What is Kratom
It is essential to start this section by defining what Kratom is. Kratom is a tropical plant of the family from Mitragyna speciosa family nature to Southeast Asian countries, e.g., Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia among others. It has opioid-like activities, specifically morphine and has since found its use in medical practice. It has several health benefits, some of which were exhausted by its traditional users.
Kratom leaves are responsible for producing the health benefits that we will be discussing shortly. Conversely, the stem has also been shown to have medicinal benefits.
It is important to note that Kratom is a non-prescription herbal medication that has found its use in many countries. It is sold as leaves, crushed powder, capsules, and gum. It can also be chewed, smoked or used as a beverage.
Kratom leaves are either white, red or green. Each of these produces different strains with different pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics.
Kratom has banned in several countries like Australia, Malaysia, and Myanmar. However, there is increasing use of Kratom in the US and some European countries although it has not authorized.
How Does Kratom Work In Body?
- Kratom contains more than 40 alkaloids that act on opioid and monoaminergic receptors but structurally different from opioids. The two major alkaloids: Mitragynine and 7-hydroxy-Mitragynine.
- Kratom acts as an opioid receptor agonist with almost similar effects like morphine and opioid.
- This happens even though the two are very distinct structurally.
Normally, opioids potentiate their effects by binding to and activating their receptors. This results in their euphoric, pain relieving, anti-inflammatory and anxiolytic effects. Researchers link opioid effects to mimicry of endogenous opioids like enkephalins, endorphins, and dynorphins. These peptides just like opioids are known to reduce pain, sedate and cause a feeling of pleasures.
- The Psychoactive alkaloids in kratom: Mitragynine and 7hydroxymitragynine have been shown to bind as partial agonists to the μ-opioid receptors and antagonistic to the κ- and δ-opioid receptors.
They have high binding affinities to the µ- and κ-receptors. 7-hydroxymitragynine shows a high affinity for δ-receptors than Mitragynine.
- One of the differences between opioids and Kratom is that kratom, specifically Mitragynine has a very high affinity for kappa receptors. Unlike opioids, kratom also acts as an agonist at norepinephrine and serotonin receptors. Its action on norepinephrine and serotonin is believed to be a contributor to kratom’s stimulation effects.
- Besides, kratom has been said to contain alkaloids: rhynchophylline and mitraphylline that are NMDA receptor antagonists. This too is believed to have a place in its action.
- It is worthwhile to mention that the effects of kratom are dose-dependent. Whereas low doses have been demonstrated to produce stimulatory effects resembling the stimulant effect of drugs such as cocaine or amphetamines, higher dosages tend to associate with sedative-narcotic effects that resemble drugs such as opiates.
- This possibly is due to what others say, that at low to moderate doses, Mitragynine has acts on highly on kappa and delta receptors, and at very higher doses the affinity changes to mu-receptors.
- Kratom contains lower levels of 7-hydroxymitragynine than mitragynine; some authors have suggested that 7-hydroxymitragynine is more potent and has better oral bioavailability and blood-brain-barrier penetration than mitragynine. This again can only be proved by enough studies and research on Kratom.
What are the benefits of Kratom powder?
Kratom is a stimulant
Like it has earlier been indicated, Kratom effects are dose-dependent. Just like opioids Kratom, specifically, Mitragynine is a stimulant although at low doses. At low doses, Mitragynine acts majorly on the delta and kappa receptors resulting in the stimulatory effects.
Kratom users report being euphoric and have a feeling of well being after taking kratom. They report being very positive about everything around them.
To mention, some argue that kratom is a hallucinogen, this is utterly wrong. This is a notion advanced by anti-kratom crusaders backed with no evidence or facts. They can better ignore it.
Kratom has anti-inflammatory properties
Kratom like opioids has been used widely as an anti-inflammatory medication. While there is no maximum research to back this, users report that it’s very useful in managing inflammation.
Different authors argue that it produces its anti-inflammatory action through different mechanisms. One such mechanism is its suppressive role on prostaglandin E2 production in the cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2) pathway.
Has Anti-convulsant effects
Kratom has also been used before by patients with seizures. It proved very promising. It is not yet clear how kratom modulates these effects.
