What to do about Kratom?
Kratom offers something that other drugs to treat addiction do not – the ability to treat oneself in anonymity and to receive treatment without involving the health care system or law enforcement. In the U.S., kratom’s safety profile – at least compared to other opioids – led people as far back as 1836 to recommend kratom as a substitute for people who became addicted to opioids.
We do know that kratom has very mild pain-relieving effects and a slight stimulant effect. It brings a low risk of stopping breathing, the main risk of stronger opioids. In an assessment of the 660 calls about kratom to United States poison control centers from 2010-2015, the major adverse effects included racing heartbeat, agitation or irritability, drowsiness, nausea and high blood pressure. The adverse effects were moderate or severe in 42 percent and 7 percent of people, respectively. -C. Michael White is Professor and Head of the Department of Pharmacy Practice, University of Connecticut