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What is Kratom?

Kratom is an herbal leaf from a tree in the Rubiaceae family. This tropical evergreen tree, also known as Mitragyna speciosa, is related to the coffee family. Kratom is native to Southeast Asia and can be found in countries like Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Papua New Guinea. Kratom has been utilized in traditional herbal medicine since at least the nineteenth century and has historically been consumed by chewing, smoking, or brewing into tea.

 

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What are the effects of Kratom?

Here are the effects of Kratom:

  • Supports Comfort and Well-being
  • Soothes the Mind
  • Addresses Mood Fluctuations
  • Manages Cravings

Supports Comfort and Well-being

Kratom, when processed appropriately, may offer support for comfort and overall well-being. This mild stimulant has been utilized in Asia for centuries. There are two primary types of kratom: one that is usually white and considered more potent, and the other, Bali, which is typically green and associated with a more calming effect. Kratom is legal in most states and can be found online. While research is limited, it appears that it may not be addictive and might not have the same adverse effects as other substances. A notable study conducted by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health found that kratom users who consumed it at least once a week reported an enhanced quality of life. The long-term effects of kratom are still uncertain, but the study’s results suggest it may have a positive impact on those who use it.

  • Potential for enhanced comfort, better sleep, and reduced joint and muscle discomfort.
  • Users also reported improvements in their ability to concentrate, work, and socialize.
  • May not be addictive and might not have negative effects like other drugs.

Soothes the Mind

Stress is a common issue that affects many people around the world. Kratom is often used for its potential to support optimal health and encourage relaxation. Different strains are available, depending on the country of origin. In today’s fast-paced society, maintaining emotional balance can be challenging, particularly when dealing with health concerns. Kratom is thought to promote relaxation and mental alertness. The active alkaloids in kratom, Mitragynine and 7-hydroxy mitragynine, interact with the brain’s opioid receptors, which are associated with positive sensations.

  • May offer a way to support mental well-being.
  • An alternative option for those seeking non-pharmaceutical approaches.
  • No prescriptions required.
  • Supports physical and mental well-being.
  • Supports Mental Energy

Addresses Mood Fluctuations

In today’s fast-paced world, maintaining a positive outlook can be difficult, especially when dealing with chronic health conditions. Mental health challenges are a leading cause of disability worldwide, affecting more than 300 million people, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Many people turn to medication for treatment, but these options may not always provide sufficient relief and can sometimes cause unwanted side effects. Kratom is used by some to help manage mood fluctuations and improve sleep quality. Users of kratom have reported positive changes in their mental states after several weeks of use.

  • Aims to support mental health without resorting to medication.
  • May help with mood fluctuations and sleep issues for some individuals.
  • Could potentially provide a boost in motivation at the start of the day.

Manages Cravings

Breaking free from self-destructive cycles and habits can be challenging. Kratom, a traditional herb used in Thailand, has been sought out by some individuals as a natural alternative to help them resist cravings for other substances or addictive drugs. The chemical compounds found in kratom interact with receptors in the brain, potentially providing a sense of well-being. Kratom has a long history of use and may also be associated with stress reduction and promoting calmness.

  • Utilized by some to address substance cravings, including alcohol and drugs.
  • May help with managing withdrawal symptoms and mood fluctuations.
  • A natural option not related to pharmaceutical medication.

Supports Mental Energy and Resilience

The feeling of mental exhaustion can affect one’s ability to complete tasks and impact productivity during crucial moments. Kratom is a natural herb that some people turn to for supporting mental energy and resilience. Available in various forms online or in physical stores, an increasing number of individuals are exploring this herbal supplement to help them navigate challenging periods and improve overall well-being. Users have reported positive experiences with kratom.

  • May enhance mental clarity with minimal side effects.
  • Could potentially help with focusing on daily tasks.
  • May improve motivation and boost confidence.

What are the uses of Kratom?

