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Kratom Usage: Why People Use It?

Kratom, or Mitragyna speciosa, is a plant native to Southeast Asia such as Thailand, Indonesia, Myanmar, and Malaysia. This tree is characterized by the oval-pointed dark green leaves and the spherical yellow piled flowers. A kratom tree can grow up to 12-30 feet tall and 15 feet wide. There are two different types of plants: White Vein and Red Vein. In various parts of Southeast Asia and in the Pacific Islands, the plant is also known by the names Thom, Krathom, Ketum, Kakuam, Ithang or Biak Biak. The indigenous people of Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia have traditionally used the plant long before the West discovered its properties in the 19th century. Kratom products can be found in the form of plant extract, fresh leaves, dried leaves, powder, paste or small granules.

In addition to being used as a pain reliever and to cure diarrhea, kratom is often used for therapeutic and recreational purposes, similar to other alkaloid-containing plants. Taken in low to medium doses (about 2 to 20 grams of kratom leaves), the herb can reduce fatigue, induce euphoria and stimulant effects. The stimulant effects of the herb include increased sexual and physical energy, a more alert mind, improved ability to do strenuous monotonous physical work, and an improved personality such as being more talkative, sociable, and friendly. Meanwhile, higher doses of 21 to 50 grams will have a calming effect on the plant’s leaves; makes the user resistant to emotional and physical pain, feels comfortable, feels and looks calm and has pleasant daydreams. However, a kratom user may also experience unpleasant side effects such as constricted pupils, sweating, itching, nausea and vomiting.

Kratom also has properties in the treatment of opiate addiction. Because the plant is cross tolerant with opiates, it is often used for opiate detoxification, especially in New Zealand. Patients may smoke kratom for approximately 6 weeks if opiate withdrawal symptoms occur. The dose of red kratom is gradually tapered over time. The therapeutic use of the plant should be supervised by an authorized party, as regular use of kratom can only cause addiction, albeit not as serious as opium or heroin addiction. In some countries, such as Australia, Malaysia, Thailand, New Zealand, Denmark and Myanmar, the use of kratom is even controlled and illegal possession of the herb can carry heavy penalties.

Further studies of kratom have also shown that the herb contains antioxidants and is therefore believed to have significant benefits comparable to those of green tea. The herb also contains fiber, which is helpful in relieving constipation.

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