In the fight against opioid addiction, people reach out to all kinds of ways to get out of the hell that drug addiction presents. Different parts of the world provide versatile traditional medicinal approaches that promise relief or freedom from the bondage of drugs.
Kratom is an evergreen plant from the coffee family that grows in Southeast Asia. Top producer of this plant is Thailand with Indonesia running along pretty close. Traditionally, Kratom leaves are used as a pain reliever, it improves appetite, and increases energy. Furthermore, in Thailand Kratom was traditionally used as a snack and plays a vital role in the ritual worship of ancestors and gods. In the last couple of years, especially in the mid-2018, there has been much discussion on the topic of Kratom. The plant raised concern in the US as many people started to claim that Kratom is a good way to fight the opioid withdrawal but at the same time, a means to get high.
So, is Kratom really a cheap way to fight the addiction for those who are unable to find a free drug rehab (discover more here) but can’t afford to pay? Let’s take a look at some facts, and try to come up with an informed decision.
The ups and downs of Kratom
This plant contains a lot of alkaloids that bind themselves to opioid receptors in our body. Although the plant is still not considered opioid it’s easy to see how the wrong dosage can lead to opioid effects, which is confirmed by studies.
There are cases of successful withdrawal self-treatment cases where people used carefully dosed Kratom in order to fight the pain and other effects. This form of self-regulated free addiction help process has only one flaw, according to reports – the positive effects stop as soon as the person stops taking Kratom. This means that Kratom holds only a temporary benefit, while long-term effects are yet to be determined.
In smaller doses, the plant is known to have painkiller effects, mildly stimulates the body, and improves mood. However, the fact that it has so many alkaloids similar to those found in heroin and LSD makes the use of this substance risky. It makes it even more dangerous knowing that the dosage can significantly increase the negative effects risk because it’s not easy to determine the proper dose. Therefore, instead of having a cup of tea to relax and or ease a pain you could end up in the “Wonderland” ultimately getting hooked to the substance. In a way, this would mean that while looking for a free addiction treatment you simply switched drugs.
Overdose and death risks
There were reported cases of overdosing on Kratom, due to the improper dosage where users tried to get high using Kratom extracts or leaves. The bad news is that Kratom doesn’t show up on regular blood tests. The only way that doctors could know if a person is on this substance is if the patient tells the staff or if the doctor is experienced enough to recognize the effects and take a blood test specifically designed for Kratom. This raises the question is it worth the risk to take Kratom in order to fight withdrawal or look for affordable or free rehab centers.
Moreover, the number of reported deaths that were caused by Kratom use is growing larger since 2017. Once again, it was difficult for medical examiners to determine the cause of death because most bloodwork would simply show the traces of substances that are common.
Inconclusive scientific data
Additional concern raises with FDA’s warning to the public about the lack of trials that would confirm all the positive and negative aspects of Kratom. Simply put the substance is not fully examined and one cannot be certain about what happens to our body when we use Kratom for a long period of time. Since the withdrawal period can stretch for a longer period of time, using Kratom as a means to fight the pain, nausea, and all other withdrawal symptoms can potentially lead to a new addiction. Yes, the pain will go away, and the person will appear more stable but when the new addiction kicks in that’s when a free drugs rehabilitation center will seem like a more suitable way to deal with the habit.
Long-term use of Kratom can cause liver injuries, as some scientific reports confirm. Due to the lack of research, the mechanisms that lead to liver injury are yet unknown. Nevertheless, the reports confirm that 2-8 weeks of active Kratom use lead to toxicity of the liver, as well as the potential for renal failure and bone marrow toxicity.
After everything is said and done, it’s only fair to say that Kratom, the evergreen coffee family member has a dual nature. It’s a plant that can represent a good servant but an awful master. The scientific reports are inconclusive and the benefits cross paths with negative effects. It appears as if there’s no proof to claim that using this substance can ever be as effective as fighting the addiction with the help of experts and the support of friends and family.
About the Author
Thanush Poulsen is a Danish health blogger who is deeply concerned about the problem of drug addiction. He investigates various drug substances and their effects on the human body.