The Kratom Consideration: Thoughts and Concerns on the Miracle Plant (The Good,...

The Kratom Consideration: Thoughts and Concerns on the Miracle Plant (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly!)

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One of the most fascinating aspects of plants (for me) is the fact that so many of them contain compounds that have a pretty profound effect on the human body. We all know of opium, coca and cannabis, three very different amazing natural remedies all originating within plants. When you consider facts like this, one can’t help but consider the fact that the war on “drugs” is inherently a war on plants and the peoples right to consume them.

That being said, I don’t consider these compounds perfect even if they are naturally derived and I actually avoid many of them for the effects they have on my body as I understand they can be a double edged sword. While these can all be considered medicine in some form or dose, they aren’t always the best for every day or long term use.

Kratom for Beginners on Amazon.
Kratom for Beginners on Amazon.

Kratom

Kratom is the hot drug in the scene nowadays it seems, and surprise surprise it’s a naturally derived medicine. My issue with kratom is not so much in what it is and whether or not its useful medically speaking; it’s about how it’s being pushed. It seems like many are promoting and selling the drug, touting it to be as safe as cannabis when in reality it isn’t.

I’m not saying kratom is bad or harmful inherently, but I am saying that it isn’t as harmless as people seem to be saying it is. The more I look into it, the more I find that Kratom (like many powerful medicines) does have a dark side and people need to know about it. Let me explain.

I heard about Kratom first five years ago through one of my first actual libertarian friends. He brought over a smoothie with a small dose mixed in and we tried it. He touted it’s effects including the fact that heroin addicts use it to deal with withdrawal symptoms. Considering the effects were similar to opiates, I could see why.

I really didn’t look or think much further into it until recently, partially because I don’t really enjoy the way opiates and opiate analogs make me feel. The way he pitched it though, it seemed like another alternative to weed that was significantly cheaper and might actually be more effective for my chronic pain. With a track record like that, I was interested.

I didn’t really encounter it again for a long time for many reasons, including budget. As I become more immersed within this libertarian anarchist community I notice that kratom has penetrated deep and is being pushed, hard, without much information about what it actually is.

I didn’t realize quite the extent of it until the conference, where there was LOADS of kratom being passed around like a party drug. Whenever I interacted with people with it, many had said that they were new to it and knew nothing about it. They weren’t even clear on dosage, something pretty important with kratom as you can overdose.

kratom for pain

What is Kratom?

I’ll back it up here to give a bit of background, the same background information I just found through a few google searches. Kratom comes from a tree native to South East Asia. The compound that makes it what it is, is contained within the leaves.

From my understanding they’re generally dried and ground for sale, although locals do chew on the leaves raw for certain effects. Sometimes extracts are made from the leaves but every time I’ve seen it, it’s been a powder. There are several different varieties and all have slightly different effects, just like weed does, another one of the few similarities.

The similarities between Kratom and weed are a bit overestimated in my opinion. While they’re both plant derived and fairly straight forward in terms of processing, they are not by any means similar drugs chemically speaking. Kratom is known as both an opiate substitute and a stimulant. It’s used for a long list of things from depression to chronic pain depending on strain and your needs. It has been touted as a drug to get people off of opiates, but scientifically speaking it seems like it only replaces opiates with something that has similar effects but is much harder to see on a drug screen.

(Editors note, I disagree with this last comment, but will let the writer’s words stand with my protest noted! We sell kratom at our bookstore and I have seen opiate addicts get their lives back and live pain free without the physical addiction and without the life deprivation opiates gave them. I also know many people who use kratom alongside essential oils, yoga, body work and other healing remedies to work on the root of their chronic pain without addiction.)

Kratom works because it acts on the opiate receptors on the brain. That’s not to say it is an opiate itself, but more like an analog. Something pretty damn close that hits the same receptors in nearly the same way. And it does, as it’s known for it’s opiate like effects, like pain relief.

