Mitragyna Speciosa or Kratom is a plant indigenous to Southeast Asia whose alkaloid rich leaves have stimulant and analgesic effects when consumed or used topically. In Asia, this powerful plant medicine has been used for centuries to stave off fatigue, manage chronic pain, treat intestinal issues, and as a local anaesthetic. More recently, Kratom has become popular in North America as a raw botanical primarily used to boost energy and treat chronic pain, depression, anxiety and opioid withdrawal. The specific effects Kratom will have depend in large part on the strain, vein type, and region of origin as well as the size of the dose taken. While there are many articles on which strains of Kratom are best for a given effect, the truth is that strain names are often arbitrary assigned by vendors and are therefore poor indicators of the quality and characteristics of the Kratom itself. The best way to find a variety that works for you is to try several different strains. That being said, there are several considerations that can help you find the varieties that will work for you. In this article we will discuss which varieties of Kratom are best for pain relief, which are best for enhancing mood and boosting energy, how Kratom can be used to treat opioid addiction, and what are the main side effects and health risks associated with Kratom.
The specific effects Kratom will have depend in large part on the strain, vein type, and region of origin, season harvested as well as the size of the dose taken. While there are many articles on which strains of Kratom are best for a given effect, the truth is that strain names are often arbitrary assigned by vendors and are therefore poor indicators of the quality and characteristics of the Kratom itself. The best way to find a variety that works for you is to try several different strains. That being said, there are several considerations that can help you find the varieties that will work for you. In this article we will discuss which varieties of Kratom are best for pain relief, which are best for enhancing mood and boosting energy, how Kratom can be used to treat opioid addiction, and what are the main side effects and health risks associated with Kratom.
Kratom is an analgesic which is any drug that relieves pain. This has rapidly become one of the primary uses for the plant as many people seek herbal remedies either as alternatives to or complementary to mainstream pharmaceutical treatments for their chronic pain. In general, darker strains like Red Maeng Da, Red Borneo and Red Bali are often associated with more analgesic effect and less psychotropic effects. However, different varieties of Kratom have different alkaloid profiles which may work better or worse for your specific type of pain. For example, varieties with high 7-hydroxymitragynine and mitragynine are more effective at treating pain but tend to be more sedating than other varieties as they are usually lacking in the rest of their alkaloid profile. Gold and Yellow strains, are effective at counter balancing the sedative effects while maintaining pain relief, otherwise, mixing red strains with green or white strains can be a great way to find your own preferred balance of alkaloids. In general and for pain relief, always start with a small (1 – 2g) dose and if needed you can increment your dose to a maximum recommended 8g for a heavy effect. Different strains can vary in potency and should always be tested cautiously. Moreover Kratom should never be combined with other drugs, pharmaceuticals or otherwise.
Mood Enhancement, Energy and Focus
In addition to an analgesic, Kratom is a stimulant or an “upper” as the plant comes from the same as coffee. For this reason, most Kratom will have a positive impact on your mood and boost your energy and focus. Again, the alkaloid profile and dose of a given strain determines its effects and potency. For for mood enhancement, energy and focus, a low to medium dose is recommended (as higher doses are more likely to have sedative effects), and in particular, Green and White veined strains are recommended for this intended effect with White Borneo being especially popular.
Treating Opioid Addiction
As potent pharmaceutical opioids and painkillers became widely prescribed and in the wake of the subsequent opioid crisis, many people have been searching for less potent plant-based alternatives for managing their chronic pain and treating their addiction and withdrawal symptoms. For this, Kratom does offer some solid potential benefits over many mainstream pain and withdrawal medication. In fact, one of the traditional uses for Kratom in Asia has been for treating opium withdrawal. It is effective at this because its active alkaloids, act on both opioid and non-opioid receptors in the brain. Producing similar analgesic effects to opioids without many of the adverse effects associated with opioids. One major benefit Kratom has over traditional opioid treatments is that is does not cause respiratory depression which is why chronic users report that they are able to function normally despite developing a dependance while treating their symptoms.
Though prolonged Kratom use can result in dependance and withdrawal, Kratom users perceive less severe withdrawal symptoms than with typical opioids.
Side Effects and Health Risks
Since kratom is a good herbal alternative for treating chronic pain, many people are embracing the plant and leveraging its medicinal benefits. Even so, like many other alternative medicines, kratom has its fair share of side effects and health risks. Users may experience various side effects that range from mild to severe; these health adversities largely depend on the amount of kratom taken and the period of use. Some of the most common side effects that are associated with short-term use of kratom include sweating, constipation, nausea, dizziness, itching, and vomiting. On the other hand, continued use of the herb may cause the following side effects; tremors, fatigue, appetite loss, dry mouth, weight loss, and insomnia.
One of the biggest dangers posed by prolonged use of kratom is developing a dependence on the substance. Studies have found that the active compounds in kratom have effects that are similar to opioids such as codeine, morphine, and even heroin, which cause addiction. In addition, similar to most opioids, long-term use of kratom brings about a euphoric feeling, and regular users usually display withdrawal symptoms when they stop using it. Some of the physical withdrawals of kratom include diarrhea, muscle aches, nausea, fever, and sleep deprivation. Apart from that, there are a few other psychological withdrawals that kratom addicts may experience when they stop using it; they include irritability, nervousness, mood swings, and depression.
Even though there hasn’t been any conclusive research done on the major health risks of kratom, severe toxic effects that result in seizures and psychosis have been experienced by people who’ve taken high amounts of it. What’s more, kratom users are susceptible to major health dangers when they obliviously purchase and use kratom that has been combined with other compounds which usually result in catastrophic consequences. This is a major problem because there currently isn’t a way to appropriately regulate the sale of kratom.
Mood Enhancement, Energy and Focus
Kratom isn’t an opioid but has lots of properties that are similar to them; one of these characteristics is the ability to bind on opioid receptors in the brain which helps in pain relief. Although continuous use of the plant can cause addiction, it has relatively fewer withdrawal effects than opioids. Kratom is also classified as a psychoactive plant, meaning that it has the ability to tremendously change a person’s perspective. This can be quite beneficial since it enables people to use it as an antidepressant.