Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) is a tropical tree that is native to Southeast Asia (Thailand, Malaysia, Borneo, Thailand, etc). Its bitter leaves contain psychoactive opioid compounds that have been used for decades in select regions of the world because of its mood enhancing effect and pain relief. It has been used as both stimulant and depressant, and is available in kratom extract and other forms.
While a kratom ban is pending until further scientific recommendation and evaluation from the Food and Drug Administration are submitted, the substance remains legal in the United States. However, a number of states are already taking regulatory or legislative action to ban kratom locally.
The substance is usually being sold in green packets online and labeled as “not for human consumption”. Kratom is also known as:
- Herbal Speedball
In this article, we will discuss important information about kratom extract and how it is available in the market. (NOTE: We are not in any way promoting the use of the substance.)
Uses of Kratom
Used in folk medicine, kratom provides relief to chronic pain, helps to cure diarrhea, and is used as treatment for opiate addiction. Users also claim that kratom is effective in treating arthritis and fibromyalgia.
Being a naturally occurring opiate compound, kratom has the ability to alter the mood and mind, leading it to become one of the most common recreational drugs as of late.
It is also said to provide medicinal effects such as:
- Energy booster
- Blood sugar stabilizer
Kratom has been used as herbal alternative in controlling withdrawal symptoms from opiate addiction. However, there is still no clear evidence that it can be an effective and safe treatment.
How is kratom consumed?
Kratom is distributed in many forms. For those using them in their native regions, the central vein of kratom leaves are removed and freshly chewed. Dry leaves can also be used but should be crushed into powder so they can easily be swallowed. Kratom is also prepared as a tea, which is strained and then ingested.
Kratom powder is another way of preparing the substance, which can be mixed with water and other kinds of liquids such as milk or fruit juice. Some would prefer mixing it with chocolate milk to minimize the bitter taste. Sugar and honey may be added to the mixture to make it more palatable.
Some individuals would make a paste out of powdered leaves and mixed with yogurt to mask the unpleasant taste.
Other kratom users, meanwhile, would smoke the leaves. It is also possible to produce kratom extract by evaporating the water from a prepared kratom tea. The kratom extract may be swallowed pure or dissolved in water.
What are the effects of kratom use?
Kratom can be used as a stimulant when given in low to moderate dose, and can be used as a depressant if given in higher doses. This is because of the presence of active alkaloids that act as opiate receptor agonists.
As the popularity of kratom increases, advocates are supporting the idea of replacing popular pain medication with kratom to relieve chronic pain, specifically in relation to the following health issues:
- Chest pain
- Damaged muscles
- Abdominal soreness
- Broken bones, scrapes and burns
Kratom strains may be divided into three colors: : green-vein, red-vein and white-vein. This is based on the color of kratom veins and stems, the differences of which determine the unique effects and chemical composition of each strain.
During the grinding process, however, the veins and stems are taken out.
Red Vein Kratom
This is the most popular kratom strain and is widely available in the market. Red kratom grows abundantly than the other strains.
This strain produces a calming effect, thereby providing its user with peace of mind and optimism. It is suitable to use by individuals who have difficulty sleeping (insomnia).
This strain is known to provide relaxation and relieve pain. It helps to relax the muscles, which may take the place of pharmaceutical painkillers. The red kratom strain is also used in controlling opiate withdrawal symptoms.
For pain relief, the choice is the red-vein kratom strains such as Indonesian, Bali, Maeng Da and Borneo. It is given in moderate to high doses.
For drug withdrawal relief, red-vein strains from Bali, Borneo, Indo and Maeng Da given in moderate to high doses are recommended by kratom advocates.
White Vein Kratom
This strain is known for its stimulating effect and mood-enhancing ability. The effect, however, will depend on several factors such as lifestyle, tolerance level of the individual, and the quality of kratom extract or strain used.
This strain is popular for its euphoric effect, and some people have resorted to replacing their morning coffee with a white-vein kratom. Users vouch for its effectiveness in increasing concentration, stamina and motivation during the day.
Green Vein Kratom
Described as the type of kratom whose effects are in between the white vein and the red vein, green vein kratom is a mild energy booster. Some prefer to use this strain to relieve mild pain and discomfort. This strain does not lead to drowsiness, which makes it possible for users to work normally.
Others would mix all three strains together to provide a balanced effect, which decreases the anesthetic effect of the red vein and the overstimulation of the white vein.
People with mild anxiety would take the green strain to help them against social fears. Its effect would let the user feel less inhibition, thereby being able to talk more freely, and becoming friendlier and more cheerful.
The white-vein and green-vein kratom strains of Maeng Da, Malaysian and Thailand are ideal for treating depression. For anxiety, the common strains used are the red-vein kratom, specifically Indo, Bali and Borneo variants.
Kratom extracts are produced to improve the potency of kratom in order to produce a stronger effect in relieving chronic pain. Kratom extracts are available in different types, differing in the level of potency and method used in the extraction of kratom.
Water-based Kratom Extract
The process of extraction starts from extracting the alkaloids from the leaves by dissolving them in water. It is then strained and ground to produce the powder form. Water should completely evaporate, and a brownish material that is more rich and concentrated should remain.
This type of extract can be used in combination with plain leaves to increase the potency. It can be dissolved in water easily.
The downside of this type is that it is more expensive than plain leaves and that the high potency that a person may desire can only be achieved if used in combination with plain leaves.
The strongest concentrate of the kratom extract comes in the form of kratom resin. In this type of kratom extract, the leaf undergoes condensation process wherein it is cooked at a certain temperature. After condensation, it leaves a dark mixture that is considered to be lower in quality but much richer in active alkaloids and with a higher potency.
Kratom resin has a higher potency and concentration power, which means it also has more side effects compared to plain leaves.
Kratom tincture is achieved by extracting the concentrated essence of the active alkaloids from kratom leaves and then diluted with alcohol to produce a solution that can be used topically.
It can be easily used and conveniently stored. However, this is more expensive than other extracts and may not be able to deliver a wide range of effects.
This type of extract is more improved and refined, and generates more powerful effects. It is produced by carefully choosing a very potent extract of kratom that is mixed with a solution and allowed to dry in order to form a powder.
Enhanced kratom has a lower tendency for side effects compared to other types of kratom extracts, and is said to be effective for pain relief. The disadvantage of using enhanced kratom is that it can lead to adverse conditions once using the extract has been stopped. This is also more expensive than plain leaves.
Is Kratom Addictive?
Others see the effects of kratom as positive as it can provide relief from pain. However, since it is an opiate, there is a possibility for dependence that may cause unfavorable symptoms after prolonged use.
Just like other opiates, kratom was developed to provide a specific function, and that is to provide pain relief. When substances like these are used as recreational drugs, the effects will affect not only the user but also the people that surround the user. This is the reason why DEA is still in the process of determining how this substance should be properly categorized so that people can be warned of its effects and proper use.