I don’t have a problem with any of this, but considering the fact that it does effect those opiate receptors in a similar way, by going from heroin to kratom your body can’t really tell the difference as far as it’s physical addictions are concerned. The bodily effects of the drug can be different, but you’re still physically addicted in the same way if the drug is affecting the receptors in nearly the same way. (Editor’s note 2: Often kratom is used to help relieve the symptoms of detoxing an opiate, not to just replace it entirely, especially if the opiate addiction came from a short term injury)

Kratom Withdrawal

The withdrawal symptoms from kratom are nearly identical to heroin withdrawal: nausea, vomiting, extreme depression among many others. I’ve been paying attention to discussion online and I see people all over saying comments like “I need my kratom every morning, it’s my fix” and things to that extent. This concerns me, to say the least.

And for me, that’s about where my interest ends with this one sadly. As someone who grew up with a Mother addicted to opiates, anything that leaves me with a physical addiction just isn’t worth it regardless of the effects. (Editor’s 3rd note, my mom is currently addicted to opiate pain killers for a very real injury! I would love to see her transition to kratom!)

But I want to be clear here for anyone concerned with having used Kratom here and there for things, I’m not saying that any kratom use will result in addiction, just like you can consume opiates (and coffee) without being addicted. But if you are using kratom to treat symptoms of something you suffer with every day, be it mental or physical, you’re most likely physically addicted.

I avoid opiates and now kratom because I suffer from chronic pain and because of that I’d be mentally encouraged to use it a lot, especially if it really does help. For someone with chronic pain, opiates and things similarly addictive are honestly not a good option long term, for obvious reasons. I’m not interested in being physically dependent on something, especially for something like pain that can be dealt with better ways. Cannabis is perfect for these people, as it helps to relieve the symptoms without being physically addictive, a distinct advantage that is very important to me.

While it’s perfectly plausible and common for people to use kratom while not abusing it or being dependent on it, I notice a growing number of people who are dependent on it and many do not quite seem to realize that they are. They have the money to and just use it every day because it makes them feel amazing, and from my understanding it does. They’ll make comments about how much kratom helps and how much they need it, but many don’t seem to make the connection that it’s just as addictive as heroin, in many regards. If they were to stop their daily habitual use, they would be dealing with withdrawal symptoms just like heroin withdrawal. When I talked to people about it at the conference, many didn’t even understand that it could be addictive at all, which I find alarming.

the kratom bible
On amazon.

If you’re going to advertise something as safe and harmless, as kratom was during the public scare over it being made illegal, then it better actually be. The fact that it is addictive by nature makes it so it’s not actually harmless, at least not in my opinion. If you’ve got to keep using it to keep from feeling sick or unwell, I don’t consider it harmless. If you get violently ill when you stop using it, that is by definition not harmless. I’m not saying it’s bad, but it’s not perfect and it shouldn’t be advertised as the perfect miracle drug that it is currently. (Editor here again, reminder, some people just take it to study or clean their house and never get addicted… like coffee)

It was nearly a joke when I got arrested among the girls I was in jail with that if anyone would have withdrawal symptoms from weed use, it’d be me. As they studied me and my behavior, they determined that I exhibited no symptoms of withdrawal. Being that many of them were addicts, they knew the signs and they couldn’t find any of them in me.

I say this to prove a point that even with my constant cannabis use, I am not physically addicted. I stopped suddenly when arrested and was off of cannabis for weeks without any huge issues. I like that I can run out of cannabis and the worst thing I’ve got to deal with is an increased level of pain due to being out of weed.

For this reason, Kratom is not just like weed. It’s not harmless and it’s not super safe. While I say all of these things I want to be clear that kratom is not BAD. While not everyone enjoys the effects of kratom, it is a drug that really does help many people when used responsibly with an understanding and respect for it’s capabilities. Just like opium can be as well.

Even with my personal distaste for opiates, I’ve got a respect for them. I have opium seeds I intend on growing for the opium, although it’s something I’ll keep in my medicine cabinet for injuries and emergencies. These things are not bad because they aren’t harmless, they just need to be used with more care to keep from because they can be harmful under the wrong conditions.