Although kratom has been examined in animals and cells as of 2013, no clinical trials have been carried out in the US. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) declared in 2019 that there is no proof kratom is safe or effective for treating any condition, and that there are no approved clinical uses for kratom. In 2013, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) declared that there is no legitimate medical use for kratom.

Kratom can be taken orally by chewing, drank as a tea, powdered and used in pills or capsules, or extracted and added to liquids. Seldom is kratom smoked. The relative amounts of alkaloids, such mitragynine, in various kratom strains vary.

If you’re interested in exploring kratom, here are the methods of taking Kratom:

Kratom shot

Kratom tea

Kratom powder

Kratom capsule

Determining the right amount to take depends on factors such as kratom extract concentration, individual body type, and personal medical history. A common suggestion is for individuals to start with a small amount (around a gram, depending on strain and potency) and wait for half an hour to observe its effects. Exercising caution and being mindful of the effects are important when trying kratom. It is crucial to practice safe and responsible use, beginning with a low dose and gradually increasing if needed.

Smoking kratom is generally not recommended due to potential lung damage and reduced effectiveness compared to other methods. Alternatively, some individuals choose to make kratom tea by boiling the leaves and drinking the infused water. This method can produce powerful sensations, so it should be approached with caution. Kratom tea can also be dried into pellets for later consumption, which can be swallowed or dissolved in hot water.

Finding the most suitable kratom for specific effects, such as energy, may require trying different strains. Individual reactions to kratom and kratom extracts can vary, so it is essential to explore and find the type that works best for you.

What are the regulation of Kratom in the US?

Late in 2017, there was talk of classifying kratom as a Schedule I substance in the US. The FDA alerted consumers in 2019 that kratom is still not authorized for use as a medicine in interstate commerce, that it may be dangerous in products that are sold commercially, and that it is under import alert, which might result in the seizure of imported supply. The scientific community and the general public disagreed greatly with the attempts to schedule kratom, which finally failed.

FDA evaluation

The FDA declared in an announcement from April 2019 that kratom was not approved for any medical use, that it was possibly harmful in commercial products sold in the US, and that it was still under import alert, meaning that supplies coming in from outside the country would be seized. The FDA mandated its first-ever mandatory recall on April 4, 2018, due to concerns about salmonella contamination of multiple products containing kratom.The items, branded as “Raw Form Organics” and produced by Triangle Pharmanaturals, tested positive for contamination in samples, and the producer disregarded federal requests for a voluntary recall. The recall, according to FDA Commissioner Gottlieb, was not connected to any other regulatory issues and was “based on the imminent health risk posed by the contamination of this product with salmonella.” It was recommended that consumers throw away any such products right away in order to avoid major health concerns.

The FDA commissioner, Scott Gottlieb, issued a statement in February 2018 outlining further opioid-like characteristics of kratom and cautioning against using it for either recreational or medical purposes. Additionally in 2018, the FDA asked all businesses engaged in the kratom trade to pull their products off the market while supervising the voluntary destruction of dietary supplements containing kratom by a national distributor in Missouri. A California-based company producing kratom under the brand name “Mitrasafe” received a warning from the FDA on February 26 stating that the supplement was not verified to be safe, could lead to addiction, was not authorized as a medication or dietary supplement, and could not be sold across state lines. Click for more information on kratom laws for each state.

What are the phytochemicals found In Kratom?

Phytochemicals are biological compounds found in plants, which may help the species defend against predators and pathogens. These compounds are produced through the plant’s metabolic processes, allowing it to thrive in its environment. The phytochemicals in kratom remain largely unstudied, and their potential effects on humans are still being explored.

Kratom contains over 40 types of alkaloids, as well as glycosides, terpenoid saponins, and polyphenols. The two key alkaloids in kratom are mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, which are thought to contribute to the reported effects of the plant. Researchers are still working to isolate and study these compounds to better understand their properties and potential uses.

One example of a phytochemical found in kratom is ajmalicine, which has been suggested to potentially improve brain circulation. It’s important to note that phytochemical supplements have not been recommended by health authorities or approved by regulatory agencies, likely because research is still ongoing.

