What is Kratom?

what is kratom

Ever wondered if there are any healthier alternatives to dangerous painkillers or other drugs? We may have the answer for you. Kratom (AKA Mitragyna Speciosa) is an evergreen tropical tree found throughout Southeast Asia that belongs to the Rubiaceae family along with coffee and gardenia. It thrives in the countries of Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea. The term Kratom itself derives from the country of Thailand. This tree can grow to an astonishing height of 25-30 feet and about 13 wide containing an even number of dark green pinnate leaves emerging from the center stem.

For centuries, various Indigenous people have consumed Kratom to take advantage of its distinctive medicinal benefits and boost of energy. Originally, the only method of ingesting Kratom was to remove the central piece of the green leaves, place the leaves in the mouth, and chew until most of leaves were absorbed. Many inhabitants of the Southeast Asian region would consume anywhere between five to thirty leaves a day with each leaf weighing in at about 2 grams and containing more than forty compounds. These organic compounds have been repeatedly used to treat a wide variety of ailments including but not limited to coughs, diarrhea, sexual stamina, and most commonly aches and pains while simultaneously producing effects such increased mood, relaxation, or increase sociability. Positive results of patients suffering from PTSD have also been reported.

 Fortunately for us, technology has allowed for a more versatile consumption of Kratom. Nowadays, you can find Kratom sold online in various forms such as in capsules, tablets, extracts, powders, smoking, or boiling the leaves into a tea. All of these methods of ingestion are perfectly suitable for absorbing the medicinal compounds in the leaves. However, these methods can differ in the amount of time it will take for you to experience the full effect of Kratom. Additionally, the quantity of Kratom consumed will produce a specific effect. For example, you may experience a suddle feeling of stimulation when ingesting a low dosage and a sense of euphoria when taking higher doses.

 Kratom contains a unique group of elements called alkaloids. Alkaloids are a category of chemicals containing nitrogen derived from plants. Many of these alkaloids can produce certain physical altering effects that can be used for medicinal purposes. You may have heard of some alkaloids such as cocaine, caffeine, morphine, nicotine, strychnine, or methamphetamine. An intensive laboratory study on kratom properly identified twenty different alkaloids. One specific alkaloid known as mitragynine is responsible for eliminating pain. Mitragynine is a kappa-opioid receptor agonist responsible for producing effects similar to opioids. However, mitragynine is up to 13 times stronger than morphine.

Although kratom produces effects similar to other opioids such as morphine, it differs in its physical structure. According to studies conducted on animals, the primary location for mitragynine pharmacologic reactions take place in the receptors mu and delta and pathways located in the spinal cord. These animal studies have also demonstrated that the effects of kratom can be reversed using a specific antagonist called naloxone. 

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