Oxindole Enhanced Kratom: All the Rage, But Is It Safe?

March 19, 2019 Articles, Kratom Alkaloids, Kratom Research, Kratom Vendors, Op-Ed

The old expression “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” often applies when we’re talking about kratom. It seems like every day people are coming out with “new and improved” ways of growing, enhancing or “optimizing” kratom leaf.

In the last decade one of these trends has been oxindole enhancement, a process that takes us beyond the realm of the all-natural and into something else entirely. Today we’ll take a look at what exactly OEK is, who’s selling it, what people are saying about it and whether or not it’s worth your time and money.

WHAT IS OXINDOLE ENHANCED KRATOM?

To understand the market appeal of this product, we have to examine the alkaloid profile of the organic kratom tree. Live kratom plants normally contain a range of indole alkaloids which occur naturally at rather low concentrations.

Of course, there’s the big kahuna—mitragynine—as well as 7-hydroxymitragynine, paynantheine, speciogynine and so forth. Mitragynine is the analgesic alkaloid which is largely responsible for kratom’s purported effects, although all of its alkaloids play distinct roles in its supposed efficacy.

While mitragynine typically occurs at high concentrations (scientific study suggests that it occurs at a percentage of 66), others naturally occur at smaller concentrations. Among such compounds is oxindole, an aromatic heterocyclic substance.

Oxindole derivatives include mitraphylline, the pentacyclic kratom alkaloid which research says possess anti-inflammatory, antiproliferative and cytotoxic effects. These pronounced effects have been well-documented by the scientific community.

Normally, there is only one percent of mitraphylline found in kratom leaf, making its potential as a vasodilator and herbal muscle relaxer rather mild. That’s where Oxindole Enhanced Kratom comes in.

About 5 plus years ago, we in the Western world started hearing about kratom vendors offering OEI (Oxindole Enhanced Indo). Those familiar with mitraphylline’s potential uses flocked to get our hands on some.

Here’s how it works:

Kratom companies artificially enhanced to high ratios and infused into their kratom leaf with large amounts of the plant’s two natural oxindoles.

It used to be offered by the original UEI source, although its ubiquity has grown as its popularity has spread. Now there are a number of online kratom vendors peddling OE powders, some of which claim that it is stronger than MEI (Mega-Enhanced Indo).

I’ve made no bones about my skepticism where kratom extracts are concerned. Without proper testing implements it is impossible for the casual consumer to know whether what they are receiving is legit. People get burned by shady vendors every day and this only seems be becoming more of a problem as smoke shop kratom extracts proliferate.

Which brings us to the next question…

IS OXINDOLE ENHANCED KRATOM SAFE?

The short answer is…NO!

As with any enhanced product, there is the very real risk of adverse effects or overdose. That is why vendors are quick to caution buyers against human consumption. At present, said products are intended only for research purposes or as aromatic botanicals.

Those who have messed around with these things invariably experience effects that they are not necessarily prepared for. One such case occurred back in 2013 when a blogger by the handle rotatingsedation chronicled his first dose.

In his post, he references the $65 he paid the questionable Speciosa Specialists for a mere 5 grams of Oxindole Enhanced Bali, writing: “I remember trying it for the first time…I took a mouthful of water and poured the powder into my mouth, swallowing right away as to not taste the disgusting ground-up plant and not having the powder catch in my throat. I then idly browsed the internet, waiting for the effect.

“Eventually, I found myself feeling a particularly evident change in my interest level of what I was doing. Each click of a key that I typed seemed to register with me with precision. I found myself focused more than I ever thought I would about something as pedestrian as my work I do for my job. I sat up and was aware of how good I felt – this was the…euphoria mixed with an “upper” type of high. I was hooked.”

This same blogger goes on to acknowledge that he spends an exorbitant amount of money on kratom and is, indeed, addicted. Such an addiction to enhanced kratom can be devastating and may result in kidney damage or even liver failure.

Oxindole Enhanced Kratom side effects are impossible to predict since this is not 100% organic kratom powder we are dealing with. However, one need look only so far as traditional kratom’s side effects to get a pretty good idea of what can be expected.

Common kratom side effects include dizziness, dry mouth, fatigue, lethargy, diarrhea, nausea, skin discoloration, agitation, confusion, constipation, headache, dilated pupils, insomnia and tolerance. When kratom’s alkaloids are enhanced, these potential adverse effects will only be amplified.

There is also the adulteration factor to consider; as one user on Reddit pointed out, “Why would you want laced/chemically modified kratom is beyond…Plain kratom is a wonderful, safe and seemingly self-regulating substance. IMHO this extract stuff had to be stopped. I for one am glad the industry is turning away from extracts…”

Others have echoed this sentiment with one user writing, “Any idiot that decides to support vendors that act in this way and sell products like this don’t deserve the benefits that kratom can bring them. Seriously.

“There are 10s of thousands of us that take the plain herb, not to get high, but rather to improve our quality of life for medical reasons. And this kind of enhanced and synthetic bullship is such a slap in the face to those of us that use kratom for the right reasons. If you want to get high, go score on the street…”

There you have it, from the horse’s mouth. What products like Oxindole Enhanced Kratom appear to be doing is flirting with danger. Since such products are as-yet-unregulated, those who manufacture them are not held liable for any harm that comes to those who purchase them.

BOTTOM LINE

To put it in plain English, stay away from synthetic or artifically-enhanced products unless you know that the source is trustworthy. Always demand detailed information about the processes that go into producing such products and never settle for a vendor that offers anything less than a full money back/satisfaction guarantee. Be safe, be smart and be well.

Bob Freville
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