Kratom: what it is and why this herb is potentially dangerous according to the American FDA

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Elia Tabuenca García
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Have you ever heard of Kratom? It is a very popular herb especially in some areas of the United States. But now the American FDA has classified it as a dangerous substance. Let's find out what it is and what the effects of Kratom are.

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Have you ever heard of the Kratom? It is a very popular herb especially in some areas of the United States. But now the American FDA has classified it as a dangerous substance. Let's find out what it is and what the effects of Kratom are.





What is Kratom

Native to Malaysia, the leaves of the Kratom plant are traditionally crushed and processed into tea for the treatment of pain and addiction to heroin, morphine or other drugs as the active ingredients present in the herb would be able to keep seizures at bay. of abstinence.

Kratom is currently very popular and sold in the form of powder, pills, capsules or energy drinks in stores and gas stations in Lehigh Valley (Pennsylvania). Those who choose to buy it use it not only as other types of opiates to relax or on the contrary increase their energy level but also to treat some health problems, such as chronic pain and addictions.

As the number of people overdosed by opioids increases year on year, Kratom has become an attractive option for anyone looking to eliminate pain relievers or heroin. But is it a safe product? There is still no complete clarity on this aspect.

In reality, the use of this plant, imported from Southeast Asia, is not regulated in all states (in Pennsylvania, for example, it is legal) and the FDA has not expressed itself very positively on the matter.

What the FDA Said About Kratom

The Food and Drug Administration recently called Kratom a dangerous opioid.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found a tenfold increase in kratom inquiries at poison control centers over a five-year period, from 26 in 2010 to 263 in 2015. However, 7% of the calls concerned serious side effects, including one death, most reported minimal to moderate side effects.


But the FDA has growing concerns about this herb, according to the data in its possession, there have been 44 deaths associated with taking Kratom.


To better understand how the plant works, the FDA conducted computer modeling that predicted that many of the chemical compounds found in Kratom bind to the same drug receptors such as oxycodone and hydrocodone.

Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in this regard that:

“The model shows us that Kratom compounds affect the body like opioids do. Based on the scientific information contained in the literature and further supported by our computational modeling and reports of its adverse effects in humans, we feel confident that the compounds found in kratom are opioids. "

He added:

“There is no evidence to indicate that Kratom is safe or effective for any medical use. (…) We recognize that many people have unmet needs when it comes to treating pain or addictive disorders. For people seeking treatment for opioid addiction who are told that Kratom can be an effective treatment, I urge them to seek help from health care. "

Efforts to ban drugs nationwide have not been successful. In 2016, the Drug Enforcement Administration moved to make Kratom an illegal drug but withdrew the application after there was a backlash from advocates of this herb.

The reactions

Again the advocates of Kratom are not there, arguing that it is a natural way to relieve pain, fight fatigue and improve the mood of people suffering from anxiety and depression. All in a much less dangerous way than some painkillers.


Justin Stroup, owner of a shop where Kratom is sold, said he uses this plant regularly to improve his mood and energy level and to relieve pain. According to estimates, dozens of people visit the store weekly to buy Kratom, which comes in pill or capsule form at a cost of $ 55 for a 100-gram bag.


The American Kratom Association has spoken through its website stating that, when taken in adequate quantities, this herb is effective in relieving a large number of physical and mental ailments and that it is no more dangerous than nutmeg, hops. or St. John's wort.

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