Kratom: What You Need to Know

It started off as an ingredient in drinks meant to help you “relax”. Then, it came in pill form. Soon it was being sold on the streets. At first, the treatment industry didn’t seem too concerned about Kratom being consumed once in awhile. Seeing it on the same level as an occasional energy drink, there was little restriction. Increasingly, Kratom started to act in people similar to heroin. Suddenly, Kratom became a problem. So problematic is Kratom that the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, the DEA, is making legislative motions to classify Kratom as a Schedule 1 drug. Heroin, crystal meth, cocaine, other hard drugs, and marijuana are all classified as Schedule 1.


What is Kratom?

Kratom is a plant that is commonly found growing in Southeast Asia. Two specific chemical parts of Kratom make up are the point of contention with the plant. Alkaloids are (). Active alkaloids in Kratom cause effects that are similar to those produced by opioids. Both the mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine active alkaloids in Kratom bind to opioid receptors in the brain which creates the same pain-numbing analgesic effect opioids do. The mu opioid receptors have been found to be responsible in the way the brain reacts to most painkilling substances.


Why is Kratom Problematic?

Scientifically, Kratom has not been proven to be especially problematic or even addictive. Why, then, is the DEA hurrying to classify it as a Schedule 1? For its abuse potential. While Kratom doesn’t produce behavioral side effects or dependency, it does produce a potent painkilling sensation. That 7-hydroxymitragynine active alkaloid is stronger than morphine, which is what the body naturally creates when heroin is ingested. Attempting to abuse Kratom in large amounts, under the assumption that it is more “safe” than heroin, could be harmful.


Who Uses Kratom?

Kratom has been popular among recovering heroin addicts. In fact, many treatment professionals and advocates against the opiate epidemic are fighting in Kratom’s favor. Seen as a less harmful drug with similar effect, some believe Kratom can help recovering heroin addicts kick their cravings. Many argue against that sentiment, asserting that switching one substance for another enforces the reliance upon substances to begin with.


How Do I Know If Someone Is Using Kratom?

Kratom can be tested for in a urinary analysis test. Without a urine test, look for symptoms of intoxication similar to opiates: slowed heart rate, hazy eyes, sleepiness, drowsiness, slurred speech.


Refuge Recovery offers detox and multiple levels of care to men and women seeking a Buddhist-based approach to treatment for drug addiction. Combining evidence-based treatment with a spiritual foundation, the treatment program at Refuge Recovery creates a new way of living through a new way of healing. For more information call (561) 563-8407

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