Medical Marijuana Substance Abuse

Teens Perceive Less Danger in Cannabis After Recreational Marijuana Legalization

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teen recreational marijuana

While the rate of marijuana use continues to increase, its perceived danger has decreased among 8th and 10th graders in the state of Washington. This was according to a study conducted by UC Davis and Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and published online in JAMA Pediatrics. The findings of the study come in the heels of the legalization of recreational marijuana.

In the state of Colorado, there was also no change in use or perceived harm among teens in similar grades. Washington and Colorado were the first two states to legalized recreational marijuana in 2012. Two years later, Alaska, Oregon, and Washington DC also legalized recreational cannabis use. Just this November, California, Massachusetts, and Nevada voted for its legalization.

The study was the first to make an assessment of the perception of teens regarding marijuana use before and after the legalization of recreational use. The findings were compared to the attitudes of teens were marijuana use is still considered illegal, according to a news article.

According to Deborah Hasin, an epidemiology professor at the Mailman School of Public Health of Columbia University and psychiatry at the Columbia University, the perceived danger of marijuana has seen a sharp drop in the last few years in the United States, even though there were adverse effects associated with marijuana use in some adults and adolescents. Hasin served as the principal investigator of the study.

In states where marijuana use is still not legal, the perceived harm saw a 5 to 7 percent decrease among students in the same grade levels. However, marijuana use dropped by 1.3 percent and 0.9 percent. Among older adolescents in Washington and Colorado, there were no changes in perceived harmfulness after the legalization.

Drug Testing Real Drug Stories

Five Biggest Stories in TestCountry Blog for 2016

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Hello 2017! As we welcome the New Year, let us review the biggest and most viewed articles of 2016 in the TestCountry blog.

5. What is Clonazolam and Why Is It Dangerous?

Designer drugs have become popular in recent years, and that’s why a lot of people are looking for information about some of these drugs. One of the trending articles this year was our feature on clonazolam, a fast-acting benzodiazepine with a high potential for addiction and tolerance.

4. Kratom Ban Expanding In More U.S. States

As kratom emerges as one of the most popular topics of 2016, our article on the kratom sent online readers scrambling for more information about the kratom ban, which is increasingly expanding in more states. Although the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has not placed kratom under Schedule I, many U.S. states have pursued a ban on the use of this controversial substance.

3. All You Need To Know About U-47700

This drug has probably risen in popularity after the death of legendary music icon Prince was linked to his use of a cocktail of drugs that included U-47700. Our article about U-47700 discussed everything that you need to know about the substance.

2. Kratom Ban Lifted By DEA

Whether you are a supporter or part of the opposition, you cannot deny the fact that news on kratom ban have become very popular this year. This feature on DEA’s decision to dismiss an earlier move to categorize kratom as a Schedule I drug became one of our most read articles this year.

1. All You Need to Know About Urine Drug Testing Cheating

Whatever the motive behind the boost in readership for this particular blog post — whether to become more informed or to learn how to cheat drug tests — this article on drug test cheating became our biggest story of the year.


We hope you learned so much from our articles in 2016. Rest assured, the TC blog will provide a lot more information about drug testing and trending topics on drugs.

Drug Testing

FAQ on CPT Drug Testing Codes G0477-G0483

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urine test same day drug testing

There has been confusion among Medicare payers and laboratories with regards to the proper billing of drug tests. With the release of the new HSCPC “G” codes, some other tests that healthcare payers have taken were told to be not covered under these codes.

In this article, we will share answers to some of the frequently asked questions about the CPT drug testing codes:

What is the difference between the CPT codes and HCPCS codes?

CPT stands for Current Procedural Terminology and is administered by the AMA (American Medical Association). Meanwhile, HCPCS stands for Healthcare Common Procedural Coding System and is a standardized coding system for the description of specific services and items.

HCPCS codes having three levels, Level I, Level II and Level III. All CPT codes are HCPCS codes but are only found on Level I HCPCS.

When and how was HCPCS established?

HCPCS was established in 1978 which was based on AMA’s CPT processes. With the implementation of HIPAA in 1996, facilities started using HCPCS for transaction codes.

What are the HCPCS Levels?

Although HCPCS has its own guidelines, it works hand in hand with CPT codes. The different levels are as follows:

  • Level I codes consist of the AMA’s CPT codes and is numeric.
  • Level II codes indicate the HCPCS alphanumeric code set, and primarily include non-physician products, procedures, and supplies outside the scope of CPT.
  • Level III codes, also called HCPCS local codes, were developed by state Medicaid agencies, Medicare contractors, and private insurance companies for the purpose of specific programs and scope. These items may be found in the HCPCS reference coding book. Some coders are required to indicate Level III codes ont opt of code sets for Levels I and II, but these codes are not accepted in all states.

What are the non-physician services covered under HCSPC codes?

HCSPC Level II codes are used for billing and identifying items and services such as:

  • Ambulance services
  • Prosthetic devices
  • Drugs, infusion additives, and ancillary surgical supplies
  • Non-physician services not covered by CPT codes (Level I codes)

How would you determine which code to use along with your health plans?

