If you’ve been in health stores or online vitamin stores, you might have encountered an array of strange supplements that promise various benefits, from curing symptoms of anxiety to offering pain relief. However, many of these “wonder” herbal remedy drugs are not as safe or effective as they may seem. This includes Kratom capsules.
Coming in powder, pills, and herbal teas, Kratom is used for pain relief and unsupervised self diagnosed opioid dependence. Many people swear to Kratom effects, and the fact that it’s readily available in most online stores and legal in New Jersey makes it seem like an innocuous drug.
However, recent studies have shown that people who consume Kratom can become dependent on it. Too much of the drug in your system can also result in adverse effects. These issues can be as mild as itching and nausea to something as severe as psychosis.
At CarePlus New Jersey, we can help you get the treatment you need for Kratom abuse and dependence. Below, we’ve also shared information on Kratom capsules and how their effects can be damaging to someone’s body and life. Here’s what you need to know.
What Is Kratom? History, Strains, and Legal Status
Kratom comes from the Kratom tree (mitragyna speciosa). It’s native to Southeast Asia where it’s been used as part of traditional medicine for millennia. In these regions, the leaves are dried before consumption. People in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and other nearby countries use the product to relieve pain and boost energy levels.
While Kratom has been used in the US in niche groups for a long time, it exploded in popularity between 2011 to 2017. By 2020, 15 million people in the country had used the substance. It was marketed as a dietary supplement that helps people ward off symptoms of anxiety, depression, and opioid withdrawal.
Varieties and Strains of Kratom
Currently, there are three recognized varieties of Kratom:
Red Vein Kratom Capsules
Red vein kratom strains come from old leaves of the plant that have burgundy or reddish stems.
Green vein Kratom capsules
Green vein Kratom capsules are harvested from the ones with greenish stems. These are in the middle stages of development.
White Vein Kratom Capsules
Finally, there’s the white vein kratom, which is taken from the young leaves that still have whitish stems.
Strains are differentiated based on the location where the leaves are harvested. For example, the Bali strain is taken from the island of Bali in Indonesia. The same goes for other variations like Thai, Borneo, and Malaysian strains.
Each variety is said to have its own distinct effects. In addition, the strains from more mature plants have more potency. Still, there aren’t any FDA studies supporting these claims. The only solid fact applicable to all of these strains is that they all contain mitragynine, the active ingredient that has opioid-like effects.
Forms of Kratom
Kratom comes in various forms. The most popular ones are Kratom capsules, which contain dried and powdered leaves of the tree. The dried leaves can also be packaged as herbal Kratom tea, steeped in hot water, or mixed with other liquids.
In more traditional settings, the dry leaves are used in poultices and ointments. These are then applied to the skin to relieve muscle pain and keep wounds clean. Those who have easy access to the tree harvest the leaves and chew them in a manner similar to betel nuts. Others may dry the leaves whole and smoke them.
In the western market, it’s easy to buy premium kratom capsules online or in physical stores. However, the increasing number of restrictions on the product may soon make purchasing more difficult.
Legal Status of Kratom Capsules and Kratom Powder
Several countries and organizations have already placed measures to limit and control the use of Kratom capsules and other variants of the herbal supplement. In Australia and New Zealand, the substance is labeled as a controlled narcotic. In Canada, marketing Kratom for ingestion is not allowed. However, it can still be advertised as incense.
In the US, talks have been happening to classify it as a Schedule I controlled substance. The FDA has also issued a statement disapproving of Kratom use for medicinal purposes, mostly because of its opioid-like effects and its potential to be addictive. Kratom products are usually confiscated in airports and are illegal in a few US states, like Rhode Island, Vermont, and Alabama.
Kratom Consumption: Uses and Methods
Due to the ease and accessibility of premium Kratom capsules and Kratom powder people often use the drug with hopes to ease withdrawal from opiates, for recreational use, or in hopes of pain management.
Those with an addictive personality can easily find themselves beginning with seeking the benefits of Kratom capsules and find themselves abusing Kratom.
Unsupervised Management of Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms
One of the most popular uses of Kratom capsules is helping people manage symptoms of opioid withdrawal. When people stop using substances like heroin and fentanyl, they can experience extreme issues like irritability, restlessness, and extreme craving for the drugs. Taking Kratom capsules is seen as a substitute for these drugs.
The active ingredients in Kratom leaves bind to opioid receptors in the brain, but the effects are milder. Anecdotal evidence indicates that Kratom is less likely to cause dependence, but it still has a high potential for abuse. There are those who claim that taking pure Kratom powder or capsules instead of other opioids makes it easier to manage cravings and prevent relapses. Still, there aren’t enough medical or scientific studies to support the use of green, white, or red kratom capsules.
The psychoactive effects of Kratom capsules, have been used for recreational purposes all over the world. In low doses, the substance is said to produce mild stimulant effects and euphoric sensations similar to the coca plant. It also has strong stimulant effects in higher doses, working much like opioids.
Users may feel heightened moods, reduced pain, lack of inhibition, and high levels of energy. In high enough doses, Kratom has sedative effects. People may feel sleepy or become quiet.
With so many strains of Kratom capsules, it is hard to use just Kratom as it can be mixed with other substances and become quite dangerous.
