Monday, February 4, 2008

Regarding Kratom

Kratom is the leaf of a tree from Southeast Asia. It is both a stimulant and an opiate, often consumed as a tea. As an opiate, it is about as strong as hydrocodone or vicodin. It is delicious when sweetened with ample sugar and it is good for your health just like green tea because 8 ounces of properly prepared kratom contains an ungodly amount of anti-oxidants [1]. The FDA classifies kratom as neither a food, drug, or herbal supplement which puts it in a weird legal no mans land. This is why most vendors sell it as an incense strictly "not for human consumption." One of the active alkaloids of kratom, 7-hydroxymitragynine, is an incredibly strong opiate, 17 times as strong as morphine by weight [2]. Kratom has been further tested as a drug on your average variety of small mammals. In this study on guinea pigs and mice, they didn't get the 17x stronger than morphine number but they did conclude that 7-hydroxy-mitragynine is a dose dependant antinociceptive that is stronger than morphine [3]. They do a follow up study demonstrating cross tolerance with morphine. [4]

Cheap 7-hydroxy-mitragyine could certainly be a public health problem on the order of heroin but it is unlikely to become available on the street in pure form and the plant form is not a dangerous narcotic because it is impossible to ingest it in large volumes. Erowid [5] is the authoritative list of studies [6] on the subject of kratom. You can read more than 50 personal experiences with kratom, mostly with regards to it as a recreational drug though some individuals there use it as a substitute for traditional opiates or to potentiate other drugs. Most of the negative experiences can be attributed to people incorrectly consuming kratom [7]. Kratom is properly consumed as a tea with lots of sugar or other sweetener and the extra kratom powder filtered out with a french press.

Kratom is completely legal everywhere except some of its native Southeast Asia: Thailand, Burma, and Malaysia, and Australia [8].

[1] See the alkaloids of Cats Claw and kratom

[2] Indole Alkaloids of a Thai Medicinal Herb, Mitragyna speciosa, that has Opioid Agonistic Effect in Guinea-Pig Ileum

[3] Antinociceptive effect of 7-hydroxymitragynine in mice: Discovery of an orally active opioid analgesic from the Thai medicinal herb Mitragyna speciosa

[4] Antinociception, tolerance and withdrawal symptoms induced by 7-hydroxymitragynine, an alkaloid from the Thai medicinal herb Mitragyna speciosa

[5] Erowid Kratom Vault

[6] Kratom References

[7] Kratom Experiences

[8] DEA: Drugs and chemicals of concern (Kratom)