What is Kratom?

Kratom is a plant that belongs to the Mitragyna species. It is a tropical evergreen tree in the coffee family native to Southeast Asia. Kratom is indigenous (naturally occurring) to Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Papua New Guinea and has been used in herbal medicine since the 19th century. Kratom was traditionally used as a medicine, but it is now being used recreationally.

How Is It Used?

The leaves of the Kratom plant are typically crushed into a powder. The powder is put into capsules or mixed into different beverages. Some people will also do the ” toss and wash” method, where the person takes a spoonful of Kratom, puts it in their mouth, and washes it down with juice or water. A citrus drink is preferred orally because the citrus components activate the powder.

Some people chew on the leaves, brew them into a tea, or use them in cooking. Kratom can also be smoked like tobacco.

Kratom is usually sold as an extract and can come in a powder, capsule, or liquid form. It is even sold as gum. Kratom comes in different strengths and strains as well. The powder is usually green but can also come in white, red, or orange, depending on the strain.

Does Kratom Get You High?

The leaves of the Kratom plant contain compounds that can produce mind-altering or psychotropic effects.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse “Kratom DrugFacts” says:

Kratom can cause effects similar to both opioids and stimulants. Two compounds in kratom leaves, mitragynine and 7-α-hydroxymitragynine, interact with opioid receptors in the brain, producing sedation, pleasure, and decreased pain, especially when users consume large amounts of the plant. Mitragynine also interacts with other receptor systems in the brain to produce stimulant effects. When kratom is taken in small amounts, users report increased energy, sociability, and alertness instead of sedation. However, kratom can also cause uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous side effects. (DRUGABUSE.GOV)

When taken at high doses, kratom can make a person sleepy and put them in a dreamlike state, but it does have some side effects like any other medication or drug.

The most common side effects include nausea, constipation, muscle tremors, itching, sweating, dizziness, dry mouth, seizures, hallucinations, and possibly liver damage.

Kratom is currently legal in most states and is sold on the internet and in many US gas stations and convenience stores. However, due to its addictive potential and possible serious side effects, several states have banned Kratom products, and it’s considered a controlled substance in Thailand, Malaysia, Australia, and some other European countries. In addition, the DEA (U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration) proposed banning kratom at the federal level, but they dropped the ban to give scientists more time to study it.

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