While CBD-based products are increasingly common these days, many people also seek other options for stress and pain relief. From alternate cannabinoids to entirely different substances, those options are easy to find if you know what you’re looking for. One, in particular, kratom, has had people curious in recent years. If you’ve ever wondered “what is kratom?”, here’s some starting info to work with.
Formally known as Mitragyna speciosa, the kratom tree is a relative to coffee trees that grows natively in Southeast Asia, particularly in Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia. Kratom has long been used in traditional medicine; the leaves are commonly chewed raw or brewed into tea, usually with sweeteners added due to its bitter taste. The functions attributed to it range from fighting fatigue during manual work and use as a local anesthesiac to a sedating recreational substance shared with guests. In its native nations, it still sees use in these ways.
Effects of Taking Kratom
Kratom contains several active chemicals that make it hard to fit into a single category such as sedative, stimulant or opiate, especially since the dosage taken affects just what kind of reaction occurs. A number of these chemicals are known to react to opioid receptors, though, which corresponds to some of kratom’s observed effects. Many users cite it as helping with chronic pain, anxiety and depression similarly to how CBD is used. Some even suggest using it to treat opioid withdrawal and addiction.
Is Kratom Right for Me?
Studies are inconclusive on how beneficial or harmful kratom is, largely because of a lack of data, and the DEA and other authorities disagree on their stance towards it. The benefits cited are mostly anecdotal, but so are many of the dangerous side effects, which include nausea, constipation, hallucinations and seizures.
If you’re considering trying kratom, it’s worth it to read up on what others suggest and keep your own limits in mind, especially if you’re choosing kratom because of a bad reaction to cannabis. Additionally, the fact that effects vary greatly based on dosage means you should be careful with how much you take.