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The Truth About Kratom

Kratom is gaining popularity among users for boosting energy levels, but safety concerns also are increasing.

 

Increased energy levels, mood enhancement, pain reliever, and an antidote for opioid withdrawal are some of the benefits users talk about when discussing Kratom. It’s flooding the health news and being stocked on the shelves of vitamin stores, but is it safe? The answer to this question is no, despite what many online are saying about its effectiveness the truth is there are many safety issues surrounding it.

 

What is Kratom?

Kratom is a tropical, evergreen tree native to Southeast Asia. The leaves of this tree are broken down to form an herbal extract that goes by the same name, Kratom. Kratom leaves may be chewed, dried to be brewed as tea, smoked, or eaten in food. When the leaves are broken down to powder or liquid substance people can consume Kratom in the form of a pill, capsule, extract, or gum.

 

The compounds contained in the leaves have a psychotropic, or mind-altering effects that are believed to act on the brain’s opioid receptors, therefore, causing effects it mirrors that of opioids and stimulants. Kratom is an illegal substance, yet easily attained.

 

Why Do People Use Kratom?

People use Kratom for many reasons. At a low dosage, it is said to provide energy, enhance people’s moods, relieve muscle pain, eliminate cramps, suppress appetites, stop diarrhea and panic attacks. Higher dosages relieve pain and create euphoria. At very high dosages it behaves like a sedative, and some use Kratom to eliminate opioid withdrawal because of its accessibility compared to opioids.

 

Users sometimes claim Kratom is safe for recreational usage because it is plant-based and natural. The problem with is that the active ingredient I Kratom plants can differ significantly causing the ability to measure the effectiveness of a single dose very complicated, thus possibly very dangerous for the user.

 

What are the side effects of using Kratom?

Nausea, chills, and vomiting

Itching

Sweating

Dry mouth

Changes in urine and constipation

Loss of appetite

Seizures

Hallucinations

Dizziness

Drowsiness

Depression

Breathing suppression

Coma and Death

 

Once Kratom is ingested after 5 to 10 minutes, it begins to take effect, and the results may last up to five hours. As with most pain medications, most of the problems associated with Kratom occur with higher dosage over more extended periods. The level or amount of Kratom taken to cause toxic effects is still unknown, but overdose is possible.

 

How many people have overdosed on Kratom?

Several reports of overdose involve Kratom, in most of these overdose deaths, other drugs were also present. In 2019 the National Poison Data System found there were 11 deaths between 2011-2017 with Kratom exposure. Two of these deaths resulted from Kratom alone. No other drugs were present. In 2017 the FDA reports 44 overdose deaths involving Kratom, one of these occurred from Kratom use only. It is essential to know that the FDA discovered that these deaths were often associated with Kratom being laced with other substances such as illicit drugs, opioids, benzodiazepines, alcohol, caffeine, fentanyl, cocaine, and over-the-counter medications like cough syrup. Kratom is also known for being found in dietary supplements that resulted in death.

 

Is Kratom addictive?

The studies surrounding Kratom are not entirely conclusive, but most healthcare providers agree that the research shows that safety concerns far outweigh any benefit. Kratom has opioid-like effects and therefore may produce dependence in its users. Treatment for people experiencing Kratom dependency or addiction finds behavioral counseling to be an effective option. Kratom is not regulated in the United States, and the FDA is taking action to help combat many of the false claims surrounding it. If you or someone you love is seeking treatment options for Kraton usage work with your doctor to find the best treatment options.