In Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and the Papua New Guinea areas, kratom is a naturally growing tree. It’s been used for generations as medicine but is also used as a recreational drug. It’s a relative of the coffee plant.
How It Works
Research indicates that there are several substances in kratom which bind with nerve cells and act as an opioid-style painkiller and create this effect in the brain. There haven’t been many studies into what exactly causes the effects of kratom. Some indicate that since kratom is a plant, it’s safe to use. Others indicate that this is not the case. Many plants which produce drugs are not safe to consume, while others are generally considered safe to take such as marijuana. It’s important to note that your results with kratom may be vastly different from someone else.
Research into Kratom
Researchers at one time thought that kratom could become a safe alternative to using opiates as well as other prescription medications that help people deal with pain issues. The research isn’t conclusive as there may be no tangible benefits to taking it, and there are a lot of safety concerns with the drug. Some research indicates that abnormal brain function occurs when kratom is used with prescription medications. Confusion and severe headache could be an indication that kratom is interfering with your prescription medications if you take it along with them.
Some research indicates that those taking kratom for opioid addiction may develop a dependency on the kratom. This would require further treatment to get them off of kratom as well as the other drug dependencies. Women who give birth while on kratom may have infants with Kratom withdrawal symptoms and will need treatment.
Kratom was contaminated in some cases. Substances used to make it can come into contact with salmonella such as was the case in April 2018. In 38 states, over 130 people suffered salmonella poisoning after they took kratom. Salmonella poisoning can be fatal. There has been a reported 35 case of people dying due to Salmonella tainted Kratom. The risks of salmonella-tainted kratom are growing. There are no warning signs that you may be suffering from salmonella poisoning.
Some physicians indicate that kratom may be harmful or addictive. Some states have banned products that contain kratom. In Australia, Malaysia, Thailand, and in some places in Europe it’s a controlled substance. In 2016, the FDA in America proposed that a ban on kratom should be implemented. They are waiting for further studies by scientists before they make their final decisions.
The drug on the street can be quite dangerous. It’s often combined with other substances or drugs. Krypton is one version of kratom that you’ll find on the street. It’s combined with other chemicals which open up the opioid receptors in the brain. Respiratory failure is a common side effect of Krypton which is fatal. Another danger of the drug is that you can fall asleep when taking it. At a high dosage, choking or vomiting may occur while sleeping. It’s not safe to operate machinery or drive when on kratom as the risk of falling asleep or losing coordination is high. Pregnant women should never use kratom as it’s a significant risk to the pregnancy.
If you have an opioid dependency, there are ether options to treat that dependency. Taking kratom is probably not the best option. It’s s dangerous to take it on your own as there are a lot of unknowns about the drug. There are far too many risks to taking it as you normally don’t know where it is coming from or who made it.
Kratom was once ground up, used in teas or in cooking. Today, it’s smoked like marijuana or made into Kratom pills. When it’s taken at a lower dosage, you have stimulant effects. The stimulant effect is like amphetamines. Symptoms include more sex-drive, alertness, more energy, and decreased appetite. You may enter a dream-like state or get sleepy at a higher level. Some side effects at high dosages may include itching, nausea, constipation, sedation, and other symptoms. The substance should be considered to be addictive, and like other drugs, you may become dependant on it if the drug is abused. This means it’s generally not that safe to take. It contains the alkaloids found in hallucinogenic mushrooms and opium.
Combing kratom with other substances can be quite dangerous. This may lead to seizures or other problems. It should not be taken with any prescription medications. Dangerous side effects may occur. How it will interact with your medications is not known. The risk of accidental death also significantly increases when kratom is used with controlled substances.
You can overdose on kratom. The risk of this is higher when combined with other substances. This overdose can be fatal, just like it can with other drugs. Some symptoms include breathing problems, lethargy, impaired motor skills, or slurred speech. Other severe symptoms may include aggression, hallucinations, delusions, listlessness, and tremors. Between 2010-2015 there were over 600 calls to poison control centers about kratom. In 2016 this increased to 480 calls that year. The use of kratom is increasing, and this raises the risks of overdose. It’s important to note that kratom overdoses are usually not as severe as other controlled substances but can still be fatal. Any suspected overdose or strong reaction to the drug will require immediate medical attention. You should immediately cease use of kratom if you have a reaction to it.
Long-Term Impact of Usage
There have not bees a lot of studies into the long-term effects of Kratom use. Withdrawal from kratom is similar to withdrawal from other controlled substances. Some long-term impacts may include kidney failure or liver problems. Kratom can interfere with the ability of the body to remove harmful toxins. Dark urine, yellow skin, and yellow eyes are symptoms of liver problems. Organ damage is possible with a high dosage of kratom over a period of time. Risk increases, the more you take. In Thailand where Kratom use is common, long term effects notices have included skin hyperpigmentation which is dark areas of skin on the body.
Other reasons kratom isn’t safe are the fact that it makes you sleepy and people who take it could fall asleep, and with high doses, could vomit and choke during their sleep.
Also, it’s dangerous to drive or operate machinery while using it since kratom can lead to problems with coordination and sleepiness. Women who are pregnant or nursing are advised never to use kratom.
Some strains of kratom may be more problematic. Users have reported something called the “Kratom hangover.” This is increased anxiety, irritability, headaches, and nausea. These symptoms are in line with the hangover that other drugs such as alcohol produces.
Pros and Cons
There are no real pros to taking kratom as it’s a drug. Some indicate it may help people recover from opioid addiction or as an alternative to other opiates, but this has not been proven. There are no real regulations on the use of kratom. It’s not clear how the drug impacts people. Your reaction to it may vary. It’s still far more dangerous than simple marijuana. Some pros may include:
- Higher energy levels
- More alertness
- Better sex-drive
The cons of this drug far outweigh any advantages. Symptoms all depend upon how much of the drug a person takes. Large dosages are not recommended. These symptoms may include:
- Not being able to feel pain
- Severe sweating
- Constricted pupils
- Wanting to sleep often
- Delusion or hallucinations
- Depression of the respiratory system
Kratom and the FDA
Kratom has a lot of controversies. Some believe that it’s a helpful drug, while others have other opinions. More research needs to take place before final conclusions can be made. The research into kratom is not conclusive. It’s often combined with other drugs so its hard to know what is causing some results. The FDA has a concern about this. They have released advisory indicting the there are “increased risks of taking Kratom.” At the time of their statement that indicated that kratom was involved in 36 deaths. They did not indicate where or how the deaths occurred or what other factors may have been involved. Scott Gottlieb, the FDA commissioner, indicated that there’s no evidence to support the use of kratom to treat opioid disorders. He indicated that users should consult with health care providers about drug interactions, side effects, and dangers of using kratom on their own. Others claim it helps an abuser reduce their dependency on pain pills, heroin, and other opiates which is why they take it. The confusion and conflicting information should raise red flags on anyone willing to take it.
What will happen with kratom in the future is not clear. It may become illegal, or it may receive some government regulation like other drugs. Since there is a lot of controversy with kratom, users are taking a risk when they consume it. This can be said of any drug, including marijuana. As a user, you don’t know how your body will react to it.