Kratom

Kratom comes from a Southeast Asian plant called Mitragyna speciosa, which belongs to the same family as coffee. People have used this plant since immemorial times for its stimulating, psychoactive and medicinal properties, but is currently attracting attention in the medical field for its therapeutic properties. Although many people have tried to cultivate it in the West, only in Asia exist the appropriate conditions for the harvest of this plant. In Eastern countries, they do not consider Kratom a drug, but rather its use as a traditional plant is encouraged. A high percentage of the population- especially the male sex – consume this variety of Mitragyna between the ages of 20 and 30. 

The Herb Movement : Kratom

How to consume Kratom? One of the most important points of Kratom is the way you ingests it, although much will depend on the state of the plant: fresh or dry.  In Asian countries – where Kratom comes from – the most normal thing is to get fresh leaves, so most people chew them, just like with tobacco. In the case of the other half of the world, it is almost impossible to get fresh leaves, so the way of preparation changes enormously. Most people tend to prepare Kratom as tea from the extract; it is the most common form of consumption. Of course, manufacturers have developed other modes of consumption lately, including dry powder capsules, mixing with other pharmaceuticals and even smoking the plant.   

Why do people consume Kratom?

There are many studies aimed at finding out the reasons people consume kratom. One of the most important studies was conducted by Marc Swogger, a professor and psychiatrist at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York, who points out that the main reasons are medical and not related to substance abuse. According to Swogger, people consider Kratom as a powerful analgesic, mentioning that even since ancient times people used Kratom as an opiate, a family of substances with an extraordinarily analgesic and sedative power. The diseases and pathologies in which they used Kratom are innumerable.  Currently, in addition to its use in organic disorders, its consumption can contribute to improvement in certain psychiatric conditions such as anxiety, where Swogger explains that this is due to the sense of well-being that generated by the plant.  People also used Kratom to treat dependence on other drugs, especially opiates such as morphine. According to Professor Swogger’s study, many claimed it partly relieved withdrawal symptoms, and even dependence, which successfully disappeared.

Varieties of Kratom

Although we call all the leaves that come from these plants Kratom, there are several different types, and some have very distinctive characteristics:

  1. Kratom Maeng: one of the best varieties, very stimulating.
  2. Kratom Bali: it has sedative effects, similar to opium. It is taken to combat both pain and anxiety.
  3. Kratom Indus: it has no big effects, but its taste is quite strong, which often generates some rejection.
  4. Kratom Sumatra: one of the best in terms of taste. It shows multiple effects, with none of them being really significant. It’s a mood booster and it’s cheap, so it’s the best if you want to consume this plant.
  5. Kratom Thai: very stimulating, especially at first, but the sedation that comes later is also quite intense. Quite a roller coaster of sensations.
  6. Kratom PNG: it is like the previous one, but provides less stimulation. It also has a softer and more neutral taste.

What’s behind a Kratom leaf? Kratom is a plant also known for a large number of alkaloids it contains, even more than 40 different types. Researchers still do not understand the complexity of the components of this type of Mitragyna, although they have recognized the two most important alkaloids with the greatest effect: mitragine and 7-hydroxymitraginine It is important to clarify that there are several subtypes of this plant, but in general, mitraginin is the most abundant component. It can vary greatly depending on the area of origin of the plant, for example: in the case of trees originating in Thailand, can exist in concentrations of up to 66%, while in trees originating in Malaysia its concentration is around 12%. The alkaloids in this plant are nitrogen-based substances produced by the plant’s own metabolism. Many of the alkaloids generated by plants have psychoactive properties (such as cocaine). Mitragynine may even bind with other minor alkaloids available in the plant to form more complex compounds, with an even greater psychotropic effect. It is important to mention that the reason for the opioid effects is mitragynine, which is a partial agonist of opioid receptors, which may be the main reason for its use for dependence on other opioids.

Main effects

The different manifestations caused by Kratom depend mainly on the dose used. At low doses, it can produce stimulating effects, typical of other drugs such as cocaine, amphetamines, etc. but of lesser magnitude. While at high doses, the alkaloids activate the opioids receptors and produce similar effects, such as sedation. Some examples are: 

Low dose: mild effects are evident, most users avoided fatigue.

  • Euphoria.
  • Alertness.
  • Enhancement of physical well-being.
  • Improved sexual performance.

High doses: on the contrary, there are mainly sedative effects, which can be highly harmful to the body, such as:

  • Sedation
  • Deep analgesia
  • Decreased sensitivity
  • Stupor

What are the risks?

Many side effects can appear after taking Kratom, it is important to note that they may develop in the short or long term. Milder symptoms include vomiting, nausea, itching, upset stomach and diarrhea. Among the most important are deep sedation and liver disorders, which could lead to death.    Kratom: drug prospectus

Kratom is a compound with a lot of potential; it reminds us of the past years of marijuana where there was much debate about its use. Nowadays we know that it is possible to consume it in other forms, avoiding most of its psychotropic effects. The great pharmacological activity of Kratom and its active principles point to a promising future, where people use it as an approved, legal and accurate medical product, highlighting its many natural benefits.

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