Kratom, which goes by the medicinal name mitragyna speciosa, is a plant that grows in Southeast Asia. It is a tropical plant that belongs to the coffee tree family. As with most green plants, Kratom is said to be high in antioxidants. Kratom has been used for centuries in the Eastern world for a multitude of medicinal purposes, including treating ailments, enhancing one’s mood, and as a mild to moderate pain reliever. Kratom is legal throughout the majority of North America. Despite it being a much safer alternative to most illegal narcotics (and less potentially addictive), Kratom remains highly unheard of in North American culture.
Kratom is a psychoactive compound that acts as an opioid, meaning it stimulates the same receptors in the brain that an opioid drug would. Despite the fact that it stimulates the same receptors in the brain and gives the user a similar experience, Kratom is not an opiate. It isn’t derived from a poppy plant and it doesn’t have the same potential for addiction and abuse as opiate drugs such as heroin or morphine.
The active ingredient in Kratom, ‘7-hydroxymitragynine’, acts on two receptors in the brain. One is the mu receptors, responsible for producing feelings of euphoria, pain relief, and sedation. The other is the delta receptors, responsible for mood, pleasure, and motivation. Kratom primarily stimulates the delta receptors. Due to its similarity to opiates in terms of the effects the user experiences, Kratom has actually been used successfully as a remedy to opiate addiction, and as a much safer alternative to the more commonly prescribed methadone. It’s also a welcome addition to those that suffer from depression or anxiety. Kratom leaves can be chewed or mixed into a drink (such as water or tea). Users will experience an increase in mood an overall improved sense of well-being.
There many different strains of Kratom. Generally, the strain of Kratom you will find and the effect that it will produce will depend on the location the plant was grown in. The four most popular countries Kratom is grown in are Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Borneo. The effects of each plant will vary, but generally speaking, the leaves found in each country produce similar effects. Thai leaves tend to be energetic. Malyasian leaves will be moderate or slow. Indonesian leaves will be energetic, moderate or sedative. And leaves from Borneo will tend to be sedative or slow. The colour of each plant will also vary upon location, with colours such as red, white, green, and yellow.
The speed at which Kratom acts will largely depend on the colour and the location of the plant. However, these aren’t always the determining factors of what effects will be produced by each strain, and the user will generally have to experiment to determine which strains produce the desired effect. As mentioned earlier, different strains will produce a fast, moderate, or slow effect, or a combination of each. Generally speaking, a fast strain will make the user energetic, sociable, and productive. Moderate strains will produce a similar effect, but without the energetic rush. Slow strains will produce a euphoric effect, but not much in the way of productivity. In our next article, I’ll discuss how Kratom can be incorporated into one’s lifestyle and different doses.