What is Kratom Addiction?
Kratom is the common name for a tropical evergreen native to Southeast Asia. Kratom leaves, or mitragyna speciosa, have a psychoactive property that behaves much like an opioid. If you haven’t heard of kratom, don’t feel bad. You are probably among the majority. It’s popularity has increased in recent years, but in most areas it not a highly-sought substance. It can be purchased in some head shops, but is most often garnered through online stores.
Kratom is currently legal in the United States, although some legislators in Florida are looking to ban it. Kratom addiction is not a widely discussed topic, and not much is really known about the substance and long-term effects of use. While it is common in Asia, it is relatively new to users in the United States and Europe.
Kratom has an interesting history. Like the coca leaf, it has been chewed by indigenous peoples for thousands of years for it’s medicinal quality. It was outlawed in its native Thailand about 70 years ago – but not for reasons you might think. At the time, it was reportedly hurting Thailand’s tax revenue from the sale of opium.
Kratom can be ingested by chewing leaves, chopping up leaves and making tea, or smoked in powder form. The most popular way to consume kratom in the West is via capsule.
Effects of Kratom
It has commonly been used as an anti-diarrhea agent, and in small doses, acts as a stimulant and mood-enhancer. Like opium, it is also used as a painkiller, although it is considered to be inferior to many opiates. In higher doses, it acts as a sedative. Typically, effects last for just a few hours, but can provide mild euphoria and general sense of well-being.
The effects of kratom are generally mild, compared to many other psychoactive substances. It is not often a drug of choice – that is, it’s legality makes it popular among those users who are unable to allocate opiates or alcohol. It is also said to be a reasonable substitution for heroin addicts during withdrawal.
Extremely adverse side effects are quite rare, but may include
- confusion and paranoia
- nausea and vomiting
- hallucinations and delusions
- psychotic episodes
- Nervousness and tremens
- Aggressive behavior
Note: Most of these effects are observed in Asia where the drug is widely consumed. There have been a few reports in the United States of emergency room visits and calls to poison control, but they are isolated and not well-tracked.
Side Effects of Kratom Addiction
Like any psychoactive substance, kratom has the potential for addiction. It binds to the same brain receptors as opiods, so they increase dopamine and create artificial endorphins in the brain.
Kratom Addiction effects may include:
- Loss of libido
- Weight loss
- Skin discoloration
Withdrawal effects of kratom addiction, similar to those of opiates, may include:
- Muscle pain and tremens
- Restlessness and insomnia
- Severe depression and irritability
- Panic attacks
- Mood swings
Fortunately, most effects of kratom addiction dissipate after a period of abstinence.
If you or someone you know is a drug addict, please seek help immediately.