A new herbal drug called kratom, or Mitragyna speciosa, is making its debut in America. Kratom is a tree found all across Asia. The medicinal parts of this tree involve the leaves. The leaves contain over 40 different psychoactive compounds that have similar properties to opioids.
In Asia, kratom has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. It’s considered to be a type of medicine. Although this natural herb has some unique properties to it, it’s not prescribed as a medication in America. Instead, some addicts may abuse this herb to get high.
This article will look at all that you need to know about kratom. You’ll get a well-rounded view of what this herb can do, and what it is. This can give you a better idea of whether you should avoid the herb or not.
What Is Kratom?
Kratom is a tree that is native to Borneo, Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar and New Guinea. This tree can grow up to 25 meters high, and has elliptical leaves. The kratom plant is truly interesting to look at, and it’s easy to spot for those who know what they’re looking for.
This plant contains many psychoactive compounds. In particular, it contains mitragynine, mitraphylline and 7-hydroxymitragynine. Most compounds found in kratom are indole alkaloids. The alkaloids work in a similar fashion to opioids in an individual’s body. They affect basically the same pathways and interact with similar chemicals.
Different Strains of Mitragyna Speciosa
Much like with marijuana, there are many different strains of the kratom plant. Each strain possesses its own unique characteristics. Some strains have more of a stimulating effect, while others may have more of a sedative effect. Knowing the effects of each strain is critical for those who are going to be consuming it.
The strains are separated into different classifications. The strains can be identified by the country or region that they’re from. They can also be identified by the color of the veins on the leaf. The strains as separated by color include:
- Green vein strains. These strains tend to have both stimulating and sedating effects.
- Red vein strains. These strains tend to possess sedating and relaxing effects. They are generally used for treating and managing pain or insomnia.
- White vein strains. These strains tend to have stimulating effects. They promote alertness and energy.
The alkaloid compounds, like mitragynine, in each strain is the same. The only difference lies in the concentration of various compounds. The indigenous people of South Asia use different strains to treat different types of conditions and illnesses.
What Does Kratom Do?
The active compounds in this plant interact with opioid receptors in the brain. In essence, they work in very similar ways. As a result, this causes sedative and/or pleasurable effects. Kratom can also act as a painkiller.
Since kratom interacts with opioid receptors, different strains can have unique medicinal properties. They will affect various chemical pathways in the brain and body. Some of the effects of kratom include:
- Anti-inflammatory effects for preventing and treating inflammation
- Enhanced cognitive function and abilities
- Increase in energy for enhanced alertness
- Lowered blood sugar levels
- Mood improvements to treat anxiety and depression
- Reduction in negative emotions, like anxiety and depression
- Relief from opiate withdrawal symptoms
- Relief from pain
- Relief from insomnia and a variety of other sleep problems
- Strengthened immune system
Kratom is an interesting plant with many medicinal properties. It has antimalarial properties, and is also anti-leukemic. This plant is high in antioxidants and other essential vitamins and minerals.
This herbal medication can be used to treat opioid withdrawals. As a result, there’s ongoing research that looks at using the kratom plant for drug detox purposes. It may help curb cravings and reduce the intensity of withdrawal symptoms. The use of this herbal supplement may make it easier to wean off of stronger opioids.
Although Mitragyna speciosa has medicinal properties, misuse can also be dangerous. In fact, there have been 44 overdose deaths caused by this herbal supplement so far. When abused, the compounds in kratom will work in similar ways to opioids.
Consumption Method for Mitragyna Speciosa
It’s possible to ingest the kratom herb in a wide variety of ways. The consumption method will differ based on each person’s preference. It may also depend on the quality and form of kratom obtained.
The several different consumption methods for the kratom plant can be broken down into the following forms and ways:
- Chew whole kratom leaves to achieve the results desired. It’s important to note that kratom leaves tend to be quite bitter. As a result, this method of consumption is not suitable for everyone.
- Mix kratom extract with olive oil before swallowing it all. The extract should easily dissolve in the olive oil. In addition, since it’s enveloped in oil, it won’t taste as bitter.
- Steep powdered or crushed kratom leaves to make tea. To extract the alkaloids inside the leaves, the leaves must be steeped in hot water. Most people would add flavorings and sweeteners to enhance the flavors in the tea.
- Swallow kratom capsules. The capsules contain kratom powder, and usually contain about 0.5 grams of the powder. It’s one of the easiest and simplest consumption methods. Kratom capsules are suitable for just about everyone.
- Toss and wash kratom extract and powder to the back of the mouth. The kratom extract is hydrophobic and won’t wash down easily. It can leave a bitter taste. Due to this reason, many people will choose to wash the extract with some type of juice.
It’s important to note that smoking or vaporizing kratom is not advised. This is because the combustion will destroy certain alkaloids. It’s also difficult to administer the dose needed by snorting or smoking the plant. Those who take enough of the herb can experience a high. A more potent high is associated with a higher dose.
Kratom Dosage Guide
It’s best to take kratom on an empty stomach. This ensures that the herbal supplement is most effective. Those who take this herbal supplement after eating may need a larger dose to achieve the effects desired.
