For several years now, a controversial drug has created quite some arguments amongst scientists and medical practitioners—Kratom, scientifically known as Mitragyna speciosa.
One of the plant that is growing naturally in southeast Asia and commonly found in this region is this herbal plant that has been used by many for health benefits hence a potential medication but at the same time some have expressed their concerns on its potential dangerous attributes hence risk and safety profile.
The idea behind this article is to shed light on diverse kratom aspects such as its origins, chemistry, possible advantages as well as limitations, and particularly controversial side that revolves around the kratom problem.
Introduction to Kratom
It is a tree indigenous mainly to Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Myanmar, which produces the opiate-like substance called kratom.
The leaves of this plant had been used as a stimulant and a painkiller in Southeastern Asia for many years.
It belongs to the coffee family known as Rubiaceae and it has large dark-green leaves.
Kratom is a substance which has been in existence since at least the 1800′s where it was frequently consumed by manual workers and agriculturalists for stamina and relief from exhaustion.
Kratom leaves were chewed or made into tea for its stimulant effects like coffee in many cultures.
Additionally, it served as a pharmaceutical solution to issues like pains and diarrheaa.
Kratom in the West
The beginning of kratom’s road to the West world can be traced back to the 20th century when there was a rising demand for natural healing elements and herbal medicines.
In the last two or three decades, they have become popularly used over there in US and Europe in the dietary supplements and herbal remedies.
These kratom product is easy accessible through online purchase or specialized stores. They are presented as an organic substitute for pain pills like opioids.
Chemical Composition of Kratom
One of the primary ways of learning about kratom’s effects and potential risks is through analysis of its chemical composition.
Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine are the two main and medicinally effective alkaloids of kratom leaves containing more than forty other substances.
Kratom mainly consists of a potent alkaloid called mitragynine, which induces stimulation and relieves pain.
Unlike other opioids, it is relatively safe on the body’s opioid receptors and does not cause respiratory depression to the same extent as other opioids.
Although it contains less amount as compared to mitragynine but it has stronger impact and this is the main cause behind the relaxing effect of these drugs known as Kratom. Secondly, it interacts with receptor sites for opioids and thus enhances pain-relieving properties of the plant.
Many other alkaloids are found in kratom such as paynantheine and speciogynine that have different effects on the body.
The total pharmacological profile of kratom is determined by these alkaloid and their different possible outcomes.
Potential Benefits of Kratom
Supporters of kratom stress that its responsible use may yield considerable advantages. While scientific research on kratom is still in its early stages, some studies and anecdotal evidence suggest that it may have therapeutic applications in the following areas:
Probably the top advantage associated with using kratom is that it alleviates body aches such as headaches, muscle cramps, and back pains among other symptoms.
When mitragynine combines along with 7-hydroxymitragynine they bind onto opioid receptors to cause analgesias or as we know it as pain release. A few people who suffer from chronic pain cases claim that kratom works for them.
Kratom has also been considered useful in helping patients get rid off the dependence with opioids and subsequently assisting in alleviating the effects of opioid withdrawal symptoms.
Many people reportedly used Kratom to wean themselves off opioids by reducing craving and easing withdrawals pain.
This drug is also popular for its euphoric effect. A lot of people using it say they have more energy, better concentration, as well as high spirit. others are going further, some even comparing its effect to that of stimulant like caffeine.
Anxiety and Depression
People, however, have many non-scientific reports of kratom for use in treating signs of depression and anxiety.
Although some people indicate that kratom relieves their mood disorder, there exists little scientific proof about the same.
Stimulation and Focus
There is a particular type of kratom that is known for boosting productivity and concentration levels. Hence, kratom has been considered by others as an alternative natural cognitive enhancer.
Risks and Concerns
While kratom may have some advantages, it also carries many risks as well. The debate surrounding kratom centers largely on these potential downsides:
Dependence and Addiction
There is a huge amount of worries that are directed towards developing dependence as well as addiction tendencies.
Chronic exposure to kratom causes it also to become tolerant and this means that an individual has to take even greater amounts in order for the effects to be seen.
Using kratom may lead to withdrawal syndrome with symptoms such as irritation and insomnia along with muscle pain among others when one wishes to withdraw it.
The use of kratom has been associated with a number of health problems such as hepatotoxicity and seizures. Some people’s bodies have reacted badly due to documented cases of similar incidents including death.#
Lack of Regulation
A major factor that needs consideration is the little or no regulations put into place in the kratom market.
Unlike pharmaceutical drugs which undergo strict testing and quality checks, kratom products do not go through a similar procedure. The company may then end up producing low-quality and unsafe goods.
Contamination and Adulteration
Studies reveal that various kratom products are contaminated with pathogens, heavy metals, and various other substances.
Some vendors spike their merchandise with fake substances and other drugs leaving unsuspicious buyers in the dark about what they consume.
Kratom has varying legality in different regions and countries. Some parts of this planet find it completely okay, while others consider it a drug.
This, however, makes the debate even more complicated because of the uncertainly as regards to the legality question.
The Ongoing Debate
Kratom has been an issue of contention. Proponents of the drug argue that it promotes health while opponents indicate detrimental effects.
This ongoing discourse has led to various actions and developments in recent years:
The issue of kratoms legal standing is controversial. For instance, in the United states, the drug enforcement administration DEA attempted to schedule it as a controlled substance in 2016 only to withdraw due to public outcry.
However, there are some states and municipalities which have banned kratom.
In response to safety concerns, initiatives have been undertaken to regulate the kratom industry. Supporters contend that appropriate regulation could assist in maintaining the desired quality and security of these products; though caution is required to safeguard access rights for users of kratom.
Research and Education
Kratom’s scientific research is growing and more literature is being published examining its pharmacology, safety, and beneficial properties.
The government is also carrying out education and awareness programs that educate the public on reasonable measures of kratom usage and dangers to consider.
Certainly, the issue of kratom remains unsettled. The natural herb possesses a complicated mixture of chemicals that could be useful but also dangerous.
It gives relief from pain, mood disorder, and opioid withdrawal symptom but it also causes dependence, adverse health effects and product quality issues to other people.
It is important that people use kratom carefully until scientists can study the plant better and regulators make more laws about kratom.
It is not yet clear whether kratom will be accepted as a useful therapeutic instrument, or banned for safety reasons.
On the other hand, the talks are ongoing, and it is still a matter of concern on how this herb will travel through the western world. Visit our article dedicated to the issue of how kratom suppliers participate in the current dispute.