This article was original published on our blog on June 21, 2017.
There’s a lot of confusion about whether or not kratom is classified as an opioid, and this is understandable. There are many similarities between kratom and the pharmaceutical-grade opioids prescribed to people struggling with chronic pain: both dull the sensation of pain and deliver some similar mental effects. But kratom is not an opioid. Rather, it is generally referred to as an opioid agonist, which just means it interacts with the same receptors in the brain and body as do opioids. (Though, interestingly, kratom has not been found to affect the centers that control breathing as, unlike opioids, kratom cannot cause respiratory failure.)
These similarities between opioids and kratom are what make kratom a suitable alternative to the more common prescription medications. Though kratom is still largely untested in the scientific community, it has behind it a huge population of supporters who swear by its efficacy. Indeed, it is thanks to this vocal support that kratom is still accessible in the United States; petitions played a large role in stopping the DEA from labelling kratom a Schedule I substance (like heroin, cocaine, and marijuana) just last year.
For centuries, kratom has been used in its home region of Southeast Asia as a pain management medication and for fighting fatigue and other symptoms. It’s popularity in the US has begun to grow, largely, it seems, due to the opioid crisis that has been sweeping and deeply concerning the nation for the past couple of years.
Why is kratom a major player in the opioid crisis?
As we already discussed, the effects of kratom are similar to those of opioids, with one major difference: people have not died from using kratom (on its own). Opioids, on the other hand, were thought to be responsible for close to 60,000 overdose deaths in the US in 2016.
Patients who turn to kratom are often able to either reduce their opioid intake by supplementing with kratom, or switch from the former to the latter altogether. Because the body sees kratom as much the same as an opioid, patients experience much less severe withdrawal than if they were to quit opioids completely or switch to a different drug or supplement. Many patients find kratom – and its primary alkaloids mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine – can treat chronic pain as well as their previous medication.
Kratom is also thought to come with other benefits like anti-inflammatory properties and the ability to combat symptoms of depression. Patients often report that kratom leaves them with more mental clarity than opioids, which have a tendency to fog the mind.
Of course, just because kratom is not specifically an opioid and cannot cause a patient to stop breathing does not mean caution needn’t be practiced when using this herbal supplement. At Original Harvest – where we provide more than 50 unique strains of kratom powders and capsules – we recommend taking small doses of kratom (starting with as little as 1 gram), not taking multiple doses in a day, and avoiding amounts greater than 5 grams, after which some undesirable (though not especially dangerous) side effects can kick in.
If you struggle with chronic pain, you may find kratom is the herbal alternative you’ve been looking for. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions about the best kratom powder strain for your needs.
Please note: Currently, kratom cannot be sold as an ingestible product in Canada, and as such all our bags are labelled “not for human consumption”. Despite this, we guarantee our kratom products are fresh, 100% pure (no fillers) and were farmed on a certified organic facility.
Kratom is legal to order and have delivered in Canada and all US states except Tennessee, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Vermont, Indiana and Alabama. Original Harvest does not ship to these states.