Just be Wise!

So, no, I’m not warning people against kratom. I don’t think it’s bad, but I don’t think it should be advertised in the manner it is. Like many plant medicines, it’s serious stuff. I believe that many of these plants that you can become addicted to are that way for a reason, almost as a way to punish over grazers. These things are great tools to be used in specific situations and can even be used recreationally as long as they are responsibly so.

But the fact that most of the people I encountered that were consuming and buying quantities of stuff were doing so pretty damn blind. As a content creator, while I understand people should do their own research, I also get that by advertising anything I should do what I can to give the MOST accurate information I can to the people who follow me.

So if you’re someone talking about kratom publicly, even just your own use, be open about it’s dark side. You might lose a would be customer here and there, but you customer base will remain happier and healthier if they’re fully informed on everything they can be.

I see a bit of a movement of unwitting people interested in plant medicine dipping their toes in with kratom and having a rough time. This happens in many regards, from an overdose to an addiction they didn’t understand they could end up with. For many, even though kratom isn’t the same as other plant medicines, it will put a sour taste in their mouth for these medications. The idea is to educate and inform people about the wonders and challenges of these things, not just to sell them and spread them around.

From my understanding it’s really easy to overdose on Kratom, causing some pretty unpleasant symptoms. Some deaths have been recorded that are related to kratom, but they’re almost always in a cocktail of other drugs and special circumstances (just like marijuana “deaths”). I’m not saying it kills people when they overdose, but from my understanding the overdose symptoms can be pretty unpleasant at the very least.

So long as we educate our customers, we can reduce the liklihood of these negative experiences be they short term or long term. Informing people that overdoing it can cause x number of effects will allow people to pay more mind to dosage. Just a bit too much and you can have a pretty intense physical experience, not necessarily pleasant either.

Again, I want to remind people I’m not anti-kratom. I’ve noticed I’ve gotten pretty emotional responses from people when raising my concerns for these things. Many assume right off the bat that I am against these things, so I want to be clear that I am not. I don’t think any drug should be illegal, certainly not this one too.

I’m happy it was saved from being rescheduled but I do have concerns with the way it’s seemingly pushed to the laymen. I understand that telling people these points will deter them from purchasing or trying the product, but at the end of the day this shouldn’t be just about selling the product. If the goal is to share a medicine with the world, inform that world about the good AND the bad effects so people can make the right decision for them.

Do Your Own Research!

If you’re interested in kratom but don’t know much about it, look into it. I only shared the basics and my opinions on the topic in this article and I am by no means an expert. This is how I see things based off of my research and life experiences. If you disagree with me, provide some proof and prove me wrong, I welcome it.

My goal is not to drop community support of kratom, but to realign it in a more reality based fashion so we can make informed decisions on how and when to use it. As the content creators, it’s our job to provide accurate information to the people out there looking for it. I see this being potentially damaging, so I’m doing what I can to raise a bit of awareness.

Kratom is great! But it’s not perfect! It has flaws! Look into them and just be informed in your decisions, that’s the point of this one here. This is one I’ve found myself thinking about and talking about recently, so I figured it was time to put my take out there and maybe share some good information with someone who didn’t know it. Maybe you can share some information that I don’t know about this topic, I’d be glad to hear it.

I’m all for plant medicine but I’m also for pointing out doubled edged swords where they exist. Sometimes good tools cause damage when used improperly, this is the same for medicine and hammers. So approach with caution, logic and reason and you’ll be fine.

Thanks for reading and considering these thoughts, this is an important topic to me for many reasons. As someone that could really benefit from kratom, I’d like to be the objector to remind people that it’s not a perfect miracle drug, it’s a useful tool that needs to be used correctly.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Such a flip flop back and forth essay! I don’t know why I bothered reading this rambaling drivel with no direction.

