DEA Lowers the BOOM on Kratom!

The herb kratom, from the leaves of the tropical tree Mitragyna speciosa which grows in parts of Africa and Southeast Asia, has been used for centuries in folk medicine as a psychoactive drug to improve mood and relieve pain.

Kratom has been in the news as a relatively new street drug and has been linked to hospitalizations and multiple deaths from its use. Therefore, the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is rushing to criminalize this substance by attempting to make it a Schedule 1 drug (as is heroin, LSD, cocaine, and other illegal drugs). There are also state agencies addressing the issue.

Kratom supporters—and even some drug policy experts—argue, however, that the DEA is acting too hastily to lump kratom into the opiod epidemic that this and other nations around the world are experiencing. They argue that the reported injuries and deaths from kratom abuse involve only individuals who test positive for multiple abused substances or who suffer from pre-existing medical conditions.

To date, the only significant side effects of consuming too much kratom are nausea and vomiting.

Scientists have provided preliminary evidence that kratom could become a promising prescription drug to treat chronic pain, depression, anxiety and opioid addiction. Certain members of the scientific community are siding with kratom proponents who are petitioning the DEA to allow additional time for further study of this ancient substance before outlawing the drug altogether.

Research has demonstrated that kratom provides both stimulant and sedative effects, depending on the dose given. The tree from which kratom is extracted is in the Rubiaceae family, the same family as Coffea—the genius of flowering plants that produce coffee beans.

These research results indicate that the two main alkaloid substances in kratom (mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitagynine) create a combination of CNS stimulation and depressant effects by binding to monoaminergic and opioid receptors in the brain.

Although most opioids have only pain relieving and sedative effects, low to moderate doses of kratom create a mild stimulant effect, and a larger dose relieves pain without the sedative side effects of opioids.

Current thinking is that when an opioid drug binds to a receptor site in the brain, it triggers a number of different responses in a cell in a sort of protein cascade effect. One response is pain relief, while another triggers the negative side effects of respiratory depression and even comatose sedation—both of which are responsible for many opioid deaths.

Kratom, on the other hand, stimulates the painkilling response, but it doesn’t have much effect on the proteins that cause the sedative and depressant side effects. Thus, this ancient herb has potential as an opioid-like painkiller without the risky side effects. It could even be used to relieve opiate addiction. Unfortunately, it is this same attribute that also makes it a popular street drug.

Ironically, the United States government has mandated (through additional regulations) that doctors prescribe fewer opiates to prevent increased drug abuse, but the DEA is rushing to ban kratom, an herbal alternative that could possibly help in that fight.

Thoughts? Comments? I’d love to hear them!

About James J. Murray, Fiction Writer

With experience in both pharmaceutical manufacturing and clinical patient management, medications and their impact on one’s quality of life have been my expertise. My secret passion of murder and mayhem, however, is a whole other matter. I’ve always loved reading murder mysteries and thrillers, and longed to weave such tales of my own. Drawing on my clinical expertise as a pharmacist and my infatuation with the lethal effects of drugs, my tales of murder, mayhem and medicine will have you looking over your shoulder and suspicious of anything in your medicine cabinet.
This entry was posted in A How To Blog on Murder Plot Ideas, A New Drug Abuse Threat, A New Street Drug, About Ancient Forgotten Cures, About James J. Murray, About Medications/Pharmacy, Alternatives to Opiate Painkillers, Ancient Curing Potions, Blog About Poisons in Fiction Writing, Blog Writers, Blogging, Bloodless Death Scene Writing, Botanical Murder Weapons, Botanicals That Kill, Current Research on Kratom, Deaths From Kratom, Designer Drug Deaths, Designer Drugs of The Past, Designer Street Drugs, Designing Murder Plots, Dramatic Murder Weapons, Drug Abuse, Drug Poisoning, Euphoric Party Drugs, Herbal Pain Killers, How To Write A BloodLess Murder Scene, Ideas for Murder Scenes, James J. Murray Blog, Kratom Abuse, Kratom and Its History, Kratom to Relieve Pain, Lethal Botanicals, Medical Potential of Kratom, Murder Mayhem and Medicine, Murder With Party Drugs, New Blog, New Drug Research, New Methods To Kill Characters in Your Novel, New Ways to Manufacture Painkillers, Plotting Interesting Murder Scenes, Prescription For Murder Blog, Psychoactive Designer Drugs, Street Drug Abuse Substances, Street Drug Overdosing, Street Drugs From History, Street Drugs of The Past, The Science of Murder and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s