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Although the FDA periodically publishes misleading reports about the “dangers” of kratom (mitragyna speciosa), they actually have no valid resources on which to base their claims. Consequently, they cannot declare kratom a controlled substance nor can they make kratom illegal to buy or consume on a federal level. On a state level, however, the status of kratom’s legality is constantly changing. One of the most recent pieces of legislation regarding kratom comes from Alabama’s lawmakers, who added kratom to their state’s list of controlled (Schedule 1) substances. Wisconsin, Vermont, Tennessee and Arkansas have enacted laws that claim ingredients found in kratom–specifically hydroxymitragynine and mitragynine– are controlled substances, thus making it illegal to buy, use or grow kratom in these states.
In Louisiana and Illinois, kratom wholesalers and dealers are prohibited from selling kratom to minors (under 18). Kentucky, Georgia and Florida legislators have proposed but not yet enacted kratom laws that severely restrict or completely ban kratom sales in their states.
How Does the FDA Determine Whether Something is a Controlled Substance?
The FDA says it needs information from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency to decide whether to ban a substance on a federal level. The method used by the DEA determine how to categorize drugs is called the DEA’s 8-Factor Analysis, which involves examining:
1. Actual or relative potential for abuse
2. Scientific evidence of its pharmacologic effect, if known
3. Current scientific knowledge regarding the drug
4. If the substance has a history of abuse
5. Scope, duration and significance of abuse
6. What, if any, risk there is to public health
7. Its psychic or physiological dependence liability
8. Whether it is a precursor of another substance already controlled under this subchapter
What proponents of kratom want to know is why the DEA and FDA continue to use information culled from “watchdog” organizations or research laboratories associated with pharmaceutical companies when more than a dozen, clinically objective studies exist that show kratom as an effective, healthier alternative to often ineffective prescription medications?
Americans are quick to assume that any product approved by the FDA is safe to use. However, if you do a quick search regarding class action lawsuits involving FDA-approved medications that have seriously harmed or even killed people, you’ll find hundreds of thousands of stories about unsuspecting citizens who trusted the government to protect them from dangerous drugs. Unfortunately, many of these people died from using pharmaceutical drugs or devices deemed safe by the FDA.
The FDA and Big Pharma–Kratom’s Worst Enemies
The FDA and DEA are acting like Kratom is the next biggest addiction threatening the country, although for the past 10 to 15 years, it’s been prescription opioids like Oxycontin, Vicodin and other powerful painkillers sending thousands of people to emergency rooms suffering cardiac arrest due to overdose. Prescription opioids are also being blamed for the current heroin epidemic but you don’t hear the FDA wanting to ban the sales of these dangerous drugs. And that’s because the FDA and pharmaceutical companies have their hands in each other’s pockets.
Kratom use does not pose any kind of significant issue for hospital ERs or drug rehabilitation facilities. Nor do poison control centers report receiving daily calls regarding kratom overdoses. Meanwhile, the flow of heroin into the U.S. continues unabated while doctors continue writing prescriptions for addictive, legal and sometimes deadly opioids.
Why Kratom is NOT a Controlled Substance–and the FDA is Wrong
Scientists researching the health benefits of kratom offer statistically significant results of controlled studies clearly indicating kratom should not be labeled a controlled substance by the FDA or DEA. A general legal definition of a controlled substance is any illegal drug having detrimental effects on your heath and well-being. Yet, prescription drugs like painkillers, methadone and even ADHD drugs like Adderall can definitely exert harmful effects on your mental and physical health.
Kratom contain natural alkaloids that have been extensively studied by botanical chemists. So far, they have provided the following research-based conclusions about kratom:
•Kratom is an analgesic with the ability to significantly reduce pain without causing side effects known to occur with addictive prescription painkillers
•Although only a few studies have been completed regarding kratom’s capacity to help people overcome opiate addiction, a large body of anecdotal evidence exists provided by addicts themselves who have used kratom to beat a heroin addiction. In fact, some of the more progressive drug rehab facilities are providing kratom to clients who suffer repeated relapse because methadone and suboxone are ineffective at weaning them off heroin.
