Kratom is a plant whose scientific name is Mitragyna speciosa. It belongs to the coffee family and mainly inhabits Southeast Asia and the Philippines. Due to its abundant medicinal benefits, many people in other parts of the world are starting to cultivate the plant. Kratom is also referred to using other names such as
The plant is gaining popularity as its leaves are claimed to possess various chemicals that produce effects such as helping people feel calm and also increases energy levels among the users.
The type of effects produced by Kratom is determined by the amount of dose used. For instance, when lower doses are used, the Kratom produces stimulant effects similar to those of cocaine. On the hand, when in higher doses, the Kratom has a sedative effect. Therefore, one has to choose the dose correctly in order to achieve the expected effects.
A major setback in the use of Kratom is lack of the set-standard dose. Although the dosing is available on some websites, they tend to differ thus one is not in a position to know which is correct. Some of the dosing regimens are based on asking the consumers how they feel after consuming a certain amount of Kratom. This can be misleading as the body physiology tends to respond differently to different individuals. It is for this reason that more studies need to be conducted to avoid either under-dosing or overdosing.
Kratom has over 40 different compounds. The most active ones are: –
Paynantheine and speciogynine are other two significant ingredients contained in Kratom.
Mitragynine is the most abundant of the above compounds. It is an indole-based opioid-receptor agonist. This ingredient acts via the mu-opioid receptors and its product after oxidation acts as a selective mu-opioid agonist. The product is referred to as Mitragynine pseudoindoxyl and has less affinity for kappa and delta receptors. Mitragynine has a very long half-life and it undergoes hepatic metabolism.
7-hydoxymitragynine is the other most potent ingredient present in Kratom. It is a terpenoid indole alkaloid and acts as an agonist at the mu-opioid receptors. Studies show that its potency is 17-fold higher than that of morphine and 30-fold higher than that of Mitragynine. Compared to morphine, it produces mild side effects when it acts as a partial agonist. Such effects include constipation, development of tolerance and withdraw syndrome when one stops using Kratom.
Many strains of Kratom exist due to varying climatic conditions upon which they are grown. Generally, Kratom is divided into three colors namely Red-vein, Green-vein, and White-vein. The mentioned strains are based on the color of their stems and veins.
Red-vein Kratom leaves possess red-colored veins and stem. It is the most available and best-selling strain of Kratom. It abundantly inhabits in Southeast Asia. Other strains within the Red-vein Kratom exist. They include the following; Red Thai, Red Sumatra, and Red-vein Borneo. They are more useful in enhancing pleasant calming effects, relieving pain, and also as a sleep aid.
The other Kratom strain is the Green-vein. It enhances focus and alertness. When correctly mixed with the other two strains, it helps prevent overstimulation of the white-vein Kratom. It also inhibits the excessive anesthesia of the Red-vein Kratom. The popular brands of the Green-vein Kratom include the Malaysian Green and Pontianak Green Horn.
The last strain is the White-vein Kratom. It is commonly used as a stimulant and mood enhancer. It is for this reason that White-vein Kratom is slowly replacing coffee. The strain is also effective in increasing motivation, concentration, and stamina. White-vein Sumatra, Borneo White, and Pontianak White Horn are some of the popular brands of the White-vein Kratom.
Kratom has been claimed to possess a lot of benefits for South Africans. Its leaves have analgesic properties thus used as a pain-reliever. The effect is achieved when the leaves are chewed causing the release of dopamine and serotonin. Kratom is also useful in boosting the immune system and energy. Other benefits include; stimulation of sexual activities, reducing anxiety, management, and treatment of diabetes and addiction.
The body-builders can also benefit from the products of Kratom as claimed. It is suggested that Kratom improves mental focus and motivation, boosts metabolism, reduce appetite, and also facilitates the loss of fats. All these are key benefits that help one develop strong and lean muscles. Despite this claim, human evidence is lacking and therefore, the need for more studies to back up the above-mentioned claims.
Despite the above important medicinal benefits, Kratom is associated with some negative side effects. High doses and frequent use of Kratom can lead to psychotic symptoms that sometimes can be life-threatening. Such psychotic symptoms include delusion, mental confusion, and hallucination. Hangover in terms of nausea or headaches is common after use, especially in the morning. Long-term negative side effects include the development of drug dependence, withdrawal syndromes, and unusual cravings.
Kratom is legal in some parts of the world such as the United States. However, in some parts, it is illegal to use or cultivate Kratom. Some regions where it is banned include; Alabama, Indiana, Wisconsin, Vermont, Tennessee, Rhode Island, Arkansas, and Washington DC. Other parts of the world have pending legislation awaiting either ban or approval.
The Food and Drug Administration, an association based in the US does not approve the use of Kratom. The association suggests that the products from Kratom have the potential for abuse and also pose a great health risk among the users. It is for that reasons that the company is seizing any Kratom products trying to enter the United States.
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In conclusion, Kratom has a lot of beneficial effects especially in the field of medicine, therefore, its growing popularity. However, for safety purposes, more research is required to come with the appropriate dosing regimen. Many brands of the Kratom’s products exist in the market hence it is advisable to purchase the one from the reputable manufacturers and local retailers. As a safety measure, one should avoid the frequent use and overdose of Kratom.