The popularity of the Kratom plant has increased in recent years due to a wide range of purposes for which it is grown and consumed. In some areas, it is used chiefly for medical reasons, whereas it serves as an alternative to opioids for some people and recreational purposes to others.
Kratom: general information
The Kratom plant, or Mitragyna speciosa as it is scientifically known as, is a tropical tree that grows naturally in the southeastern part of Asia (notably in Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia) where it has been used traditionally for hundreds of years by local farmers. The farmers mostly consumed the plant by collecting and drying its leaves, before crushing them into a powdered form for oral intake. It was used primarily as an energy booster and pain killer by the local farmers working in the fields. It is also regarded as a stimulant. Kratom grows most suitably in tropical climates and requires very rich soil conditions for growth. Humidity is a very important factor in the growth of the plant as it has huge effects on the alkaloid constituents of its leaves – a major product for which it is consumed. Some common synonyms with which the plant and its extracts are referred to as include Nauclea speciosa, Stephegyne speciosa, biak-biak, krathom, gratom, kedemba, thang, etc.
The use of the plant in various countries has remained largely controversial. Until recently in Thailand when it was legalized for medical purposes, its use in the country was not fully recognized as legal by the government. However, it remains broadly used by the locals due to its thriving nature in these areas and thus, ease of access. Local consumption of the plant in Indonesia is prohibited, however, the exportation of the plant is considered legal. On the other hand, the growth and usage of Biak-Biak, as it is usually referred to as in Malaysia, is deemed completely illegal.
Japan, South Korea, Myanmar, and Vietnam are examples of other Asian countries where the plant is illegal. It is completely illegal in Australia, Canada, and a host of European nations; namely Russia, Finland, Latvia, Sweden, and Poland to mention a few. Different states in the US have various laws regulating the use, purchase, and sale of the plant. Kratom for sale in the US is shipped in or distributed from the source countries as whole dried leaves, crushed leaves, in powdered form, and as various extracts. Tablets, capsules, teas and liquid extracts are some of the forms in which Kratom is prepared and sold as dietary supplements.
There are numerous uses of the plant, as it is now more commonly consumed in other parts of the world. The genus name Mitragyna is gotten from one of its most effective alkaloid compounds – mitragynine. The other most significantly potent alkaloid in Kratom is 7-hydroxymitragynine. The pharmacodynamics of these alkaloids shows that they both exercise activity at opioid receptors as agonists, giving the plant its analgesic properties. The effects of Kratom, when consumed in lower quantities, include energy boost, stimulation, and euphoria. When consumed in higher quantities, it is sedative. In addition to its analgesic properties, it is also consumed by some as a substance for withdrawal and overcoming of addictive drugs.
- Reduce fever
- Recreational purposes i.e. for relaxation
- Withdrawal from opioid drugs
- Increase libido
- As an energy boost and painkiller
- To deal with anxiety and improve mood
- Increase in concentration
- It helps boost the immune system
- Stress relief and relaxation
- Helps increase energy and manage fatigue
- Alleviation and management of pain
- Induces euphoria and helps deal with depression
- Regulation of blood sugar level, thus aiding in the prevention and management of diabetes
- Helps in the control of opium addictions and recovery from withdrawal symptoms
The effects of using this plant haven’t been deemed fully implicit yet. For individuals who consume in large concentrations regularly, there have been cases of withdrawal symptoms after periods without use. Other known side effects of Kratom include dryness of the mouth, constipation, nausea, and vomiting, weight loss as well as agitation, dizziness, sleeplessness, respiratory difficulty, and other negative effects.
While the plant is known to exist in only one specie form, it exists in different varieties. For instance, the content level of mitragynine in Kratom leaves grown in Thailand was noticed to be significantly higher than those grown in Malaysia. The variations may result from different reasons, the most notable of which are growing soil conditions, methods of processing, and specific period of harvest.
Generally, the plant is grouped into three different colors namely white-vein, red-vein, and green-vein. The numerous known strains of kratom fall under at least one of the three different color groups.
White Vein Kratom
Of the three groups of Kratom, the white-vein possesses the highest stimulating and mood-enhancing properties. For people looking to increase concentration and focus, as well as improve stamina especially during long working hours, this is the most preferred variant. An example of a white-vein strain is White Sumatra. Strains of white-vein are used by some people as preferred to coffee.
Red Vein Kratom
This is the most commonly known and most marketable variant of Kratom available. It is most effective in stress relief and relaxation. It has the most qualities as a painkiller, aids sleep, and generally provides peace of mind when consumed. Stronger strains of this variant can be useful in dealing with opioid addictions. Red Thai and Borneo Red are some of the most common strains of red-vein.
Green Vein Kratom
The pain and stress relieving properties of the green-vein fall in between those of the previous two varieties. It is used as an energy boost, helps improve concentration, induces cheerfulness and its effects are rather gentle.
It is important to know the varieties of Kratom, as you’ll have a good knowledge of what you need and type to request, depending on the specific purpose for which it is to be consumed. This helps prevent and avoid any unwanted side effects that might arise from consuming a wrong strain. It may also help to prevent overspending due to buying of many strains while trying to determine the most suitable.