Different health insurance companies may use different kinds of codes. It is best to know which codes your health insurance company uses by knowing the following:

  • When the CPT and a HCPCS Level II code for a specific service or procedure have pretty much the same narratives, using the CPT code is recommended. Otherwise, the HCPCS Level II code should be used instead.
  • Check for a HCPCS national code when a CPT code description contains an instruction to include additional information, such as describing a specific medication.

What are the newly released “G” Codes?

The following codes are the newly released “G” codes that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) currently recognize:

HCSPS code G0477

A presumptive drug test used in any number of drug classes, any number of devices or procedures capable of being read by direct optical observation only (such as dipsticks, cups, cards, and cartridges) that includes sample validation when performed per date of service.

HCPCS code G0478

A presumptive drug test used in any number of drug classes, any number of devices or procedures read by instrument-assisted direct optical observation such as dipsticks, cups, card and cartridges that includes sample validation when performed per date of service.

HCPCS code G0479

A presumptive drug test used in any number of drug classes, any number of devices or procedures by instrumented chemistry analyzers (utilizing immunoassay, enzyme assay, TOF, MALDI, LDTD, DESI, DART, DHPC, and GC mass spectrometry) that include sample validation when performed per date of service.

HCPCS code G0480

A drug test definitive that uses any of the following:

  • Drug identification methods able to identify individual drugs and distinguish between structural isomers (but not necessarily sterioisomers), including, but not limited to:
    • GC/MS: any type, single or tandem)
    • LC/MS: any type, single or tandem and excluding immunoassays (IA, EIA, ELISA, EMIT, FPIA)
    • Enzymatic methods: such as alcohol dehydrogenase
  • Stable isotope or other universally recognized internal standards in all samples, such as to control for matrix effects, interferences and variations in signal strength
  • Method or drug-specific calibration and matrix-matched quality control material, such as to control for instrument variations and mass spectral drift; qualitative or quantitative, all sources, includes specimen validity testing, per day, 1-7 drug class(es), including metabolite(s) if performed. [source]

HCPCS code G0481

A drug test definitive that uses any of the following:

  • Drug identification methods able to identify individual drugs and distinguish between structural isomers (but not necessarily sterioisomers), including, but not limited to:
    • GC/MS: any type, single or tandem)
    • LC/MS: any type, single or tandem and excluding immunoassays (IA, EIA, ELISA, EMIT, FPIA)
    • Enzymatic methods: such as alcohol dehydrogenase
  • Stable isotope or other universally recognized internal standards in all samples, such as to control for matrix effects, interferences and variations in signal strength
  • Method or drug-specific calibration and matrix-matched quality control material, such as to control for instrument variations and mass spectral drift, qualitative or quantitative, all sources, includes specimen validity testing, per day, 8-14 drug class(es), including metabolite(s) if performed.

HCPCS code G0482

A drug test definitive that uses any of the following:

  • Drug identification methods able to identify individual drugs and distinguish between structural isomers (but not necessarily sterioisomers), including, but not limited to:
    • GC/MS: any type, single or tandem)
    • LC/MS: any type, single or tandem and excluding immunoassays (IA, EIA, ELISA, EMIT, FPIA)
    • Enzymatic methods: such as alcohol dehydrogenase
  • Stable isotope or other universally recognized internal standards in all samples, such as to control for matrix effects, interferences and variations in signal strength
  • Method or drug-specific calibration and matrix-matched quality control material, such as to control for instrument variations and mass spectral drift, qualitative or quantitative, all sources, includes specimen validity testing, per day, 15-21 drug class(es), including metabolite(s) if performed.

HCPCS code G0483

  • Drug identification methods able to identify individual drugs and distinguish between structural isomers (but not necessarily sterioisomers), including, but not limited to:
    • GC/MS: any type, single or tandem)
    • LC/MS: any type, single or tandem and excluding immunoassays (IA, EIA, ELISA, EMIT, FPIA)
    • Enzymatic methods: such as alcohol dehydrogenase
  • Stable isotope or other universally recognized internal standards in all samples, such as to control for matrix effects, interferences and variations in signal strength
  • Method or drug-specific calibration and matrix-matched quality control material, such as to control for instrument variations and mass spectral drift, qualitative or quantitative, all sources, includes specimen validity testing, per day, 22 or more drug class(es), including metabolite(s) if performed.

What are the limitations of these drug tests?

Only one presumptive/definitive test may be billed to a patient per DOS. This means that subsequent tests will be denied.

What problems did Medicare payers and laboratories experienced after the release of the new “G” codes?

The release of the “G” codes created confusion in properly coding for the right test as well as proper billing of the tests provided.

What could be the effect of not being aware of using the right codes for billing?

It will have a negative impact on the revenues of the laboratories as well as the insurance payers paying incorrectly or insurance companies denying them for incorrect reasons.

Helpful Links and Resources


Health & Wellness Substance Abuse

Kratom Strains and How To Identify Them

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Kratom is a tree-like plant that is commonly found in Southeast Asia that belongs to the family of plants as coffee. It has also been used in Thailand and its neighboring Asian countries as an herbal remedy because of its opiate-like effect. It is also known to help as treatment for withdrawal symptoms associated with opiate addiction.