However, there are proposals that kratom could be acting on some regions of the brain that are responsible for coordination. Some authors and researchers believe that Mitragynine could be modulating the sympathetic tone of muscles.
Kratom has also been shown to possess anxiolytic properties. It does this possibly by modulating body hormones and soothening nerves. This however is subject to confirmation from a research point of view.
Other researchers believe that kratom anxiolytic action could be due to psychostimulative actions of the endogenous peptides like endorphins.
Users of Kratom reports being very relaxed after smoking or chewing Kratom.
Some researchers also believe that kratom is important in regulating blood sugar levels. They suggest that kratom controls the blood levels of insulin and glucose helping those with diabetes to manage the condition well.
Kratom adds vitality to the body which elevates the energy levels. Kratom users reports increased stamina and strength.
Kratom has widely been used as pain relieves. It relieves pains by impacting on the normal system of the body. Preliminary studies have shown that the levels of serotonin and dopamine increases immensely when kratom leaves are chewed. This adds to the pain relieving property.
Use to manage opiate withdrawal
Some authors argue that kratom can be used to manage opiate withdrawal symptoms. Although, there are no scientific facts to back this, common sense and user experience can make one believe so.
We have indicated that kratom has effects similar to those of other opiods. It has agonistic action at mu and delta Opiate receptors.
Unlike opiates, it doesn’t produce long-term dependency. It helps in restoring ones appetite. Just like we discussed above, it elevates mood and has an anti-anxiety action. Remember opiate withdrawal is linked to mood swings and anxiety.
Some others claim there is evidence that kratom helps in reducing insomnia and pain- related symptoms of Opiate withdrawal.
Moreover, some researchers have it that kratom reduces, vomiting, and nausea associated with Opiate withdrawal.
Kratom has anti-diarrheal properties
Kratom acts by activating the sympathetic nervous system. Basic science tells us that a sympathetic nervous system has an inhibitory role in the gastrointestinal tract. This means that perilstalsis will be inhibited. This reduces the bowel movements and results in the formation of solid stool.
Nevertheless, if not watched, Kratom use can result in undesirable constipation.
Can be used against Insomnia
Higher doses of Kratom has been shown to be sedating in action. This can help those with difficulty finding sleep. And some other use of kratom are
- Cognitive improvement
What are the side effects of Kratom?
Those in the medical profession will tell you that almost every substance on the surface of the earth if not properly used can be poisonous. You may be surprised to be told that too much of water or oxygen can be dangerous. Kratom like every other drug has some few side effects.
Nevertheless, it is important that restraint is practised. Most of the Kratom side effects n the internet are a creation of the media and anti-kratom crusaders.
However, it will be misguiding to say that Kratom has no side effects. It has, but a few side effects. They include:
- Pupillary constriction
- Hyperpigmentation of the skin
- Facial flushing
- Tremors or loss of motor coordination.
- Nausea and vomiting.
Is Kratom Powder Addictive?
Whether or not Kratom is addictive is very debatable. There are reports by some others that Kratom is less addictive than the classical opiods.
While other others are of the option that just like opiods, the use of Kratom is very addictive. Yet still, other reports have that it can be addictive in some individuals and not in others.
All these are but proposals. There are no clear data and evidence to support any of these
In Southeast Asian countries, the Kratom is believed to very addictive that most countries like Myanmar have banned it’s use.
What are the major roles of Mitragynine
Like we mentioned, Kratom has two major active alkaloids 7-hydroxymitragynine and Mitragynine. Mitragynine is said to be the most abundant of the two active alkaloids. Mitragynine is acting through different opiod receptors, produces antinociceptive effects similar to those produced by other opiods drugs.
Mitragynine possesses dose-dependent pharmacological effects. Whereas stimulant effects are experienced at lower doses, opiate-like effects eg, sedation is only felt when taken in higher doses.
Just like opiods, Mitragynine has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. These effects are potentiated through kratom’s binding and activation of opiod receptors.
Mitragynine also has antidiarrheal, antitussive, antipyretic, euphoric, antidepressant, anxiolytic, blood pressure lowering, antidiabetic, and appetite suppressing affects.
