What Is Kratom?
Kratom is a tropical tree—classified as Mitragyna speciosa—native to Southeast Asia. Consuming the leaves of kratom has psychotropic—or mind-altering—effects. Kratom leaves contain two major psychoactive compounds, which are mitragynine and 7-hydroxymytragynine.
Currently, kratom is not illegal in the United States, but it is currently listed by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as a “drug of concern,” and has not been approved for any medical use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). That being said, it is currently quite easy to purchase kratom online or in a store that sells it.
Often, kratom is also found being served at kava bars. Kratom can be consumed in a variety of ways, including crushing the leaves then smoking the crushed leaves, brewing the kratom into tea, or placing kratom in gel capsules. The average cost of kratom leaves is $10 per ounce. Kratom has been consumed widely in Southeast Asia for a long time, and the United States has seen a major increase in kratom consumption in recent years.
Side Effects Of Kratom
When consumed in a low dose, kratom can produce stimulating effects such as increased physical energy and mental alertness. When consumed in higher doses, individuals may experience sedative effects.
Side effects that people consuming kratom may be seeking include:
- Pain relief
- Positive mood
- Increased energy
Kratom may produce unwanted side effects on body, which can include:
- Dry mouth
- Increased urination
- Loss of appetite
It is important to note that cases of psychosis symptoms have also been reported in connection with kratom consumption. These symptoms have included confusion, delusion, and hallucinations.
Is Kratom Addictive?
Yes— kratom is addictive. Because kratom’s chemical properties cause it to bind to opioid receptors, the drug has often been promoted as a better alternative to opioids, and the “mild” drug kratom can help people wean off of “harder” drugs. However, kratom is also physically addictive—and comes with its own range of adverse effects and potentially dangerous consequences, including overdose.
According to the National Institute for Drug Abuse (NIDA), in 2017, the FDA reported nearly 44 deaths associated with kratom use, with one case involving the use of pure kratom. Most of the kratom-related deaths involve the intake of kratom along with other substances, such as alcohol, opioids, or benzodiazepines, but this does not mean that kratom is harmless.
Studies have shown that there is a correlation between increased consumption of Kratom and risk of dependency development, the severity of withdrawal symptoms, and cravings for the extract. Physical withdrawal symptoms manifested as muscle spasms, diarrhea, lack of appetite, fever, pain, and runny eyes and nose. Psychological withdrawal was characterized by mood swings such as anger, nervousness, restlessness, disturbed sleep, tension, and sadness.
If you or a loved one are addicted to kratom, know that you are not alone and help is available. Kratom addiction is far less talked about than opioids and other substances, but the addiction is real, and getting help could save your life.
Addiction Recovery At Oasis
Addiction can affect anyone. If you or a loved one are currently living with addiction or alcoholism, help is available! We encourage you to reach out to the professionals at Oasis Recovery to learn more about our personalized treatment programs and mental health services. Oasis Recovery was founded from firsthand experience of addiction and recovery, with a mission of providing a space where people can heal from addiction in a compassionate, creative, open-minded, and heart-centered environment. We believe recovery is always possible. Our experts work with you to design a treatment plan that fits your needs. Common treatment programs include:
- Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP)
- Full-time Addiction Treatment on campus
- Aftercare Services
Contact us today for more information about how our programs and services can help you get your life back on track.