What Is Kratom? A Tool to End Addiction?
In the world of addiction treatment, there are many tools for dealing with dependency. If you or someone you know has been struggling with addiction, then you may have asked yourself: “What is kratom? Can it help?”
Like other substances that are commonly used to overcome addiction, kratom has its ups and downs. Taking the time to know more about kratom can help you better understand why it might be better to seek help from a trusted drug rehab facility.
Getting and staying sober is very challenging, but with the right support network and tools, it's completely attainable.
What Is Kratom?
Kratom is the common name for a tropical tree called Mitragyna speciosa. The plant is a member of the Rubiaceae family, which also includes more familiar fruit-bearing species, such as coffee, noni and the medlar.
For more than a century, people in Southeast Asia — where kratom grows naturally — have used this plant as a traditional medical treatment. By chewing the leaves, users sought to gain benefits such as heightened energy and improved appetite. Certain parts of the plant have also been used for their mood-enhancing, anesthetic and pain-relieving properties.
Does Kratom Work for Addiction?
In modern times, kratom has gained popularity among those who view it as an alternative to other addiction treatments. This trend is partially thanks to the fact that kratom has traditionally been easier to get your hands on, and it possesses certain euphoric effects due to its stimulant nature. It’s also widely considered to be less hazardous than opiates, and some countries are shifting towards the substance as a replacement for methadone.
Many of the individuals who use kratom are particularly interested in quitting opiates. Unfortunately, the fact that the plant is unfamiliar to many people makes it harder to reap the potential rewards. Instead of using kratom in limited quantities to combat the symptoms of withdrawal after quitting opiates, some individuals end up using both substances at the same time.
Other research also suggests that misusing kratom might result in serious adverse side effects that may outweigh the advantages. For instance, people can experience withdrawal symptoms after habitually taking kratom, and one study found that such outcomes are more likely for individuals who use the plant for more than six months.
Going through kratom withdrawal isn’t necessarily easy, and in serious cases, users have to be administered the same kinds of drugs that they’d need for opioid addictions, such as naloxone. Mothers who take kratom while they’re pregnant might wind up giving birth to infants who also face uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Overdosing is also a possibility, especially when using it with other drugs.
The Legal Status
Kratom’s uncertain legality may also make it less effective than it could be. For instance, even though it was legal to possess the substance in various forms as of 2019, the road has been rocky. In the U.S., the DEA tried to ban it in 2016, and multiple states have also moved towards restricting its use at various points.
It’s worth noting that kratom was legalized for medical purposes in Thailand in late 2018. Unfortunately, the DEA currently maintains that the substance has no known medical uses. In other words, even if you’re able to obtain and use kratom legally where you live today, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to continue doing so as your self-treatment progresses, which could make it extremely hard to recover.
Should You Consider Kratom for Addiction?
Kratom has many purported benefits, but it’s hard to ignore the fact that it’s a powerful substance. Like other traditional medicines, it suffers from a lack of verified study. Although enacting new laws to forbid this potentially valuable substance probably isn’t the answer, people who suffer from addiction now need treatment options that are backed by more research.
In the future, kratom could prove extremely advantageous for addiction sufferers. For now, however, talking to a rehabilitation authority is a better option than trying to handle things on your own. Learn more about achieving sobriety by reaching out to SpringBoard Recovery today.
Finally, self-detoxing with Kratom may eliminate your withdrawal symptoms, but it will not address the reasons that drew you to use to begin with (such as trauma, environmental stressors, anxiety and more). Like with any medication-based treatment, it only treats the physiological symptoms. To get to the underlying issues that caused your addiction, you should speak with a trusted professional counselor at SpringBoard Recovery.
- WebMD: https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/kratom-facts
- National Institute on Drug Abuse: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/kratom
- Healio News: https://www.healio.com/news/primary-care/20180416/the-good-the-bad-and-the-maybe-about-kratom
- Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitragyna_speciosa
- US National Library of Medicine: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3670991/
- MedlinePlus: https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682134.html
- Drugs Forum: https://drugs-forum.com/threads/anyone-tried-kratom-opiates.9715/
- WebMD: https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/news/20171026/kratom_opioid_withdrawal
- The Vaults of Erowid: https://www.erowid.org/plants/kratom/kratom_law.shtml