Signs advertising kratom in your city or neighborhood may have popped up in your neighborhood like dandelions. While kratom is a legal substance, you may not know what kratom is, what it does, or why people take it.
Herbal supplements and supposed wonder drugs have been part of our culture for years. Traveling medicine shows, late-night infomercials, and now internet advertising has all sung the praises of mysterious compounds and powders.
The question remains, is kratom safe? Read on for some important kratom facts.
What Is Kratom?
Kratom is a naturally occurring plant in southeast Asia with the scientific name Mitragyna speciosa. For years, natives of Thailand, Malaysia, and other countries in that geographic location have used the plant for its medicinal properties like pain management.
In southeast Asia, natives often ingest kratom by simply chewing leaves or brewing tea from them. In the United States, kratom is often sold in capsule or powder form, though you may find it sold as a liquid extract.
Is kratom safe? The people of southeast Asia think so.
What Does Kratom Do?
The effects of kratom vary depending on how much you take.
Taken in small doses, its effect is similar to that of a cup of coffee or energy drink. A smaller dose can increase concentration and productivity.
Larger doses, however, create an opioid-like effect and work as a pain reliever and sedative. Prevailing FDA research shows the alkaloid compounds mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine attach to the opioid receptors in your brain.
Given its effectiveness as a pain reliever and sedative, and its ability to attach to opioid receptors, kratom is increasingly used as a method to mitigate the effects of opioid withdrawal.
Kratom is legal in Florida and most US states.
Despite the anecdotal evidence of its helpful effects with opioid withdrawal symptoms and stress relief, in 2016, the Drug Enforcement Administration attempted to classify kratom as a Schedule 1 drug. In 2017, the FDA issued a warning about its “opioid-like effects.”
Though kratom’s legality has been challenged and continues to be by federal drug enforcement agencies, as of today it remains a legal substance.
As the government continues its push toward prohibition, scientists routinely caution federal agencies to maintain kratom’s legal status.
Given its possible positive opioid withdrawal mitigation use, many scientists advocate for kratom to remain legal, yet regulated so they can study it further and reach consensus on the facts about kratom.
Is Kratom Safe?
Though kratom has been used for years in other cultures, The United States government maintains the position that it is ultimately unsafe because of its opioid-like effects. Research scientists, however, state that more study is needed to determine whether the prohibition of kratom is warranted.
Like any other unregulated substance purchased over the counter, the answer to the question is kratom safe varies depending on who you ask. Ultimately, the safety of kratom consumption is dependent on your research on quality and purity.
Take care to study who makes it before you take it.