There is serious cause for alarm about the current opioid crisis in the United States of America. One hundred thirty persons each day lose their lives due to opioid misuse. And it’s not only illegal opioids that cause these deaths but prescription opioids too.
Kratom is reported to have been utilized to treat opioid addiction. Some individuals replace pharmaceutical opioids with Kratom to feel better and break their addiction.
One thing we all want to know is whether or not Kratom can treat opioid abuse.
In this article, we dive into this topic, so read ahead to find out.
Background On Kratom
Farmers and workers have used the leaves of the kratom tree for ages as a herbal drug to gain energy and motivation to get through their difficult work.
The “dietary supplement” is originally from Southeast Asia, but you don’t have to be in Southeast Asia to know where to purchase kratom products.
It is commonly available online and through some select vendors across the country, commonly in powder or pill form.
It is most frequently taken or consumed as a powder, capsule, or tincture in the United States. Though traditionally, the leaves are dried, ground, and brewed as tea or rolled up to smoke. Users can chew the fresh leaves.
Individuals use Kratom to lessen uncomfortable opioid withdrawal symptoms, treat or ease pain, improve focus, ease muscle soreness, and boost activity.
The Various Effects Of Kratom
Its major components are the two compounds in Kratom, mitragynine and 7-hydroxy mitragynine. Kratom has soothing properties similar to an opioid used in high dosages, which can treat pain.
The compounds in the substance bind to the opioid receptors of the brain, suppressing or dulling out pain stimuli, thus the sedative and analgesic effects.
When consumed in moderation, it has a stimulating impact similar to coffee’s, resulting in increased vigor and alertness. It is related to people’s favorite, the coffee tree. This might explain why it can offer stimulant effects.
Kratom’s effects may vary from each person who uses it. Many factors determine what products will occur, such as dose, kratom strain, and the user’s tolerance.
Are There Any Unwanted Side Effects?
Some unwanted side effects come with using Kratom. However, similar to the expected results of Kratom, the side effects differ from person to person.
Listed here are the following side effects that consumers may feel: Weight loss, dry mouth, constipation, vomiting, lightheadedness, aching muscles, drowsiness, and melancholy.
The Opioid Crisis
The opioid crisis is a cautionary tale about the risks of commercialized sales and free promotion of highly addictive medications, which can lead to serious drug addiction.
This poor regulation of drugs fueled and evolved to drive the black market for drugs. But, it’s not only narcotics that have caused the opioid crisis in America.
Roughly 70% of all opioid-related deaths involve a prescription medication; on average, 130 Americans per day pass away from an overdose of opioids. The most common cause of accidental death in the US today is drug overdose.
In the United States, drug-related overdose deaths involving both illegal narcotics and prescription opioids reached about 92,000 in 2020.
Since the beginning of the American opioid epidemic in 1999, there have been an increasing number of fatalities. Opioid abuse and misuse have claimed the lives of about 600,000 people.
Opioid Addiction and Dependence
The word “dependence” is typically used to describe a person’s physical reliance on a substance. Tolerance and withdrawal are two characteristics that define dependence.
Due to the molecular changes in the brain brought on by chronic substance usage, addiction is characterized by a change in behavior. Regardless of the potential harm to oneself or others, using drugs becomes the addict’s top priority.
If you abuse medications, you run a higher chance of becoming dependent and addicted. Sadly, many prescribed opioids find themselves gaining tolerance to the medicines, upping their dosages, and then falling dependent on them.
Withdrawals begin to arise when an opioid-dependent person suddenly stops using opioids.
The length of the withdrawal period varies depending on the abused opioid, such as short-acting prescription opioids, long-acting prescription opioids, and heroin.
It usually begins eight to thirty hours following the last dose and lasts four to ten days. Opioid withdrawal may take less time for some people, while it may take a month or longer. If you need treatment you could also check The Confidant Health app, it is an At-home, virtual, confidential and discreet way to access expert help for medication assisted treatment for Opioid Use which can involve administering drugs with counseling and other behavioral therapies.
Treating Opioid Withdrawals With Kratom
Like morphine affects opioid receptors in the brain, Kratom is thought to do the same. As a result, Kratom is categorized as an opioid since it acts with the same brain circuits and mechanisms as other opioids.
There are countless instances of people praising Kratom for helping them overcome opioid addiction or pain.
One user shared his story. Smith was a NASCAR racer when he fractured his neck in 2007. He was given painkillers and developed an addiction. Due to his opiate addiction, he lost his contract, earning him millions of dollars annually.
After getting clean, he was still suffering from depression, and a buddy in Indonesia suggested he try Kratom. And since then, kratom treatment has helped him get by.
Smith used to sell Kratom in his store and remembers people completely withdrawing from heroin. He would make them a drink, and in 15 minutes, their withdrawal symptoms would end.
He has witnessed some grown men cry due to the help kratom provided.
Although kratom withdrawals and addiction may also happen with kratom use, the withdrawal symptoms are much more manageable and milder. Moreover, people cannot overdose on Kratom as they can with opioids.
Additionally, According to calculations done in a study, opioids have a 1000-fold higher chance of overdose fatality than Kratom.
Almost all deaths associated with Kratom were found to have other underlying diseases or were also taking other vital substances.
A morbidity and mortality report from July 2016 to December 2017 detected that 80% of the deceased were using fentanyl, heroin, benzodiazepines, prescription opioids, and cocaine other than Kratom.
In conclusion, much of what we know about whether or not Kratom can be used to treat opioid abuse comes from testimonials from others who use it. We can’t say for sure if the answer to our question is a yes or a no.
The answer seems somewhat in limbo due to the lack of studies and the push and pull of what the media says compared to what testimonials say. But, we know that the opioid epidemic is far more threatening than Kratom.
Kratom is an opioid because it reacts with the same opioid receptors in the brain as opioid drugs. This might be why it eases opioid withdrawal symptoms for others.
Even though Kratom can also cause addiction and withdrawal symptoms, its intensity is less, and its manageability is much better. Additionally, mortality rates are 1000 times less likely compared to opioid prescriptions.