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Article Summary


Kratom is a substance derived from a tropical evergreen tree in the coffee family which produces opioid and stimulant effects. The leaves are typically chewed or used in tea. While Kratom has been used in traditional medicine in parts of the world for centuries, it is just recently becoming a drug used recreationally on a broader scale for abuse. Recreational users report improved mood, alleviation of chronic pain and some users report that the drug alleviates symptoms of opioid withdrawal due to the drugs opioid-like effects. The drug has not been tested as to it health effects through clinical trials and has no approved medical use.

Effects of Kratom

When someone consumes Kratom the effects will be felt in about 5 to 10 minutes and will last anywhere from 2 to 5 hours. When someone takes 1-5 grams of Kratom they will experience stimulant effects, and more moderate doses (5-15 grams) users experience an opioid effect much like someone who has taken heroin or a prescription pain medication.

Kratom Side Effects

Common side effects associated with Kratom can include nausea, vomiting, and constipation and more serious side effects including elevated heart rate and blood pressure, sleep disorders, seizures and Kratom-induced psychosis have also been reported. Chronic users may experience tremor, eating disorders, weight loss, seizures, and psychosis and withdrawal symptoms similar to opioid withdrawal. Because recreational users may take Kratom along with other recreational drugs of abuse, it has been associated with poly-drug related deaths within the past several years. Kratom overdose symptoms are similar to other opioid overdose symptoms including respiratory depression, and it is treated much like a heroin or prescription opioid overdose. In 2016 the Drug Enforcement Administration announced its intention to list the active alkaloids in the Kratom plant as Schedule I Controlled Substances due to the imminent hazard to public safety.

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