  2. This is getting deleted from a kratom group, so I am posting the discussion that was had here:

    1 share
    17 Comments
    Comments
    William Crawford
    William Crawford Im not sure I agree with this ,
    Like · Reply · 2 · 1 hr
    Bobbi Neyedley-Ford
    Bobbi Neyedley-Ford This article makes some good arguments
    Like · Reply · 1 hr
    Catherine Bleish
    Catherine Bleish I honestly felt triggered reading a few points, but overall I do agree that some people get started not knowing you could (like coffee) get hooked.
    Like · Reply · 1 · 1 hr
    Laurel Nendza
    Laurel Nendza The only thing that I agree with in this article is “Do your own research”. It says you can overdose on Kratom and it has withdrawn symptoms close to heroin; both are untrue. And it certainly has never killed anyone.People shouldn’t be writing articles…See More
    Like · Reply · 10 · 1 hr · Edited
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    Catherine Bleish
    Catherine Bleish It was clear in the article that deaths were all associated with other drugs. I have seen some heavy withdrawal symptoms personally.
    Like · Reply · 1 hr
    Brandon Taylor
    Brandon Taylor A person that expiernces heavy withdraws from kratom is someone who use to do opiates and withdrawed off of them because i did so as soon as i dont have any kratom i feel like i did when i withdrawed off of oxycodone its just.becuase my brain associate…See More
    Like · Reply · 53 mins
    Joby Spoon
    Joby Spoon No, anybody can have WD from it. That’s a little silly. One of the main alkaloids is an opioid agonist.
    Like · Reply · 1 · 49 mins
    Brandon Taylor
    Brandon Taylor Lol is that not what i said???
    Like · Reply · 47 mins
    Brandon Taylor
    Brandon Taylor I guarantee you the withdraws are no where near opiates and kratom is not an opiate. I know what kratom is and what it does.
    Like · Reply · 46 mins
    Billy Dub
    Billy Dub I experience withdrawal symptoms when I do not take my kratom dose. They are not pretty. Its real. People should be cautious when taking kratom. Its not free from risk and saying it like coffee (caffeine) is so misguided.
    Unlike · Reply · 3 · 33 mins
    Victoria Savona
    Victoria Savona Article definitely says you can overdose on it and that’s when I stopped reading (pretty close to the beginning)
    Like · Reply · 3 · 31 mins
    Catherine Bleish
    Catherine Bleish I have overdosed!!!!!! That’s a real thing!
    Like · Reply · 31 mins
    Sam Neil
    Sam Neil Just because the WD are not the same as opiates does not mean their not there… Not everyone has gone through the same levels of WD- What you thinks easy could servely impact or even kill someone else Brandon Taylor
    Like · Reply · 1 · 25 mins
    Mindy Helene
    Mindy Helene Overdosed? On kratom? And you still “love it and use it in your house”? Interesting. Kratom overdose has never been cited in any journal of repute that I’ve seen. Withdrawal is NOT the same as heroin. It isn’t a cakewalk but is NOT the same as heroin. That’s patently false.
    Like · Reply · 21 mins
    Matt Gentry
    Matt Gentry Their is definitely withdrawal associated with kratom and it’s worse than coffee. That’s a fact.
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · 16 mins
    Victoria Savona
    Victoria Savona Over – dosing and overdosing are two completely different things
    Like · Reply · 1 · 13 mins
    Scot O’Brien
    Scot O’Brien Saying you overdosed on kratom because you took to much and has a headache and upset stomach is not how people will take it. People associate that term with life threatening. Taking to much and feeling like shit is differant than overdosing. But the wd…See More
    Like · Reply · 1 · 12 mins
    Laurel Nendza
    Laurel Nendza The only kind of withdrawal I have with a Kratom is it pretty much just makes me have to deal with my natural self; such as depressed, low energy and in pain. I’ve had withdraws from opiates and that is way worse. My neighbor took two tablespoons and p…See More
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · 9 mins
    Catherine Bleish
    Catherine Bleish You know, I think its important that people know you can take too much, and that you can get hooked. I think its MOST likely the plant will stay legal if we are upfront about this and help people navigate it!
    Like · Reply · 8 mins
    Scot O’Brien
    Scot O’Brien I’m your experience, Laura. But other people get them full force.
    Like · Reply · 8 mins
    Scot O’Brien
    Scot O’Brien I wad upfront in my statement. But saying you overdosed is over dramatic and not how they will take it.
    Like · Reply · 7 mins
    Laurel Nendza
    Laurel Nendza Anything in excess is bad for you. People just need to use common sense and understand taking more will not get you high, just sick.
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · 6 mins · Edited
    Catherine Bleish
    Catherine Bleish And yes, I have taken too much kratom and yes we still use and love it in our house, isn’t it OK for me to have figured out my limits and still use the tool when I need it??? I have also taken too much caffeine and felt like I was having a heart attack and stayed awake until 6am when I was packing to move…. yet I drink coffee every day!
    Like · Reply · 6 mins
    Catherine Bleish
    Catherine Bleish Laurel Nendza that is the point I got from the article, I think some people are being defensive without reading the whole thing!!!!!
    Like · Reply · 6 mins
    Catherine Bleish
    Catherine Bleish I did overdose! I was a total wreck and could not even stand up. I was puking, my head hurt, I could not eat or drink or function. Please don’t invalidate my experience or make assumptions on how people will react to that. It was AWFUL and without education, somoene else could do the same! I now know my limits and don’t wish ANYONE to find theirs the way I found mine!!!!!!!!!!
    Like · Reply · 4 mins
    Laurel Nendza
    Laurel Nendza The problem with the article is people will see words like withdraws and overdose and assume it is bad without reading the whole thing.
    Like · Reply · 4 mins
    Catherine Bleish
    Catherine Bleish Laurel Nendza I agree with the hangover analogy, except it was WAY WORSE than any hang over I have ever had and lasted until I went to bed the next night. So how do we communicate the real issues without using those words?
    Like · Reply · 3 mins
    Scot O’Brien
    Scot O’Brien I’m Not invalidating how you felt. I bet it was awful. But I think calling it an overdose is the wrong term you should use but what ever. We are not going to change each other’s minds.
    Like · Reply · 1 min · Edited
    Catherine Bleish