Aside from being a substitute for opioid drugs and a recreational drug, Kratom is used as an anesthetic or pain killer. As part of traditional medicine, dried leaves are used to prevent infection in wounds and stop inflammation.
In Western health and wellness industries, Kratom is often marketed as a wonder drug that can be used to treat an array of issues. People buy Kratom capsules online to help with:
- Mood Disorders
Unsurprisingly, all these claims are anecdotal only. There’s no substantial medical evidence establishing organic kratom capsules as a cure for any of these diseases.
Safety Concerns for Premium Kratom Capsules
Aside from the high risk of addiction, Kratom has other issues that users need to be wary of. First is the possibility of bacteria like E. coli and salmonella in the dried leaves.
Kratom supplements are not approved by the FDA, so may not have undergone strict sanitation procedures. Even the best kratom capsules are not immune from contamination. When you consume tainted powders, pills, and extracts, you could end up experiencing other medical issues associated with the microbes.
Another safety concern is allergic reactions. Some compounds in the leaves, not just the active ingredients, can cause swelling, itchiness, and other allergy symptoms. In rare cases, anaphylactic shock can happen.
What Are the Effects of Kratom Powder on the Body?
Since it’s molecularly similar to opioids, Kratom tree leaves create similar effects on the body. Here is what users can expect when ingesting Kratom extracts, powders, and other forms of the substance.
The active ingredients in Kratom, especially the alkaloid mitragynine, bind to opioid receptors in the brain. This helps people achieve a euphoric state if they take a low dose. These effects are like stimulants and start at around 10 minutes after consuming Kratom and last for around 60 to 90 minutes. During this time, a user may experience:
- Increased energy and alertness
- Lowered inhibitions
- Heightened libido
In higher doses, Kratom capsules can result in sedative effects. A user who consumes between 5g to 15g can experience a sense of calm, pain relief, and drowsiness. Anything above 15g may result in unconsciousness and extreme sedation.
Along with the psychoactive effects come physical ones whenever a person consumes Kratom capsules. In general, people may feel reduced inflammation, lowered temperatures during a fever, and suppressed coughing, similar to that of antitussive medication.
Since Kratom is a stimulant, a user may also experience rapid heartbeat and restlessness. These are considered the benefits of Kratom, but there are plenty of other negative physical effects.
Those who regularly consume Kratom capsules or take high doses have reported various side effects. These range from mild issues like nausea, facial flushing, and heavy sweating.
However, there are more dangerous side effects like liver damage, hallucinations, and psychosis. The latter is one of the most extreme side effects of Kratom, resulting in users disassociating from reality. In high enough doses, the drug can cause seizures, comas, and even death.
Abuse and Dependence
One of the more established side effects of Kratom capsules is abuse and dependence. Kratom capsules stimulant and sedative effects may induce users to repeatedly use and or abuse the substance.
Those who depend on the heightened energy levels, like students or night shift employees, may overuse it along with caffeine and nicotine. Eventually, users will require higher and more regular doses of Kratom to achieve the same effects.
Signs of Kratom Dependence
If you or a loved one is showing the following signs after consuming Kratom capsules, then it might indicate dependence.
Behavioral and Cognitive Changes
Prolonged use of Kratom can result in constant cravings for the drug. A person may also be more talkative, exhibit erratic behavior, and keep using Kratom even though they’re aware of how it’s changing their body and mind. In addition, they might experience panic, lowered sexual drive, and delusions.
Kratom addiction can also result in various changes in the body. People may experience tremors, seizures, and sleep disturbances because the body can no longer process energy properly. Constant sweating, changes in skin color, and weight fluctuations are also some of the documented changes caused by Kratom abuse.
When a person attempts to stop taking Kratom capsules after becoming dependent, they may suffer extreme symptoms of withdrawal, much like with opioids. Here is some of what a user may experience:
- Nausea and diarrhea
- Muscle pain
- Depression and panic attacks
- Runny nose
- Extreme craving for Kratom
Can Kratom Dependence be Treated?
While Kratom use has been shown to cause substance abuse disorders, the addiction is treatable. At CarePlus New Jersey, we have available treatments to address this issue and help you or your loved one get back to a Kratom-free life. Here are some of the treatments used for this issue.
- Detox: Medical detox is the process of removing all traces of Kratom in the body while managing withdrawal symptoms. CarePlus New Jersey offers Medication-Assisted Recovery: To complement psychotherapy, our psychiatrists can prescribe medication that manages withdrawal, cravings, and other effects of Kratom abuse.
- Outpatient Programs: Those who enroll in our intensive outpatient programs receive structured care for recovery, but they can go home at the end of the day.
- Psychotherapy: We provide various types of therapies to help you process your experiences. These include cognitive behavioral therapy and group therapy.
Contact CarePlus New Jersey for Addiction Recovery Services
Kratom may be marketed as a supplement for treating opioid addiction, but it’s not as harmless as most make it to be. Thanks to increasing evidence about its potential to cause dependence, Kratom should be something to avoid. Keep you and your loved ones protected from potential abuse by informing them about the dangers of this substance.
If you or someone you know is already exhibiting symptoms of Kratom dependence, CarePlus New Jersey is here to help. We offer an array of proven treatments to help address substance abuse disorders and other medical issues. For more details, please contact us today.