“Opioids, anti depressants, and caffeine drinks. We’re all just trying to hang on.”
Kratom is a tropical evergreen tree found in Southeast Asia, specifically in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea.
The leaves are used to create a herbal supplement that has become popular in recent years due to its claimed benefits. It’s also available in many head shops alongside other supplements and energy tablets.
In this article, we will take a closer look at kratom, its history, effects, benefits, and its availability in the UK.
History of Kratom
The use of kratom in Southeast Asia dates back centuries.
It was used by farmers and laborers to alleviate fatigue, improve productivity, and ease pain. Kratom was also used in traditional medicine to treat various ailments, such as diarrhea, cough, and fever.
How is Kratom consumed?
Kratom is available in various forms, and the most common are:
- Powder: The leaves are dried, crushed, and powdered. Some people snort it (we dont recommend that), or mix it with water, juice, or other liquids and drink them.
- Capsules: The powder is put in capsules for more convenient swallowing and dosing.
- Extracts: Highly concentrated versions of the plant, made by boiling down the leaves into a resin, which is then dried and ground into a powder. Extracts are often used for their potent effects.
Effects of Kratom
Kratom contains two main active compounds, mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, that are believed to interact with the opioid receptors in the brain.
As a result, kratom is often touted for its pain-relieving and sedative effects, as well as its ability to boost energy, focus, and mood. Many people are using it in the western world to assist with our growing anxiety and depression epidemic.
However, there is limited scientific evidence to support these claims, and the effects of kratom can vary depending on the dosage, strain, and individual factors.
Reported benefits of Kratom
Some of the claimed benefits of kratom include:
- Pain relief: Kratom has been used to ease chronic pain, such as arthritis, back pain, and migraines.
- Anxiety and depression: Kratom may help to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, and improve mood.
- Energy and focus: Kratom acts as a stimulant, providing a boost of energy and enhancing mental clarity and focus. This is partly the reason why there has been an increase in use in the United States, as students look for new ways to battle tiredness and achieve good grades.
- Opioid addiction: Kratom has been used as an alternative to opioid drugs to manage withdrawal symptoms and cravings. However, more research is needed to confirm its efficacy and safety in this regard.
Is Kratom legal in the UK?
Kratom has gained a following as an alternative to prescription opioids and other pain medications. However, its legality and safety have been the subject of much debate.
The US FDA has issued warnings about the potential risks of kratom, including addiction, overdose, and even death.
Kratom is legal in the UK, but it is not widely available in high-street shops. However, it can be purchased online from a variety of sources.
As with any supplement or medication, it is important to buy from a reputable supplier and to follow dosage instructions carefully.
Risks of using Kratom
There are a number of reported risks. Kratom can have potential side effects and interactions with other substances, so it is important to consult a healthcare professional before using it.
Kratom has a number of reported side effects according to Mayo Clinic, including:
- Weight loss
- Dry mouth
- Chills, nausea and vomiting
- Changes in urine and constipation
- Liver damage
- Muscle pain
Kratom also affects the mind and nervous system and cause dizziness, hallucinations and delusion, and even coma and death! There has also been reports of Kratom being mixed with other substances that has resulted in fatal poisonings.
Proceed with caution folks, and stay zen.