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    Brandon Taylor
    Brandon Taylor Yea fuck this article and whoever wrote it.. Its probably a set up article to line kratom up for illegalization
    Like · Reply · 5 · 1 hr
    Brandon Taylor
    Brandon Taylor U can tell how they try to call kratom users anarchists and then how they say u can overdose lol.
    Like · Reply · 1 · 1 hr
    Catherine Bleish
    Catherine Bleish I think I overdosed once…….. It was awful…..
    Like · Reply · 1 hr
    Brandon Taylor
    Brandon Taylor You cant really overdose to where its guna kill you or cause any harm you will either go to sleep or puke it up…when ppl say overdose they try to make it out to be bad like itll kill you
    Like · Reply · 3 · 1 hr
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    Catherine Bleish

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    Brandon Taylor
    Brandon Taylor And really people need to get info from a person that actually does kratom everyday not just going online and reading about it and making claims
    Like · Reply · 1 · 1 hr
    Catherine Bleish
    Catherine Bleish Sure!
    Like · Reply · 1 hr
    Laurel Nendza
    Laurel Nendza I bet the writer wouldn’t like it if we substituted the word Kratom for Marijuana. I can walk around all day and function when I take Kratom. I couldn’t do that with weed, but some people can. I also don’t smoke weed a lot so I wouldn’t be the right person to write an article about it. Just like the writer shouldn’t be making assumptions not based on their OWN experiences.
    Like · Reply · 5 · 1 hr
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    Catherine Bleish

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    Shannon Ferro
    Shannon Ferro Is that even kratom in the picture?
    Like · Reply · 1 · 57 mins
    Brandon Taylor
    Brandon Taylor Lol
    Like · Reply · 1 · 50 mins
    Brandon Taylor
    Brandon Taylor Them leafs do look wierd but i think it is
    Like · Reply · 1 · 50 mins
    Shannon Ferro
    Shannon Ferro yeah the shape looks off, but I am no expert
    Like · Reply · 49 mins
    Catherine Bleish

