Mitragyna speciosa Korth, or Kratom, is a tree that grows naturally in southeast Asia, primarily Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Sumatra and other countries in the Indochina area. It has taken off in the Western world recently because drinking the tea made from the leaves tends to work very well for pain relief, as well as treat addiction and so much more. But unlike other substances that may drug one up or get them "high", one instead finds a more nootropic effect; they are more focused and clearly have an increase in motivation. Nootropics are a class of substances that will actually increase mental clarity, and kratom taken properly absolutely fits into this category. It is a safe alternative to dangerous opiate painkillers, not just because of its mildness and lack of negative side effects, but also because one cannot have a lethal overdose from kratom alone; it’s never happened because kratom does not depress the respiratory system, the reason why people die from real opiates (short lists made by the FDA of kratom associated deaths, are just that - associations, not actual causes of death. For example, somebody dies of a heroin overdose, but they also find kratom in their system. To date, there is still not a single case of kratom being the actual cause of death).
Kratom has become an effective treatment for addictions in general, but specifically for opioid dependency is where it really shines. This is because it will stop the withdrawals the user experiences when they attempt to quit the drugs, allowing them to wean themselves off without feeling sick. It is so effective at getting people of opioid drugs that this could be the biggest reason why kratom has gained so much popularity in recent years. The opioid epidemic has gotten so out of hand in this country and people are searching for a safe and effective way to quit. Kratom has also become a great alternative for conventional pain killers, which one could argue is keeping people from getting sucked into the opioid world in the first place. It also treats common mental disorders like PTSD and ADHD, amongst so many other ailments.
But what makes this plant truly stand out from other psychoactive substances is that the habit itself doesn’t carry with it the negative long-term side effects normally associated with long-term drug use. In fact, it appears to help people. Someone once eloquently put it when he said “There’s no free lunch, but kratom seems to be a lunch that pays”. What he meant by that statement is that there are negative consequences to the long-term use of any drug, but with kratom one seems to only achieve positive results.
Can it be abused?
Anything can be abused, but with kratom it is extremely difficult in attaining negative results from such abuse (I cannot stress that last point enough - you can abuse so much in society and almost all of it will hurt you in some way. But this isn't the case with kratom). It’s not very addictive, and people who do take it on a daily basis resemble coffee drinkers who proudly admit they are "addicted" to coffee. The reason coffee drinkers take no shame in this is because they shouldn’t. The negative consequences are minimal, and the positives achieved through drinking coffee to give one more energy outweigh the negatives of being hooked to the coffee plant.
The natives in Thailand who chew kratom leaves on a daily basis do so because it gives them energy and motivation to work, and lifts their mood as well as removing any aches or pains. It improves their lives at the cost of what they consider to be a socially acceptable habit. In fact, there are multiple parallels between our cultures when it comes to coffee and Kratom. Even with all the medicinal benefits we are learning about kratom, ask any Thai villager why they chew it and they most likely won’t list health issues as their reason. When 2000 people were studied in 1960 concerning their kratom habits, not one said they started because of its medicinal value. Instead, it’s incredibly common to hear the reason as being because they wanted to work harder in life. The working class in Thailand and other neighboring countries chew it throughout the day just like some of us drink coffee all day. In some provinces in southern Thailand, where its traditional use is most prevalent, you can find upwards of 70% of the males that are daily kratom chewers. The men work all day in the fields, and kratom gives them the drive to want to succeed. This is what leads almost all of the Thai kratom users to state their reason for starting kratom in the first place - that they wanted to increase their work output. Kratom’s association with hard work is a given in Thai society, and making the decision to start chewing its leaves usually comes when the man matures. Thai villagers usually quote that they started around the age of 25, and use amongst younger people is somewhat rare. Think about it, all of these cultural facts do indeed mirror that of coffee in our society!
What makes kratom truly special though, is that unlike coffee, its medicinal value in regard to treating addiction is best described as miraculous. In fact, the way it helps people is the opposite of everything we have learned about long term use of psychoactive substances. It improves the user’s life instead of slowly destroying it. The opioid industry created morphine to treat opium addiction, then invented heroin to treat morphine addiction, then produced methadone to treat heroin addiction, and the cycle of making just another opioid to replace another continues to this day with suboxone and other drugs. With all of them comes the promise that they are better alternatives than the opioids the user was originally on. But all they do is stabilize the patient so they can get on with their life. The patient becomes dependent on their local clinic, all the while they never really get back to who they were before the addiction began. On the other hand you have Kratom. It is not a real opiate, but it can completely stop withdrawals. But the interesting, unique part of this self-treatment is the fact that it brings out the best in people. It seems to return them to their original state, how they were before the drug abuse changed them. Long-term use of opioids does the opposite as it slowly will degrade a person’s character and socializing abilities. Kratom improves these characteristics and overall improves the person taking it. Through confidence, hard work and a sense of well-being, one actually repairs their character which allows them to return to society living at their fullest potential.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
- John 14:6 ESV
"Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise."
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