Have you tried Kratom?
Why are people across the U.S. chewing on the small, glossy leaves of the Southeast Asian Kratom tree? It’s an ancient plant medicine related to coffee, and it produces a high that’s both euphoric and legal. Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) has long been used in Thailand and Malaysia to relieve pain, settle the stomach and reduce opiate dependence. Now it’s taking off in the West.
According to SageWisdom.org, Kratom leaves can be chewed fresh or dry, powdered, or brewed into a tea. It is not usually smoked, because the “amount of leaf that constitutes a typical dose is too much to be smoked easily.” It’s most commonly sold in powder form in packets, both online and in kava bars—alcohol-free bars where people can consume tea made from the legal, Polynesian kava root— and head shops. An ounce costs between $20 and $30, which is enough Kratom for one very strong dose, or several more mild doses.
The fact that Kratom can mitigate the painful effects of opiate withdrawl is significant, given that heroin use has reached staggering rates in the U.S. A report by the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy estimated a1.5 million chronic heroin users in the US, which doesn’t account for users that use heroin less than 4 days per month.
While it is regularly used to curb opiate addiction by reducing the withdrawal symptoms, Kratom itself can be addictive. One mother in South Florida told the local CBS news the story of her 17-year-old son’s spiral into Kratom addiction after he tried plant at a kava bar with friends. She blames the addiction for her son’s eventual suicide, saying that he was “not the same person,” after trying Kratom.
While it remains popular in underground circles, Kratom has been illegal in Thailand since 1943 (it’s also banned in Malaysia, Burma and Australia). However, as Fox News reported, “Thai officials are considering reversing the 70 year old ban on kratom, due to the plant’s value in weaning addicts off of opiates.”
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