You may have heard of kratom. It’s acquired a great deal of popularity lately, especially as a natural painkiller and antidepressant.
The kratom tree, Mitragyna speciosa, is a tropical species in the coffee family that is native to the lush jungles of Southeast Asia and the Indonesian Archipelago. The leaves of the plant are frequently crushed and brewed in a tea—it has been used in traditional medicines for centuries.
The opioid-like properties of taking kratom have boosted its popularity in Western countries in recent years. So now is an excellent time to take a look at this remarkable herb. Here are seven essential things to know about using kratom.
1. Kratom: How to Use It
Kratom is typically ground into a powder, which can then be ingested in a variety of ways. It has a bitter and unpleasant taste, which probably goes a long way to explaining why it hasn’t been even more popular.
Kratom can be taken directly by placing the powder on one’s tongue and chasing it with a drink (usually fruit juice) to mask the taste. Or, one can take it in capsule form, or brew the powder into a tea.
It can also be made into a potent tincture, which is usually mixed with another beverage.
2. How Does Kratom Work?
No one knows for sure how kratom works.
It’s thought that the active chemical in this nootropic plant is the compound mitragynine. It’s not an opiate, but it binds to opiate receptors to induce a similar painkilling effect.
3. Effects of Taking Kratom
Some of the kratom’s psychoactive effects include a surfeit of physical energy, as well as a diminishment of emotional as well as physical pain.
For some, kratom can reportedly enhance sexual enjoyment. In low doses, it acts mainly as a stimulant—although, at higher doses, it begins to work in a more sedative capacity.
4. Uses For Kratom
Aside from its psychedelic uses, kratom is frequently used in a therapeutic role for various conditions.
For instance, some users take kratom for social anxiety, comparing it favorably to alcohol as a social lubricant—without any of its negative side-effects. Many, of course, ingest kratom powder for pain, and it’s become increasingly popular to take a kratom dosage for opiate withdrawal.
5. Risks of Taking Kratom
In general, the dangers of kratom use appear to be similar to those that typically attend the use of opiates. Upset stomach and vomiting may occur, and there have been reports of liver problems.
Medical studies of prolonged kratom use are few and far between, so the long-term effects of chronic ingestion are not fully understood.
6. Addiction Risk
As with any substance possessing opioid properties, kratom can be addictive with chronic use.
Anorexia and weight loss is a sign of addiction to kratom, as is insomnia, and some have reported symptoms of withdrawal when stopping its use.
7. Legal Status
In the United States, kratom exists in a kind of legal limbo. It’s not exactly illegal at the federal level, but some states and cities have taken their own actions to curb its use.
Cities like San Diego, for example, have banned its sale and possession. Even so, it’s still possible to acquire kratom from certain vendors in the area (see here: https://thekratomconnection.com/buy-kratom-in-san-diego/).
Know the Facts Before Taking Kratom
It’s a good idea before taking kratom to do as much research as possible. Kratom’s popularity has increased in recent years, but it’s always wisest to understand how it will affect you, what to expect from taking it, and proper dosing procedures.
Most importantly, stay safe and always take the necessary precautions when experimenting with any unfamiliar substance.