What Exactly is Kratom Anyway?
Kratom, an herb/plant – native to the jungles of Southeast Asian countries, goes by the name Mitragyna Speciosa in the science community. You can find it growing in wild conditions spread across the areas of Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia as well as many parts of the Pacific Rim, to name a few.
You can recognize kratom by its clusters of deep yellow flowers that go as high as up to 14 meters. Yup. That’s how tall this plant can grow up to be.
Kratom’s strength comes from its medicinal properties. This is why folk medicine had heavy kratom usage for remedying/managing several conditions. The growers would traditionally pluck the green leaves by hand, sundry them, and then brew them into tea. Many would simply swallow the powder or chew the kratom leaves.
Since the onset of the 21st century, kratom’s visibility and popularity rapidly improved around the globe. Today you can find it in powdered form in stores like Kratom Crazy.
The world as a whole is waking up to seeing this herb as an invaluable aid. While some may use it occasionally as a recreational tool, most use it for the right reasons such as management of chronic pains, energy, motivation, focus, etc.
The myriad benefits of kratom for mental and physical health are discussed later in this post.
Pharmacology of Kratom
Kratom carries a bunch of phytochemicals called alkaloids. The most important ones are alkaloids 7-hydroxymitragynine and 9-methoxy-corynanthidine. 7-hydroxymitragynine is quite potent. It has excellent oral bioavailability and blood-brain barrier penetration.
In terms of how kratom alkaloids bind themselves to the brain receptors – well, 7-hydroxymitragynine binds itself with mu- and kappa-opioid receptors. Let it be known that kratom’s work mechanism is largely unclear. However, it is believed to interact with opioid receptors. Therefore, there is the possibility of some other alkaloid being involved which has not yet been studied.
Strains And Effects
Kratom is a ‘variety’ plant. It goes by different types of strains. It’s the differentiation based on the level of maturity of leaves at the time when they were plucked as well as the color of the veins and the stem.
Each strain has a unique and complex composition with varying levels of alkaloids. They all offer a unique range of effects on the mind and the body. Therefore, make sure to familiarize yourself with all of those before buying one.
It is generally accepted/believed and/or understood that less than 1 gram of dose can boost your energy levels and make you happier while heavy dosage can be sedating; accompanied by anxiolytic properties.
Below are the three main types of kratom:
- Red Kratom Strains – These are popular largely for their pain-relieving and medicinal properties.
- White Vein Kratom Strains – You can think of the effects as similar to the red ones, except with an added kick of energy.
- Green Kratom Strain – It has a combination of what the red and the white strains have to offer. It combines the energy-boosting effects of white with the pain-relieving attributes of red-veined strains.
- For pain and opiate withdrawal management
Kratom does have the potential to act as a harm reduction tool if you talk about overcoming heroin addiction. Check out this study for more information. This might be particularly good for the poor/developing countries where harm reduction tools are usually expensive. Let it be known that the herb is not yet part of mainstream medicine. But, the literature that is available in this context suggests great potential.
- For anxiety and depression
Studies do suggest kratom’s potential for the management of depression and anxiety. One of the studies observed mice that were injected with mitragynine. The corticosterone levels were reduced in those mice. It’s the stress regulating hormone.
Kratom tends to also make you feel more open and introspective. That could also imply kratom’s potential in psychotherapy. Please know that not all strains may be ideal for managing anxiety and depression. White Maeng Da and majority Green Strains may be better suited for this purpose.
- For Weight Loss
Kratom, in itself, is not an appetite suppressant. In fact, many people feel like eating more after consuming kratom. The weight loss aspect of kratom may be attributed to its antidepressant and anxiolytic effects wherein the strange cravings for junk food are eliminated.
Certain kratom strains that make you feel energized can up your intensity of the workout. This may, invariably, help you shed those extra pounds.
- For better focus and energy
Certain kratom strains, when consumed in the right dosage, can make you feel incredibly energized without inducing the ‘high’ or the ‘euphoric’ sensation. It can also make you feel focused and calm without causing a sensation of dullness.
What to expect?
If you take kratom on an empty stomach, you can expect the effects to kick-in around the 20-minute mark. The effects may increase gradually. You can expect them to last anywhere between 2-4 hours.
At lower doses, you can expect to feel a surge of motivation with an increased sense of sociability and the need to talk more. Some users may also feel more physically energized coupled with a mild euphoric sensation.
Some unpleasant effects at lower doses can include – dizziness, nausea, sweating, and dysphoria. They should, however, give way in some time.
If you consume higher doses, the effects can be sedating in nature. This can mean a lower sense of physical/emotional pain and the feeling of contentment. Many explain the feeling as – ‘waking-dreaming’.
How to Consume It?
Toss n Wash Method – Basically you take the dose and quickly wash it down with a beverage. It can be water or some kind of juice. Just avoid alcohol and other such substances.
Capsules – You can just pop it in your mouth and wash it down with water or any beverage of your choice. Capsules come handy if you know your exact dose and don’t want the fuss of having to measure it every time. They are also much convenient to carry around.
As Tea – There are a bunch of incredibly simple kratom tea recipes that you can prepare right at home. A quick Google search will tell you all about the recipes.
Add it to yogurt and shakes – You can add it to your breakfast like yogurt. If you like to work out, you can also add it to your protein shakes. Some like to bake it into brownies, cakes, cookies, etc.
It is advised to start with extremely low doses initially (ideally with 3 grams). Gradually up the dose and stop at the point when you hit the ‘sweet spot’. Anything above 8 grams is seen as an ‘extremely high’ dose’.
This article is intended for informational purposes only. If you have any questions or are considering any recommendations, please consult your health practitioner.