Kratom Is Legal In Some Areas Of The World, But Not All
Kratom is an herbal supplement that comes from a tropical evergreen tree native to Southeast Asia. It is indigenous to Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, and is legal in some areas of the world, not in others.
In the U.S., the plant-based drug is not currently regulated at the federal level, although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has labeled kratom as a “drug of concern.” The regulatory agency has yet to take action, either certify its benefits or take it off the market entirely.
Kratom Affects The Brain, Like Other Supplements And Over-The-Counter Drugs
If kratom is a naturally occurring, plant-based supplement, why is it so controversial? Kratom has gotten mixed reviews, and it’s tough to tell whether it is a worthwhile addition to one’s diet or if it’s better to steer clear. There are many claims that kratom is helpful both as a stimulant and as a sedative, depending on the strains and amount consumed. It has also been used in some areas of the world for centuries, although it has only recently gained popularity in the U.S. The plant affects the brain and, thus, like any other drug, use comes with some level of risk.
It Comes With Both Benefits & Side Effects
Kratom has many proven benefits as well as some reported side effects. This is why the FDA has yet to decide whether the benefits of use exceed the risks or not. Kratom leaves are typically chewed, consumed as a tea, added as a powder to shakes, or ingested as capsules to elevate mood and enhance physical endurance. In the coffee family, it can be used to improve focus, concentration, and motivation without the crash of caffeine. As a sedative, it can help calm the body.
Experiences With Kratom Differ
Like most drugs, side effects can present differently for different people. Some people may experience the above positive effects when taking kratom, while others may have a more negative experience after consumption. Personalized experiences with any drug make it difficult to determine what, exactly, it will do.
Some commonly reported negative side effects include dehydration, constipation, dry mouth, and increased urination – which, of course, are all interrelated. Other, more serious side effects reported include nausea, seizures, and hallucinations. There have been some reports of dependence (when taken in large quantities over a long period). Any supplement, when misused and/or taken in excess, can have similar effects.
The FDA Labeled It a ‘Drug Of Concern’ And Journalists Jumped On This
Unfortunately, media reports based on the FDA’s classification of kratom as a “drug of concern” have painted the herb in a mostly negative light, spreading false information based on limited reports disseminated by regulatory agencies. Journalists unfamiliar with kratom perpetuate this false reporting by spinning the facts to make articles more intriguing, downplaying the supplement’s benefits. These reports are often not science-based and can take any position the writer wishes to generate interest.
Vendors May Over-inflate Kratom Benefits To Grow The Market
The other reason that kratom has become so controversial is that in-person and online vendors attempt to increase sales by making deceptive claims. This happens with many different products and is especially common in the world of over-the-counter supplements. It’s possible that kratom does do many of the exotic things that sellers suggest, but there is always room for debate without evidence to support these claims.
The individualized experiences associated with kratom consumption, in general, make it controversial because there are no “standard” expectations to be had. When individuals take the supplement expecting one result and meet another, disappointment may result, and misinformation is bound to circulate.
Conclusion: Conflicting Information Drives Continued Controversy
With a breadth of conflicting information available about kratom – some good, some bad – the controversy surrounding the herb is not likely to die down anytime soon. The sheer wealth of available information makes it difficult to determine what’s true and what’s not, which claims are factual and which are inflated. Those considering taking kratom will have to weigh the pros and cons after researching credible sources and allow personal experience to direct their decision-making.