Kratom does not belong to the list of controlled substances and can be bought through the Internet and head shops. This substance comes in different forms such as loosed chopped, capsules and compressed tablets.

Researchers have found more than 20 biological active chemicals in the drug which can pose potential risk on drug dependency. It is now banned in some Asian countries despite its long history of use as herbal medicine due to its addictive potential.

Effects of Kratom

When taken in low doses, kratom effects may take place within 10 minutes and may last from 60-90 minutes. Most kratom users say that they feel a euphoric effect while others have reported to have experienced an uncomfortable feeling of anxiety. Its total effect is similar to amphetamine but with much less intensity. Symptoms include:

  • Decreased appetite
  • Increased libido
  • Increased alertness
  • Increased sociability
  • Decreased inhibitions

At doses of between 5-15 mg, users may experience the following:

  • Analgesia
  • Dream-like state
  • Drowsiness
  • Cough suppression
  • Decreased in symptoms of opioid withdrawal

For those who take more than 15 mg, the user may experience extreme sedation and loss of consciousness.

kratom pills dietary supplements

Kratom Strains Based on Veins and Stems

Kratom can be categorized according to different strains, as well as the varieties of color of veins and stems. The differences of these strains provide varying effects. The strength of kratom may be identified based either on the location or its color strain.

Here are the kratom strains based on stem and vein color:

White and green strains

These strains induce energy and productivity. Leaves from white stem kratom produce more stimulating effects than the red vein variety. The green leaves varieties are believed to provide clearer thinking and endurance. This is the type of strain that most athletes prefer to use.

A number of studies showed that the green vein variety aids in treating anxiety and depression.

Red strains

This kind induces calmness, sedation and relaxation, which is the opposite of the two other strains. After the initial rush of energy, the calming effect takes place. This variety is often used to provide pain relief and as a substitute for opiate detoxification. It is said to provide a euphoric feeling to users.

Kratom Strains Based on Location

kratom abuse

Kratom strains based on location are as follows:

Maeng Da

This is one of the most well-known forms of kratom. Maeng Da literally means “The Pimp”, and was named almost 20 years ago. It was believed that this strain was genetically modified to be able to provide its effects.

It is a popular choice among working men. It has forced growers to produce exceptionally potent and stimulating kratom to be able to provide for the demanding needs of laborers. Grafting became a popular technique in some Indonesian plantations, with the goal of producing the strongest kratom.

This type of kratom has white, green and red varieties, wherein the white and green are more popular.  Maeng Da is popular with those two varieties because it provides powerful mind-boosting and energy boosting effects accompanied with analgesic effect.

This strain has mood-lifting effects. Unfortunately, individuals may develop tolerance easily because its effect builds up quickly.


A large part of kratom supply comes from this island, second to Maeng Da in popularity. It has four strains where the red and green strains are the most popular.

  • Red Borneo: This strain has a sedating and soothing effect. It is a popular choice for pain management.
  • White Borneo: This is fairly popular to alleviate feelings of lethargy, depression, and lack of focus.
  • Green Borneo: This is the most popular of all Borneo strains because it helps enhance over-all mood to a euphoric level. It is known to remove aches and pains in chronic conditions.
  • Blended Borneo: This is a combination of all three strains. The individual effects of each strain complement one another.


This is commonly confused with Borneo kratom, which is more popular. It has three kratom varieties, with the red and green being more popular.

It is one of the most potent and cheapest strains of kratom, which makes it widespread. Some Borneo strains are shipped from the southern or western Borneo and are labeled as Bali as it would refer to the shipping hub of the strain.

  • Red Vein: This is the most popular of all Bali strains because of its effects, including analgesia, relaxation and anxiety relief, which is very similar with the Borneo strain.
  • Green Vein: Its effect is similar to the red vein variety but with less potency. This is good for those who want pain relief without wanting to have such high level of sedation.
  • White Vein: It is the least popular because of its low potency.

Indo kratom

The White Indo Kratom is the most popular among the three strains of Indo Kratom. This type of kratom can be found in Indonesia and some parts of Bali and Borneo.

There are different strains that grow in various regions with varying effects.

  • Super Indo: It is a very unique strain because it seems to retain the pain killing and relaxing effects of a red vein, as well as providing some very mild energetic effects.
  • Red Vein Indo: It has a very powerful analgesic, sedating and mood-lifting properties.
  • White Vein Indo: It is known for its “clean” analgesic effect, which helps in dealing with mentally strenuous tasks easier.


Malaysian strains are not as popular as the Indonesian strain because it is illegal in the country. The Super Green Malay strain is very popular for its bright green appearance as well as for proving energetic and mind-boosting effects.

  • Super Green Malaysian: It has a variety of effects and well-balanced properties such as anxiety relief, mood-lifting property, focus, pain relief, and energy boost.
  • Red Vein Malaysian: This strain provides more pain relief and sedating properties than the Super Green Malaysian variety.
  • White Vein Malaysian: It has the most stimulating and energetic effect among all Malaysian strains.


This is the less popular strain of Kratom because it is illegal in Thailand.  Most of the Thai-labeled kratom comes from Indonesia. Banning of kratom has nothing to do with its use but rather as a competition to opium business in the 1940s.

