A Complete Guide to Kratom

Native to Malaysia, Thailand, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia, Kratom is a tropical evergreen tree. The Southeast Asian is renowned for Mitragyna Speciosa. In Thailand, the original name Kratom is used to refer to this plant and it belongs to the Rubiaceae family. Gardenia and coffee are some other members of the same family. There are several ways Kratom leaves can be consumed such as by chewing, or by smoking and drying, putting into tablets, capsules, extract and even by boiling into a tea. The effects of Kratom are unique because the stimulation happens at low doses whereas the euphoric and opioid-like depressants occur at higher doses.

The common uses of Kratom include preventing the withdrawal from opiates like heroin and narcotics, treatment for pain and for mild stimulation. Malaysian and Thai native workers have used the leaves of Kratom for centuries and it has almost become a tradition. Workers in Southeast Asia used the herb’s stimulant effect for increasing their stamina, energy and also for limiting fatigue. But, its use has been outlawed by some Southeast Asian countries now. The herbal product has been used in the US as an alternate agent for relieving diarrhea, muscle pain and also as part of the treatment for opiate addiction and withdrawal.

Positive effects have been reported by patients suffering from PTSD who made use of Kratom products. Lab tests have been conducted on the plant and nearly 20 alkaloids have been identified, including the ones that are responsible for the pain-relieving properties found in Kratom. This is the indole alkaloid mitragynine, which is said to be 13 times more powerful than morphine and categorized as a kappa-opioid receptor agonist. Similar to yohimbine structurally, Mitragynine is said to be the reason behind the opioid-like effects. Due to this opioid-like action, Kratom has been used for pain treatment and withdrawal from opium. However, in terms of structure, it is not the same as other opioids codeine and morphine.

Anecdotal reports and cases are the source from where the psychoactive effects of Kratom have evolved. It has a very unusual action because at lower doses, it can produce stimulant effects and at higher doses, it seems to have more CNS depressant side effects. The stimulant effects include boosted physical energy, more social behavior, increased alertness and talkativeness. When higher doses of Kratom are consumed, the CNS depressant and opioid effects predominate. Essentially, the effects are dependent on the dose and take effect reportedly 10 minutes after being consumed. Also, they last for about one to five hours.

Apart from suppressing pain, Kratom is also used as an antipyretic for lowering fever, anti-depressant, antihypertensive for lowering blood pressure, antitussive for suppressing coughs, as an antidiarrheal, for lowering blood sugar and also as a local anesthetic. In fact, it is said that Kratom can also enhance sexual function. But, its most notable effects have been seen when it is used for avoiding narcotic-like withdrawal side effects when opioids are not available. The best part is that Kratom is not addictive, which means the benefits can be enjoyed without the risks.

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