Kratom is a plant related to the coffee family of plants. Centuries ago, the plant was actually used as a medicinal plant in South-east Asia. Today, the plant has become popular in Western countries like Canada, the United States and Europe for its beneficial effects on stress, pain, and energy elevation.
Despite its increasing popularity, many people are worried about Kratom’s long-term effects. However, contrary to popular myth, the long-term effects of Kratom is no different than any other natural plant like coffee or cannabis. This article will shed light on many controversies and remove ambiguities regarding Kratom for those interested in the plant for personal use.
What makes kratom so popular?
Kratom is a medicinal plant with two very important uses. The first is as a powerful stimulant, providing energy and general well-being. The second is as a sedative, providing physical and mental relief, and feelings of euphoria.
The Kratom plant has two distinct alkaloids, Mitragynine and 7-Hydroxymintragynine. These alkaloids are responsible for Kratom’s medicinal properties include analgesic, relaxant, anti-inflammation, and sedation.
Taking Kratom for energy and alertness
Generally speaking, the stimulatory effects of Kratom start in lower dosages (between 0.5 to 3 grams of Kratom powder). It takes 10-45 minutes for the Kratom effects to kick in and usually lasts between 2-3 hours. Some of the major benefits are:
- Social confidence
- Mild analgesic
Taking Kratom for relaxation and relief
Many people buy Kratom for its sedative and euphoric properties. There are two ways to obtain these effects. The first way is to ingest Kratom at high doses (6-8 grams). Consuming Kratom at these amounts seem to extract its sedative and euphoric properties. The second is to consume a red vein strain, which is known to induce deep sedative effects. Red Bali, for example, is a great strain to help users fall asleep more quickly and easily.
Legal status of kratom
Kratom is legal in many countries including Canada, the USA, and Europe. In fact, there are up to 15 million users of Kratom in the U.S. and another 1-2 million users in Canada. Most people consume Kratom for pain, anxiety and depression relief.
Despite over 120,000 people in the US signing a petition for legalization, the FDA has been aggressively campaigning against this plant.
This is exactly what the cannabis/marijuana industry faced just 7 years ago. Now, thanks to positive news, research and acceptance by the pharmaceutical industry (mainly big pharma has learned to profit from the plant), cannabis is legalized almost everywhere in North America.
Is kratom dangerous to use?
Currently, there is very little scientific evidence for Kratom’s use in the medical field. One massive study conducted by the CRC Press found that Kratom has scientific significance as a supplement for pain and opioid withdrawal symptom relief.
In 2019, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) offered the University of Florida College of Pharmacy $7.9 Millions in grants to study the effects of Kratom. Clearly the plant is of interest to many people and organizations. And despite millions of user testimonials online on Reddit and Twitter, people who are unfamiliar with the plant want more proof of it. Which begs the question, are there any dangers with kratom use?
No and yes.
With regular usage of Kratom, like with other substances like coffee and alcohol, there are very little dangers aside from the potential for addiction and withdrawal symptoms.
However, regular users who consume high amounts of Kratom for their medical conditions are prone to the following:
- Heart disease
- Liver damage
- Kidney conditions
These side effects are rare, and are only common in users consuming Kratom in high quantities.
Minor side effects of Kratom
There are two types of side effects: short-term side effects (which are minor) and long-term side effects (which are more severe).
Some minor side effects include:
- Dry mouth
- Weight loss
- Skin pigmentation
Most of the above side effects are minor and do not happen frequently, it depends on the health of your body, how much product you consume, and the quality of Kratom.
Furthermore, these effects are mild and will go away on their own without any medical attention.
Tips on How to Buy Kratom Online (in Canada and the U.S.)
As a word of caution, be careful with the online vendor you choose to buy your Kratom from.
In the U.S., there are tens of hundreds of small vendors selling Kratom. Make sure you search up the vendor’s online history and also their reviews online. Ideally talk to someone who has experience with the vendor to ensure legitimacy. One of the top stores in the U.S. is Kraken Kratom, known for their quality and affiliation with the American Kratom Society.
The U.S. is moving much faster in terms of regulation than Canada. In properly regulated states, all you have to do is find the right vendor and they should be open for business for many years to come.
In Canada, there used to be 5-10 trusted vendors selling Kratom. However, due to Health Canada’s strict oversight, many Kratom stores have closed down. At the time of writing, Canada Kratom Express is one of the only Kratom stores remaining due to Canada’s meticulous focus on quality control and product safety. Most other stores (i.e. Golden Monk Kratom, Madam Kratom, and Kratom Source) have shut down due to customer complaints.
Long term side effects of Kratom
One of the most common side effects of long-term Kratom use is addiction. As with most supplements, the easiest way to acquire an addiction is to consume Kratom in high quantities. However, it is very difficult to develop an addiction (even in high amounts) because Kratom is related to the coffee plant.
Another side effect of long-term Kratom use is tolerance. After consuming Kratom for an extended period of time, your body builds a tolerance to its effects. Therefore, ingesting the same dosage will not induce the same effects. In these instances, the user must increase the dosage or find a different alternative.
Loss of appetite
This side effect is common among only a subset of users and is dependent on many other factors such as body health and eating habits. If a person had poor eating habits to begin with, long-term Kratom use will reduce his appetite even further. In some extreme cases, it may even lead to an eating disorder.
Again, feelings of withdrawal is an extremely rare side effect. Imagine feeling withdrawal symptoms with coffee – it just doesn’t happen often. And even if it does, the feeling of withdrawal is not so strong. Certainly not as strong as withdrawal symptoms from other substances like nicotine and alcohol.
Kratom is loved by its users but hated by pharmaceutical companies and government agencies. As a result, it’s become quite a controversial plant.
Critics often attack Kratom for its long-term side effects and potential dangers. On the other hand, users argue that the dangers of Kratom is determined solely by the dosage and how the user consumes it. To put this into perspective, cigarettes, alcohol, video games, and pornography can all be dangerous if consumed in the wrong way.
If you are curious about Kratom, stay consistent with standard doses and understand the effects of different strains. As long as you stick to the recommended dosages and live a healthy lifestyle, there should be no long-term side effects.
Overall, Kratom is a legal, safe and effective medicinal plant.