Sometimes, substances that are intended to be beneficial end up being the complete opposite when not used properly. Kratom is a good example of one of these substances. Many people are unaware that this herb actually exists. But what is kratom, exactly? Kratom is a psychoactive herb found on tress in Southeast Asia and parts of Africa that is used for medicinal purposes. Kratom has been used to effectively treat opioid withdrawal and other health issues. However, many argue that the dangers of kratom outweigh the benefits and cause concern for safety.
Even though many people wonder what is kratom and what does it do, this plant has been used to treat a variety of ailments for over a hundred years now. It can be eaten raw, straight from the tree. Other ways include crushing the plant up and turning it into capsules or tablets, or brewing it in tea.
When kratom is used in lower doses, it tends to act as a stimulant. However, when higher doses are taken, the adverse effect occurs. Higher doses of kratom produce a sedative effect. There are active chemicals in kratom that act similar to bind and activate opioid recptors, which is why this substance blocks pain and creates those typical feelings of euphoria associated with other opioid substances.
Kratom has been used for medicinal purposes to treat opioid withdrawal symptoms, depression, pain, and anxiety for several hundred years. Many believe this plant is beneficial, while others fear the overall dangers of any substance containing opioid-like compounds.
The dangers of kratom are not fully known, since this substance is not fully understood as far as pharmaceutical properties go. There's no definite answer in terms of how much kratom can cause an overdose, which is why this substance is thought to be unsafe. Studies tie kratom to psychosis, seizures, and possible death. As of 2015, the Drug Enforcement Agency reported 15 known deaths caused by kratom.
What is kratom causing in individuals who consume it? Well, it contains various alkaloids that act similarly to opioids; this is why individuals studying this substance fear the possibility of overdose. There are arguments stating that other components of this herb act as opioid-antagonists, which cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea after more than one-ounce consumption. Due to these negative side effects, many argue that it's impossible to overdose on such a substance.
Kratom withdrawal isn't as severe as opioid withdrawal. In fact, it has been compared slightly to the withdrawal process of caffeine or even mild opioid withdrawal, in the most severe cases. Depending on the amount consumed and the duration of the addiction, the withdrawal process could be slightly more uncomfortable for those who have a long-term history with this plant.
The kratom withdrawal duration is typically 3-4 days, with reports of symptoms improving around the second day. Usually, kratom withdrawal takes no longer than a week. Symptoms of kratom withdrawal include: sweating, nausea, restlessness, runny nose, and trouble sleeping.
Like with any addiction, the best way to avoid becoming dependent on any substance is to monitor the substances you put in your body and the amount you take. If you are prescribed a long-term medication, it is recommended that you visit your doctor regularly throughout your treatment.
If you feel that your addiction is affecting your life in a negative way and you're ready to get the help you need, the next step is to reach out and get informed about your treatment options.