  • Red Vein Thai: This is most popular strain among all Thai strains because of its analgesic effect.
  • White and Green Vein Thai: These are helpful in treating depression.


This type of strain is less well-known among all strains. It is often a difficult strain to characterize by effects due to the differences in vein type effects. Among its uses are pain relief, insomnia treatment, anti-stress and mood-lifting properties.

  • Red Vein Sumatra: This variety has anti-stress properties, pain relief, insomnia relief, relaxation and a more sedating effect than the white variety.
  • White Vein Sumatra: A smaller dose of this variety will provide a stimulating and energetic effect. At large doses, it provides relaxation and pain-killing effect.


It is a province located in Borneo. The difference of this strain from the Borneo kratom is not well-known.

  • Red Vein Kalimantan: This can provide a calming effect that can last for a few hours even with just a low dosage. It is one of the well-known strains that provide a very relaxing effect.
  • Green Vein Kalimantan: It is becoming a widely accepted recreational sedative, and analgesic by users in the U.S. It aids in muscle relaxation and provides energy-boosting properties.
  • White Vein Kalimantan: This is the least well-known of all Kalimantan varieties.


This type of kratom is processed in a different way and because of this, it provides a different kind of flavor and an increased in alkaloid percentage.  This is a very rare strain of all varieties but is slowly gaining popularity in the market.

It is also known as the “Tropical Blend” for its calming and relaxing characteristics. It is also helping in improving sleep. Its length of efficacy is much longer compared to other strains.

[NOTE: This article is meant for informational purposes, and not a promotion of kratom or its various strains and forms.]


Substance Abuse

What is alpha-Methyltryptamine and Why Is It Dangerous?

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Psychoactive drugs have made the news rounds in recent years, as more people get hooked on these substances. In this article, we will discuss alpha-methyltryptamine, its addictive effects, and the dangers of abusing it.

What is Alpha-Methyltryptamine?

Alpha-Methyltryptamine (α-Methyltryptamine or AMT) is a psychedelic drug that belongs to the tryptamine family. This drug is commercially known as Indopan, IT-290, IT-403, U-14,164E and 3-IT.  It is a long-lasting psychoactive drug and euphoric stimulant.  Its mode of mechanism has resemblance to that of serotonin.

This substance was developed in the 1960s as an antidepressant by workers from Upjohn but gained its popularity in the 1990s. This was legally used in Russia under the brand name Indopan until it was banned.

It was said that a 5-milligram dose of this drug can be helpful in treating depression.

History of Alpha-Methyltryptamine Development

The following timeline shows the development and rise to infamy of the controversial drug:

  • March 1968: The Bureau of Drug Abuse Control mentions in Microgramthat AMT (IT-290) is available on the street as a “new” hallucinogen.
  • 1997: AMT is briefly available for purchase on the internet through CRSB.
  • Autumn 1998: More research chemical websites emerged as AMT becomes more widely available.
  • January 2003: There was an urgency in scheduling both AMT and 5-MeO-DIPT by the Drug Enforcement Agency.
  • April 2003: Due to an increase in use and health hazard, both AMT and 5-MeO-DIPT are placed into Schedule I through the emergency scheduling procedure. This makes both chemicals illegal to buy, sell, or possess without a DEA license.
  • September 2004: AMT is placed permanently into Schedule I of the U.S. Controlled Substances Act.

Why is alpha-Methyltryptamine being used?

Just like other psychoactive drugs, its effect has been sought after by individuals especially those who might be trying to escape from their personal problems or just merely wanting to belong to a group.

These drugs have the ability to alter the thoughts and moods of an individual. Examples of most common psychoactive drugs include ecstasy, cannabis, amphetamine, alcohol, heroin and cocaine.

How is alpha-Methyltryptamine taken?

The substance is available in orange crystalline powder form, and can be dissolved in water for easier ingestion. It can be taken orally as tablet or capsule in 10 mg to 100 mg. It can also be smoked with dosages ranging from 2mg to 20mg.

Between the two methods of administration, smoking the drug can produce a faster effect than ingestion.

These drugs are often purchased from chemical companies through the internet.

How is alpha-Methyltryptamine used?

AMT is typically consumed orally up to 40 mg in dosage. It will take about 3-4 hours before the hallucinogenic effects can be felt and may last up to 12-24 hours. In some instances, when higher doses are taken, the effect may last until two days.

This drug is popular among teenagers and young adults who frequent parties, raves, concerts and music festivals where the use of club or party drugs such as MDMA or ecstasy are common.

What are the effects of alpha-Methyltryptamine?

The effect of this drug varies depending on the amount or dosage used. This means that a higher dose that an individual takes will result to increased euphoric or psychedelic effecs.

Using 20-30 mg dose, an individual may experience:

  • Empathy
  • Euphoria
  • Psychedelic effect

These effects may last up to 12 hours.

What are the side effects of using alpha-Methyltryptamine?