•When taken accordingly, kratom offers mood enhancing properties similar to antidepressants but without the unpleasant side effects.
•In addition to mitragynine, kratom also contains epicatechin, a phytochemical with strong antioxidant properties that supports heart health, inhibit blood clot formation and appears to mimic the way insulin interacts with the body.
Deliberately misleading information propagated by the FDA, DEA and big pharma have directly caused prohibition of alternative medicines such as kratom that could potentially replace many expensive prescription medications. With the exception of Malaysia, Australia, Thailand, Burma and a handful of U.S. states, kratom remains legal to purchase and use. Impending efforts to restrict or ban kratom sales are not based on fact but rather on the determination of wealthy individuals to remain rich and get even richer by preventing people from receiving more affordable alternative medicines that would greatly improve their health and well-being.
With heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine addictions rampant in the U.S., federal and state governments are desperately searching for ways to help people who want to defeat their addiction but continue relapsing. Although methadone and suboxone are the two main medications given to addicts for controlling cravings, critics of these anti-addiction drugs claim they do nothing but “re-addict” the person to a legal opioid. In fact, methadone and suboxone actually target the same brain receptors targeted by illegal opioids. The only difference between heroin and methadone involves the way methadone is more slowly metabolized by the body and its reduced ability to provide that highly addictive “rush” experienced when opioids and amphetamines are injected intravenously.
Kratom May Help Addicts Leave Their Addictions Behind–For Good
At the University of Mississippi, Professor Chris McCurdy is dedicated to discovering medications that can ease cravings without creating another addiction situation. The goal of McCurdy’s research is find compounds capable of decreasing the severity of withdrawal symptoms so that addicts are not compelled to start using again. Currently, he is studying kratom with the assistance of a National Institutes of Health Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence research grant.
McCurdy says that kratom is used in Southeast Asia for treating a variety of health problems, from diarrhea and respiratory illnesses to muscle and joint pain and chronic migraines. “However”, he reports,”kratom is also used to wean opium addicts off the drug. We are interested in finding out about the efficacy of kratom for addiction here in the U.S.”
For the purpose of obtaining clinical data regarding kratom for opioid addiction, McCurdy made tea from kratom leaves, freeze-dried the tea and then gave it to morphine-addicted mice to consume. Results indicated that mice experienced side effects from kratom tea which were eliminated after McCurdy made modifications to the tea. In particular, McCurdy isolated mitragynine, kratom’s primary alkaloid, and performed tests on this alkaloid. According to McCurdy, mitragynine exhibited activity superior to methadone’s activity on opioid receptors and that specially prepared compounds of kratom’s alkaloids
Kratom (mitragynine) “blocked all [opioid] withdrawal symptoms, indicating it could provide an excellent type of ‘step down’ treatment for addicts abusing street narcotics”, McCurdy said. However, he did note that further research is needed to ensure kratom’s benefits are utilized to their fullest potential.
Kratom Inhibits Harmful Effects of Methamphetamine and Cocaine
Another kratom study supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse also focused on kratom’s ability to treat drug addiction. Results found that kratom molecules actually blocked the toxic and behavorial effects of methamphetamine and cocaine in animals by coupling with special brain receptors called sigma receptors. According to the authors of the research study, rats addicted to cocaine stopped craving cocaine after being given kratom. This ability of kratom to reduce drug-seeking behaviors is critical to developing viable methods to treat meth and cocaine addicts because there are no medications available today to reduce withdrawal symptoms associated with amphetamine-like drugs.
