A quick Google search online will show you millions of results on where to buy kratom online. This ‘herbal supplement’ is being marketed like it’s the latest dietary superfood that will solve all your pain and wellness worries. You can buy it in capsule form, powder, or as tea bags. And just like ordering a pack of Goji berries or a bottle of B Vitamins, you can easily purchase kratom on the internet, with some companies even offering free shipping.
This accessibility has increased the popularity of this substance, especially among college students and young adults. However, many people are not really using this to cure any ailment, instead, it is being used as a recreational drug and as an opioid alternative.
Millions of Americans who have tried Kratom think that just because it is made from natural ingredients, then it must be safe. But is this substance really harmless? Are there no dangerous side effects associated with this herbal cure?
What is Kratom and what is it used for?
Kratom is sourced from the leaves of Mitragyna speciosa, which is a tropical tree native to the forests of Southeast Asia, predominantly in Thailand and Malaysia. While the leaves are traditionally chewed fresh or brewed as tea to gain its effects, the powder supplements now available online are made from pulverizing the leaves. People who take the substance feel the effects within five to ten minutes, and this will last from two to five hours. The higher the amount you take, the stronger the effects.
This substance is primarily used for pain relief. In a survey conducted among users of the substance, 68% said they used it to address pain. This is why it is often said to be a better alternative to opioid pain relievers. While the ingredients of this substance seem to bind, albeit weakly, to a protein in the brain activated by opioids, experts say that kratom in itself does not act like an opioid. Being a non-opioid natural drug, people are starting to turn to this herbal supplement as a way to gain relaxing effects.
Another claim is that can help in boosting your energy by acting as a mild stimulant, while still have soothing effects. Supplement websites say that the substance has the potential to heighten energy levels and alertness as it can optimize metabolism and hormones. This gives it quite a unique effect as it can act as a stimulant (like caffeine, cocaine, Adderall) in lower doses, but also as a depressant (like alcohol, marijuana, Xanax) in higher doses. Kratom is also being used by people dealing with mental issues, anxiety disorders, diabetes, and other chemical imbalances in the body.
Due to the ongoing opioid epidemic, many people are also turning to Kratom to treat withdrawal symptoms experienced when trying to get off opioids. People have this perception that this is a much safer and natural way to slowly detox from opioids. The problem, however, is that people misuse the substance for recreational purposes.
Is it safe to take Kratom?
Kratom believers argue that the substance is safe as it has been used as an herbal cure for so many years. The ‘herbal and natural’ catchphrase can also be seen in many online advertisements promising high-quality products that suggest efficacy. But since it is sold as a dietary supplement and not a drug, it means that it is not regulated and ingredients are not required to be tested. This is especially true for products bought online as you don’t really know for certain where these are manufactured.
In a New York Times story, FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said that there is no evidence showing that the substance is effective or safe for any medical use. A warning was also issued by the FDA regarding the use of the substance as it appears to contain ingredients that may pose risks of abuse, dependence, and addiction. Kratom has also been linked with negative effects such as liver damage, seizures, overdose, psychotic episodes, abnormal brain function, heart and respiratory irregularities, and hallucinations.
There have been reports that kratom is being laced with other drugs such as hydrocodone and fentanyl to enhance its effects. Contaminants like heavy metals and salmonella have also been detected in products. These situations can lead to harmful and even deadly effects. In fact, 91 overdose deaths in the U.S. from July 2016 to the end of December 2017 pointed to kratom as the cause of death.
While many people think that taking herbal supplements is a safe way to detox from opioids or other drugs, this is a risky move because you are never really sure if you are getting proven benefits. Instead of experimenting with unknown and potentially risky substances, the best way to overcome an opioid or substance addiction is still through rehabilitation treatment programs that are proven safe and effective.
Take that first step on the road to recovery. Contact Morningside Recovery by Lighthouse to learn more about our full-spectrum of comprehensive addiction treatment programs.