There’s no set kratom dosage to take; however, most experts recommend starting small with 2 to 3 grams. After consuming the different forms of this herb, wait at least 20 minutes to see whether the kratom dosage is large enough to have an effect.
If an individual feels a bit nauseous after taking Mitragyna speciosa, it means that they took too large of a dose. It’s not unusual for those who take too large of a dose to puke. This is the reason why it’s important to increase the dosage slowly.
It’s easier to achieve the results desired with a higher quality strain or product. In fact, the effects of high quality Mitragyna speciosa can be felt after 3 to 5 grams. This is regardless of the consumption method chosen. An individual can choose to swallow kratom capsules or drink kratom tea.
Kratom Effects on the Brain and Body
So, what does kratom do? How does it affect the brain and body? There are plenty of side effects that come with kratom use. The effects can be separated into physical effects, cognitive effects, visual effects and disconnective effects.
Physical Effects of Kratom Use
Some of the most noticeable side effects of kratom are physical effects. Kratom users can easily feel these physical effects. While stimulating and sedating effects are expected, other common physical side effects of kratom use include:
- Appetite suppression. It’s not unusual for many people to lose their appetite after taking kratom. It has similar properties to opioids.
- Body odor change. Some people may find that their urine will start to take on a unique scent after consuming kratom. This is a relatively rare side effect.
- Cough suppression. Indigenous people often drink kratom tea to suppress coughing.
- Euphoric sensation. A kratom high is much less intense than an opioid high. Most users would describe the sensation as feeling content and loved.
- Gastrointestinal conditions like stomach cramps and constipation. The active ingredients can interfere with one’s biological functions.
- Nausea. The kratom dosage taken may influence whether a person experiences nausea or not. Those who take too large of a dose may struggle with nausea for up to two days afterwards.
- Pain relief. The analgesic effects of kratom can be equivalent to the analgesic effects of over 20mg of hydrocodone.
Other physical side effects also include itchiness and increased perspiration. It’s not unusual for both genders to experience a decrease in libido, and difficulties in achieving an orgasm. The intensity of the physical side effects will vary from person to person.
Cognitive Effects of Mitragyna Speciosa Abuse
Kratom use can also lead to cognitive effects. Those who take a higher kratom dosage are more likely to experience intense cognitive effects. Some of the most common side effects to expect include:
- Anxiety suppression. Kratom is often used as an anti-anxiety medication among indigenous people.
- Cognitive euphoria. It’s not unusual to feel an overwhelming sense of contentment and bliss from kratom use.
- Increased concentration. One of the most interesting features of kratom is that it quiets psychological background noise. This helps many people stay focused and concentrated.
- Sleepiness. Some strains of kratom plants have a sedative effect. These plants can help make a person feel tired. These strains are often used to treat sleep disorders and insomnia.
- Thought acceleration. Don’t waste any time at all with kratom. It’s thought acceleration properties take the individual’s cognitive abilities to another level.
Other cognitive effects include an increased appreciation for music. Many people who take kratom will also feel more motivated afterwards. The herb can have a stimulating effect that is similar to central nervous stimulants, like methylphenidate and amphetamines.
Other Effects of a Mitragyna Speciosa Addiction
Other effects include disconnective effects and visual effects. Visual effects include symptoms like hallucinations and visual acuity suppression. It’s not unusual for those who use kratom to experience double vision.
Is Kratom Legal?
Since kratom is quite a new drug on the American market, the laws surrounding its legality are still being addressed. Those who are interested can find out more information about this drug on the kratom erowid site. Also, don’t forget to check the news to see whether any changes have been made recently.
Whether this herb is legal or not is still up for debate. On a federal legal, the kratom plant is technically legal. This means that an individual can plant, harvest and even consume this plant without facing any consequences. However, each state may have different regulations and legislatures put in place for kratom.
Some states have outright banned kratom. For example, Arkansas has marked this herbal supplement as a Schedule I Controlled Substance as of February 2016, and Alabama has followed suit in May of 2016.
Those who are interested in taking this drug should check their state and city’s page for more information. The laws surrounding the kratom herb are constantly changing. Those who are interested in trying this herb will need to first figure out which cities or states allow it.
Abstain from All Substances for a Successful Recovery
Although kratom is not necessarily considered to be a dangerous substance as of yet, those who are using it may wish to abstain from it. Those who find quitting kratom use to be difficult should highly consider seeking help from a drug and alcohol rehab center, like AspenRidge Recovery. We offer a wide range of amenities and utilities. Our facility is clean, comfortable and welcoming.
Our medical staff can assess your situation via a free phone assessment to determine whether you need professional help. We have the resources to determine when kratom use has crossed the line and become an addiction.
Because we don’t encourage the use of mind altering substances, we don’t encourage the use or Kratom. Abstaining from this herb may help you lead a healthier and happier life. Abstinence is also ideal for those who may be struggling with a co-occurring disorder or another addiction.
Don’t struggle silently with addiction. There are plenty of resources available that can help addicts break free from addiction and gain control over their lives again.