Kratom for Depression During Recovery
During detoxification and recovery, opioid addicts are typically prescribed antidepressants for depression and anxiety. Antidepressants like Paxil or Prozac are known to cause unpleasant side effects such as nausea, headache, weight gain, dry mouth and insomnia. Consequently, many recovering addicts stop taking antidepressants, develop clinical depression and begin using again to self-medicate mental illnesses.
In several animal studies, kratom has been shown to exert an antidepressant effect supported by mitragynine and other indole alkaloids that is mediated by interactions with the HPA axis system. Recovering addicts will also benefit from kratom’s analgesic qualities by relieving joint and muscle pain associated with detoxifying from addictive substances.
Another study involving a dozen men investigated the pharmacokinetics of kratom, or how the body’s chemistry responds to metabolizing, utilizing and eliminating synthetic and natural drugs. According to the authors, kratom exhibits linear pharmacokinetics and long elimination (low renal clearance) that should make it a good alternative to methadone or suboxone.
Moreover, researchers stated that since kratom is dose-dependent, opioid addicts with kidney or intestinal disorders could have their doses adjusted to avoid exacerbating problems with eliminating kratom.
Misconceptions about Kratom
Probably the main reason why kratom isn’t being more seriously researched as a viable alternative to addiction medication is the misconception that it is an addictive substance. However, kratom contains alkaloids, as all plants do, which are responsible for kratom’s physical and mental benefits. The fact is, kratom’s alkaloids are similar to the alkaloids found in the coffee bean plant. You cannot get “addicted” to kratom any more than you can get addicted to caffeinated coffee.
More and more opiate addicts who have tried unsuccessfully to beat their addiction to heroin with traditional treatment methods are buying kratom online and discovering the powerful ability of kratom to ease withdrawal systems, reduce cravings, provide mood support and support their health and well-being naturally. Kratom continues to help thousands of addicts worldwide overcome their addiction to opioids, cocaine and methamphetamine while pharmaceutical companies continue publishing misleading and false information about kratom in an attempt to keep addicts buying their ineffective medications.
Nearly all kratom alkaloids resemble yohimbe oxindoles and indoles in the way they affect the central nervous system. However, kratom alkaloids do not present the addictive properties exerted by yohime alkaloids because they do not target opioid receptors in the brain. Instead, kratom and its naturally produced alkaloids offer a healthy alternative prescription medications that are addictive or cause unpleasant, sometimes harmful side effects.
Comprehensive List of Kratom Alkaloids
Also known a Raubasine, ajmalicine is an anti-hypertensive, smooth muscle relaxant and sedative incorporated in brand name drugs prescribed to treat high blood pressure. Similar to corynanthine, ajmalicine is an adrenergic receptor agonist that works to reduce blood pressure by dilating constricted blood vessels and inhibiting blood clot formation.Corynantheidine: μ -opioid antagonist, also found in Yohimbe. < 1% of total alkaloid content found in Kratom leaf.
One percent of the alkaloid content found in kratom is corynoxeine, a calcium channel blocker that may help with treating vascular diseases or preventing narrowing of arteries following angioplasty.
A powerful antioxidant (anti-inflammatory and antiviral) that may improve heart health and attenuate diabetic symptoms, epicatechin seems to inhibit platelet aggregation responsible for blood clots. Additionally, epicatechnin regulates nitric oxide levels in the blood to promote dilation of blood vessels.
Exhibiting partial opioid agonist properties in the brain, 9-hydroxycorynantheidine mimics the effects of endorphins to produce opiate-like sensations. Methadone is an example of a partial opioid agonist that helps heroin addicts overcome their addiction. In fact, kratom is currently being researched as a possible alternative medication for reducing cravings and preventing relapse.
Mitragynine and 7-Hydroxymitragynine
These two alkaloids are primarily responsible for kratom’s numerous health benefits. In animal and human research studies, mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine have been found to have potent antitussive, analgesic, adrenergic and anti-diarrheal properties comparable to the efficacy of codeine, morphine and prescription anti-diarrheal medications. Two percent of kratom’s alkaloid content is comprised of 7-hydroxymitragynine and over 60 percent is contain mitragynine.
