The safety of kratom
Natural herbs are typically touted as a much safer alternative to their pharmaceutical counterparts, but are all of them as safe as what they are boasted as being? Where does the Asian plant, Kratom, fall when it comes to health benefits and safety? It has grown increasingly in popularity and claims indicate it has incredible power. Let’s look deeper into the facts about this natural herb.
Scientifically known as Mitragyna Speciosa or more commonly known as Kratom is a tropical tree that is native to the southeast of Asia. The leaves of the tree contain alkaloids that offer the mind-altering effects giving kratom the reputation it has come to know. For centuries people have used these leaves in treating various pain conditions and other ailments.
The traditional use of kratom was in the form of powder from the leaves being crushed or there were those who would eat the leaves raw. Nowadays, Kratom is sold in both powder and raw form but also via capsules and tinctures. Kratom is touted as having the potential to aid in the treatment of depression, anxiety, diabetes, hypertension, opiate withdrawal, cough, as well as many other health conditions.
There were many users who have expressed benefit through their use of this herb but there has also been a fair share of those who have seen issues in the way of adverse effects. This caters to the idea as to whether or not the plant is, in fact, a safe alternative or not.
The health benefits of Kratom leaves are claimed to be numerous and powerful due to its ‘morphine-like’ effect. The Kratom leaves hold the unique chemical elements and nutrients that produce these effects on many of the human organs.
- Pain relief. The analgesic properties are rich within the Kratom leaves offering a fast solution to pain relief through the hormonal system which they impact. When chewing the leaves, there is a significant release of dopamine and serotonin further alleviating pain levels. The opium or morphine-type of quality within these leaves is vastly seen as Kratom’s most critical application.
- Immune boost. The resiliency and strength of the immune system are touted as having positive effects due to the variety of alkaloids within the Kratom leaves according to independent studies. Extracts from the leaves become a natural resource for antioxidants.
- Elevated energy. Kratom has the potential to optimize specific metabolic processes, in turn, increases energy levels by impacting the hormone levels.
- Anxiety reduction. Kratom leaves offer anxiolytic elements for people suffering from various disorders such as depression, chronic stress, mood swings, and anxiety. For those who have symptoms of chemical imbalance, Kratom may potentially provide relief through the regulation of hormones.
- Recovery from addiction. For centuries, Kratom has been used in curing addiction due to its healthy nature and range of various effects. Opium addiction is a problem in many cultures but chewing on the Kratom leaves offers a similar effect without the negative adverse effects.
It is claimed that a few of the alkaloids in Kratom have the potential to work in conjunction with the opioid receptors located in the brain in order to bring mind-altering effects rendering it useful for opiate withdrawal symptoms. Using Kratom as a remedy for opioid cravings is boasted as being effective in drug addiction recovery.
When this plant is used in higher doses, Kratom produces effects that are similar to opioids which may be construed as positive for an opioid addict but it will then have the potential for exposure to side effects consistent with the drug such as nausea, itching, constipation, sedation. There is also the possibility that the person using Kratom can begin to feel euphoric if taking it in too high of a dose which is a problem, particularly when trying to perform job or school duties. This can also lead to instances of trouble with the law including DUI convictions when driving in a ‘high’ condition.
When using Kratom in a lower dose
Kratom acts as a stimulant when dosed in a lower form. In these amounts, it acts as coffee would with a boost to energy, heightened sex drive, and elevated alertness.
Contrarily, the lower doses of Kratom can potentially bring bouts of jitters, anxiety, agitation, and coordination problems. There is also the possibility for appetite suppression.
** Potential Side Effects At any Dose
Regardless of the amount of Kratom that you consume there are side effects that are common for anyone to experience. These include:
- Dry mouth
- Muscle pain
- Liver damage
And there is the potential for other side effects as well which will be based on each person’s differing genetic patterns and overall varying reactions to the herb itself.
As with any type of product that you plan to take into your body, you should consult with your physician prior to purchasing in order that you can be monitored throughout the course of taking the substance to sustain the safety of your health.
How to dose kratom will differ from person to person. No specific dose is going to work for everyone. People are going to react differently to the plant depending on their particular body chemistry meaning that what may have worked effectively for someone you know, may not work the same for you. This means that you have to start at a low dose and bump it up gradually until you find your ideal dosing for your makeup. This is the dose where you feel the effects that you are looking for but in no way experienced any type of adverse effects.
Scientists recommend those new to the plant begin at 2-3 grams and allow upwards of 25 minutes to assess how your body is reacting to the effects. If there are no type of changes after that time, increase the dose by 0.5 up to 1 g and the time the reaction again to see what type of changes you will have. The idea is to see what dose is going to give you the effects of the plant.
After you find out the appropriate dose, you can bump it up just a bit to get the effect that is going to satisfy you. But you won’t want to take the dose too high or the health issue that you are having will be joined by negative side effects from the Kratom.
For desired results, these are the best ways in which to take Kratom:
- Focus and energy – 3-6g each day mixed with grapefruit.
- Anxiety and pain – 7-9 g each day. New users should start smaller and build up. A sudden spike of the plant in the body can be harmful.
- Opiate withdrawal. 7-9g 2-4 times each day for the first 3 days and then lower to 5-7g on day 4 and 3-5g on day 5 and 2g on day 6. Most with withdrawal users from opiates quit Kratom after day 7. This plant has been used for opiate drug replacement for a long time as it decreases cravings and assists addicts in staying away from the drugs. You’ll want to use, Kratom while in the care of a detox professional who will aid you in the proper use of kratom for the withdrawal and to reduce the likelihood of Kratom addiction.
In order to get the best possible benefits from Kratom, it’s good not to eat when taking it in order that it is capable of breaking down and absorbing into the system faster and the results will be felt quicker.
So, is Kratom Safe? The United States Food and Drug Administration or FDA does not regulate Kratom as it is a supplement. Any time that you have a product that is not regulated, there is a risk for the possibility of safety hazards, particularly when obtaining the product from suppliers. Having no standardization allows for companies to market this plant in any way that they choose. Kratom offers no official drug warning labels and users are taking the product without any knowledge of what types of other substances are included. Someone purchasing Kratom has no way to tell the potency level of the product or know if it is, in fact, a pure element.
In addition to that, the FDA has made it known to the public that Kratom has properties that users are exposed to that put them at risk for the potential of abusing the herb, addiction to the herb, and dependence on the herb. Throughout the world, Kratom is controlled and even banned within 16 different countries which would include Thailand and Malaysia where it is grown naturally.
It would seem that Kratom offers the potential for certain health benefits to its users, but the possibility that it has for becoming a ‘euphoric’ high as compared to its drug counterparts deems it not particularly a safe alternative but rather just replacing one bad habit for another.