Kratom is a highly controversial non-regulated drug that is used for anything from making tea to treating chronic pain. It’s even suggested that it may help and alleviate heroin/opioid withdrawal. But does it really work? Why hasn’t it been approved by the FDA? And why is the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) trying to make it illegal in the United States?
What is Kratom?
Kratom is a tree originating from Southeast Asia. It has been used for years for relieving chronic pain, anxiety and as a form of expression from natives of Southeast Asia. It’s leaves can even be chewed or dried, ground and made into a tea. Many people use Kratom in place of their pain medications, anxiety medications and anti-depressants. Kratom contains active alkaloids, like mitragynine which is an opioid agonist that has an affinity for the opioid receptors in the brain – though Kratom itself is not an opioid.
Kratom is part of the Rubiaceace family, making it a cousin to the coffee plant. Recently Kratom has been proposed to not only be banned in America, but placed as a schedule 1 narcotic. Kratom, the plant itself, has never killed one person. Those that were found dead with Kratom in their system also had other drugs such as heroin in their system. Many say that if Kratom is banned, thousands of people will die. See “Should Kratom Be Banned in the United States?” for more information.
What are the Benefits of Using Kratom?
Can Kratom be abused?Just about everything has the potential to be abused. The better question to ask is – do the benefits of Kratom outweigh the negatives? So what are the benefits of Kratom?
For many people, including recovering opioid and heroin addicts, chronic pain patients, people with anxiety and depression; Kratom has given them their life back in their own words. Many have 86’d (to do away with something) their pharmaceutical medications, that they were felt enslaved to and have been able to lead a happy, healthy life as a result of using Kratom. Furthermore, drug addicts have taken Kratom while in the midst of withdrawals from all types of drugs (heroin, xanax, etc.) and found that Kratom eased their withdrawals while giving them energy, pain relief and stimulation. This has enabled many individuals in addiction treatment and recovery to turn away from drugs altogether.
Potential Dangers of Using Kratom
Unfortunately Kratom’s name has been thrown under the bus due to certain vendors and headshops who lace it, potentiate it and alter the plant. Kratom is not likely to be tampered with if it is purchased in South Asian countries. However, the issue is that here in America vendors want a profit and loyal customers.
Lacing the Kratom to make its effects stronger and altered means business. Many who have heard bad things about Kratom have likely heard it because of the above problem Kratom consumers have with purchasing it from legitimate vendors..
Comparing Kratom with Medicine Assisted Treatment Like Methadone and Suboxone
Many recovering heroin addicts don’t like the idea of being put on a Suboxone or Methadone program for short term withdrawals because usually the programs last much longer than the 5 to 10 days needed to detox. Thus, many turn to Kratom to alleviate withdrawals and then quickly taper from the Kratom, which is recommended.
Those who were put on prescription painkillers for injuries, then were cut off by their doctors and turned to the streets for heroin say that Kratom has become a “life-saver” for them. Not only does it fight heroin withdrawals but it has reportedly taken away some the pain associated from their injuries. Kratom has been their way to balance their chronic pain and stay away from heroin. Many who have used Kratom say that it takes away the urge and desire to use drugs.
In a similar way, Suboxone and Methadone curb cravings however, these medications are also opioids and many who start using them stay on them for a very long time or for life. Kratom is a non-opioid but behaves in a similar manner. It’s natural, but unregulated. Many consider this a benefit while others consider it a potential problem. Kill The Heroin Epidemic Nationwide believes that Kratom requires more research to really understand its benefits vs. potential problems.
How Often Should Kratom Be Used?
Ideally, if using kratom for any type of disorder it is recommended to use it once every two days. Increased frequency of use may be needed for those using Kratom for chronic pain.
Potential Side Effects of Kratom
Many people associate plants with being safer than pills. It’s said that the worst side-effect of kratom is constipation. Many pills, prescribed by the doctor have side-effect lists as long as football fields.
More research is being done on kratom and its effects, as it stays legal in most states. There is even talk of creating an altered pharmaceutical painkiller from kratoms active alkaloid- mitragynine. What is the future of kratom and its users? Time will tell.
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Intro Written by William Charles, Owner / Publisher and Poem Written By Chanda Lynn, Editor / Writer / Blogger For Kill the Heroin Epidemic Nationwide™, Heroin News and the National Alliance of Addiction Treatment Centers (NAATC)
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