William Stark, of New York, had been battling chronic pancreatitis for years before he discovered kratom.
After trying “every prescription drug available,” he wrote online that “Kratom is the only thing that helps.”
He lauded the drug’s ability to relieve his pain without fogging his brain like other narcotics. It gave him energy without disrupting his sleep.
He’s not the only one. Using kratom for pain has been on the rise for years. If you think it might help you, too, here’s a rundown on everything you should know.
Why People Use Kratom for Pain
From its origins to its health benefits, here’s everything you need to know about the plant — and why so many people have found relief from it.
Kratom leaves are found from the Mitragyna speciosa tree in Southeast Asia.
The leaves flourish during rainy season and fall during dry spells. They can grow up to 7 inches long and four inches wide, while the trees themselves can range between 12 to 30 feet tall and 15 feet wide.
Kratom goes by a variety of other names, including:
What’s in Kratom?
Kratom contains alkaloids, or naturally occurring compounds that produce physiological effects on humans. Some of these alkaloids include mitraphylline, mitragynine, and 7-hydroxymitragynine, which probably don’t mean anything if you’re not a scientist.
Basically, these alkaloids allow kratom to treat opium dependence because it binds to the opium receptors without activating them. This prevents them from responding to opioids and their associated endorphins. It also helps alleviate the symptoms of withdrawal.
What are the Effects of using Kratom?
In low doses of 1-5 grams, kratom acts as a stimulant by giving users more energy. In higher doses of 6-15 grams, kratom acts as a sedative — similar to opioids — by inducing feelings of calmness, tiredness, or euphoria.
Any dose of kratom higher than 15 grams can cause severe tiredness, even to the point of unconsciousness.
Kratom has been known to treat pain and illness, like diarrhea or severe coughs. Its psychotropic properties have also been known to treat PTSD and social anxiety, although it isn’t typically used just to achieve a “high,” like other drugs.
How is Kratom Consumed?
Kratom is most commonly brewed in tea or other beverages, smoked or taken in capsules. You can also chew kratom leaves or crush them up and swallow them.
How is Kratom Regulated?
While some countries have classified kratom as a controlled substance, others are still studying its effects. In the United States, the Drug Enforcement Administration threatened to ban it in 2016 because of its “opioid-like effects.”
Under the ban, kratom would be considered a Schedule I drug — joining the ranks of heroin, ecstasy, marijuana. Carrying the drug would be illegal on a federal level.
Where is Kratom Illegal?
As of this year, kratom has yet to be banned on a nationwide level, although it is listed as a “drug of concern” by the DEA. It’s illegal in the District of Columbia, as well as the following six states:
Additionally, kratom has been subject to a few municipal bans, including Denver, Colorado; San Diego, California; and Sarasota, Florida. So if you’re looking to try it, check out Smoke City’s Kratom. Just make sure you’re familiar with the rules and regulations in your area first.
Words of Caution
As with any drug, kratom comes with its own set of side effects. Whether or not those side effects are a dealbreaker is up to the consumer.
Reported side effects include addiction, hallucination, confusion, nausea, itching, sweating, dry mouth, constipation, increased urination, and loss of appetite. Long-term use might also cause weight loss, anorexia, and insomnia.
Many people have praised kratom for its healing properties, and its most harmful effects are usually caused by mixing it with other drugs such as alcohol. With these pointers in mind, it’s relatively safe to use kratom for pain in moderation.
And if you or someone you know might be struggling with an addiction, check out this section of our blog dedicated to helping others overcome.