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Talking about Kratom - Its Benefits and Risks

Talking about Kratom - Its Benefits and Risks

There’s very little doubt that our nation is overmedicated.

Part of the reason Dr. Lantelme started our clinic more than a decade ago was that he was at odds with the major medical establishment in our town of Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Dr. Lantelme saw that he was doing little more than providing band-aids to fix problems when writing prescription after prescription.

And while I’d never say Western Medicine is evil, I can admit that there are some flaws with how many doctors propose to fix people.

The main problems are related to the financial incentives tied to health services and the demand for constant prescriptions. I sincerely believe God has given us minds to use the world around us to make medicines that benefit our health.

And by that I mean that many of the prescriptions that we use, which were made from natural elements and then created in a lab to help alleviate a wide range of health concerns, are a good thing overall.

I’d argue that many of these life-saving drugs are exactly that, life-saving and shouldn’t be ignored because they’re not 100% natural.

On the other hand, there are a myriad of drugs people use that doctors prescribe regularly that could and even should be avoided.

This is why so many people turn to natural, plant-based treatments to remedy what’s wrong with them.

Which is why today I wanted to talk about kratom.

Across the United States, kratom is quickly becoming one of the preferred, prescription-free treatments to help with a host of issues.

I won’t endorse its use or tell you not to use it. All I want to do is highlight that there are other options available if you have health concerns you’d like to address without a prescription.

What is Kratom and What Does It Do?

Kratom, a tropical tree native to Southeast Asia, has garnered significant attention in recent years for its potential health benefits and associated risks.

Like many of the herbs we offer in supplemental form, people across Southeast Asia have used it for centuries in traditional medicine for pain, increased energy, and stress relief.

The truth is kratom has some unique and powerful properties.

It’s nothing like marijuana or other recently decriminalized drugs, which can easily alter states of consciousness, but it’s also not benign like green tea or similar health foods.

A Few Of The Health Benefits Of Kratom

Before I dive into the health benefits, it's worth noting that one of the reasons kratom has become widely used is because of how it can help people with addictions to opiates.

1 - Helps Manage Opioid Addiction:

As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, while Western medicine has produced some great drugs, they are often overprescribed.

One such class of drugs that is prescribed far too often and thrives in the illegal drug market is opiates.

These drugs are great for managing pain but are incredibly addictive.

Kratom contains compounds known as alkaloids (which are similar to the alkaloids in coffee), which are helpful in breaking the addiction cycle.

The alkaloids interact with opioid receptors, alleviating issues that are associated with withdrawal.

This effect aids in easing the challenging withdrawal process, facilitating a smoother transition to abstinence.

Kratom can help reduce cravings, providing a substitute without inducing the euphoria or respiratory depression linked to traditional opioids. This helps individuals resist relapse, enhancing their ability to maintain sobriety.

Kratom can also help manage other symptoms like diarrhea, muscle aches, and nausea, which helps people break free of these harmful drugs.

2- Pain Relief:

The best part about managing opiate withdrawal is that kratom can also help manage pain, which allows users to transition away from the drugs and still manage their pain.

The alkaloids in kratom, particularly mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, interact with opioid receptors in the brain, producing analgesic effects similar to opioids but with reportedly fewer side effects. 

There’s even an argument to be made that using kratom and depending less on ibuprofen (Motrin) and acetaminophen (Tylenol) could benefit people who are looking to obtain temporary relief from pain.

3 - Mood Enhancement:

Kratom is also praised for its mood-enhancing properties. Users often report feelings of euphoria, improved focus, and increased sociability after consuming kratom. These effects are attributed to the brain's stimulation of dopamine and serotonin receptors.

Unlike other drugs, kratom doesn’t necessarily change a person’s state of consciousness but instead just helps them feel better.  Of course, as I’ll mention in a moment, this doesn’t come without risks.

4 - Increased Energy and Focus:

The same alkaloids that are helpful at managing pain, notably mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, can lead to heightened alertness, improved concentration, and enhanced productivity.

Similar to coffee, taking kratom is something people are doing now to manage a busy workday, study for exams, or engage in creative pursuits.

The difference, though, is that kratom contains no caffeine and is documented to provide a smoother, sustained energy lift without abrupt highs and lows. This makes it an appealing option for those looking for a more balanced and sustained energy source throughout the day.

Risks Associated with Kratom Use

Like many treatments that both manage pain and provide some kind of stimulant effect, kratom does have risks.

This is no different than using opiates or similar drugs, even addictive drugs like coffee.

1 - Addiction Potential:

Despite its reputation as a natural alternative to opioids, kratom itself can be addictive. Prolonged and excessive use may lead to physical dependence, reduced tolerance, and withdrawal symptoms upon cessation. The addictive nature of kratom underscores the importance of responsible use and moderation.

Though addiction to kratom is something to be avoided, it should be noted that addiction to kratom is likely less serious than addiction to other kinds of drugs like benzodiazepines, opiates, etc.

2 -  Health Complications:

Long-term kratom use has been linked to various health complications, including liver damage, respiratory depression, and psychosis.

While these adverse effects are relatively rare, they underscore the need for caution and monitoring, particularly among individuals with pre-existing health conditions.

There aren’t many long-term studies on kratom use, so when you use it, you use it at your own risk.  This, again, is why people who use kratom should think about the totality of their decision. It’s also good to use supplements that benefit liver health if you use it.

3 - Regulatory Concerns:

An issue with kratom that is similar to other kinds of treatments found in headshops, and even supplements in general, is purity and quality are not known.

It’s hard to tell how “good” the product you’re getting is.

It’s difficult to tell if it’s safe, as many of these products are harvested in countries without oversight and could include toxins, heavy metals, or worse.

Plus, you can’t travel with it the same way you can with mainstream drugs or supplements. In some countries, and even in some states, possessing kratom could be problematic or even illegal.

So, What’s the Verdict on Kratom?

I know people want me to tell them “yay or nay” when it comes to kratom (and other things).

Ultimately, I think you need to weigh its potential benefits against the inherent risks and obviously consult with healthcare professionals for personalized guidance when it comes to taking kratom.

I’m personally glad to see that there are options for people who struggle with pain, and I am also happy that many people are using it to obtain freedom from dangerous addictions to opiates.

The fact that many people in America can legally access this is also worth celebrating.



Talk soon,

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