Studies have shown that Mitragynine can be toxic to the body if not used well. Hepatoxicity and nephrotoxicity are some of the possible toxicities.
Some authors also say that on top of these, Mitragynine could cause cognitive impairments. This was according to studies done on some animal specimen e.g in a mice.
Analysis of Mitragynine In Human Body
Mitragynine use or abuse as some may call it may be detected my measuring the levels of Mitragynine and it’s metabolites in the blood.
Even the small trace amount of mitragynine in human urine can be detected by a high performance liquid chromatography coupled to an electrospray tandem mass spectrometry.
Mitragynine is quantified in human urine from 1.00-500.00 ng/mL using mitraphylline as an internal standard.
Two of its metabolites, 5-desmethylmitragynine and 17-desmethyldihydromitragynine) and the related active, alkaloid 7-hydroxy-mitragynine, are simultaneously qualitatively monitored.
The presence of analytes are confirmed by an information-dependent acquisition-enhanced product ion procedure generating full fragmentation data used to positively identify detected analytes.
Best way to take Kratom. Should you take Kratom on an empty stomach? Or should it be taken with food?
Taking Kratom on an empty stomach is highly recommended. Reports have that most side effects of Kratom are potentiated by taking kratom together with food.
However, they are individuals that can’t just do without food. May be due to high energy requirement in them even body builders they may be excused from this rule. Interestingly, they report no issues when they take Kratom together with food. How this happens is not completely understood.
The Toss and Wash Method
- This is one of the popular methods of taking kratom. Although Kratom has very unpleasing taste, some users still favorite this method.
- It’s very simple, what you need is just Kratom, water and a spoon. The first step involves taking a measured volume kratom.
- This is followed by scooping the kratom into your mouth. Kratom sticks and clumps onto your tongue and side of your mouth.
- Then you follow closely with a glass of water, juice or any liquid and toss the powder around almost like you are swishing mouthwash.
- Kratom will be freed from the sides of the mouth and the tongue. Then you can now swallow your good stuff.
- It is important to remember to brush the teeth after a toss and wash, otherwise, you will be sponsoring the damage of your teeth.
Mixing Kratom With Drinks
There are reports that some Kratom users love it when it’s mixed with other drinks eg, alcohol. This can be a surprising cause basically there is no need of mixing Kratom with other drinks.
There are reports of users who felt very ill after mixing Kratom with alcohol yet still they are those that enjoy the mix.
In addition, some users also report the loss in the urge to drink after smoking or chewing Kratom.
Taking Kratom Powder In Capsule Form
- Chewing the leaves of smoking dried leaves of Kratom looked awkward and some people felt very uncomfortable with it.
- In fact, some people were so open to liken it to bang smoking. They argued there wasn’t any difference.
- This promoted some campanies to start manufacturing capsules of Kratom. Currently, Kratom capsules are very popular. kratom capsules look very appealing and are very convenient to to use.
Kratom with Tea
- Some Kratom users prefer using it as tea. Reports shows that when used in tea, it takes a very short time for you to steep up.
- The flavor and strength of Kratom can be reduced when too much water is used.
- In comparison to powder methods, kratom tea has a different profile of effects. Reports show more stimulating with kratom tea.
- Additionally, the pain-relieving effects are very slightly reduced when it is consumed in this manner.
- More importantly enough, Kratom tea is the rapidly absorbed and digested. Some reports claim the mood-boosting and euphoric effects are increased in comparison to the standard effects of kratom.
From the above discussion, it goes without saying that Kratom has very promising health benefits that need to be explored.
It is needless for Scientists and medical professionals all over the world to demonize the use of Kratom without doing adequate research.
If they meant well, they could have explored the medicinal values of Kratom and possible use of Kratom in managing different health conditions like anxiety.
Research and Scientific studies on the potential benefits or side effects of Kratom is the only sure way to authorizing or banning it’s use.
It’s laughable to see different countries ban the use of Kratom while authorizing the use of other substances eg, tobacco.
Kratom may have few side effect, but like we have shown has numerous benefits too that only need to be explored.