Kratom has become very prevalent in today’s society found in products ranging from dietary supplements to energy drinks. Because of this, many have discounted the dangers involved with this dietary ingredient as many consider it a benign herbal extract. Harvested from the leaves of an evergreen tree (Mitragyna speciosa) grown in Southeast Asia, Kratom leaves can be manipulated to various forms to allow it to be chewed, eaten or ingested in a drink. The liquid form is what you will most often find in gas stations and other convenience stores, often marketed as a treatment for muscle pain, or to suppress appetite and stop cramps, panic attacks and diarrhea.
How does it work?
According to the Mayo Clinic, Kratom is believed to act on opioid receptors and in low doses, kratom acts as a stimulant, making users feel more energetic. At higher doses, it may reduce pain and may even bring on euphoria. In very high doses, Kratom can act as a sedative, causing drowsiness and lethargy. In Asian traditional medicine, kratom has been considered as a substitute for opium or to avoid the symptoms of withdrawal from more harmful opioids like heroin. Since it is far easier to buy than prescription drugs, this is often a non-medical approach to withdrawal symptoms.
Dangers of Kratom
Taking kratom may be very dangerous because you do not always know what you are taking. Also, there is very little reliable evidence as to the benefits of taking kratom while the risks of kratom are dependent on the health of the user.
There are many people who use it and believe in its medicinal value, however, researchers have not determined that its use has benefits that offset the risks.
Known side effects are:
- Changes in urine and constipation
- Chills, nausea, and vomiting
- Dry mouth
- Liver damage
- Muscle pain
- Weight loss
- Infant development
Kratom can also impact the mind and the nervous system:
- Breathing suppression
- Depression and delusion
- Hallucinations and delusion
- Seizure, coma, and death
In the United States, kratom remains unregulated and does not have enough research to prove it has efficacy in pain management treatment or other areas. Because the FDA lists kratom as a dietary ingredient, it is difficult to know what strains you are ingesting. Also, consider the source and the purity of where you are buying it and what you are buying; there have been salmonella bacteria poisoning over the years due to contamination that has led to death. Until there is more regulation and research, seek medical advice from your physician and explore other treatment options.
Because of the inherent dangers of this drug, we test for Kratom and do not feel it is something suitable for our Substance Abuse Treatment programs. If you have more questions or are concerned about your use, please contact us now at (772) 584-3083 and we can discuss with you whether we are an appropriate facility.