Isomitraphylline and Isopteropodine
Pentacyclic oxindole alkaloids such isomitraphylline and isopteropodine appear to exhibit anticarcinogenic and immunostimulant properties in laboratory studies. Maintaining optimal immune system functioning is critical to fighting infections and preventing recurring illnesses.
Isospeciofoline and Mitraciliatine
As kratom oxindole alkaloids, isospeciofoline and mitraciliatine are immune-boosting alkaloids enhancing the ability of white blood cells to attack and eliminate a variety of infectious pathogens invading the body.
Mitragynine Oxindole B
Derived from mitragynine, mitragynine oxindole B is a semi-synthetic opioid acting on delta and mu opioid receptors in the brain. Just as potent, if not more effective than morphine for relieving pain, mitragynine oxindole B exerts antihypertensive, diuretic, immunostimulating and vasodilating effects. This kratom alkaloid may also offer anti-leukemic and memory-enhancing properties.
An indole alkaloid representing about nine percent of kratom’s alkaloid content, mitraversine paynantheine is a smooth muscle relaxer. Since smooth muscles are found in blood vessels, the GI tract, the bladder, lymphatic vessels and respiratory tract, mitraversine paynantheine may help treat hypertension, cramps, coughing and general unwellness.
A versatile kratom alkaloid, rhynchophylline is not only a calcium channel blocker and vasodilator but has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory, anti-parasitical and anti-pyretic properties.
A lesser opioid agonist alkaloid found only in kratom, speciociliatine comprises about one percent of kratom’s alkaloid content.
Another alkaloid exhibiting smooth muscle relaxing qualities, Speciofoline speciogynine may help reduce symptoms of allergies, colds and respiratory illnesses. Prescription medications called smooth muscle relaxers include bronchodilators, antihistamines and decongestants.
An alkaloid with anti-adrenergic and hypoglycemic properties, stipulatine tetrahydroalstonine may help treat circulatory disorders by providing vasodilating effects and improving peripheral blood flow throughout veins and capillaries.
Also referred to as uncarine C, D, a type of oxindole alkaloid, speciophylline may improve memory impairment by reducing the level of dysfunction in the brain’s cholinergic systems.
Providing nearly eight percent of kratom’s smooth muscle relaxing properties, speciogynine is the main reason by kratom makes users feel relaxed and calm yet motivated and focused. In addition, speciogynine contributes to kratom’s ability to relieve chronic pain pain, enhance mood and reinforce immune system functioning.
Although the mitraphylline concentration found in kratom is just under one percent, this alkaloid still exerts effective vasodilating, anti-hypertensive and muscle relaxing properties. Mitraphylline may also improve memory and cognition. Since mitraphylline is structurally similar to 7-hydroxymitragynine and mitragynine, it also has effects on delta and mu opiate receptors in the brain and may also exhibit NMDA antagonistic activity. Consequently, mitraphylline could help opioid addicts avoid relapse and remain sober by offering an alternative to methadone, which does present a risk of addiction. Additionally, researchers are currently investigating mitraphylline’s potential anticarcinogenic properties by experimenting with in vivo sarcoma and breast cancer cells.
More Information about Kratom Alkaloids
Concentration of kratom alkaloids depends heavily on several factors, including the age at which the plant was harvested, type of kratom it is (Bali, Green Vein, Red Vein, White Vein, etc) and environmental conditions affecting the plant’s growth and nourishment. Mitragynine appears to be most abundant in Thai kratom varieties while Malaysian kratom has lower concentrations of mitragynine. Kratom resins may contain relatively large amounts of mitragynine and minimal amounts of 7-hydroxymitragynine. Because the quality of kratom differs so greatly, always purchase kratom from a reputable online kratom dealer who works directly with professional kratom farmers Asia.
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