Kratom derives its name from the Kratom tree, an evergreen in the coffee family that grows in Asian countries such as Myanmar and Thailand. It’s a psychoactive drug used sometimes for traditional medicine, but more often recreationally. Kratom is a commonly used name for Mitragyna Speciosa.
Kratom can be ingested orally, by taking capsules filled with the leafy powder, by steeping it in water and creating tea, smoking it, or mixing it with food.
This tropical plant gives the feeling similar to many opioids due to psychoactive alkaloids present in its makeup.
Little is known about the actual medicinal usefulness of Kratom, and its long term effects are largely unknown due to the scarcity of studies on the subject.
The Food and Drug Administration, however, stated in a 2018 release that they found no data that suggested Kratom was useful in treating medical conditions of any kind.
Effects and Side Effects
Being both sedating and stimulating, Kratom has been employed to treat chronic pain, improve emotional well being, and has been used in the treatment of various addictions such as opioids and alcohol.
In addition, it has been used in Southeast Asia as a means to boost appetite, and stimulate sexual arousal. Harsh coughs and indigestion are also commonly treated with Kratom.
Depending on the amount of Kratom and how often it is taken, symptoms may include:
- Trouble with bowel movements
- Decreased hunger
- Dryness of mouth
- Sudden drop in weight
- Mental Breakdowns
Sustained use for extended periods of time may lead to physical and mental addiction to Kratom, mainly because withdrawal symptoms are so severe.
Much like opioids, there may run a risk of suppressed respiration. There have not been enough studies to say this conclusively.
Kratom in America
Kratom poisoning cases were common between 2010 and 2015, with 600 people reporting. Between 2016 and 2017 kratom was involved with 152 overdose deaths, 91 of which had kratom as the main contributor to overdose.
Originally sold to Americans as a supplement to boost biochemistry, Kratom has since been designated a Schedule I drug. The criteria needed to qualify for this classification are:
- High rate of dependence
- A lack of evidence showing the drug to be medically relevant
Many Americans were upset by this classification, especially those who use the substance for pain relief or as a means to ween off opiates and alcohol.
140,000 individuals participated in an online petition aimed at changing this verdict. The DEA refused to acknowledge these signatures.
As of last year, Kratom is prohibited by law in six states, including Vermont and Wisconsin.
In addition, Kratom is illegal in 16 countries, and the FDA has issued a country-wide ban on the substance being sold as a health supplement. It is controlled in many countries, including Denmark, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Canada, and Australia.
Signs of Addiction
Here are a few signs that you or your loved one is suffering from Kratom addiction:
- Dilated pupils
- Increased urination
It is possible to test for Kratom in a screening, but it requires specialized tests.
Treating Kratom Dependence
While there is overall less abuse of Kratom in America than of opiates such as heroin, dependence can develop rapidly and effects can be severe, hence the number of trips to the E.R. reported across the country related to the substance.
Kratom dependence is treated much like an opioid, due to the many similarities. The first step is medically supervised detoxification. Being under the care of a trained physician is essential to lessen withdrawal symptoms.
Upon completion, outpatient is recommended for up to three months, and should be tailored to the needs of each individual, based on their behavioral patterns. Working to uncover the reasons for dependence, such as depression, anxiety, or abuse, is essential for the recovering addict.
No two people are the same, so we have built a system tailored to each individual based on their needs, which increases the chance of long-term recovery. Some of these treatments are:
- Behavioral modification
- (RPP) Relapse Prevention Program
- Psychiatric counselling