The opioid epidemic is having a devastating impact on communities all across the United States. Countless people began taking opioids to treat the pain caused by injury and illness and have ended up hopelessly addicted to the drugs. While traditional methods of therapy have been unsuccessful in breaking the hold opioids have on millions of people, a growing number of people are turning to alternative medicine to find a cure. One method that has helped people to end their addiction to opioids is the use of Kratom. For many people it’s the only thing that has offered a glimmer of hope for ending their battle with opioid addiction.
What Is Kratom and is it legal?
Kratom is a preparation made from the leaves of the tropical evergreen tree Mitragyna speciose. The tree, a relative of coffee, is indigenous to Southeast Asia and has long been used in traditional medicines in countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea and Thailand. Researchers say Kratom has both some stimulant-like effects and opioid properties depending how much of it is consumed. Traditionally, Kratom leaves are smoked, chewed, dried and brewed as a tea or added to food and eaten. In modern times people also ingest it in a pill or capsule.
Benefits Of Kratom
In Southeast Asia, workers use Kratom for its stimulant effect. It is said to limit fatigue and increase energy and stamina. It has also been used to provide relief for people suffering from chronic pain, mood disorders, anxiety and depression. For a growing number of people, Kratom has been the key to helping them overcome their addiction to morphine, codeine, oxycodone, hydrocodone and other opioids. While some scientists rave about the potential of Kratom to combat addiction, others call for caution using it. However, many former opioid addicts say using Kratom helped to break their addiction.
Do It Yourself Opioid Detox
While almost no detox centers use Kratom as part of their treatment, many former opioid addicts have reported using Kratom to wean themselves off opioid abuse. They say it dulls the pain associated with withdrawal, kills the brain’s desire for opiates and helps to clear their minds. Most say they haven’t experienced any side effects from using Kratom. They simply take two to four capsules of Kratom each day and gradually their desire to take opioids dissipates without out them experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Many credit the ease with which Kratom can be used for their success overcoming opioid addiction.
A Widely Discussed Treatment
According to experts on addiction, many people struggling with opioid dependency are discussing the effectiveness of Kratom. Growing numbers of them are eschewing traditional, in-patient, medical-based withdrawal and trying Kratom instead. Recent surveys suggest that for about 70% of Kratom users in the United States, the goal of taking it is to reduce or end their addiction to heroin or opioids. Most of them heard of the little-known herb through the grapevine and decided to give it a try. For many people beaten down by opioid addiction, Kratom has provided a ray of hope.
Kratom is Sold Online Legally
In the United States Kratom is legal in all but six states and Washington D.C. and is easily available via the internet. The ease of access is one of the benefits of Kratom. It is affordable and that makes it easier to self-treat. However, it’s important to ensure it is pure and unadulterated. Consistently getting high quality Kratom plays a role in the results people enjoy as well. Users just need a reliable source where every batch of Kratom sold is tested to ensure it has no contaminants like heavy metals and it has the appropriate alkaloid content. Plus, getting the right strain from a certified seller helps.
Different Forms Of Kratom
Kratom is available in several different forms. They include leaves, enhanced leaves, powders, extracts, tinctures and resins. Resin is a very strong tar-like concentrated form of Kratom. Kratom powder is also very strong. It is made by crushing the leaf segments with the highest concentration of active alkaloids. Stem and Vein Kratom is made from material removed prior to grinding. It only contains 25% of the active alkaloids. Kratom extract is a concentrated powdered form of the leaf that delivers a strong, enhanced effect. Kratom Tincture is made by dissolving concentrated Kratom powder in alcohol. Delivered sublingual, it has a very powerful effect. Enhanced Kratom is made by adding Kratom extract to Kratom powder. Crushed Leaf Kratom contains the crushed stem, veins and leafs and is used to make tea. Kratom capsules is powdered Kratom in a digestible capsule. This is the most convenient delivery method.
Few Human Studies with Kratom
Very few human studies of Kratom have been done. Edward W. Boyer, MD, Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s Department of Emergency Medicine’s director of academic development published one study in 2008. It looked at a 43-year-old male opioid abuser who began using Kratom and abruptly stopped taking opioids. He bought the Kratom online and drank Kratom tea four times daily to stave off his opioid withdrawal symptoms. The tea significantly reduced his pain, helped stop his cravings, improved his mood and made him feel good. He didn’t experience drowsiness or any other side effects. He went from injecting opioids to living a normal life without going to rehab.
No Withdrawal Symptoms
Using Kratom to break an addiction to opioids allows users to suffer almost no withdrawal symptoms. Their energy level increases, they feel more productive, begin doing the things the once loved once again and are able resume a normal lifestyle. Kratom research done on mice show its ability to eliminate withdrawal symptoms with no side effects. Kratom users rave about Kratom’s ability eliminate both the desire for and withdrawal symptoms from opioids. One user called Kratom ‘a real lifesaver’ that gave him back his self-respect, accountability and his former life.
Pharmacology Of Kratom
Analysis conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration show Kratom contains over 20 alkaloids. They provide most of Kratom’s pain-relieving action The indole alkaloid mitragynine found in Kratom is classified by the FDA as being a kappa-opioid receptor agonist and is believed to provide its opioid-like effects. Animal studies suggest Kratom pharmacologic action impacts the mu and delta-opioid receptors and the spinal cord’s serotonergic and noradrenergic pathways. The researchers also postulate post-synaptic alpha-2 adrenergic receptors stimulation and 5-hydroxytryptamine 2A receptor blocking may also occur and may be responsible for Kratom’s effectiveness treating pain and preventing opioid withdrawal symptoms.
Onset And Duration Of Effects
Both anecdotal and animal study evidence show about 10 minutes after using Kratom, it’s effect begin. It can last one and five hours depending on the size of the dose. Users feel boosted physical energy and increased alertness. They report feeling less stressed or anxious, having sharpened focus and getting effective relief from or prevention of withdrawal symptoms. Kratom is said to be an effective anti-inflammatory, can lower blood pressure, blood sugar and fever, help suppress coughs and has local anesthetic and antidiarrheal properties. Some say it enhances sexual function.
People who have used Kratom for long periods say in addition to eliminating pain, helping to break their addiction to opioids and warding off symptoms of withdrawal, the herb can have some minor side effects. They include occasional insomnia, constipation if they eat a high fat diet, reduced appetite and increased urination. However, these effect can be prevented by taking only the prescribed dose, eating a balanced diet, drinking an adequate amount of water and avoiding excessive use of this alternative medicine.