, Spice or any of the synthetic, formerly ”legal” drugs on the DEA hit list, this one is entirely organic, and so far not listed as a controlled substance.
Kava and Kratom are increasingly being sold alongside each other at kava bars and in stores online. While they maybe similar in name and drink appearance, truth is, they are worlds apart.
The main chemical is mitragynine. It binds to some of the same receptors as opioids, providing some pain relief and feelings of euphoria, but, Kroll says, not the same high. And the chemical doesn't cause the same, sometimes deadly, side effects as opioids, such as respiratory depression.
Mitragyna speciosa, also known as kratom, has the potential meet the need for pain medications that lack the addictiveness and overdose risk of classical opioid analgesics, such as morphine. This need is urgent because opioid addiction and overdose deaths have risen throughout diverse segments of U.S. society.
For recreational drug users looking for an opioidlike high without the legal problems of heroin, fentanyl, and oxycodone, the Southeast Asian plant called kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) has provided an attractive alternative. But, acting on anecdotal reports of people becoming dependent on kratom, six states, including Vermont and Indiana, have banned the sale and use of the herb.
Prohibition is a short-sighted, ineffective policy, but that’s not standing in their way.
I'm not saying that kratom is without risks, and I will also include a few stories from people who've had negative experiences with the herb, all of which involve the use of concentrated kratom extracts, not the bulk powder that most commenters and correspondents seem to be using.
But the combination of recently published basic science studies and user reports tells me that kratom is certainly worth further systematic study as an alternative to strong prescription opioids and in recovery from alcohol and substance dependence.
Classifying kratom as a Schedule I drug may hinder medical research.
This post is a follow-up to an article I wrote on Forbes entitled, The Kratom Experiment Begins.
This is an open forum dedicated to Mitragyna Speciosa, also known as KRATOM. This site is not only a forum, but a resource for Kratom News, Events, Kratom Products, Vendor Reviews and Industry updates.
Our site is dedicated to the wonderful and magical herb, kratom. It has wonderful healing properties that if properly utilized, can offer great benefits to those suffering from depression and stress. Kratom also has downsides, such as it’s addictive potential as well as quick tolerance that can occur if the herb is not cycled properly.
Before you decide to buy kratom online, it is important to understand what this herb is. Mitragyna Speciosa, or popularly known as Kratom in most parts of the world, is a tree from the Rubiaceae family which was first documented by Pieter Korthals, a Dutch botanist who later named the genus “Mitragyna” due to the similarity to the bishop’s mitre.
Kratom is a tree native to southeast Asia. The leaves of the plant have been used for centuries to treat a variety of conditions. The media and law enforcement agencies often portray kratom in a negative light. The aim of this blog is address some of that negative attention, and to provide additional information that readers can use to form an educated opinion.
If you search #IAmKratom on social media you will see hundreds of people that use this natural plant as an alternative to synthetic pharmaceuticals. In every way, it’s a preferable option to real opiates for pain management. It’s not nearly as addictive, it’s cheaper, it’s natural and does not cause a “high” or put the person into an opiate stupor - Mason Balistreri
Welcome to Kratom Legend, an informative site designed to provide a panorama view on wonder herb Mitragyna Speciosa, popularly known as Kratom. Our sole mission is to provide precise, clinical and authenticated information on Kratom effects, Kratom experiences & more to help users understand the herb and have a successful and enjoyable experience. Through strenuous research and a sense of responsibility Kratom Legend solemnly furnishes accurate information on Kratom.
I have created this website to inform people on the benefits of the leaf known as kratom. I blog about all my experiences with the recommended vendor strain.
The American Kratom Association was formed to organize and represent a community of responsible consumers, provide the general public with clarification surrounding matters of health and wellness where Kratom could play an important role, educate lawmakers and regulators and support scientific research efforts.
Kratom is a tropical tree (Mitragyna speciosa) native to Southeast Asia, with leaves that contain compounds that can have psychotropic (mind-altering) effects. Kratom is not currently an illegal substance and has been easy to order on the internet. It is sometimes sold as a green powder in packets labeled "not for human consumption." It is also sometimes sold as an extract or gum.