As the effect of the drug takes place, a user may experience the following symptoms:

  • Anxiety
  • Headache
  • Pupil dilation
  • Muscle tension
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Jaw tightness
  • Tachycardia
  • Altered state of mind
  • Hallucinations
  • Emotional distress
  • Increased energy
  • Blurry vision
  • Restlessness
  • Nervousness
  • Irritability
  • Tension
  • Insomnia
  • Diminished inhibitions
  • Death

Why is alpha-Methyltryptamine dangerous?

When alpha-Methyltryptamine is used in conjunction with other substances, it can cause a high risk of danger to an individual. This includes other forms of substances such as alcohol or other drugs.

  • The individual may experience a negative feeling of anxiety or discomfort, which can result to have an outrage. This may last up to several days and can severely affect one’s mental state, thus leading to the inability to perceive well or to make decisions.
  • The effect of the drug can provide a euphoric effect to the user and at the same time cause harm to self and others because of disorientation. Several cases involved users forcing themselves to jump off roofs of buildings or run naked in the middle of the street without realizing what they are doing.
  • Long-term use of any kind of psychedelic drugs can lead to permanent psychosis. Those who may have a history of mental illness are more prone to succumb to such condition. In worse cases, this can also lead to death.
  • The use of psychedelic drugs can lead to several other mental conditions like anxiety, depression and depersonalization.

Over-all, the use of this psychoactive drug can affect the health of the individual as well as his social behavior wherein relationships among family members and friends are slowly being eaten away because of the effect of the drug in the user’s brain.

What is the drug’s effect on the brain?

These psychoactive drugs have the ability to alter the normal functioning of the brain wherein some drugs may mimic or block the effects of neurotransmitters.

The brain is organized into different regions that serve specific functions such as:

  • The hindbrain is responsible for breathing and wakefulness.
  • The midbrain is responsible for learning and reinforcing behaviors such as eating and drinking.
  • The forebrain is very complex. This is responsible for abstract and critical thinking.

When these regions of the brain have been affected due to use of psychoactive drugs, the normal function is altered. Too much brain activity – such as the increase in dopamine release – may lead to a euphoric effect that can be uncontrollable most especially if the user has taken in large doses. Hyperactivity or too much secretion of hormones can be fatal.

The normal functioning of the brain may no longer occur after an individual has become heavily dependent on certain drugs. For this scenario, a proper detoxification process may be used to resolve the issue.

On extreme cases, psychological conditions may be irreversible. In other words, the treatment given to a user may only be able to arrest physical or other medical irregularities.

Is alpha-methyltryptamine addictive and prone to abuse?

An individual may start out as being curious of the drug. The euphoric effect may be a welcoming feeling to the user as he feels numb or out of control without any worries or inhibitions. After some time of taking the drug, though, he may not feel the same kind of effect that he used to.

The next step would probably be taking a higher dose until the certain degree of “happiness” may be achieved. At this stage, the user may have such tolerance to the drug to a point that it leads to addiction.

Diagnosis of alpha-methyltryptamine abuse

Any form of inappropriate usage of drugs can lead to permanent mental health condition or even death. That is why it is best to intervene immediately when a person whom you know is involved in using AMT.

Early diagnosis is a move to save not only the user’s life but also the lives of people who surround him. Individuals under the influence of drugs can do drastic things without thinking of the repercussions of their actions.

If you suspect some powder in your home or location as AMT, you may use drug identification test kits to check the identity of the substance in question.

Treatment for alpha-Methyltryptamine addiction

Treatment for AMT addiction is similar to other types of drug addiction. The patient may be confined to a drug rehabilitation facility where he will undergo a medically supervised detoxification process which will aid the individual in getting rid of the drug inside his system.

After detoxification, the patient may need to undergo behavioral therapy accompanied by substance abuse counseling and therapy. The length of treatment will depend on the patient’s diagnosis and progress.

Continuous research and development of drugs designed to help people suffering from specific medical conditions is under way. However, when these drugs fall in the wrong hands, they may be prone to abuse. If you are in possession of drugs that may have a high potential for abuse, the best way to prevent recovering addicts from having access is to dispose of the drugs properly.

More than wanting to ban these dangerous drugs, there should be a comprehensive public awareness campaign about its dangers and risks to avoid future problems.

Legality of alpha-Methyltryptamine use

AMT is currently categorized under Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. This means that it is illegal to manufacture, buy, possess or use this drug. It has a high potential for abuse and has no legitimate medical purpose. Other drugs under this schedule are cannabis, ecstasy, heroin, and amphetamine.

Fatality due to AMT Intoxication

The drug has become popular among high school students and young professionals. The use of this substance has become widespread since it was easily bought through the internet prior to the scheduling on April 2003.

Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner Department revealed one of the first known fatalities in the U.S. associated with AMT, back in February 2003. Prior to the victim’s death, he informed his roommate that he was taking hallucinogenic drugs from which he was able to “discover the secret of the universe”. Twelve hours later, the young college student was found dead lying on his bed.

There was a 1-gram vial recovered from the scene. It was sent to the laboratory and its initial screening of urine by enzyme-multiplied immunoassay technique found that it has traces of amphetamine. Further research established the definitive cause of death as the presence of large doses of AMT on different organs of the body.

This case of AMT overdose, among many others, prompted the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to have an emergency scheduling of the drug.

