Kratom is the latest go-to, gray market drug for teens and others seeking a 'legal' high. Chronic pain patients are also reporting Kratom as a viable substitute for opiates. As it is thought to bind to the brain's opiate receptors, could the herb prove to the next latest-greatest alternative to narcotics?
This remains to be seen, but some of what we are seeing is not altogether warm and cozy. While most plant therapies carry few, if any, negative side-effects, hospital emergency rooms are seeing withdrawal cases in people who are experiencing devastating side-effects.
Interestingly, the herb's derivation is a tree indigenous to Thailand, Malaysia and Myanmar or Burma, where it is illegal due to opium-like effects! So, savvy marketers are labeling packages "not for human consumption", instead calling it incense or botanical extract.
What the CBS 11 I-Team Uncovered
The CBS 11 I-team consists of Dallas/Ft. Worth investigative reporters who explore "wrong-doings". When an anxious mother told the team about her daughter's addiction to Kratom, they sprung into action.
Not only did they find plentiful Kratom on the shelves of smoke shops, salesclerks gave it rave reviews. "The liquid is one of the best sellers and one of my personal favorites," said one employee.
In the incident that prompted the investigation, the teen experienced "unusual mood swings". Upon finding 80 empty bottles of Kratom, the family sought medical assistance, fearing, "…it was going to kill her, or ruin her health…"
What do Regulatory Authorities Say About Side-Effects of Kratom?
The FDA is experiencing "major concerns" because the drug is "being marketed as a pain reliever".
The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) established Kratom has "sedative and euphoric effects that can lead to addiction, nausea, sweating and more". The DEA website lists street names of Kratom as: Thang, Kakuam, Thorn, Keturn and Biak and shows "acute side-effects" including: loss of appetite, sweating, dry mouth, nausea, increased urination and itching.
A study of Kratom addiction, reported on the DEA website, covered addicts in Thai, who chewed Kratom leaves from 3-30 years every day. Long-term side-effects were: weight loss, anorexia, frequent urination, dry mouth, insomnia and constipation.
Symptoms observed in Thai addicts experiencing...