Wonder supplement or dangerous drug?
That’s the ultimate question that comes to mind when talking about Kratom.
The herb, native to Southeast Asia, has long been used as a pain reliever and mood booster in countries like Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, and Australia.
It is also illegal or highly regulated in these countries due to its psychoactive properties and supposed dangers.
So, which is it?
Is Kratom a compound that can be used safely to optimize your body, or should it be avoided at all costs?
That’s the question we’re going to answer today…
What is Kratom?
Kratom is a plant whose leaves contain psychoactive opioids (which means it does things to your mind). It can affect mood, reduce pain responses, and supposedly works as an aphrodisiac.
Researchers know two of the main compounds in Kratom that affect the brain (mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine), but because the long-term consequences of using Kratom aren’t understood (and many governments believe there is significant potential for abuse) its legal status is somewhat slippery.
In many parts of Southeast Asia, possession of Kratom leaves is illegal. In the United States, the Drug Enforcement Agency had plans to make it a Schedule I Substance (one of the really illegal ones), citing a public health risk.
This drew the ire of supporters, who believed there were uses for Kratom that could and should be explored through medical research.
In response, the DEA relented, temporarily, in October 2016, allowing for a “public comment period” for individuals to “share their experiences using Kratom as a medical treatment.”
As I’m writing this, the DEA is still reviewing comments and hasn’t reached a decision, but the battle lines have been drawn.
Researchers, and groups like the American Kratom Association, wish to keep it legal, while regulators and some medical associations would prefer a crackdown.
Seeing as there is potential for Kratom to become a significant painkiller and perhaps even weed addicts off of other opioids, I’d much rather see continued research before the government goes wild with a restrictive ban.
An excellent choice for insomnia (for most people) and weight loss (for some people), it may not be the go-to supplement for depression due to producing too much of a good thing serotonin).
Kratom is sometimes referred to as “Ketum,” but it is more commonly known by its scientific name, Mitragyna Speciosa.
Kratom isn’t illegal yet, and, in fact, is quite easy to order from different vendors on the internet.
Apparently, you can chew the leaves to get some of the effects, but I decided to