05 Sep What is Kratom? Uses, Benefits, and Side Effects
Kratom has been becoming more and more popular in certain places around the world. You may be wondering what Kratom is. In this article, we will go over what Kratom is, its uses, benefits, and side effects. Continue reading, and you will learn about Kratom.
Table of Contents:
What is Kratom?
Kratom is an herbal extract from the Mitragyna Speciosa tree, a tree indigenous to Southeast Asia. It contains psychoactive alkaloids. Kratom consumption is known to produce opioid-like effects. It is derived from the tree’s leaves that are usually dried and turned into a fine powder. The alkaloids contained in Kratom affect the body and mind. Compounds closest related to Kratom are mitragynine and 7-hydroxy mitragynine. Mitragynine will break down and turn into 7-hydroxy mitragynine when ingested. More research is needed on Kratom to learn more about its potential positive or negative uses. So far, research has been limited.
It is legal in some places yet banned in others. In the US, most states approved Kratom for legal use, while a handful of others have kept it fully illegal.
Knowing the laws in the areas you may be traveling to is important. You don’t want to bring a substance somewhere that may not be legal. Currently, 6 US states have banned Kratom while the others keep it legal. Kratom is also illegal in 16 countries, including Canada. It is important to know the laws in your area if you choose to use Kratom.
Where does Kratom come from?
Kratom is derived from the leaves of the Mitragyna Speciosa tree. The leaves are taken and dried and then turned into a powder. This tropical tree is an evergreen, and it is a part of the coffee family. It can be seen being grown in Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea.
Depending on where it was grown, there are different types and strains of Kratom. Some of the most common types are:
- Super Speciosa
- Yellow vein Kratom
- White vein Kratom
- Red vein Kratom
- Green vein Kratom
- Maeng Da Kratom
- Bentuangie Kratom
Each of these is grown in different areas of the world, and each strain has its properties. Super Speciosa has instant mood enhancement and energy boost. Yellow vein Kratom is good for enhancing the overall mood. It also works for longer than some of the other strains do. White vein is good for energy and focus. It also is a great pain killer. Red vein Kratom is great for its calming effects, making it great for helping with sleep problems and anxiety. Green vein Kratom is known to be all-in-one. It’s a great boost in energy and mood enhancement. Maeng Da Kratom is great for pain relief and muscle relaxation. Bentuangie Kratom is the most relaxing strain. It can help cure body aches while allowing the person to relax fully.
The strain’s colors depend on where it was grown and the look of the leaves. The leaves veins may appear red, yellow, white, or green.
Uses of Kratom
Kratom’s effects can widely vary. There are currently no uses for Kratom recognized by the US Food and Drug Administration at this time. It is also not currently approved as an effective and safe substance for any kind of medical use by the US FDA. However, it has been reported that many can use Kratom to help soothe withdrawal symptoms when getting off drugs such as opioids. It has also been used for fatigue, pain, and mental health symptoms.
Kratom leaves are consumed orally. It is usually sold and marketed as a dried powder. It can be swallowed, chewed, or prepared as tea (from leaves or powder). Many users prefer the capsule supplement as it is already ready and prepared, making it simple and easy for consumption. Many users like the stimulant effect that Kratom may cause and the sedative effects. Kratom has even been seen to aid in pain relief. Since effects vary, it can depend on the amount taken and the strength and concentration of the formula that was ingested. Kratom’s effects may depend partly on if someone has other drugs in their system, any medical conditions, or previous experience with certain substances, Kratom, or other substances.
Traditionally over the years, natives of Thailand and many areas of Southeast Asia have used Kratom as an herbal drug. It’s been seen as a multipurpose substance whether needed for increased energy and alertness or to help with other things. They would usually take it as Kratom tea.
Potential benefits of Kratom
Research on Kratom is currently limited so far. However, it has been found that Kratom can produce a stimulating effect in smaller doses. In larger doses, it can produce a sedating effect. Kratom is mainly used for self-medication. It is commonly used to help address chronic pain, sleep problems, or energy. It is also commonly used to help support opioid withdrawal symptoms and help overall recovery. Kratom is a natural solution. Many people choose to use this as a natural remedy for experiencing:
- Chronic pain
- Low energy
- High stress
- Poor sexual health
- Low confidence
Like anything, it is important to take note of dosage to avoid any damage to the body. With many things, there can be side effects even with proper dosage. The next section will discuss what kind of side effects may come from using Kratom.
Just because something is categorized as “natural” doesn’t always mean it is 100 percent safe. Kratom does have some potential side effects ranging from mild to serious and has even caused death. Kratom has been seen to be linked to many different problems with psychiatric, gastrointestinal, respiratory, and cardiovascular systems. Although some are rare, Kratom has some major side effects that may negatively affect the user.
Common side effects of Kratom can be:
- Altered mental status
- Delusions or hallucinations
- Frequent urination
- Nausea and/or vomiting
More serious side effects can include:
- Liver damage or failure
- Difficulting breathing
- Abnormal heart rhythms
- High blood pressure
- Heart attack
Long-term or extended use side effects may include:
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
Kratom is at risk of causing dependence for the user. If taken for an extended period, many people have reported difficulty in slowing down or stopping after daily use. Kratom has the potential to turn into an addiction pretty quickly. Kratom addiction can act similarly but is more mild compared to opiate addiction. If someone goes through Kratom withdrawal, they may experience unpleasant symptoms such as pain, muscle spasms, tremors, or seizures. Getting help for addiction is very important. The next section will go over rehabilitation, how it works, and what kind of options are available.
Rehabilitation options available
If addicted to any kind of substance, especially Kratom, it may be important for your health to seek some professional help. Rehabilitation most likely will be able to help you. Rehabilitation is the process of helping an individual achieve the highest quality of life. With addiction, quality of life is greatly hindered. When going through a rehabilitation program, the individual can work on breaking from an addicting substance, which will help them get mentally and physically healthier. Detoxing the body can be a painful experience. This is done while having the support needed to overcome withdrawal, effects, and long-term challenges. These programs may be combined with medications and/or counseling services. There are multiple rehab options available that can fit the patient’s direct needs.
Types of rehab programs include inpatient, outpatient, and in-home rehabilitation programs.
Inpatient or residential rehab programs are when the patient stays at a facility for some time and is monitored 24/7 by staff. This highly structured program is the best option for those with severe problems. This option is available as a shorter term for up to 6 weeks or a long term for about 6 to 12 months of care.
Outpatient rehab programs are non-residential therapy programs. The patient is not required to stay overnight. Many may transition to this after going through an inpatient program if needed.
In-home rehab programs are the most comfortable and personal for the patient. A medical staff member will be able to stay at home with the patient to medically monitor any withdrawal symptoms as they come. This helps keep the patient safe. It is typically not safe to go through detox symptoms on your own. This is why so many rehab options are readily available.
As you can tell, many treatment options are available for Kratom addictions, and choosing the right rehab option is important. Now that you know about each, choosing which one to start can be easier.
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