Kratom is a tropical evergreen tree that is indigenous to a few Southeastern Asian countries such Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, and Thailand. The Rubiaceae family which includes coffee and gardenia, also includes the species Mitragyna speciosa, the scientific name for Kratom.
Through chewing, smoking, boiling, drying, or by extraction, there are many uses for Kratom. These leaves have been used by Asian natives and workers for centuries. Traditionally these leaves have helped increase energy to limit tiredness, but have since been banned in Southeastern Asia where it became highly abused. In low dosages, it poses as a stimulant making someone more outgoing and gregarious. Using a larger dose, it makes users feel dopey and debilitated.
In 2012, Kratom made its first documented appearance in the United States through reports that surfaced from emergency rooms and poison control centers. The drug is typically consumed in the US in capsule form that is filled with the leaves crushed into a powder. Kratom is also smoked and used as a tea with the chopped-up leaves. The onset of Kratom is very quick and can last up to 5 to 7 hours.
Even though Southeastern Asia has outlawed it, Kratom is still legal in the United States and is still readily sold at gas stations, smoke shops, online, and in head shops. Despite the dangerous and addictive effects it has, this drug has not yet been made illegal due to the hoops that the legislature must jump through to gather all the information they need to rule a restriction on the drug. Kratom appeals to young people since they are unable to buy alcohol legally and do not want to get caught with possession of illegal drugs.
Adverse reactions to Kratom have been known to be like heroin or prescription painkillers.
- Psychotic breaks
- Respiratory depression
One of the main values of Kratom has been to help recovering addicts kick their habit with opiates and reduce the symptoms of withdrawal. There have also been patients that have PTSD that have had reduced effects of anxiety from using Kratom. The only problem with using Kratom in these circumstances is that there is no clinical research to back up these findings.
Education of this psychoactive substance is becoming more prevalent with this relatively newer drug. Since Kratom has been publicized as a safe and subtle drug, it is important to improve on the facts to prevent this drug as yet another epidemic.
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