kratom facts

The enigma of nature is that every plant and herb has some effect on our bodies and mind. Apart from natural foods, several supplements impact our lives in more than one way. Kratom is the ‘new kid on the block’ when it comes to natural health supplements. There isn’t much anyone knows, but we hear a lot about it! Before you give it a try, there are a few key kratom facts you should know!

Kratom is one of the millennial discoveries but is creating waves in the United States. From FDA, and DEA to the people who wish to try it out; kratom has become a controversial yet liked herbal supplement.

Before you dive in and try some varieties, here are a few kratom facts that will at least allow you to pass the first test about this herb!

1. Kratom originates from leaf of a tree indigenous to Southeast Asia

Kratom is a plant that grows in the Southeast Asian region. Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea are the few countries that produce and export kratom to other countries. The kratom trees grow only in this region and they cater the whole world’s kratom needs!

Every kratom-growing place has its climate and soil conditions, which give the plant a distinct quality. It has various types based on the color of the strain and the origin — you may have heard about Green Bali kratom or Red Malay kratom.

The colors of the leaf vein and the source make up a different chemical substance that gives each kratom variation its distinct properties.

Next time when you talk about kratom variations, you will know why there are so many kinds of plant supplement.

2. The two prominent Kratom alkaloids mostly found in different varieties

Kratom contains two potent alkaloids, namely Mitragynine and 7-Hydroxymitragynine. These two main alkaloids are what bring about the reactions in our bodies.

When the alkaloids react with the opioid receptors in our body, sedation and pain relief are experienced.

Other reactions cause stimulation and energizing effects as well.

The results of kratom are dose-dependent, and a smaller dose will invigorate the senses, and users will feel euphoric and liberated. When a user consumes a higher dose, the effects are soothing and relaxing.

In moderation, these alkaloids will help you feel more energetic, focused, motivated, and stimulated. Kratom is used as a stimulant and energy booster by many people who wish to lead a more productive and fruitful daily and professional life.

3. Benefits and effects are backed by science

Although there is no sufficient study or research to demonstrate medically proven benefits of kratom; there is ample proof that kratom works as a refreshing and energizing agent.

The European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction observed that a few grams of kratom could cause alertness and increased focus.

Some of the most prominent effects of kratom are as follows:

  • Pain relief
  • Energy boost
  • Motivation and focus
  • Tranquility and calmness
  • Some strains provide pain relief with slight sedation and peace, while others are more energizing
  • It helps with opioid withdrawal
  • An alternative for pain killers that slow down brain activity
  • It reduces fatigue and stress.
  • Antidepressant

4. Few side effects are common – others can be dangerous

Many people in the Southeast Asian region consider kratom to be a substitute for opium. This substitution is based on the sedation and pain relief factor.

The side effects of kratom are severe, and this causes quite a stir among users as they often get confused. The trick of kratom consumption is the dosage. If you remain within the recommended dosage per day, you will be able to avoid unwanted side effects that only result from an overdose.

There were several deaths from kratom reported in the United States, but the users were on multiple drugs simultaneously. One death was caused by consumption of a ‘cocktail’ of Schedule 1 drugs along with kratom.

The overdose of drugs in these cases was not only from kratom as a mix of opiates heightens the risk of coma and death.

FDA released data concerning deaths from kratom, which revealed that the users did not consume kratom alone, and mixed it with other heavy doses of prescription drugs.

Only one of 44 deaths reported, was due to kratom consumption alone. The FDA did not share details of that case, and therefore, it is hard to decide whether kratom alone can cause death.

Some of the side effects of over-dosage is known so far are:

  • Nausea
  • Weight loss
  • Dry mouth
  • Liver damage
  • Muscular pain
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Hallucinations
  • Breathing issues
  • Depression
  • Coma, or even death

5. FDA has categorized Kratom as an addictive & harmful drug

Ever since kratom was introduced in the United States, there have been multiple incidents of kratom restriction and banning.

Up till 2018, the botanical supplement was categorized as an addictive drug as the FDA did not recognize its efficacy as a health supplement.

Kratom although legal in most of the America, but even now, some states and cities have strict rules about possession, purchase, and use of kratom.

The FDA believes that kratom does not have any health benefits and that it has no medicinal properties. Due to lack of sufficient evidence, the food authority has not regulated kratom product manufacturing and processing.

The state agency has conducted several raids and confiscated kratom in large amounts. Imports were limited, and kratom was banned several times in different states.

The U.S Marshals Service has conducted several raids and confiscated kratom in large amounts in the past. In 2014, the FDA issued an import alert for dietary supplements that contained kratom. A physical examination of all imports became necessary. However, presently, kratom imports and business are legal.

The reason of confiscation was the conservative mindset that kratom is a drug. However, this is not true as kratom has a different chemical composition when compared to Schedule 1 drugs.

6. Kratom is not the same as addictive drugs

The different types of kratom strains impact users in different ways. Sedation, calming nerves, energizing, and stimulating the senses are some of the prominent effects.

Kratom has helped millions of people suffering from chronic pain, and it is not the same as other Schedule 1 drugs, which cause side effects even when the impact of the substance begins to wear off.

Red vein Bali kratom is an effective and quick pain killer and is considered a potent strain. However, it will not make you want to take another dose as soon as the effect of kratom begins to weaken.

7. Kratom may become a habit

Yes, you read it right! We just explained how kratom causes dependence and often people who consume this substance daily feel as if they need to keep taking it. The higher the dosage, the more dependence users will feel. However, since kratom is not like a typical drug, the withdrawal symptoms are much less. A user can get used to kratom, but it is equally easy to withdraw from this substance.

