Back in September, I wrote an article entitled: Is Kratom the New “Bath Salts” or Just an Organic Pain Reliever with Euphoric Effects? The response was massive. Not only did the article receive nearly 47,000 views and more than 80 comments, but I received several emails–almost all of which were written in support of Kratom.
Many readers were critical of the implication that Kratom might be the new “Bath Salts,” the synthetic medley of drugs that until recently could be legally purchased in most states. Though I mentioned in the article that Kratom is not new, and that Kratom and Bath Salts are not the same substance, and aren’t even in the same category of substances, many readers told me that I’d fostered guilt by association.
As a quick refresher, Kratom is another name for the leaves of the mitragyna speciosa tree, which look like large, oval mint leaves. The trees are indigenous to Southeast Asia and their leaves have been used as a traditional medicine in Thailand and Asian countries for centuries. The leaves are dried and powdered and sold in a few different forms, typically in capsules, tablets, powder, or as a liquid.
Several Kratom supporters who commented and wrote to me said that the substance had helped them kick addictions to opiates–in some cases after many years of taking the drugs for tremendous pain. Others said it helped them get off anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications. Some said that taking Kratom provides steady energy without increased anxiety. In general, supporters credited Kratom with remarkable benefits without side-effects.
A few readers issued a challenge: before I write about Kratom, they said, I should try it myself and render an informed opinion.
Well readers old and new, I am taking the challenge. This week I purchased a bottle of Lucky Kratom brand jumbo capsules and will run a self-experiment for a few weeks, after which I’ll come back and report on the effects. I’m specifically using this brand because it comes highly recommended to me by those in the know about Kratom, and I bought the Maeng Da variety because it is reportedly the purest and most potent.
To be clear: Kratom is entirely legal in the U.S. — selling, buying and using it is just as legal as selling, buying or eating a slice of apple pie.
I won’t be evaluating Kratom as a pain reliever, or means to wean off opiates, because thankfully I’m not in pain nor do I use opiates. But I will be able to evaluate the “steady energy without anxiety” claims, along with possible side effects or lack thereof.
Upfront I admit this is not a scientific experiment of any sort–it is strictly a personal evaluation. Frankly, I agree with those who told me that if I’m going to report on a legal substance, it makes sense to examine it “from the inside” so to speak, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do.
Stay tuned — in a few weeks I will report back and discuss exactly what I experienced.
If you have any comments or suggestions about using Kratom, please include them in the comments section. I will read and consider all of them along the way.
Pharma & Healthcare 2/15/2013 @ 8:43PM
I will add the picture to the article later. Can't right now as I'm using a mobile device and that makes things complicated on this site.