Mitragyna Speciosa, or Kratom, is an exotic, leafy perennial plant in the pea family native to Southeast Asia. It’s native to Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar (the country that now has the laxative effects of Kratom), and Papua New Guinea, but it’s now widely popular in other places, too. Kratom has both psychoactive stimulant-like properties and naturally occurring opiate-like activity. Some consider it safer than ingesting opiates because of this, though others are not so sure.
It’s difficult to draw a definite conclusion about whether or not Kratom can be used as a prescription medication for any purpose, because of all of its various effects on the human body. Stimulant like effects may make it acceptable for use by those with certain medical problems, but it’s not entirely clear if Kratom is actually what it is billed as, either. There’s a lot of anecdotal evidence out there from those who’ve tried it, but the most serious research has not been able to separate kratom use from other drug use. This makes it difficult to determine whether it can have long term, chronic pain relief, or even mild temporary benefits for those who are taking opiates, for example. There’s just no concrete scientific data to prove that kratom is actually effective.
What is known is that Kratom can be an effective, natural source of pain relief, and has been used for centuries by people throughout Southeast Asia for its relaxing, energizing, and stimulating capabilities. Speciosa, which comes from the Latin name of the tropical tree, is native to southeast Asia, with parts growing in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam. It has also been cultivated in other countries, including Colombia, Argentina, Mexico, the Philippines, and in Canada. The leaf of species was often mixed with opium during Thailand’s early history and was used by the royal family for its calming, stimulant capabilities.
Unfortunately, despite its growing popularity in recent years, kratom and related leaves have recently drawn the attention of pharmaceuticals and health care providers, who are beginning to look at it as a potential risk. Kratom is currently listed as a controlled substance in four states, including California. Even though it’s not considered to be an addictive substance, it is still considered an illegal drug by many people, including law enforcement and medical professionals. This is largely due to reports of its abuse, including death from liver damage caused by atom overdose. So, much so, in fact, that authorities began conducting investigations into whether or not species abuse was behind a recent outbreak of Salmonella outbreak linked to kratom users.
In light of these recent events, the questions about kratom and addiction came back into the forefront, causing members of Congress to reintroduce a bill in Congress that would legalize kratom and other related leaf extracts. In doing so, they hope to remove an atom from the definition of Schedule II, which would make it both a felony and a misdemeanor to purchase or sell, while making it a legal prescription medication for those who suffer from chronic pain. Although the move is still relatively young, especially considering how much opposition the bill has garnered, it does represent an attempt to address some of the public’s concerns about the legality of kratom use and addiction.
While it is difficult to predict how the use of kratom will evolve into a valid medical treatment for chronic pain and other ailments, the current legislation does represent a step in the right direction. Although it is too early to say what the impact will be on public awareness of kratom addiction, it is clear that the government has a responsibility to citizens concerning prescription medications, which often carry serious side effects and can be abused by the general population. There is also a great deal of concern about the long term health effects of continued use, especially among people who have already developed severe problems with pain management medications. It remains to be seen whether atom can fill the void left by regular opiate medications like morphine, which are known to cause addiction and are also highly addictive. However, as this all becomes more common and more readily available, it will become increasingly important for people to educate themselves about their options when it comes to pain management.