Kratom (scientifically known as Mitragyna Speciosa) is a tropical evergreen tree that is part of the coffee family (Rubiaceae) it is native to Southeast Asia, in the Indochina and Malaysian regions. Death Count: Opioids = 100,000 vs Kratom = 15 in last 3 years.
Kratom has been used in traditional medicine since at least the 19th century. Kratom has some pain relieving- and stimulant-like properties.
Kratom, being part of the coffee family, it makes sense that is typically drank as a tea by using the leaves of the plant. Some people take it for managing chronic pain, for treating opioid withdrawal symptoms, or– more recently – for overall wellness. The onset of Kratom effects typically begins within 5 to 10 minutes and lasts 2 to 5 hours, similar to that of coffee and caffeine.
Kratom has some common minor side effects, just like coffee, that include upset stomach and possible vomiting. There have been reports of more serious side effects, like seizure and psychosis, but there is no data that verifies those reports.
There have been claims of withdrawal symptoms, like the caffeine withdrawals from coffee, when use has been stopped. These include headache, irritability and cravings, similar to the way one feels if they don’t get their coffee in the morning.
The opioid crisis in America, has been a major cause of the increased popularity of Kratom use in the last few years. Medical Professionals have stated that it is a safer option to prescription opioids, because of the pain relieving properties, but without the respiratory depression (decreased breathing), which is the number one cause of overdose deaths from opioid medication.
The number of opioid overdose deaths in the US is at an all time high, and is the number 1 cause of deaths for adults under the age of 50. In 2015. 64,000 people died from drug overdoses in 2016, the latest consequence in the american opioid crisis.
In comparison, Kratom deaths in the united states between 2014 and 2016, are at an unsubstantiated number of fifteen, but in those deaths Kratom was never reported as being the only compound in a persons system. This means that there is no Kratom only related deaths that have ever been proven.
Recently there has been a growing concern about the public health threat from Kratom use in the United States. Some States and counties have put legislation into effect restricting and or banning the sale of Kratom, consequently, the amount of overdoses and opioid related deaths in these areas have grown at a higher rate than the areas where Kratom use has not been banned.
In November 2017, the FDA cited serious concerns over the marketing and effects (including death) associated with the use of Kratom in the United States.The FDA went on to say, “There is no reliable evidence to support the use of Kratom as a treatment for opioid use disorder; there are currently no FDA-approved therapeutic uses of kratom… and the FDA has evidence to show that there are significant safety issues associated with its use.”
Here is a list of a few items that the FDA deemed unsafe in recent years: