Kratom is a tree with leaves that are harvested and used for medicinal purposes in Asia. It is currently used as a natural stimulant and has several potential medical benefits including treating fatigue, managing coughs and helping with opioid withdrawal. It’s also been used to alleviate anxiety and depression and has recently gained popularity among college students for its ability to help them study better. The alkaloids in kratom help release acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that keeps you focused on your task at hand and clears the mind of unnecessary thoughts.
Despite its many purported therapeutic benefits, there’s still little evidence supporting these claims. And because kratom isn’t regulated, it’s difficult to know where or how it’s sourced or whether it’s contaminated with other drugs and substances. That’s why it’s important to only use high-quality, lab-tested kratom.
But the plant is gaining in popularity in the United States, where it’s often mixed with alcohol or other drugs to enhance its effects. A recent report in MMWR showed that 660 calls to poison centers involved kratom exposure between January 2010 and December 2015. Of those, 428 were linked to kratom alone, and 49 resulted in life-threatening signs or symptoms, including agitation or irritability, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, hypertension and tachycardia.
Experts warn that it’s not safe to take kratom in large doses or for prolonged periods of time, and it should be used with caution. If you’re considering kratom, start with a low dosage of around two grams and increase it gradually. It may take some trial and error to find the right strain and dose for you. kratom benefits