8. Kratom might not be a safe drug if taken at high doses

Kratom is a plant, and it cannot harm you until you don’t know how much to consume. Yes, if taken excessively, it may cause uncomfortable and undesirable side effects. However, if a user remains prudent and uses the botanical supplement in mediocrity, it cannot harm you at all! It will add to your well-being in multiple ways.

Several types of research and studies show the positive effects of kratom when taken in small amounts. There can be various reasons, such as chronic pain or diseases that require users to consume more kratom per day than others. This dosage is only for people who suffer from extreme anxiety and need a more substantial dosage to overcome it.

When used in moderation, kratom has helped millions of people lead a healthy and productive life, which they could not imagine before.

You can read the side effects of overdose above, but these effects are for extreme cases where kratom was used with other drugs.

Users can keep a middle course and benefit from all the sound effects only!

9. Kratom is available in different forms

Kratom capsules, powders, teabags, extract oils, and even edibles are available in the market. You may also find the new kratom tablets on leading websites that sell kratom.

But how do you know which one is the best way to consume kratom?

This choice depends on how you like to take your daily kratom fix.

  • Kratom powder can be a little tricky, but there are many ways that you can use it. People like to add this powder to their smoothies or edibles, and they also take it with water.
  • The same powder can be used as tea also.
  • Kratom gummies and extracts are also an easy way to consume the botanical supplement, but tablets and capsules don’t leave an aftertaste, which people desire.

You can try different ways of consuming kratom and choose the one that suits you the most.

10. The different strains are for different effects

The green, red, and white leaf vein plays an integral part in the alkaloid nature of the plant. The place of growth for kratom and the vein colour contribute to the properties offered by each strain. The various types of kratom provide different benefits to users.

Some strains are relaxing and may even cause hallucinations if taken in large amounts.

  • The Green Vein Malay kratom provides energy and stimulation when consumed moderately. As you increase the dosage, it may act as an analgesic with sedation. The green vein kratom types are often used as mood enhancers and increase focus.
  • The white vein kratom strains are milder than the other two variations. White Vein Indo kratom is often used as a tranquilizer, pain relief, and promoting well-being.

11. For beginner, it might be difficult to find the right strains

Red vein Bali kratom is a sedating and pain killing kratom type. Similarly, green vein Indo kratom is energizing and increases focus. The various health issues call for a different kind of kratom strains.

Several users find it hard to find the right strain for themselves! You might have to try out different strains before settling for the one that suits you most!

Apart from red, white, and green vein kratom variations, you will find yellow and golden kratom as well! These are the various blends that combine the different kinds of kratom to give users a combination of effects.

Yellow kratom can be from different variations and offers tranquility without sedation and drowsiness. You will feel focused, energetic, and motivated while pains and aches diminish.

12. It has gained positive user reviews but adverse media coverage

While kratom users vouch for the substance, there are so many public forums and newspapers that publicize negatively. You will find a lot of kratom reports that claim the harmful properties of the substance.

Several news sources talk about kratom’s nature as a drug. Such newspapers and publications contribute to the doubt that people often have towards this substance.

On the contrary, there are several platforms and social media pages where you may find very positive feedback of users.

Several newspapers print outrageous news since FDA does not support the natural substance. The alarmist headlines cause a stir, and eventually, people fear using such a robust natural substance.

You must study both kinds of opinions and decide what you think is right. Moreover, there are many types of research and studies that help understand what kratom is all about!

13. Know Is that Kratom legal in your area

The products you buy from various vendors have been through a process of harvesting, grinding, and packing in the United States. The kratom suppliers remain vigilant and meticulous in packing as the freshness of the powder, or dried leaves is what makes kratom effective.

Kratom is available in the United States through local vape/smoke shops and online vendors. You must be aware of the status of kratom in your city as there are still a few cities where kratom is not allowed.

If it is legal in your place of residence, you can order the kratom type that suits you and get on the road to better health and lifestyle!

Currently, kratom is legal in all states except Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Vermont, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin.

In July 2019, Michigan started considering the regulation of kratom. Some counties in Florida and a city in California still do not allow possession or trade of kratom. However, with time, awareness, and use, the ban will wear out in the whole country!

14. Love and hate relationship continues

Kratom users love this supplement as it gives them a chance to improve their living while the FDA has extreme views of this plant. So then, who should one follow?

Yes, there may be limited research on kratom to prove the benefits, but users are the best window into how kratom works.

If you want to give this supplement a try, first read all about the plant and how it impacts people. There are several public discussion forums where people talk about their experiences. You can also join social media groups and ask people about kratom and how it affected them.

There is ample proof through users that kratom is worth a try and helps with health issues that cause pain. You can even find out which strain is best for you! According to your needs, you will be able to find the right blend or strain that works on the health conditions you face.

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Dr Hina Nasir
Hina is a recent medical graduate and the President of the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations-Pakistan (IFMSA-Pakistan). She is an internationally certified IFMSA Medical Education Trainer and a member of the Student Task Force for AMEE Conference 2019. Her aspiration to make medical education and health in Pakistan, top of the line motivates her to work harder. She has over five years’ experience of leading various NGOs with a focus on SDGs, WHO global action plans and Human rights. Hina has represented Pakistan as the Head of the delegation of Pakistani medical students at the IFMSA MM18 at Egypt. Her policy on Trade and Health was adopted at the IFMSA March Meeting 2019 in Slovenia.

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