What is kratom? What Does Kratom Look Like?
Kratom is a tropical tree (Mitragyna speciosa) native to Southeast Asia, with leaves that contain compounds that can have psychotropic (mind-altering) effects. It is not currently an illegal substance and people suffering from Kratom addiction can easily order it on the internet. It is sometimes sold as a green powder in packets labeled “not for human consumption.” It is also sometimes sold as an extract or gum, states the National Institute on Drug Abuse in the piece ‘Kratom DrugFacts’.
Most people take kratom as a pill, capsule, or extract. Some people chew kratom leaves or brew the dried or powdered leaves as tea. Sometimes the leaves are smoked or eaten in food.
Kratom can cause effects similar to both opioids and stimulants. Two compounds in kratom leaves (mitragynine and 7-α-hydroxy mitragynine) interact with opioid receptors in the brain, producing sedation, pleasure, and decreased pain, especially when users consume large amounts of the plant. Mitragynine also interacts with other receptor systems in the brain to produce stimulant effects. When kratom is taken in small amounts, users report increased energy, sociability, and alertness instead of sedation. However, kratom can also cause uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous side effects.
In low doses, kratom has a stimulant effect, resulting in increased energy, talkativeness, and less need for sleep. Higher doses of kratom are said to have an effect similar to morphine, the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (NY OASAS) reports, by working on opioid receptors and some of the brain’s chemical messengers related to emotional regulation and pleasure.
Kratom abuse appears to be on the rise in the United States, as the Journal of Addictive Diseases reports on increased poison control center calls. In America, kratom is often marketed as a nutritional or dietary supplement. Negative reactions to the toxicity of the drug prompted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban its import in 2014. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) lists kratom as a “drug of concern” in the United States.
Although the drug is not currently under federal control, it is still considered a possibly dangerous drug of abuse with the potential for dependence and addiction with prolonged and regular use.
People take Kratom for the stimulating sensations, and the pleasant effects Kratom produces, this sensation is similar to and associated with opioids or other stimulants with risks of producing hallucinations and psychosis
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How Addictive is Kratom?
When a person takes a mind-altering drug such as kratom, the brain’s natural chemistry is changed. Some of the chemical messengers produced in the brain and sent throughout the body may be stimulated, depressed, or not absorbed properly.
Opioids, and likely kratom as well, fill opioid receptors in the brain and along with the central nervous system, which can create a kind of backlog of some of the neurotransmitters involved in how a person feels pleasure. This can cause a rush of euphoria or “high.”
With regular interference, the brain’s chemistry is altered to expect kratom’s presence. These chemical messengers may not be produced or moved throughout the central nervous system in their normal fashion. Drug dependence is then formed.
What Does Kratom Look Like and How Is Kratom Taken?
What Does Kratom Look Like? Since it is an herb derived from tree leaves, it can be taken in many different ways. Originally in Southeast Asia, kratom was removed from the tree and the fresh leaves were chewed after removing the veins. This could also be done with dried leaves, but the more preferable method of consumption involved drying the leaves and then crushing them into a powder that could be swallowed. Kratom is also frequently made into a tea form.
Most often when people purchase kratom commercially, they buy it in a powder form. This powder can then be stirred into drinks. Stirring kratom into citrus juice, such as orange juice, is preferable among many users because the citrus components of the juice activate the powder and it takes effect more quickly.
Another common modern method of ingesting kratom is called “toss and wash.” With this way of taking kratom, the user takes a spoon full of the powder and puts it in their mouth. They then wash that down with water or juice.
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An even simpler way of taking kratom is in capsule form. With kratom capsules, the powdered version of the leaf is put in capsules, and a person would usually take several of these to equal what they would take if they were to drink or toss and wash the kratom powder.
While these are some of the more simplified ways to take kratom, they can be taken other ways as well. Kratom can be turned into resins, extracts, and tinctures. Some people prefer these versions of the substance because they tend to be more potent and concentrated. Small amounts of the active alkaloid components of kratom are extracted with these methods, and these can also be taken orally, including being mixed with a drink.
Kratom tea is becoming increasingly popular in the U.S. as well, and it’s also one of the most common ways to take kratom in Southeast Asia, aside from chewing the fresh leaves. As compared to powdered forms of kratom, with tea, the effects tend to be more stimulating. It’s also believed that when the kratom version of tea is taken, the pain-relieving effects of the herb tend to be reduced somewhat, but the mood-boosting and euphoric effects may be increased, particularly when the tea is taken on an empty stomach. For people who are seeking the sedative effects of kratom, taking it as a powdered version is often preferred.
To sum up, kratom powder is a fine, loose powder that’s usually green in color, but depending on the strain, it may also be a red or orange color. People can also find capsule versions of kratom and compressed tablets, or they can be taken as tea.
Kratom Addiction Effects of Use
According to Healthline.com, in the piece ‘How to Recognize and Treat Kratom Addiction’, medically reviewed by Timothy J. Legg, Ph.D., Kratom has different effects at low and high doses. At low doses, kratom has energizing (stimulant) effects. At high doses, it can have pain-relieving (analgesic) and sleep-inducing (sedative) effects.
Side effects are divided into four categories: Mood, Behavioral, Physical, and Psychological. The specifics about each type of side effect are listed below.
- Sense of well-being
- Increased social behavior
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- Pain relief
- Increased energy
- Increased libido
- Dry mouth
- Increased urination
- Loss of appetite
- Sensitivity to sunburn
- Increased motivation
- Increased alertness
Kratom Drug Detox
Detoxification (detox) is a process aimed at helping you stop taking a drug as safely and as quickly as possible.
According to SAMHSA, detox has three main steps:
- Evaluation: this involves measuring the amount of the substance in the bloodstream and screening for other health conditions.
- Stabilization: refers to the transition from using drugs or experiencing withdrawal to becoming substance-free. Medication is sometimes used to help stabilize.
- Pretreatment: This stage involves preparing to start an addiction treatment program. It sometimes requires a person to commit themselves to a treatment plan.
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Kratom Drug Addiction Treatment
Treatment begins once detox ends. The goal of treatment is to help you lead a healthy, drug-free life. Treatment may also address related health conditions, such as depression or anxiety. There are numerous treatment options available. Most of the time, people use more than one. Common treatments for Kratom Drug Addiction include therapy sessions and medications.
Therapy is conducted by a psychiatrist, psychologist, or addictions counselor. You can do it on your own, with your family, or in a group.
There are many different types of therapy. Behavioral therapy refers to all forms of therapy aimed at helping you identify and change self-destructive attitudes and behaviors, particularly those that lead to drug use. A therapist can work with you to help you cope with cravings, avoid drugs, and prevent relapse.
Therapy can be intensive during the first weeks and months of treatment. Later, you might transition to seeing a therapist on a less frequent basis.
Research has yet to identify the best medications for kratom addiction. Dihydrocodeine and lofexidine (Lucemyra) are typically used to treat opioid withdrawal. They’ve also been used to treat kratom withdrawal.
The European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) suggests that treatment for kratom withdrawal and addiction can also include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), antidepressants, and anti-anxiety drugs.
Reclaim Your Life From Kratom Addiction
Kratom addiction is a condition that can cause major health, social, and economic problems that should not be taken lightly. We Level Up treatment & detox center can provide you, or someone you love, the tools to recover from Kratom Addiction with professional and safe treatment. Feel free to call us to speak with one of our counselors. We can inform you about this condition by giving you relevant information. Our specialists know what you are going through. Please know that each call is private and confidential.
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