Science

Kratom: what does science say about the… botanical?

A 2020 survey of 2,798 American Kratom users by Johns Hopkins Medicine found that less than 3% of respondents met the criteria for moderate or severe kratom use disorder… A 2019 study in Preventative Medicine estimated that “the risk of overdose death is >1000 times greater for opioids than for kratom.” While most morphine-like opiate overdoses are fatal due to the drugs’ respiratory depressing effects, kratom seems to have little effect on respiration.

In 2019, an estimated 2 million Americans used kratom. Consumers report using the plant to self-medicate for chronic pain, anxiety, depression and opioid withdrawal. The two primary psychoactive alkaloids found in the leaf, mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, act on [2 of 3 primary] opioid receptors in the brain, but the associated risks seem to be far less severe than those of opium-derived compounds. When the FDA first recommended designating kratom as a schedule I drug in 2016, they cited 44 deaths that they claimed were “associated with the use of kratom.” Closer inspection revealed that, of the 44 deaths, 43 involved additional substances [and the remaining 1 death of those 44 was reportedly caused by mitragynine and/or 7-hydroxymitragynine isolate(s), alone, in contrast to whole botanical kratom from which no deaths have been accurately verified as the sole contributor].

Original Article (Discover Magazine):
Kratom: what does science say about the controversial botanical?
Artwork Fair Use: Thehealingeast

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