What’s All The Fuss About Kratom, And Why Haven’t I Tried It Yet?
By Kurtis Bright
The Lowdown On The DEA’s Latest Whipping-Boy
If someone you trusted told you there was a plant out there, a plant that is perfectly legal and has been used for centuries not only to make textiles, but also to treat maladies ranging from diarrhea, muscle pain, fever, coughing, hypertension, and fatigue to depression, would you consider trying it?
In case you’re not sold yet, in addition workers used this plant in small doses to provide an extra kick of energy, much like the caffeine in coffee. And counterintuitively, in larger doses it provides a euphoric, sedative effect that works as a legit substitute for opiates--without the nasty addictive qualities, and with no known reported overdoses.
In fact this plant has recently been employed in exponentially growing numbers to treat opiate addiction with great success, as well as to treat chronic pain, PTSD and anxiety. So what do you say, are you interested in learning more about this miracle plant, perhaps even in trying it for yourself?
If you’re the DEA, the answer is a resounding, knee-jerk (just say) No.
Kratom is of course the miracle plant, one that is the Drug Enforcement Agency’s latest whipping-boy du jour, taking a place of honor next to that perennial bane of psychotically myopic drug warriors, marijuana.
In spite all the positive benefits--and let’s be very clear, the utter lack of a known downside, in that there have been no known overdoses on kratom, nor is addiction to the substance an apparent factor--kratom is still being considered for the DEA’s Schedule 1 listing. This is the section of drug regulation where the most dangerous drugs are, those with “no known medical benefit” and a high potential for abuse, drugs like meth and LSD.
The evidence clearly demonstrates that kratom is anything but. However, as most observers realize, logic and evidence have never been in the DEA’s armory of weapons.
With an understanding of the false information you will be exposed to in the mainstream press that is fed to the dutiful stenographers there by the government, here are a few actual facts to keep in mind regarding kratom.
- It is a native plant in Southeast Asia and has been used there for hundreds of years, if not longer. While some countries in Asia have some light restrictions on its use and sale, it is nonetheless widely accepted, to the point that it is often brought out at family gatherings and other semi-public events.
- Much like with marijuana, there is no such thing as an overdose on kratom, and certainly no deaths have ever been recorded as a result of using it. Dear Mr. DEA Man: contrast that goose-egg with the 75,000 yearly deaths that are directly related to alcohol alone in the U.S. and get back to us on exactly what you mean by the phrase “high potential for abuse.”
- Kratom is related to coffee. It’s botanical name is Mitraganya speciosa, and it is a member of the Rubiaceace family. Also, kratom is the only known source of opioid alkaloids aside from the poppy plant.
- Kratom can be smoked, chewed, or steeped in tea. As mentioned above, at low doses it is used for its stimulating effect, whereas higher doses have an opiate substitute effect--with one important difference: at high doses it doesn’t impair breathing, as opioids do. This, along with the fact that it has no addictive properties is a vital factor in its use as a way to wean opioid addicts off their poison: recovering addicts can use it with no fear of death nor of simply substituting one addiction for another.
- The DEA has recently made noises claiming that the proposed designation for kratom on Schedule 1 is only temporary. However, once a drug is listed there, it can “temporarily” remain illegal for years, if not forever. Witness how difficult it has been to pry the DEA’s scaly claws off of marijuana, despite all the advances that have been made in medical uses for the plant. By the way, the rumors that pubic outcry forced the DEA to cancel its proposed schedule change were only rumors: while the original date for rescheduling kratom has come and gone, the proposed prohibition is still very much on the table.