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What is kratom?
Mitragyna Speciosa, also known as Kratom, is a large tree in the Rubiaceae family native to Southeast Asia in the Indochina and Malesia floristic regions. It was first documented by Pieter Korthals, a Dutch colonial botanist. The leaf of the tree contains mirtragynine and was traditionally used for its ethnobotanical and medicinal properties. The leaves of kratom have been used by the indigenous people as a stimulant in low doses, a sedative in large doses, an anti-diarrheal and pain killer. It is said that Kratom affects the human brain similarly to an opiate although there is no conclusive clinical data proving how the alkaloids works in relation to the human brain.
Kratom contains more than 25 alkaloids including mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine. These alkaloids act as mu-opioid receptor antagonist. The three most abundant indoles are mitragynine (9-methoxy-corynantheidine) which is responsible for 1/2 of the alkaloid content, paynanthine, and speciogynine. The two most abundant oxindoles are mitraphylline and speciofoline. Other alkaloids present include ajmalicine, corynanthedine, mitraversine, rhychophylline, and stipulatine. Mitragynine is believed, but has not been proven to be, the primary active alkaloid in Mitragyna Speciosa.
Is Kratom Legal?
Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) is uncontrolled in the United States with the exception of Indiana and Vermont . This means all parts of the plant and its extracts are legal to cultivate, buy, possess, and distribute (sell, trade or give) without a license or prescription. If sold as a supplement, sales must conform to U.S. supplement laws. If sold for consumption as a food or drug, sales are regulated by the FDA.
In 2012 Indiana banned the chemicals Mirtagynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, but the legal definition does not appear to cover the plant kratom. In 2012, Vermont issued a an emergency order to ban several new designer chemicals which included 7-hydroxymitragynine (one of the active alkaloids in kratom), effectively banning kratom in Vermont.
Laws change quite often and ignorance of the law does not excuse criminal conduct (Ignorantia juris non excusat)., so be sure that kratom is legal where you live before using it.
How safe is Kratom?
When taken by itself (not mixing it with other substances), the greatest risk when taking Kratom may be falling asleep while engaged in hazardous activities. Like any other substance that may be mind altering or affect your cognitive abilities, do not drive or operate heavy machinery while under the influence of Kratom. Always use common sense. Due to the lack of medical studies regarding the use of Kratom in relation to pregnancy, pregnant women should not take any drug or medication except at the medical advice from their physician. It is not known whether it could cause birth defects or fetal death. Once again, always use common sense regarding anything that you put in your body.
Is Kratom habit forming?
Although a small number of individuals have become dependent on Kratom (primarily in Thailand), Kratom is not habit forming when used in moderation and responsibly. When used in moderation, not daily, there is no documented risk of dependency. It is important not to get into the habit of using Kratom, or any supplement, on a daily basis. Like many stimulants [e.g. alcohol, coffee, tobacco, etc.], when used daily for a prolonged period of time, could become habit forming. You know your body better than any physician and must be diligent regarding self control. If you have a predisposition for addiction, you must treat everything with moderate behavior including the use of Kratom.
What are the effects of Kratom?
Kratom is quite unique, in that, in low to moderate doses will commonly be stimulating and in large doses has a more sedative effect. Often, the individual will experience an analgesic effect caused by the alkaloids contained in Kratom and the manner in which the brain receptors are affected. The level of effect, like any other supplement, depends on many factors including body weight, physiological makeup, tolerance level and so on.
As a stimulant, used in low to moderate doses, the individual will experience an analgesic effect along with physical energy, alertness, increased libido, euphoria, sociability, improved mindset or mood, focus and overall improved demeanor. In some cases when taken in large doses, an individual may experience edginess similar to being over-caffeinated.
An a sedative, used in higher doses, an individual will experience an analgesic effect along with euphoria, a lower sensitivity to pain, both physically and emotionally, relaxation, anti-depression and anti-anxiety. Used in excess, it may result in a prolonged sleep.
What are the active components of Kratom?
The important active alkaloids in Kratom are mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine. These alkaloids are responsible for pain relieving, sedative, euphoric, and stimulating effects.
Are there any reported health issues caused by Kratom?
