Is it a drug? A medicine? A vitamin?
Is it an opioid? A psychedelic? An amphetamine?
Any time a new drug shows up on the scene, we can be sure of two things. The kids will act like it was just invented, and the adults will freak out and try to outlaw it. With Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa), both are true.
Kratom grows indigenous in Malasia and other areas of southern Asia. There are two (known) active ingredients in Kratom: mitragynine and (far less) 7-hydroxymitragynine. These chemicals bind to opioid receptor sites, but they don't behave like most opioids. And that's how Kratom works its magic. It relieves opioid withdrawal symptoms for many users, and it can provide many of the same analgesic properties as pain killers, but it isn't as addictive as opioids.
If you are struggling with opioid addiction and trying to either reduce or substitute your consumption of heavy opioids like heroin, fentanyl, or other pain killers, you might consider trying Kratom. It has helped many addicted people move from a rut into a new era of our lives. And the science that is already available shows that it is incredibly safe compared to other opioids.
Kratom can be brewed into a tea, or mixed into other flavored beverages. Others prefer to take it in gelcaps to avoid the flavor altogether. Since it can't be injected or snorted in its leaf form, it is less dangerous than traditional opioids--it is much more difficult to overdose. In fact, overdose is nearly unheard of with Kratom, although government agencies have claimed otherwise, citing cases where victims almost always took other drugs that likely contributed to their bad reaction or overdose.
Check out my latest episode with Dr. Oliver Grundmann for an update on the latest findings on Kratom, and for advice about how to use it safely. Dr. Grundmann's latest publication is linked here.
The American Kratom Association (below) is also a great source for more information. They have a list of vendors who have agreed to follow testing standards that ensure safer consumer products. But until it is legalized and regulated, it will continue to be associated with underworld markets.
As I mentioned in the episode, we just saw the preliminary overdose death number from 2019: nearly 71,000. A link to the CDC preliminary 2019 overdose death numbers is HERE.
We have to rethink our drug policy. Until intoxicants like heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and kratom are available from regulated vendors, we remain in danger every time we purchase and consume them. The sooner we begin to pull ourselves out of this hundred year war against our own people--those using drugs--this yearly reminder of our failure will continue to break our hearts.