In this blog post we include an alert about Kratom, especially important if you have tweens, teens, young adults or persons with substance abuse in your household.
Benefits and risks of Kratom
Kratom is a common name for the leaves of the Southeast Asian tree Mitragyna speciose. The herb is sold over the counter as an aid for anxiety and to help with recovery from opioid addiction but with no substantive evidence about its safety or effectiveness.
Kratom affects the opioid receptors in the brain causing the user to get high. Reported sales for its psychoactive effects have increased significantly, leading to concern that it is being abused, especially by young people who can’t purchase alcohol. The FDA is currently taking steps to make the herb illegal to purchase but as of now it is still available to anyone in retail stores.
The herb has a number of documented side effects in addition to the potential for addiction, including:
· Nervousness, short fuse
· Nausea and vomiting (can be severe and last for hours)
· Dry mouth
· Loss of appetite
· Increased urination
· Respiratory depression
· Aggressive or combative behavior
· Psychotic episodes
Side effects commonly last up to 7 hours.
The take home message is that we don’t know enough about Kratom to say it is safe, but the potential risks and side effects are significant. We suggest you be vigilant if you have a young person or individual with a history of substance abuse in your household; this is not a safe alternative.