Kratom USA Discussion Forum
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The History and Tradition of Kratom
Origins of the Kratom plant
Discovered by Dutch settlers in Thailand in the early 1800s, Kratom remained confined to southeast Asia for several hundred years before being brought west. Today, Kratom grows in marshy areas of Bornea, New Guinea, Malaysia and Thailand. However, it is cultivated in many other areas in SE Asia as well. Today, rural people in SE Asia chew on Kratom leaves or drink Kratom tea daily, believing Kratom cures many ailments and may even prolong their lives.
Kratom Uses & Benefits
Kratom has been used in Southeast Asia for centuries by peasant workers to give them energy and as a mood booster and medicinal aide. Kratom is a close relative to the coffee tree and is said to provide the same energizing benefits of caffeinated coffee.
Traditionally, Kratom leaves were chewed or steeped to make tea when people has to endure treks through the thick, dense jungles of Southeast Asia. The leaves of the tree were said to provide relief from sore muscles, body aches and fever. Kratom users were recognized as stronger, harder workers and were actually preferred by employers of that time. Although most people use the term Kratom to define the plant, it may also be referred to as ithang, biak biak, ketum, kakuam, and in southern regions of Asia, thom.
About Kratom
Kratom is thought to offer physical and psychological effects because it contains two phyto-alkaloids--7-hydroxymitragynine and mitragynine. These two alkaloids share molecular structures similar to the alkaloid yohimbine. However, 7-hydroxymitragynine and mitragynine act on specific brain receptors, primarily opioid receptors. Kratom users claim that Kratom may help reduce withdrawal symptoms in people who are trying to stop using opiates but this has not been scientifically proven.
Mitragynine is the only chemical isolated from Mitragyna speciosa. At first, scientists assumed mitragynine was a physiologically active constituent exerting properties of morphine.  In 1932, several scientists reported mitragynine to be toxic to protozoa but one year later, interested researchers conducted more critical examinations, discovering that mitragynine provided markedly sedative/depressant properties. More recently Macko, Weisbach and Douglas (1972) reported that mitragynine may raise pain thresholds to help people manage chronic pain but appeared to be non-addictive.
Information about Kratom asserted by traditional and occasional users of the plant claim that:
  • Kratom's high fiber content may relieve diarrhea
  • Suppresses coughing due to colds and bronchitis
  • Improves energy levels
  • Mildly enhances sense of well-being
  • Reduces pain
Caffeine and aspirin can also provide these effects in some people. Although Kratom alkaloids are structurally associated with psychedelics, Kratom does not impart psychedelic effects because it does not stimulate brain receptors designed to accept psychedelic substances.
Kratom effects are said to start affecting users within 10 minutes of chewing leaves, taking Kratom capsules or drinking Kratom tea. Effects may last several hours, depending on the user's body chemistry and metabolism.
Information about Kratom is mostly based on anecdotes and folklore, although some research studies are currently being conducted to determine if Kratom actually possesses medicinal qualities. There is only anecdotal evidence for the following claims about Kratom:
  • May lower body temperature to help reduce fevers and inflammation
  • Increases production of melanin in the skin to offer more protection from ultraviolet rays
  • Energizes users both physically and mentally
  • Helps regulate blood sugar in diabetics
  • Stabilizes blood pressure
With so few research studies completed on Kratom, it has not yet been determined by the scientific community whether Kratom exerts medicinal qualities on users as claimed by indigenous peoples of southeast Asia.

What Does the U.S. DEA Say About Kratom?

The Drug and Enforcement Agency says that Kratom can produce psychological addiction and symptoms of psychosis. The Centers for Disease Control reports that about 40 percent of Kratom use cases between 2010 and 2015 resulted in people experiencing non-life-threatening health problems that required treatment.

For over five years, the DEA has listed Kratom as a "chemical/drug of concern". However, use of Kratom has risen even thought the DEA continues to voice its concern. The legal status of Kratom varies across the world, with Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, Denmark and Australia making it illegal to possess or use Kratom. In the U.S., the only states that have not legalized possession and use of Kratom are Wisconsin, Vermont, Tennessee, Indiana, Arkansas and Alabama.


What Should You Know About Using Kratom?

Sensitivity to Kratom's physical and mental effects varies among individuals. In addition, the effects you experience may change according to the type (species) of Kratom you use. Kratom cultivated in different areas of southeast Asia may provide more energizing, more sedative or more pain-relieving effects. If you are going to use Kratom, you should always experiment with a lower than normal dosage amount to determine whether you want more or less Kratom.

Kratom may also help promote an opiate-free lifestyle. People with chronic pain who take pain pills sometimes try Kratom to see if it works to give them pain relief while those with an opioid problem may experiment with Kratom to see the plant reduces their cravings for opioids. However, Kratom should never be relied on as a treatment or cure for any illness or disorder.

Kratom has been described by users as being stimulating in low doses and sedative in higher doses. According to literature, freshly dried or fresh leaves are supposed to the most potent. Drinking Kratom tea or taking Kratom capsules are not as potent as fresh or dried Kratom leaves. Known strains of Kratom include Maeng Da Red Borneo, Green Borneo, Red Thai and Yellow Kratom. Perform research about the various strains of Kratom before deciding to purchase Kratom online.