As scientists continue to investigate the various phytochemicals and detecting in kratom with drug tests, they may uncover more information about how these compounds interact with and potentially affect the human body.

Mitragynine Characteristics

Mitragynine is one of the two major phytochemicals in kratom, accounting for up to 66% purity in certain types of leaves. Its effects appear to change if the product has been aged or stored for quite some time. In this case, mitragynine seems to lose its affinity for the receptors, meaning it may not be as effective if the kratom isn’t fresh. The exact functioning of mitragynine in kratom is not well documented or studied.

It is structurally different from chemicals and may have a broader binding mechanism, meaning it affects more receptors than just the opioid ones. Chemists have been unable to fully isolate which mechanisms are affected by which phytochemicals. However, mitragynine is likely the reason behind many of the reported effects of kratom, especially considering it’s by far the most active ingredient.

Some people have reported using kratom for bursts of energy, similar to that of taking a shot of espresso. Others claim they use it as a way to help deal with cravings and long-term use of substances like heroin or morphine. For regular users, potential kratom risks are said to include loss of motor coordination, weight loss, and constipation. It is important to note that the exact effects of mitragynine on the human body when taken in kratom form are still unclear.

Characteristics of 7-Hydroxymitragynine

The alkaloid 7-hydroxymitragynine is not the predominant phytochemical in kratom. In fact, it’s not even really close. But despite its relative infrequency, some research suggests it may be more potent than mitragynine in certain respects. In animal studies, it was found that this phytochemical could potentially be effective. When compared to morphine, it produced milder side effects in test subjects. Animals were less likely to experience withdrawal symptoms after discontinuing use or to develop tolerance to 7-mitragynine over time. In mice, this compound also caused fewer respiratory issues when compared to other drug agonists. Some recent studies suggest that this compound is derived from mitragynine as a metabolic process in the brain. This research affirms that we still don’t understand these compounds very well, nor are we asking the right questions about them. As such, the risks of this compound are unclear as well. However, considering the promise behind this strong phytochemical, hopefully we’ll see additional research into its potential effects of it’s pharmacology benefits.

Other Phytochemicals chemistry in Kratom

These phytochemicals are known as the lesser ingredients in kratom, but they’re still worth noting and discussing.

  • Speciogynine: Composing up to 7% of all alkaloids in the plant, speciogynine may have certain properties that could be of interest for further research.
  • Paynantheine: Composing up to 9% of the alkaloids found in kratom, this is the second most common alkaloid in the plant. It is also thought to have certain properties, though again, it’s not clear what the effect is in kratom form.
  • Speciociliantine: Composing less than 1% of the alkaloids, speciophylline is also found in Chinese Cat’s Claw. Cat’s Claw is used for various purposes, but it is unclear if kratom would work in the same ways.

The benefits and risks for these alkaloids are largely undocumented. It is highly recommended to seek routine medical advice if you have a serious medical condition, including before considering if botanicals like kratom are safe for use.

 

What is the history of Kratom?

The traditional use of kratom goes back further than official records, and much of our knowledge comes from research conducted over the last 200 years. The relationship between kratom and its chemical composition is not entirely understood. The National Institute on Drug Abuse has mentioned that kratom may have effects on the brain similar to drugs. This has led to debates about whether it is a safe alternative to pharmaceuticals  or simply a substitute. Indigenous people who know the shelf life of kratom, used kratom for centuries have not experienced the same level of devastation as seen with drug use. It is important to note that serious adverse effects reported about kratom in the news and online often involve adulterated or contaminated products, not natural kratom. Further research is needed to better understand kratom and its potential effects.

What are the chemical compounds in Kratom?

Here are the chemical compounds of kratom:

Compound Affinities (Ki (nM)) Ratio
MOR DOR KOR MOR:DOR:KOR
7-Hydroxymitragynine 13.5 155 123 1:11:09
Mitragynine 7.24 60.3 1,100 0.048981481
Mitragynine pseudoindoxyl 0.087 3.02 79.4 0.076539352

 

 

 

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