Kratom is a naturally occurring, tropical tree indigenous to Thailand and other areas in Southeast Asia. Kratom has been used for thousands of years as a medicine, mood enhancer, and pain reliever, but it is currently listed as a drug of concern by the DEA due to its potentially harmful effects on users that can lead to addiction.
Kratom works similarly to traditional opiate based painkillers such as hydrocodone through mu opioid receptors found throughout the body. These receptors are responsible for feelings of euphoria after ingesting opiates and create the feeling of “getting high” associated with many drugs. For this reason kratom is frequently ingested recreationally however it can also be taken routinely at smaller doses without creating dependence – thus creating therapeutic effects.
“I started taking kratom for pain management”, said Meagan Belle Wade, a former addict of Hydrocodone and Xanax, “It (kratom) relieves my pain without any of the side effects of hydrocodone. I feel more alert sometimes; it’s almost like caffeine but I’m never irritated.” Kratom is also known to enhance moods among users suffering from depression or anxiety however some critics argue that this simply is an effect of removing suffering individuals’ desire to self-medicate with opiates instead of actually treating the source of their mental health issues.
Kratom is currently legal in most states throughout the U.S. under certain restrictions depending on location and you can buy kratom online; many countries around the world have placed kratom on restricted or illegal lists due to its potentially harmful side effects.
Kratom is currently illegal in Australia, Malaysia, Myanmar/Burma (with exceptions), and Thailand (rescheduled by the Thai government).
The United States Drug Enforcement Administration has listed two active chemicals most found within the kratom plant, mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine as “Drugs of Concern” which inform state policy decisions however they are not federally scheduled drugs at this time.