Statistics on Illicit Drug Use

About 200 million worldwide are known to be using some form of illicit drugs such as cannabis, heroin, amphetamines, opioids and cocaine. About 8% of youth in Western Europe and more than 20% from the USA are reported to having used at least one type of illicit drug other than marijuana.

Similarly, the increase in the number of individuals using these drugs through injection has aggravated the spread of HIV worldwide.

The exact number of AMT users has not been established as some cases may have not been properly identified due to AMT not being one of the drugs that can be determined easily through regular drug testing. Standard drug tests usually identify the following substances:

  • Amphetamines
  • Cocaine
  • Marijuana
  • Opiates
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)


Health & Wellness

Study: People Who Feel Inferior Tend To Eat Fattier Foods

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Bobby Cheon and Ying Yi Hong, researchers affiliated with Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and the Chinese University in Hong Kong, published a paper in Proceedings of The National Academy of Sciences about how people who feel socially inferior tend to eat more food leaning towards the fattier kinds. The researchers conducted four tests that led to the same conclusions.

Other studies in the past have shown how people from low-income families tend to be more obese compared to those who are from the upper class of society. The reason for this may be brought about by the feeling of being inferior, according to a news release.

In the research, participants were asked to picture themselves at different levels of society. A questionnaire was given out to ask them about their food of choice at a buffet and the kinds of food that they crave for. In a similar study, volunteers were asked to participate in a buffet and can eat whatever they want.

The results revealed that those who were asked to think of themselves belonging to the lower spectrum of society ate more when offered with real food.

This may show how people from the lower end of the society may tend to eat more and eat fattier food because they do not have the ability to have this type of food all the time. When there is an opportunity for them to eat, they would rather choose food that is high in fat.

The choice of eating unhealthy food over the healthier ones among these people may be due to their accessibility to chips and other unhealthy kinds of food because that is the only type of food that they can afford to buy.


Substance Abuse

Frequently Asked Questions About Kratom

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kratom ban DEA

So much has been discussed about kratom that people have been confused about its uses and legality. Kratom is commonly grown in Southeast Asian countries, and its medicinal use has become popular for years because of its opioid-like effects. It acts as stimulant, depressant and intoxicant.

Kratom is characterized by its alkaloid content, namely mitragynine and 7-hydroxymytraginine, which are the major contributors of the effects the plant. Kratom has been used as an alternative to opiates to people who are suffering from chronic pain.

In this article, we will discuss some of the frequently asked questions about kratom, and the answers that will hopefully give you an informed decision about using this controversial drug.

Is Kratom legal?

Kratom is legal in the United States, after the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has withdrawn its notice of intent to put the drug under Schedule I classification. These days, kratom may be purchased in several key places within the U.S., and even over the internet.

However, there are certain states that have implemented restrictions with regards to shipping. Meanwhile, some other countries have banned kratom because of the potential risk on individuals who take the substance.

Why did the Drug Enforcement Agency want to ban Kratom?

DEA cited kratom as an “imminent hazard to the public” because of its potential for abuse. Back in August 2016, the agency announced that it would make kratom a Schedule 1 substance, the same as LSD, marijuana, heroin and ecstasy.

The decision has been recanted by the DEA in November 2016.

Why is Kratom banned in Thailand despite the popular Maend Da strain?

In the 1940’s, the opium was very popularly shipped from Thailand to other countries. But since Kratom was inexpensive than opium, people have opted buying opium instead. When opium sales fell, this alarmed the local businesses involved with opium, which then became the reason for banning kratom.

Kratom was not banned because of its effect but because of it being in competition with opium.

What are the different forms of Kratom?

Kratom can be sold in the form of loose chopped leaves, capsules and compressed tablets.

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What makes Kratom popular?

Although there is no legitimate use for kratom, it has become very popular as a recreational drug. It is said to help improve mood, relieves pain and can be an alternative treatment for those with opiate addiction.

What are the traditional uses of Kratom?

Kratom has been widely used in Southeast Asian countries. People in this part of the world have been using it in traditional medicine.

Leaves are chewed to help enhance appetite, improve energy, relieve musculoskeletal pain, and increase libido. Its leaf extracts are used to heal cuts and wounds, and as a local anesthetic.

Its prominent positive effects include:

  • Anxiety relief
  • Pain relief
  • Mood enhancer
  • Depression relief
  • Motivation
  • Increased focus
  • Opiate maintenance/transitional substance
  • Insomnia relief
  • Immune System Stimulation
  • Anti-malarial
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Lowers blood sugar
  • Nootropic

Extract from boiled kratom leaves can be used to treat cough, diarrhea and intestinal infections. People exposed to strenuous activities also take them to increase their energy, enhance mood, and alleviate pain.

How long does Kratom take effect?

An individual taking kratom may feel its effect right after 10-15 minutes of ingestion. The effect may last up to 2 hours if taken in smaller doses. If large doses have been consumed, the effect may last up to 8 hours.

What is 4×100?

4×100 is the name referring to a kratom-base concoction which became popular in 2010. It is a mixture of cough syrup, kratom leaves, cola, and ice. Drinking the concoction may produce undesirable effects.

What is Kratom tea?