    Write a reply…

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    Carolyn Spillman
    Carolyn Spillman yeah……that seemed like a very narrowed viewpoint based solely on “random” remarks the writer had read via social media and/or forums. In my opinion, this writer had no names as to who or where he’d gotten his information. Very vague and in MY exp…See More
    Like · Reply · 53 mins
    Robert Auton
    Robert Auton I read the first sentence. That’s all I needed to read to see this is a slanderous article and the author is misinformed. Kratom is not a drug!
    Like · Reply · 2 · 51 mins
    John Deininger
    John Deininger drug
    drəɡ/
    noun…See More
    Like · Reply · 41 mins
    John Deininger
    John Deininger Medical dictionaries add “non food substance” for clarity.
    Like · Reply · 40 mins
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    Catherine Bleish

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    Amanda Boyles
    Amanda Boyles I found this article ridiculous and think the writer needs to research further.
    Like · Reply · 4 · 49 mins · Edited
    Joby Spoon
    Joby Spoon He certainly has a valid point or two, however the piece is terribly opinionated and he was obviously biased.
    Like · Reply · 2 · 45 mins
    John Gerbitz
    John Gerbitz I agree with some of the concerns brought by this author. Specifically how casually, and to whom kratom is being marketed toward. Early on in my kratom journey it took both extensive research and a significant level of personal responsibility to get i…See More
    Unlike · Reply · 2 · 36 mins · Edited
    Catherine Bleish
    Catherine Bleish I am so glad you read it this way, I did, too. I think its really important we share this info!!
    Like · Reply · 1 · 32 mins
    Sam Neil
    Sam Neil Spot on
    Like · Reply · 22 mins
    Catherine Bleish

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    Troy Terrell
    Troy Terrell lmao this article is BS
    Like · Reply · 3 · 28 mins
    Concetta Oteri
    Concetta Oteri The issue I have with this article is that it really only addresses the effect on opiate receptors (mostly mu receptors in the case of kratom). Some people don’t like opiates or how they make them feel (that’s me. I intensely dislike how I feel on opia…See More
    Like · Reply · 3 · 23 mins
    Darci Butler
    Darci Butler I’m going to delete this. This is certainly not factual. There’s plenty of posts in here that talk of Kratom withdrawal without all this crazy misinformation.
    Like · Reply · 4 mins
    Catherine Bleish
    Catherine Bleish Wait, what? Have you read it?
    Like · Reply · 3 mins
    Catherine Bleish
    Catherine Bleish Darci Butler I read the entire thing, what is not factual??!?!
    Like · Reply · 2 mins
    Darci Butler
    Darci Butler Sure have
    Like · Reply · 2 mins
    Catherine Bleish

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    Catherine Bleish
    Catherine Bleish Its a conversation worth having, sorry to see all this great dialogue get deleted. Now we have the article online yet no conversation about it….
    Like · Reply · Just now

  3. It’s (Kratom) is an opioid antagonist and agonist for the mu-opioid receptors. Antagonist = Empty the receptor, Agonist = fills the receptor. Another huge difference is that most all opioids are agonist only, meaning the binding capacity (affinity) is MUCH stronger. When an antagonistic is combined with an agonist, this changes the affinity of the substance, which is why a person cannot OD on Kratom. For full agonists, there is a protein which is created when those opioids bind the mu-receptor which is the “G Protein”. It’s that protein that causes most all dangerous effects of the full agonists

  4. I read this article with interest but for me the message came across that this plant medicine needs to be taken with caution. And just like any other medicine – your response to it will depend on your physical and psychological make up.

    On a side note – as someone who suffered from chronic pain for fifteen years – I have found my cure … in Kundalini yoga. I no longer take any prescription drugs and am pain free. I believe the root of my chronic pain stemmed from trauma trapped in my body. Working with the mind was not enough and I finally realised I needed to work with my body as well. Yoga freed me from a life of pain. It is my medicine for life. Find yourself a GOOD teacher and try it.

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