Botanical extracts are making a big comeback in the alternative medicine industry due to their diverse benefits. One of these is kratom, which comes from an evergreen tree of the same name. However, this herbal wonder remains unfamiliar to most of the general public. If you are one of them, please keep reading for more information.
What Is Kratom?
Kratom is a herbal extract from the Mitragyna speciosa tree and is closely related to the coffee family. Indigenous to Southeast Asia, this plant was historically used as a stimulant, anti-depressant, and pain-killer. Usually, rural laborers boiled the leaves into tea or crushed them into powder. It was not globally known, but that has changed due to scientific exploration.
Currently, white gold kratom is gaining mass appeal due to its various sedative and therapeutic effects. Kratom works for relief against pain, opiate addiction and withdrawal, anxiety, insomnia, depression, lethargy, inflammation, hypertension, diarrhea, and mental retardation. It is also widely available in powder, gummies, tinctures, and capsules. You can also expect all this to occur without the risk of addiction and side effects due to its unique chemical makeup, as explained below.
What Are Kratom’s Effects?
All the benefits of kratom can be traced to one main factor: its alkaloid content. Rich in over 40 alkaloids, kratom is known for its opioid-like properties.
It is worth noting that the effects differ based on two factors: dosage and strain.
During kratom’s life cycle, the leaf goes through different stages where the alkaloids mature. At the earliest stage, the leaf’s veins are still white. Users love white kratom strains because they act as stimulants and mood enhancers. Its effects are also mild since the alkaloids have not fully oxidized, making them more potent.
Red vein kratom strains are notable for their calming, analgesic, and sedative properties. Additionally, it can help ease muscle tension and insomnia. Harvested from the most mature leaves, red vein kratom strains are the most potent. Green vein kratom strains sit between these two and are harvested halfway through the leaf’s life cycle. This strain is popular for its mild energy boost, mood enhancement, and pain relief. As such, your strain of choice will affect your experience with kratom.
Unlike other botanical extracts, kratom offers completely different effects based on the dosage in what is known as a dependent action. Low doses lead to stimulation and increased focus; moderate doses offer pain relief, while high doses are sedative. A low dose is anything from 1 to 5 grams, while high doses are anything between 5 to 15 grams. However, be sure to avoid taking anything above 15 grams since this is risky. Fortunately, kratom forms such as capsules and gummies come with clear dosages, making it easy to monitor your consumption.
How Does Kratom Work?
The two dominant alkaloids, mitragynine, and 7-hydroxymitragynine, interact with opioid receptors in the brain to offer relief against pain, insomnia, and a host of other issues. Mitragynine, in particular, is roughly 13 times more potent than morphine, so it is fast gaining popularity as a holistic analgesic.
These two alkaloids (mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine) deliver kratom’s famous effects by binding to µ-opioid receptors (MORs), the primary targets of strong opioids in the brain, spinal cord, and gastrointestinal tract, thus triggering relief from pain, anxiety, and other conditions.
Unlike traditional opioids, kratom activates the opioid receptors without the help of the protein β-arrestin. Research shows that β-arrestin is responsible for opiate addiction since it mediates the key molecular switch that triggers brain reward systems, initiating addiction. As such, kratom is not addictive. You need not worry about growing dependent on kratom with prolonged use as long as you take the proper dosage.
With regard to its alkaloid content, kratom is also effective in fighting against opioid addiction. It significantly reduces the intensity of withdrawal symptoms and mimics the high opioid addicts’ experience. In addition, kratom does not induce respiratory depression or side effects.
Is Kratom Legal?
In terms of legality, kratom is legal at a federal level in the US. However, it is not federally regulated, meaning that there are no government checks done to ascertain the quality of kratom products before sale.
Another point worth noting is that certain states have banned it completely, and it is illegal to sell or possess it. However, the tide is shifting as kratom gains more popularity, and its terms of proper use become more common, leading to fewer overdoses.
Kratom is a fascinating herbal extract known for its numerous health benefits. Ranging from pain relief to treatment of opioid withdrawal, kratom’s popularity just keeps on growing. But it is important to note that the research is still ongoing, and many claims are largely anecdotal and depend on several external factors. For this reason, be sure to use kratom with the advice of a medical professional.