What Is the Plant-Based Drug Kratom?

You may have heard of the herbal supplement kratom. It has been used in Southeast Asia for centuries to treat aches and pains and increase energy. In low doses, kratom acts like a mild stimulant, resulting in higher energy levels. In higher doses, the substance acts as a pain reliever and can trigger a sense of euphoria. 

Kratom was introduced in the United States in the 1990s. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has not approved it for any medical use, and it is listed by the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) as a drug of concern. As the use of kratom and kratom products continues to rise, so does the potential for its abuse. 

What is Kratom?

In the coffee family, kratom is extracted from the leaves of a tropical evergreen tree, which contain 7-a-hydroxymitragynine and mitragynine, two psychoactive ingredients. These opioid-like compounds in the bitter leaves have psychotropic or mind-altering effects. In high doses, kratom can result in psychotic symptoms and physiological and psychological dependence.

Does Kratom Affect the Brain?

Kratom’s effect on the brain is similar to the effects of stimulants and opioids. Many chemical compounds in kratom interact with the brain’s opioid receptors. With doses of less than five grams, users typically feel euphoric and more energetic. They feel alert, their sex drive increases, and they experience relief from aches and pains.

A dose of kratom higher than six grams can result in intoxication, causing the user to experience deep sedation and stupor. They will have a loss of coordination, slurred speech, and may experience respiratory depression.

The Effects of Kratom on the Body

The main side effects of kratom on the body are the same as the side effects of opioids. Users may experience loss of appetite, severe weight loss, nausea, vomiting, dry mouth, and sweating. They may be itchy, constipated, and have increased urination. They may suffer from anorexia, drowsiness, and insomnia.

Some kratom users may experience psychotic symptoms like confusion, delusion, and hallucinations. 

There is not any federal regulation of kratom in the United States. This means the government does not guarantee or check on the safety or quality of any products containing kratom in the United States or online. However, because of its addictive properties and potentially harmful effects, the DEA is considering making it a controlled substance.

As of now, six states have made growing, possessing, selling, or using kratom illegal. These states include:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Indiana
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • Wisconsin

Other states have passed the Kratom Consumer Protection Act (KCPA). This act protects the legality of kratom and permits states to set their own regulations, such as minimum age. Currently, these states include:

  • Arizona
  • Georgia
  • Nevada
  • Utah

Kratom is legal in the remaining states, but it is regulated.

Kratom on the Street

Users commonly call kratom by street names such as Herbal speedball, Biak, and Thang. Kratom is sold in many different types of stores and online. In most states, it can be found in smoke shops, health stores, gas stations, convenience stores, mini-marts, head shops, vape shops, and other types of specialty stores.

How Do People Take Kratom?

Most commonly, kratom is taken as a capsule, pill, or extract. But it can also be taken by brewing tea from its leaves, mixing a powdered form into food, smoking or chewing dried leaves, or vaping. 

Do You Need Help?
Are you or a loved one struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol? Help is available. Take the first step and contact English Mountain Recovery today. Located in the Smoky Mountains in Sevierville, Tennessee, our professional team is ready to help you through your journey to recovery.