Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) is a tropical evergreen tree in the coffee family. It’s native to Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, and other South Asian countries. The leaves, or extracts from the leaves, have been used as a stimulant and a sedative. It’s also been reported for treating chronic pain, digestive ailments, and as an aid for withdrawal from opium dependence.
However, there haven’t been enough clinical trials to help understand the health effects of kratom. It also hasn’t been approved for medical use. Read on to learn what is known about kratom.
Kratom is legal in the United States. However, it’s not legal in Thailand, Australia, Malaysia, and several European Union countries.
In the United States, kratom is usually marketed as an alternative medicine. You can find it in stores that sell supplements and alternative medicines.
At low doses, kratom has been reported to work like a stimulant. People who have used low doses generally report having more energy, being more alert, and feeling more sociable. At higher doses, kratom has been reported as being sedative, producing euphoric effects, and dulling emotions and sensations. The main active ingredients of kratom are the alkaloids mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine. There is evidence that these alkaloids can have analgesic (pain relieving), anti-inflammatory, or muscle relaxant effects. For this reason, kratom is often used to ease symptoms of fibromyalgia.
The plant’s dark green leaves are usually dried and either crushed or powdered. You can find fortified kratom powders, usually green or light brown in color. These powders also contain extracts from other plants. Kratom is also available in paste, capsule, and tablet form. In the United States, kratom is mostly brewed as a tea for the self-management of pain and opioid withdrawal.
According to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), a small dose that produces stimulant effects is just a few grams. The effects usually happen within 10 minutes after ingesting it and can last up to 1 1/2 hours. These effects can include:alertness
A larger dose of between 10 and 25 grams of dried leaves can have a sedative effect, with feelings of calmness and euphoria. This could last for up to six hours.
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