Kratom is already gaining a reputation, where the prescription drug problem is at a crisis level. Several Christian rehabilitation centers are already using it to great effect and are touting its results. Sales of kratom extract in the Sunshine state have grown by nearly 1000 percent as the news of its effectiveness has spread.
While at high kratom dosages it can act as a stimulant, at lower doses it can make users feel calm, less stressed, and, of course, can reduce the craving for opiate-based drugs. Its effects can start within 5 to ten minutes of ingestion and can last for several hours.
While it is a natural herb, like all psychoactive drugs, kratom can have side effects, and anyone who uses it should be aware of them. Side effects can include dry mouth, loss of appetite and increased urination. Like all medicinal products, kratom should be used for the shortest time possible and at the lowest effective dose
The History of Kratom
Kratom, or Mitragyna speciosa, is a large tree that grows naturally in Thailand and Malaysia. It grows from 12 to 30 feet in height and produces large, dark green, oval-shaped leaves. The tree thrives in wet, humid places and requires fertile soil, lots of sun and protection from strong winds.
It sheds and re-grows its leaves throughout the year, though they are most abundant during the region’s rainy season. The tree sets bright yellow bunches of flowers each composed of hundreds of flowerets.
- The Origin
Kratom has been used medicinally in Indochina and Southeast Asia as far back as Dutch colonial times, and perhaps for thousands of years before that. It was used traditionally for the treatment of diarrhea and also for opium addiction. Kratom is from the same family as Uncaria — the herb called cat’s claw — and shares some of its biological properties.
Kratom has only recently come to the attention of Western users in both Europe and the United States. It is being used for pain pill addictions, of course, but also for chronic pain, anxiety, and depression.
Kratom extract comes from the dried leaves of the tree. In Thailand, the leaves are traditionally chewed fresh, or they are dried and crushed then made into a paste that is easily swallowed or even made into tea. In the West, it is popular to buy kratom and then mix it with black or herbal teas and sweeten it with a bit with honey or sugar. It is usually sold in the United States as a very fine powder.
Is it legal?
At the moment, yes. People can buy kratom at hundreds of outlets on the Internet. Like many herbal supplements, kratom has been overlooked by the big pharmaceutical companies because they stand very little chance of making a big profit from it. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to approve the use of kratom, but as its popularity soars and its uses and properties become more understood, the FDA may choose to study it.
No medicinal substance — whether herbal or pharmaceutical — is without possible risks and side effects. If you doubt that, listen to the long list of disclaimers at the end of all the prescription drug ads shown on TV every night. Whether you are taking an FDA approved drug prescribed by your doctor or trying a time-honored herbal remedy, the secret is to educate yourself, know. Learn all you can about any product before you put it in your body and always be alert to adverse reactions and side effects.
The problem of prescription drug abuse is a complex one. Because of its widespread and devastating consequences, it has to be fought at the national, state and even personal level. Whatever tools work best to help free people from this tragic problem should be used. If kratom can reduce the cravings that people experience when trying to break a pain pill habit, it may just be one of the best tools at hand.
Possible side effects from long term use can include weight loss, insomnia and even a small risk of dependence. Like other pain relievers, it should not be mixed with sedatives or alcohol.