While Kratom is not new to SW Florida and the Fort Myers area, it has only recently reached a greater popularity for use in helping to treat aches and pains, as a substitute for opium during withdrawals and for relaxation and recreational use. This article will help you better understand kratom as well as it’s many uses. This is merely informational and by no means an endorsement of kratom or claims of any medicinal benefits. The FDA does not approve kratom for human consumption.
What is Kratom?
Kratom is a tree native to Southeast Asia (Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar [Burma], and elsewhere). Its botanical name is Mitragyna speciosa. Kratom is in the Rubiaceae family, which is in the same family as the coffee plant. The leaves of the kratom tree are a dark green color and can grow to over 7 inches (180 mm) long and 4 inches (100 mm) wide, are ovate-acuminate in shape, and opposite in growth pattern.
Kratom was first introduced to the world in the early 19th Century by Dutch botanist Pieter William Korthals. Korthals did extensive research in the area that is now known as SE Asia and found a tree that was held in high esteem by the local population. The local population called this tree, Kratom, and it was the herbal remedy of choice used to cure some of the most frequent maladies of the region in those days.
Kratom and its derivatives have been used as substitutes for opium as well as for the management of opium withdrawal. Data on the incidence and prevalence of its use are lacking, as physicians are generally unfamiliar with it, and its use is not detected by typical drug screening tests. Kratom metabolites can be detected by specialized mass spectrometry tests. Incidence of kratom use appears to be increasing among those who have been self-managing chronic pain with opioids purchased without a prescription and are cycling (but not quitting) their use. As of 2011, there have been no formal clinical trials performed to study the efficacy or safety of kratom to treat opioid addiction.
How is Kratom taken?
In Thailand, kratom leaves are often chewed fresh (usually after removing the stringy central vein). Dried leaves can also be chewed, but since they are a bit tough, most people prefer to crush them up or powder them so that they can be swallowed. Powdered kratom can be mixed with fruit juice or apple sauce. This partially masks the taste and allows it to be quickly swallowed. Dried kratom leaves are often made into a tea that is strained and then drunk.
Kratom can be smoked, but doing so has no advantage over chewing or making a tea from it. The amount of leaf that constitutes a typical dose is too much to be smoked easily. Some people like to mix kratom tea with ordinary black tea, or other herbal teas, before it is consumed. This is done to make it more palatable. Sugar or honey can be added to sweeten it. Kratom is commonly sold in either a loose powder form or put into capsules for easier ingestion.
What are the effects of Kratom?
Kratom is rather unique in that a low to moderate doses will usually (but not always) be stimulating, while a high dose is almost always quite sedating. This is apparently because the active alkaloids have both stimulant and sedative effects. Which predominates probably depends both on blood level and individual differences between users.
The stimulant level: At the stimulant level the mind is more alert, physical energy and sometimes sexual energy is increased, ability to do hard monotonous physical work may be improved, one is more talkative, friendly, and sociable. Some people find this level edgy rather than pleasant.
The sedative-euphoric-analgesic level: At this dosage you will be less sensitive to physical or emotional pain, feel and look calm, have a general feeling of comfortable pleasure, and may enter a pleasant dreamy reverie. You may experience some itching or sweating. Your pupils may be constricted (small). It is possible you may feel nauseated, but if you lie down and relax the nausea should quickly cease. You may find your appreciation of music is increased. It will be very pleasant to lie down on your back in a semi-darkened room, with eyes closed, and just listen to your favorite music. The effects of kratom usually last about six hours. The higher the dose, the stronger the effects, and the longer they last. Many people report a positive ‘afterglow’ the next day.
Since any dosage of kratom can cause sleepiness, You should not drive or operate heavy equipment while taking kratom.
Is kratom habit forming?
Although a small number of people have become dependent on kratom (primarily in Thailand), kratom is not habit forming when it is used responsibly. If used occasionally as a recreational drug, rather than daily, there is virtually no risk of becoming dependent on it. But it is very important not to get into the habit of using it every day. For kratom, like many drugs [e.g. alcohol, coffee, tobacco, etc.] if used on a daily basis for a prolonged period of time, could become a habit hard to break. IT IS IMPORTANT NOT TO USE KRATOM EVERY DAY. Before starting to experiment with it set yourself usage guidelines. If you EVER find it is hard to stay within your usage guidelines immediately quit using kratom.
Can Kratom be combined with other substances safely?
It is not recommended to combine kratom with any other drugs. Kratom should not be used with large amounts of alcohol.
Is Kratom legal?
**You must be 18 years or older to possess Kratom or Kava in the state of Florida. Kratom is illegal in Australia, Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma), and Thailand (these countries impose sever penalties for possession of the herb). Kratom is legal in most other countries, including the United States (SW Florida) and all of Europe. Laws are subject to change, so be sure that kratom is legal where you live before using it. Kratom is not approved by the FDA for human consumption and cannot be sold to anyone under the age of 18 or 21 depending on your state laws.
Where can Kratom be purchased?
Click Here for a list of Kratom retailers in SW Florida, Fort Myers, Estero and Cape Coral.