Kratom is a popular commodity in the USA and also in the entire world. A lot of individuals have at least at some point in their lives heard about Kratom in the health news reports, the streets, or even the drug stores. It is often common as a supplement with many individuals embracing its application in the fields of pain relief, mood enhancement, energy booster, a rehabilitative antidote for opioid withdrawal, recreational activities, sedation among others depending on a community’s or an individual’s requirements.
Kratom is most common in the area of Southeast Asia in countries like Malaysia, Thailand, and Papua New Guinea, among others where Mitragyna speciosa (an evergreen tree from where Kratom is extracted) is grown. Its modes of consumption are extensive, for instance, chewing, dry swallowing, or drinking a brewed liquid product, thus providing for similarly broad consumers. Most of these consumers claim that Kratom is safe due to the fact that it is a natural herbal extract. This is, however, not true since Kratom has been associated with several adverse effects, thus qualifying it to be dangerous for consumption, as described below.
The negative effects of kratom use
Drugs in the pharmaceutical world, whether traditional or synthesized, often presents with several side effects when abused/misused by an individual. Some of these negative effects may often be very well life-threatening, whereas some are often of mild characteristics. For instance;
- Some of the uses of Kratom categorize it to the opioid family of drugs. Despite it not being an opiate, its misuse is often characterized by almost similar side effects. For instance, the misuse and abuse of Kratom as a sister opioid often results in addiction.
- This is often associated with irregularity in consumption or the consumption of too much of the drug due to the insufficient research on the proper dosage criteria. Furthermore, the use of Kratom over a long period also leads to its alteration of certain brain parts leading to addiction.
- This is because these individuals’ nervous and the entire physiological system become overly dependent on Kratom to the extent that they can not properly function without it in their systems.
Addiction to Kratom always contributes to further demerits health-wise as an individual may be subject to withdrawal symptoms when a proper dosage of the drug is not consumed during the addiction phase. Some of these unpleasant symptoms include diarrhea, nausea, dizziness, seizures, coma, and even death if medical intervention is not sought. Furthermore, addiction as a sign of continued use of Kratom may also result in several permanent/ long term side effects such as brain damage, cardiovascular diseases, insomnia, and overall body and joint pains.
- Excessive and prolonged use of Kratom often negatively affects the brain in several ways. For instance, unregulated kratom consumption over long periods of time may often result in brain edema. Since minimal research has been put on the kratom prescription packages, the amount consumed by many frequent users is often non-standardized, which over time, results in seizures and may even cause an aneurysm in the brain.
- Thus, Kratom, as an unregulated drug, has severe consequences to the human nervous system. Furthermore, as it is common knowledge that the brain controls all the body functions, Kratom, just like other opioids, may specifically target parts of the brain such as the brain stem, which is critical for the proper regulation of the heart, breathing, and sleeping cycles.
Thus, during an overdose on Kratom, even though rare, individuals may experience heart arrhythmias, hypertension, heart attacks, unregulated breathings, and uncoordinated sleep cycles, leading to insomnia. Some of these symptoms may result in insanity, depression, and even death if proper interventions are not sought.
- Kratom, just like other opioids when taken at high quantities for pain relief or recreational purposes, may result in the euphoric “high” feeling, which is often associated with hallucinations and delusions. This results in the impairment of reasoning and judgments of the associated individuals, which may influence the operation of machinery such as vehicles causing avoidable accidents.
- Furthermore, due to the lack of standardized prescriptions, some individuals may take too much of Kratom unknowingly for pain relief, mood enhancer, or a stimulant while operating a piece of machinery and end up drifting in and out of consciousness thus increasing the probability of accidents and loss of lives.
Research in the United States of America has indicated that a lot of machinery accidents which have led to severe injuries, trauma, and even death have, in some way, been associated with the abuse and misuse of Kratom.
Effects on the liver and kidney
- Continuous and excessive use of Kratom may lead to the damage of the liver and kidneys in several individuals. The liver often acts as a filter for most of the blood toxins, and these include drugs.
- However, this is usually only tolerable to specific amounts of drugs, and upon surpassing these levels, the liver is often overly strained, resulting in the damage hence the failure and development of liver diseases. Some of the alkaloids in Kratom also contribute to liver diseases as they result in over synthesis of liver enzymes.
Moreover, with the blood toxicity high, the kidneys through their ultrafiltration function may also be overwhelmed thus causing kidney problems which when not attended to by physicians in a stipulated timeframe, may result in dire health deterioration displaying symptoms such as septic shock and jaundice which may eventually lead to death in some occasions.
- People using Kratom regularly suffer the loss of appetite as a result of interference with brain function or oral sensations. Since the most common mode of Kratom consumption is oral, the chemical components of the drug may act on the oral mucosa and the tongue rendering it numb to the tasting ability, thus qualifying many foods to be inedible. Interference with the brain function often develops to anorexia nervosa, which may contribute to a severe loss of weight.
- This loss of appetite may also lead to severe malnutrition, which may also contribute to body systems failure, eventually resulting in death.
Nevertheless, prolonged kratom consumption may also lead to a slow digestive system and bowel since it is believed that it increases non-propulsive contractions in the small intestines and decrease propulsive peristalsis contributing to prolonged food movement in the gastrointestinal tract leading to constipation among frequent users.
- Moreover, Kratom has been realized to result in the general irritability of the users. That is to say that many Kratom users may often experience small but severe depressive moods with frequent intolerance to other individuals due to short bursts of anger and anxiety.
- This may make the lives of the users rather difficult. Irritation may also be in the form of physical allergic reactions to the drug resulting in several undesired inflammatory responses to the body.
This may cause a reddish-purple appearance in the face or cheek. It can cause nausea, sweating, and itching frequently. This causes discomfort to the users leading to lack of sleep or insomnia, thus generally interfering with the typical day to day social lives of these individuals.
Inadequate research and understanding
- This is a significant disadvantage to the use of Kratom all over the world since specialists still fail to understand the detailed workings and interactions of the drug. For instance, in 2018, the FDA reported the fact that 44 individuals perished in relation to combining Kratom with other drugs such as benzodiazepines.
- Therefore, many individuals were advised against mixing Kratom with other drugs since specialists are yet to come up with specific medications that fatally react to Kratom.
Furthermore, the lack of proper understanding has also seen the suffering of several infants, some of which have exhibited withdrawal symptoms and congenital anomalies as a result of pregnant and breastfeeding women consuming Kratom.
Kratom is a plant with opioid properties; thus, despite it not being prevalent in the west, it is very popular among many indigenous communities in the south East Asia regions. Therefore, due to its hereditary usage among these communities, several benefits have been realized over time, leading to its spread to some of the other continents. Some of these benefits include being a stimulant, medicine for illnesses, recreation, pain relief, opiate rehabilitation strategy, among others. Nevertheless, with the benefits, it has also, over time, presented with dire demerits to human health and society.
For instance, it leads to over-dependence and addiction, brain problems, accidents, liver and kidney problems, congenital anomalies in infants, among others. Therefore, with the comparison, it is clear that the demerits outweigh the benefits; however, its usage may still be recommended on occasions under strict monitoring from physicians, it is best to refrain from this drug for those using it for medical purposes as its side effects are dire and unpredictable. Thus as such, it is best for the US government through the FDA to disband this drug until proper research and understanding are conducted to ensure that more individuals do not suffer avoidable consequences. Generally, Kratom is bad for human consumption.