In the year 2016 Kratom became a sensation. The fun fact is that Kratom, which botanic name sounds like Mitragynaspeciosa was and is widely spread in Southern Asia, especially in Thailand, where it is a part of Thai traditional medicine and is used for decades now for managing addiction, withdrawal symptoms, diarrhea, and many more medical conditions, only became popular now in European and US countries for its opiate-like effect. And add to that, it has drawn the unwanted attention of local authorities and the FDA. Nevertheless, it still remains legal in most countries in the worlds, as it has many benefits to offer. To name some:
- Very safe and convenient if not overdosed and used right
- Offers great sedating or/and energizing effects (depending on the red Kratom strain)
- Offers great mood and manages acute and chronic pain
- Studies have shown that offers liver protective effects, anti-malaria effects and many more health benefits
- Is fairly cheap
- Will not give side-effects if used correctly
But what exactly is Kratom? What makes it so popular? Let’s take it into deeper detail.
What is Kratom? What are its main characteristics?
Mitragynaspeciosa (or Kratom) is a quite interesting plant, which leaves are being chewed by people of Southern Asia for many years now for its relaxation and at the same time tonic-like effect. Why? Technically speaking, this particular plant has as a complex chemical structure with many active substances as its chemical compounds. Because of it’ complex chemical structure, it behaves like an m-opiate agonist, which means that has the same sedative effect as morphine and in some reported cases it can be even stronger in pain relieving and mood modulation. In simple words that means that Green Malay Kratom is extremely good in pain relief and works as a mood enhancer (the reason why it was widely used by Thai workers). It also has a tonic-like effect that may imitate, for example, coffee. Another interesting aspect is that Mitragynaspeciosa is very good at managing diarrhea, which was another reason why it was used in Thai medicine. And last but not least, Kratom was widely used (and had a very good effect) to cure opioid addiction and relieve withdrawal symptoms.
As we mentioned its uses in medicine, despite the fact that its effect on the human organism was studied quite poorly, it’s a must to mention its negative sides and side effects. Mitragynaspeciosa can be turned from your pharmaceutical friend to your narcotic foe if you don’t use it carefully. Add to that, there have been already reported 2 cases of death from its use! As mentioned earlier, Kratom behaves like morphine, which means that in a bad day, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, convulsions, hallucinations, chest pain, sweating and confusion can be your wake up call. So addiction and withdrawal symptoms can be your enemy if you get way too excited with Kratom.
There is also a lot of feedback from Kratom users that it can have both a positive and negative effect on people, depending on the person using it. Some claim they feel themselves as strong when other feel more relaxed; judging by the latest research its effect is always dose-dependent. The interesting thing is that although it is an opiate agonist and behaves like that when taking in high doses, it has stimulating effects in low doses
The truth behind all this is that scientist studies the plant itself and its effects on the human organism have been studied so poorly, that in fact there is no truth that can be told by scientist and health experts as to how the plants active chemical ingredients will exactly behave in someone’s organism. Another thing is that your usual toxicological test won’t be able to identify Kratom in your blood; health specialists need more specialized test to identify its active components in your blood. So from a medical point of view, FDA is right to have its attention caught by this plant and fear it and the effects it can have on one’s organism.
What conclusions can we make?
In conclusion, Kratom can be evaluated like a very helpful plant, but only if used wisely. It is a good alternative for opiate withdrawal treatment as well as a good alternative for drugs like morphine, codeine in today’s medicine, although not approved and registered as a drug. It will be wise to mention that despite the fact that its effects have been poorly studies, latest research states that it has sedating, anti-inflammatory, anti-malaria effects and it also can work as an inhibitor of mitosis in cancer cells; things which are empirically tested, but despite the fact they are true, scientists work on many series of researches so to unravel the exact mechanism of both its positive effects and its more paradox effects (as mentioned earlier very different dose-dependent effects it can give to individual users).