Kratom tea is an ancient method of preparation to administer the substance to individuals who seek to be treated or relieved with certain illnesses.

What are the adverse effects of using Kratom?

The undesirable effects of using kratom depend on the amount of kratom used.

  • 1-5 mg dose would exhibit the following symptoms: anxiety and agitation, contracted pupils, itching, nausea, loss of appetite and increased urination.
  • Doses above 5 mg can cause the following symptoms: rapid heart rate, constipation, dizziness, hypotension, dry mouth and sweating.

Is Kratom addictive?

Kratom can trigger a person’s “happy center”, which may produce an unusual high. Some reports say that kratom is taken by some athletes as performance-enhancing drug.

According to, kratom has an increased risk of dependence by individuals who take the drug. In fact, one study discovered that roughly 80 percent of kratom users find it difficult to stop.


What happens to the individual who becomes addicted to Kratom?

Despite its positive use to some individuals, there is a risk of being addicted to the substance. Frequent use of high doses of kratom may cause weight loss, seizures, tremors and psychosis.

How is kratom used?

Kratom may be taken orally, inhaled or injected. The powder may also be mixed with water to form a solution and injected intravenously.

Why are there different kinds of kratom being sold?

Kratom is grown in different parts of Southeast Asia. Kratom is being sold under different names based on the location where the plant extract came from.

Which regions in Southeast Asia are kratoms grown?

Kratoms are grown from the following regions:

  • Thailand
  • Borneo
  • Bali
  • Sumatra
  • Indonesia
  • Malaysia
  • The Sunda Isles

How are kratoms classified?

Kratoms can be classified according to the location where it was grown or to the color of the veins and stems.

What are the classifications of kratom according to the color of the veins and stems?

All kratom leaves bear the same green color. However, there are three varieties of kratom based on the color of the veins and stems, and these are:

  • White vein
  • Green vein
  • Red vein

How do kratom strains differ from one another?

Each color strain has different effects:

  • White and Green strains help increase energy and productivity. The leaves from white stem kratom produce more stimulating effects than the red vein variety. The green leaves aid clearer thinking and endurance, and help in treating depression and anxiety.
  • Red strains promote calmness, sedation and relaxation. The effect is the opposite of the two other strains. As soon as an individual takes this strain, a calming effect takes place. This variety is often used to provide pain relief. This can also serve as a substitute for opiate detoxification. Users claim to experience a sense of euphoria.


What is the most popular Kratom strain?

Maeng Da is the most popular strain because it is believed to be “genetically modified” to provide its effect. It is commonly used by laborers who deal with heavy tasks for longer hours. It is considered to be the “powerhouse” of strong effects. The effect of this kratom strain can last for hours.

Which strain is best in providing analgesia?

Among all strains, Bali, Borneo, Maeng Da, Indo and Malaysian strain can provide the best pain relief without having to suffer with any negative effects, according to kratom advocates.

The pain relief is possible through its two components mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine.

Which strains provide a sedative effect?

Kratom can act as either stimulant and depressant, depending on the strain. Kratom strains that can produce a relaxing effect are Bali, Borneo, and Indo.

Which among the kratom strains has mood-enhancing properties?

The euphoric effect is one of the primary reasons why people take kratom as a replacement for the more expensive drugs such as heroin and cocaine.

  • Maeng Da: This strain is said to have the perfect combination of the pain killing effect and stimulating alkaloids.
  • Bali & Borneo
  • Indo & Malaysian

The effect of each strain depends on the quality of how the kratom tree has been grown. For low quality kratom leaves, the effect may not be as potent as those with high quality kratom leaves.

Which strains are used to help ease opiate withdrawal?

Individuals suffering from withdrawal symptoms are given medications to counteract the undesirable effects. Kratom has been used as a substitute because of it being inexpensive and legal (for now).

  • Borneo
  • Bali
  • Indo
  • Maeng Da

The preferred vein color strain is red and should be given in moderate to high doses.

What are the psychological effects of taking Kratom?

The effects differ depending on the type of strain and one’s own personal chemistry. Kratom may be used in treating depression, but not all strains are fit for this purpose.

pregnant women depression sedentary lifestyle gestational diabetes

Strains that are effective in treating depression are:

  • Thai
  • Maeng Da
  • Green Malaysian

Kratom is also known to treat anxiety and insomnia. Strains that can be used for such conditions are:

  • Borneo
  • Thai
  • Bali

Can Kratom be used to treat immune system conditions?

Kratom is said to be effective in immune system stimulation due to the immunostimulant alkaloids found in kratom such as:

  • Mitraphyline
  • Isomitraphyline
  • Isopteropodine
  • Isorhynchophyline

These alkaloids help in suppressing cough and cold and other serious conditions that may compromise the immune system. The preferred strains are:

  • Green Malaysian
  • Borneo

The preferred strain is the green vein kratom.

How strong is the Thai Kratom compared to other strains?

The Red Vein Thai Kratom is the most popular among all varieties of Thai Kratom because of its very potent analgesic properties. Rating it from 1-10, stimulation can be rated from 8-9.5.

Which among the vein colors is the most popularly used?

Each color strain provides different effects. The Red Vein Kratom is the most popular strain because of its high level of potency for the relief of pain, sedation as well as in treating anxiety and stress.

