Follow All the Science, Kratom
.It’s puzzling that the leaves of a tropical evergreen consumed for centuries and used to treat a myriad of ailments could cause such controversy, but Kratom has had a very bumpy ride in the US media.
Despite an abundance of information from countless legitimate scientists and experts, the FDA has been trying to demonise Kratom for years and wants it to be listed as a Schedule 1 Substance (making it impossible to purchase legally). Fortunately they didn’t consider the backlash from the multitude of supporters who have been happily consuming the substance for years and using it to treat a range of issues from mood-related problems and pain management, to improved focus and substance withdrawal. So far, efforts to eradicate Kratom have failed, but it’s a constant cause for concern to those that rely on it as an alternative to harmful pharmaceutical medications.
In 2016 a petition supporting Kratom attracted 142 000 signatures in the US alone and 26 000 Americans pleaded with Trump to keep the plant legal. Some 1 175 doctors, vets, scientists and law officials told the American Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) that they thought the banning of Kratom would be a bad idea that could worsen the ‘Opioid Crisis’ and 62 US Senate members on both sides of the political divide agreed with them.
In response to a major online public survey, a whopping zero per cent of all Emergency Health Care Professionals, EMTs and First Responders supported a ban on Kratom and many health care workers reported personally knowing people that had used Kratom to ease the withdrawal from opioid painkillers and heroin; which kill thousands every day. It’s been used successfully in rehabilitation and drug recovery settings as an alternative to opioid replacement therapy and zero deaths have ever been proven to be caused by Kratom alone.
The media likes to portray Kratom as “just another opioid”; as dangerous as oxycodone, fentanyl and all the other incredibly potent pharmaceutical painkillers that are destroying so many lives. This is simply not true. Opiates and opioids are derived from the poppy plant and Kratom comes from a tree that has absolutely nothing in common with the poppy. It’s closest botanical relative is the humble coffee tree. Kratom is not an opioid but it works by binding to some of the same receptor sites in the brain, similarly to chocolate, coffee, exercise and even human breast milk.
Research by Dr. Jack Henningfield, Ph.D, states that Kratom’s potential for abuse is no greater than other widely used unscheduled substances like nutmeg, hops, St. John’s wort, chamomile, guarana, and kolanut. When used respectfully and with some common sense it’s unlikely to cause any unwanted long term effects.
As is the case with many other natural substances, more legitimate research studies and focused clinical trials are always needed to learn as much as possible, but to supporters from varying backgrounds and cultures all over the world, Kratom seems to be a safe natural alternative that could be beneficial to many, many people.