There are very few reports regarding negative health effects due to Kratom and the circumstances reported were in conjunction with additional illegal substances combined, so there is no conclusive data showing Kratom as the cause for any negative effects. Health problems are unlikely unless one is consuming large quantities of Kratom every day. In Thailand, where many of the indigenous population use kratom daily, those dependent on it can develop weight loss and have physical withdrawal symptoms when quitting abruptly. If any, the withdrawal symptoms may include muscle aches, irritability, crying, runny nose, diarrhea, and muscle jerking. Health problems are unlikely to occur in occasional Kratom users. Like any drug or medicine, moderation is the key and individual’s reactions may vary. It is uncommon, but an individual could possibly experience an allergic or other unusual reaction to Kratom, even if used responsibly. More commonly, when using an excessive amount, an individual’s body would simply reject the substance, thus as a natural physiological reaction, may experience emesis (Vomiting) as the body's way of preservation.
Latest Kratom News Blog & Twitter Feeds
When there is a health crisis like the epidemic of opioid drug addiction, which has even morphed in many cases into a heroin addiction epidemic, why must the solution be limited to another synthetic drug?
To the general public, especially those victims of the addiction epidemic, this looks like a "gimme" to the pharmaceutical industry. We have a perfectly acceptable, uniquely affordable and time-tested product being used right now, called Kratom. The FDA is well aware of it. I have heard from an industry insider (Michael McGuffin) that the FDA's concern with legal Kratom is its addiction potential.
No, that's not a joke!
Read more: A Modest Proposal for Ending the Opiate Addiction Epidemic
Thoughts and Rumors On the Kratom Import Situation
The kratom community online has been under fire from several directions recently. A number of dubious anonymous and hired sources of disinformation, impossible to vett, have been thrown into the conversation surrounding the question, "What the hell is going on with imports?"
Some vendors are having no problem receiving their shipments, while others -- who think they are equally diligent at following the FDA's published rules -- are having shipments held up on seemingly political or other procedural grounds.
Could The Troubled Vendors Be Missing Some Key Fact?
One factor in the FDA's displeasure at seeing so much kratom arriving in the United States, was mentioned plainly in the most recent FDA update of Import Alert 54-15. It noted that the FDA is now watching Facebook for evidence of which importers are selling kratom for human consumption, a use of the herb that the FDA has not yet approved.
Read more: The Small Vendor Import Situation
How Kratom Might Help Prevent Veteran Suicides
We all have probably heard by now that an average of 22 U.S. military veterans commit suicide every day. These are vets of all ages, many of whom served in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. They are getting quite old and this, no doubt, plays a role in what led them to take their own life.
We have also heard of the incompetence and low quality of the medical services provided by the Veterans Administration's hospitals. It's bad enough that these men and women became injured doing a dangerous job for our country, but -- what is really galling is that our country hasn't delivered the quality medical care which these folks were promised.
Read more: Kratom and the Wounded Veterans
Paying the Price of Freedom.
I would like to see an old custom in our country brought back: The freedom to take whatever you want into your body, so long as you're prepared to be responsible for the consequences. No more whining to the state or federal government that someone poisoned you or gave you a tummy ache. This puts the responsibility for doing some accurate research back on us. It's a big task, but I do it all the time now and my health is better than those who let the average MD do their research for them.
Obviously, businesses selling Kratom must guarantee that their product is not adulterated with other substances, or contaminated with microbial organisms. That might give the FDA something legitimate to do, or it could be guaranteed by private testing agencies.
This practice of self-responsibility -- if it was brought back -- would bring about big changes in American society. I think it would be a very good thing.
Read more: Why Does the U.S. Allow Medical Banditry?
Kava Bars -- the New Trend in U.S. Social Life
The emergence of Kava Bars represents, in part, the divergence of the U.S. population into tribes. We are no longer a "One Style Fits All" society.
Maybe it's a longing to go back to a simpler time of shared values and small community living -- a way to experience that dream lifestyle of a tropical island in a sea of big city stress. Yes, that's a big part of it, but far from the whole story.
Maybe the Kava bar reflects our subconscious urge to insulate ourselves from the "crazies" who bring violence into once-sacrosanct places of peace and community. Random mass murders in public spaces -- theaters, schools, military bases -- have led many Americans to shun places where stressed-out people (often using prescription anxiety meds and antidepressants) may congregate.
Read more: Kava Bars of the East Coast
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