What is an enhanced leaf?

Enhanced kratom leaf has become very popular among kratom users because of its high potency and lack of side effects. Enhanced leaf is used by taking a highly potent kratom extract. It is dissolved in a solution where the kratom powder or leaves are soaked and left to dry.

One of the most popular enhanced leaf blends is known as Ultra Enhanced Indo. Taking this may provide some positive effects like having highly analgesic effect and does not have any side effects.

However, there is a rapid tolerance for this substance. When the individual stops taking the substance, the user may experience unfavorable withdrawal symptoms. The cost for enhanced leaf is more expensive compared to the usual forms of kratom.

What are the average dosages in grams?

  • Mild – 1 to 2 grams
  • Moderate – 2-4.5 grams
  • High – 4.5-8 grams

How can you avoid having tolerance to Kratom if you use it for medical purposes?

Kratom supporters mention “strain rotation” as a way to allow users to continue using kratom as the desired potency for medical purposes without developing dependence and tolerance.

Using one strain for a long period of time may lead to tolerance to kratom. By switching strains on a daily basis, the alkaloid levels do not become stable enough to develop tolerance to the drug’s effects.

What are “wobbles”?

Wobbles is the term often used by kratom users referring to the difficulty to focus the eyes at a certain point without strain. This may lead to headache and nausea.


How can you avoid experiencing the “wobbles”?

According to kratom users, the only way to prevent from having the “wobbles” is to keep the dosage low.

Which strain can cause severe episodes of “wobbles”?

The Bali strain has the highest “wobble” factor, while the True Borneo strain has the least.


We hope this comprehensive Kratom FAQ can help you understand the substance and whether it would work for you. Before taking kratom for medicinal purposes, it is advisable to ask your doctor about it, especially if you have existing health conditions. Always remember that self-medication is never a good option, regardless of the drug that you’re planning to take.


Medical Marijuana Substance Abuse

DEA Puts Marijuana Extract Cannabidiol on Schedule I List

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The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has classified cannabidiol under the Schedule 1 list of drugs. Cannabidiol, or more commonly known as CBD, is one of the compounds that make up marijuana extract and covers the highest concentration besides tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The final rule of the DEA establishes that the drug is illegal, and is strictly prohibited by the federal government, as reported in a news article.

Drugs under the Schedule 1 List of Controlled Substances are those that have very high potential and probability for abuse, those that have no known medical treatment use, and those that are said to be very dangerous to human health. Aside from marijuana, the list also includes ecstasy, heroin, and lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), among others.

Also under the same rule, CBD is now identified separately from marijuana to strictly track possible violations. The DEA has declared that all cannabis extracts, even those considered as non-psychoactive oils, are now illegal.

The current clamor of a number of states in the U.S. to push for the legalization of marijuana may be hampered by the recently approved rule of the DEA, despite the medicinal qualities of the drug. The rule is set to be effective on January 2017.


Health & Wellness Substance Abuse

Health Experts Warn Against Alcohol Consumption During The Holidays

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As people celebrate the holidays, health experts warn consumers against unhealthy alcohol consumption during this season, based on their report shared in a news item.

According to experts from UC Davis Health System in California, most people who attend parties are more likely to let loose and drink wine, which makes then more vulnerable to its harmful effects. Moreover, heavy drinkers may also use this season as a chance to drink in excess especially since it is just a one-off thing.

If you cannot do away with drinking this season, here are some of the things you need to consider to avoid high alcohol consumption during the holidays:

  • Drink in moderation so as to prevent alcohol-related injuries or any other health issues.
  • Don’t pressure anyone to drink unless you have a plan of sending him home safely or hiring cab service.
  • Make your party fun for everyone by providing both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
  • Always ready a room to let your guests sleep in when they have had too much to drink.

It might be fun to catch up with your old friends and it might be even more fun to put your hair down and have a good time. However, you need to remember that nothing spells disaster as much as drunk guests who don’t care about safety and health.


Medical Marijuana Pregnancy & Fertility

Secondhand Marijuana Smoke Exposure Evident In Infant Urine, Says Study

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Marijuana has emerged as one of the most popular psychoactive drugs because of its multiple effects that include mood changes, altered state and perception of mind, euphoria and hallucinations. Amidst the ongoing debate regarding the safety and legality of cannabis use, a new study discovered a possible danger of secondhand marijuana smoke.

In a study published in the Pediatric Research Journal last December 2, researchers concluded that children exposed to marijuana smoke are at a higher risk of health problems in later years. Children can be exposed to marijuana by breathing in marijuana smoke or eating foods that might contain cannabis, as reported in a news release.

According to the study, secondhand smoke is taken from end of the joint and by breathing in the exhaled smoke. When children ingest cannabis, they might experience lethargy and sleepiness. Some other symptoms might also include blood-shot eyes, dry mouth and anxiety.

Meanwhile, children who inhale marijuana smoke might show symptoms of asthma attacks and lung irritation. The symptoms can last up to 24 hours. As of this time, there are no reported fetal and child deaths from marijuana poisoning.

Nevertheless, if your child shows this symptom, make sure to contact the local poison center.