Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Kratom
The facts surrounding the kratom leaf are clouded by myths, folklore, and misconceptions. Since the increased public awareness of the opioid epidemic in the United States, the kratom leaf has been revealed as an alternate solution to opioid consumption for chronic pain management. It may also provide a way to handle opioid withdrawal for those who have been trying to free themselves from the addictive hold of opioids on their lives.
What it Is
According to Kats Botanicals, kratom leaves come from a tree that’s native to Southeast Asia, mostly in regions of Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Borneo. The botanical name of kratom, mitragyna speciosa, is in the same family as the coffee tree (the Rubiaceae family). Kratom trees thrive in a hot and humid environment where they can grow big and strong. Kratom was originally used to alleviate the symptoms of many conditions, such as insomnia, anxiety, stress, pain, diabetes, and depression.
At one point, kratom became Thailand’s preferred daily supplement and interfered with Thailand’s opium trade, much to the dismay of its government. Farmers devoted to harvesting kratom have their own proprietary processing methods, and the kratom from one brand can differ vastly from the kratom from another brand. In the United States, awareness of opioid abuse has brought kratom to the spotlight as an alternative, nonaddictive approach to pain management.
The History of Kratom
Kratom has been used in Southeast Asia for thousands of years. Because it has been used as an unregulated health and wellness supplement, its existence has mostly escaped the public eye. However, the recent opioid controversy has brought kratom and opioids into the spotlight. Initially, kratom was thought to be an opioid, causing it to be categorized as a controlled substance. However, many in the scientific and medical community admitted that there is no scientific proof that kratom is addictive or detrimental to a person’s health. Even caffeine is considered to be a more addictive substance than kratom. Instead, when used properly, kratom can be a powerful tool to relieve addiction withdrawal. Eventually, the ruling from the Drug Administration was overturned, and people are able to use it freely in many states. According to The Recovery Village, Wisconsin, Indiana, Tennessee, Vermont, and Arkansas are the only states that still consider kratom illegal.
The Benefits of Kratom
According to Inverse, the multitude of benefits of kratom have only been made public knowledge in the United States within the past decade after the opioid controversy made headlines. Although scientific research is still scant in this area, kratom has over a century of positive testimonials. Some of the positive attributes of kratom include:
- Natural pain killer
- Eases stress and anxiety
- Helps to alleviate opioid withdrawal symptoms
- Helps with insomnia
- Eases inflammation
- Boosts immunity
The Different Strains of Kratom Leaves
According to Speciosa Guide, there are many different types of kratom leaves: green, white, and red veined. The different colored veins and stems on kratom leaves symbolize the different chemical properties of the leaves. These differences are the result of varied soil content, rain and dry ratio, and the location of the kratom leaves on a tree. Kratom farmers also each have their own processing methods that can dramatically change the composition of the final powder even more.
Red-vein kratom is the most widely available strain, receives the most sunlight, and is kept under UV light during processing. This strain has a powerful sedative ability and can help with insomnia. Red-leaf kratom can also help relieve pain, stress, and anxiety. White-vein kratom receives less sunlight than the red-vein kratom and is normally processed without any exposure to UV light. White-vein kratom can enhance your mood and is the kratom strain most often used for recreational use. Green-vein kratom has the least exposure to sunlight and is the least potent of the three. It is recommended that new users of kratom start with the red or green variety.
How to Take Kratom
Kratom comes in many forms, including capsules, powders, and leaves. According to Kratom IQ, if you are just starting to take kratom, a low dose, such as 1 gram, is a good start. The body should feel the effects of kratom within 30 minutes after consumption. If the desired effects are not felt after 45 minutes, consider taking an additional 1 to 2 grams. Everybody’s body is different, so learning your body’s ability to absorb kratom is a personal experience. Kratom powder can be taken by mouth and swallowed with liquid or mixed into a smoothie. Kratom also comes in pills or as tea leaves that you can brew. Fresh leaves can be chewed.
How Kratom Helps With Opioid Addiction
With the seriousness of opioid overdose and addiction becoming more common knowledge in recent years, proponents of using kratom to overcome those problems are getting more vocal about kratom’s benefits. Opioid use is one of the main ways that people with health conditions deal with chronic pain. However, opioids, with their many detrimental side effects, such as addiction and respiratory depression, are far from the ideal solution.
According to Missouri Poison Center, kratom is known as an atypical opioid. It offers pain relief but doesn’t interact with the brain the way opioids do. There are two alkaloids in kratom that trigger pain relief: mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine. These two alkaloids travel to the brain to suppress pain, but unlike typical opioids, they do not cause respiratory depression. This makes kratom a safer alternative to opioid consumption for pain relief and withdrawal management.
Where to Obtain Kratom
Unlike other types of supplements or medications, buying kratom requires a certain level of expertise. You need to know what you are using it for because different strains and doses of the kratom plant produce different results. For example, red kratom strains are known for their sedative properties. White kratom strains act as stimulants like caffeine, whereas green kratom strains provide the most moderate, balanced effect and promote a person’s general daily well-being.
After you’ve figured out why and how you want to ingest kratom, the next thing to do is to figure out where to obtain kratom. According to Redstorm Scientific, numerous wellness supplement stores are dedicated to providing kratom online along with other supplements, such as CBD. However, the innovative individual can try growing kratom for themselves. Successfully growing kratom outside of its native environment requires a tremendous level of skill, knowledge, and determination, but it can be done.
Lastly, with kratom and CBD growing in popularity as natural supplements, it is important to find a company that is transparent about their sourcing and processing in their product description and on their labeling. You’ll also want to be sure about kratom’s legal status in your own state. Keep in mind that any kratom suppliers making medical claims about kratom should automatically raise a red flag; kratom cannot cure any disease or condition. As a supplement, it can only alleviate symptoms.
Kratom has become a serious contender as a remedy for chronic pain management. Although people in the United States are only starting to hear of its benefits, people in Southeast Asia have been using it daily as a natural supplement for hundreds of years. With its long-established history as a naturally sourced health supplement, what is lacking today is the backing of scientific research to back up its claims. To those who consume kratom in one form or another, the benefits of kratom may have helped you greatly.