Over the recent past, a new supplement has been making the headlines. It promises the same effects as opiates albeit with a few concerns among the users. We are talking about Kratom, a traditional Asian herb that goes by the botanical name Mitragyna speciosa. The herb belongs to the coffee family and is characterized by elliptical shaped leaves.
Therapeutically, it’s the leaves that are important. They are suggested to contain psychoactive elements likened to what’s found in opiates. Because of this, most people use Kratom to lift their mood and promote a feeling of being high (euphoria). The FDA, however, does not advocate for its use for therapeutic purposes.
Other agencies that seem to have concerns over Kratom usage include the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the Department of Health and Human Services. Though there are debates on its possible effects and side effects, what’s not debatable is its popularity. But how comes this drug is so popular despite so many controversies? Here are reasons to explain Kratom’s popularity:
1. So Many Ways of Administration
The leaves of Kratom can be consumed fresh or dry. Those who prefer to take fresh leaves can chew them or take it in tea. Since its taste may be unpleasant when chewing, you can mask the taste with mint or ginger. Ginger can also be used to mask the taste of Kratom if fresh leaves are used to make Kratom tea. Doing this allows you to enjoy both the effects of Kratom as well as those of ginger.
Dried Kratom has numerous administration options. Supplement manufacturers nowadays use dried forms to make easy-to-administer options like capsuled Kratom, powdered Kratom, and tablets. The latter options are favored because they are easy to self-administer. People who don’t like dried or fresh leaves of Kratom in their tea can use the powder. Other than tea, powdered can be taken in juice and other beverages.
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2. Its Effects Are Compared to Those of Opiates
Kratom is alleged to possess the stimulating and sedative effects of opiates. So, some users just take the supplement to feel high while others do it to calm their nerves. But still, the debate continues as there are no clear scientific pieces of evidence to show that such effects are achievable with Kratom.
3. It’s Legal in Some Places
As aforementioned, the FDA does not approve this for treatment purposes. However, this doesn’t mean that it’s globally banned. It’s banned in some places and legal in others. For example, Kratom usage is accepted in Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Australia. In the US, there are gray areas. States like Indiana, Alabama, and Wisconsin have banned its usage completely. Others like California and Florida have banned it in some cities. In Illinois and New Hampshire, it’s only allowed among adults.
4. It’s a Traditional Herb
For quite a long time, more so in Thailand, Malaysia, and other Asian nations, locals have always used Kratom leaves as a home remedy for calming the body, managing stomach upsets, and energizing the body. Though there’s no scientific backing for this, traditions are traditions and they are meant to be respected. This has seen the usage of Kratom being passed from one generation to the next.
Surprisingly, this tradition is also becoming popular in the US. One study shows that about 68% of individuals in the US who use Kratom administer it for therapeutic purposes and it’s all because they have been brought up knowing that it’s medicinal. It’s quite unfortunate, nevertheless, that some go overboard to overdose just to realize its effects.
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The Emergence of Online Vendors
Today, so many online retailers sell Kratom. These retailers have become so popular that they are a threat to traditional offline venders. Other online vendors also have similar offers and this makes the consumers excited. The way that the vendors promote their products is very tempting to the customers, even those who’ve never used this before.
Even though there are split opinions concerning the usage of Kratom, what’s agreeable among most people is the popularity of the herb. Each day, Kratom grows in popularity and from all indicators, nothing is going to stop the trend, at least not any time soon.