Kratom may be safer and less addictive than current treatments for pain, research suggests

Kratom may be safer and less addictive than current treatments for pain, research suggests

A delayed U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration ban on kratom would stifle scientific understanding of the herb’s active chemical components and documented pharmacologic properties if implemented, according to a special report published today in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.

The report cited the pharmacologically active compounds in kratom, including mitragynine, 7-hydroxymitragynine, paynantheine, speciogynine and 20 other substances, as one basis for further study. It also emphasized the extensive amount of anecdotal evidence and current scientific research that indicates kratom may be safer and less addictive than current treatments for pain and opioid withdrawal.

“There’s no question kratom compounds have complex and potential useful pharmacologic activities and they produce chemically different actions from opioids,” said author Walter Prozialeck, chairman of the Department of Pharmacology at Midwestern University Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine. “Kratom doesn’t produce an intense euphoria and, even at very high doses, it doesn’t depress respiration, which could make it safer for users.”

Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) is indigenous to Southeast Asia, where the plant was used for centuries to relieve fatigue, pain, cough and diarrhea and aid in opioid withdrawal. Currently sold in the United States as an herbal supplement, kratom drew DEA scrutiny after poison control centers noted 660 reports of adverse reactions to kratom products between January 2010 and December 2015.

“Many important medications, including the breast cancer treatment tamoxifen, were developed from plant research,” said Prozialeck.

“While the DEA and physicians have valid safety concerns, it is not at all clear that kratom is the culprit behind the adverse effects,” said Anita Gupta, DO, PharmD and special advisor to the FDA.

Dr. Gupta, an osteopathic anesthesiologist, pain specialist and licensed pharmacist, has treated a number of patients who’ve used kratom. “Many of my patients are seeking non-pharmaceutical remedies to treat pain that lack the side effects, risk, and addiction potential of opioids,” she said.

Kratom is currently banned in states including Alabama, Florida, Indiana, Arkansas, Wisconsin and Tennessee. The DEA is scheduled to decide whether to place kratom on its list of Schedule 1 drugs, a classification for compounds thought to have no known medical benefit. Marijuana, LSD and heroin are Schedule 1 drugs, which prevents the vast majority of U.S.-based researchers from studying those substances.

4 Responses

  1. Just for the heck of it I thought I’d look at the site WebMd (which I find is unreliable and elementary) to see what it said about Kratom, and sure enough, it mentions breathing as a possible problem. Maybe that’s a different breathing problem, but nonetheless, a lot of people read sites like WebMD and rely on them. Anyone have an opinion about what is being taught on the Internet about Kratom like here, for example:

    (If you have to remove this link, just leave the comment in. It’s not like it’s hard to Google it 🙂

    Just like anything else, education is important to any subject and I’m curious how much misinformation is rolling around out there.

    I sure would like to get off my pain meds, but they are so strong, I would need a lot of help from my doctor and a substitute like MMj or Kratom. Now it’s banned in Florida, however, so I can’t do that legally.

  2. I have used kratom tea 3 years.It helps with pain,and reduces need for high amounts of synthetic pharma medicines.Some people find it enables them to stop using the stronger meds.Millions use kratom and it’s been used literally for hundreds of years throughout Asia.Serious research has been ongoing for years,specifically at the univ.of Mississippi,under government grants.Scientists have stated it has potential to lead to a new order of pain relieving meds,that would have potential as non-addictive,and without threat of overdosing since it does not affect breathing.

    To ban and classify as schedule 1 makes no sense whatsoever.There is clearly medical benefits with kratom,and schedule 1 is supposedly reserved for substances without medical use.The scheduling which started with Nixon during the 70s,needs to be eliminated,or at the least brought into line with the understanding we now possess through medical science.Cannabis is another safe and medically useful herb that should NOT be schedule one.

    Banning kratom would hinder medical research,as it has foolishly done with cannabis,and would be counterproductive.It would deprive millions of a safe alternative to stronger drugs.It would deprive many veterans of the relief they have found from PTSD from this herb.I take issue with only one statement in this article.Kratom does not produce an intense euphoria.It exerts a calming effect in mind and body,similar to the herb kava,or to a good quality muscle relaxant,but not a “intense” euphoria.The dea and FDA need to understand,they will be making a serious error,if they ban this gift of nature.

  3. Kratom should be available for patients in pain to try. Just like other medications, it will help some but not all because patients are different and need to find their personalized treatment plan.

  4. Kratom never worked for me ,,BUT,, obviously factually it works for others,,and its a herb,,,,cheap,,,,they don’t want that,,,people taking their bodies medical care into their own hands…U people whom kratom works for,,,jmo,,,,watch it,,that dea,,,will find some way,,,to take it away from u,,Thee only issue I take w/people Kratom works for is SOME,, badwrapp my medicine,opiates,,as their reason for the use of kratom,,,they badwrap my medicine,ie,,opiate’s bad,” which is no better then what the government is doing to your kratom,,Hey if it works for u,,,great,,,,but opiates work for me,,,Don’t see me badwrappen kratom to justify the use of my medicine ,,,mary

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