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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.
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We won another victory this week when the Broward County, Florida, commissioners voted to postpone any decision on banning kratom while more information on the safety is being researched.
I feel like generally we are getting our message across to open-minded individuals, but there continue to be those who are against kratom, no matter what evidence we present them. Either they can't read or they won't read -- and the result is the same for both. This, I predict, will be a long fight and a hard one.
Past victories in Chicago, Arizona, and Oklahoma -- aided by the Botanical Legal Defense -- are encouraging, but they are no guarantee of easy future successes as we fight this issue county by county and state by state. Anytime someone proposes a major change in the status quo that affects the power players' income, we are going to have a lot of persistent lobbying, arguing, and convincing to do.
When you come to see how we and the people we know and love are being KILLED and INJURED by the products and also the incorrect information about our health that are being spread by the pharmaceutical industry, you may become as determined as I am about winning this fight.
The battle for our natural right to use kratom is only a small part of what we are fighting for. It is a very important part, though! The whole concept that governments can use force to make people do or not do things to themselves that hurt no-one else is nuts.
If we choose to use herbs, based on our own study of the benefits and dangers of the herb, that should not be any concern of the state -- as long as we accept the responsibility for our own behavior.
Read more: Broward Battle, a Temporary Victory
Kratom may be one of many beneficiaries of the deadly Ebola epidemic, that is only now beginning. Ebola is going to be the "acid test" of the pharmaceutical monopoly's control over how medicine is practiced in North America.
How will they explain it, if their vaccines don't provide reliable protection? Most of the open-minded people I meet will admit the annual flu vaccine didn't work for them when they tried it.
What will be the unspoken message when those who are vaccinated start dying from Ebola?
Wouldn't it be quite interesting if -- by protecting the public from Kratom and other natural antiviral substances -- the blindness of the FDA and their number one client, the pharmaceutical companies, caused the extinction of the majority of the U.S. population who trust only in FDA-approved medicines?
Of course, this would clearly not be amusing if you and yours were among those who didn't survive...
In this incipit pandemic, will we learn the foolishness of only considering as treatments those synthetic drugs which can be patented for profit? Will the wiser segment of the U.S. population decide it might be a good time to consider ALL known antiviral remedies that have been shown through centuries of use to kill viruses, rather than limit ourselves to waiting for someone to concoct an untested vaccine?
This could allow a breakthrough in our myopic medical system, which has been created by the "robber barons" Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller, who used their immense wealth to create profit, while inhibiting competition from traditional natural therapies. The Ebola plague might be just the thing to bring back an openness to remedies that WORK, regardless of whether they can be wildly profitable or not.
Read more: How Kratom May Benefit from the Ebola Plague
This topic has been around for some time. As the industry first began a few years back, the general focus was to keep this amazing plant a secret which included labeling is as “Not for human consumption”. Vendors also loved to label Kratom as an incense which worked for quite some time. The reality of this subject is that Kratom is consumable product and to assume government bodies, such as the FDA or similar, do not know this is simply naïve. As if, when someone sitting in an FDA cubicle does a search for Kratom, that they’re not finding the same information that we’ve found.
For a moment, play the devil’s advocate on this one. Imagine that you’re in a position of governance and you see a bunch of businesses clearly mislabeling their goods in a premeditated fashion. Stating that the goods that they are selling are not for human consumption, when they clearly are. Is that worse than simply stating what the product is and does? Now, that’s the question that many consumers online are misinformed about. Reading one obscure forum post and digging in with your newly discovered opinion is just lazy.
Read more: The Mislabeling of Kratom
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