Kratom, or Mitragyna speciosa, is a plant native to Thailand that is known to have both sedative and stimulating effects when taken orally or smoked. In lower doses, Kratom is a stimulant. In higher doses, it is more sedating.
It is now illegal to grow Kratom in Thailand and most other countries in Southeast Asia. In the United States, mitragyna speciosa is classified as a drug or chemical of concern. The actions of kratom are somewhat like those of opium. A compound in the plant appears to have an affinity for opiod receptors in the brain. Because of this, Kratom is sometimes used in place of opium or by those who are withdrawing from opium.
The Mitragyna speciosa plant has an interesting folk history among natives of Southeast Asia.
Historically, the herb was used by peasant workers as a way to deal with the stress of hard physical labor. People connected kratom with a hard work, and a positive association with the herb developed.
In fact, it was common for parents to prefer kratom users for their daughters, believing that they were hard-working men. They would readily give young women in marriage to men who used this herb.
In contrast, marijuana users were considered lazy and were not highly regarded as potential suitors by the parents of young women.
In more modern times, the Mitragyna speciosa plant has attracted the interest of bodybuilders, and a number of suppliers have turned up on the Internet to respond to this interest. Despite the fact that Kratom has a high potential for abuse, many people use it to increase stamina and to treat pain from physical activity.
Kratom can be used in several different ways, and preparations vary widely, depending on the source. The active ingredients in the Mitragyna speciosa plant are known as alkaloids. Dried leaves that contain about 2.5 mg of alkaloids per gram of leaves are probably the least expensive preparation of kratom available.
There are also resins, which can be rolled into balls and simply swallowed. The alkaloid concentration of resins tends to vary widely depending on where and how they are prepared. The herb is also dried and crushed into powdered form. Alkaloid concentrations of powdered kratom vary from 7 mg per gram to as much as 20 mg per gram. In Thailand, the most common way to use kratom is by simply chewing fresh leaves of the Mitragyna speciosa plant.
There are three levels of dosing with Kratom, depending on one’s reason for using it. As the dosage level increases, the possibility of becoming addicted to this plant increases as well. It is also possible to experience a severe “crash” from the euphoria provided by too large a dose of kratom.
At a low dose of about 1 to 5 grams of dried leaves, effects are typically suppression of appetite and a boost in both mental and physical energy. Slightly higher doses (2 to 10 grams) are often used by those undergoing strenuous physical activity, such as bodybuilders in heavy training.
The highest dosing level (more than 2 to 10 grams of dried leaves) is best avoided since it can cause a range of health problems including extremely rapid heart beat and delusions. It is important to note that the lower a person’s body weight, the more potent a specific dose will be for that person.