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Mitragyna speciosa, more commonly known as Kratom, has been used as an analgesic pain reliever for centuries. When taken in low doses, Kratom acts as more of a stimulant, similar to caffeine. Higher doses will result in a more sedating effect and tend to offer the greatest pain relief. While it’s widely used as an energy booster, mood enhancer and even an antidepressant, Kratom has become most well known for it’s pain reliveing properties.
Technically, Kratom is not an opiate, although it creates opiate-like effects. Unlike morphine, or a number of other opiates, Kratom is not a derivative of the opium poppy plant. It is, however, derived from the Mitragyna speciosa Korth. (of the Rubiaceae family) tree. This tree is native to Southeast Asia, New Guinae and the Phillipines, and is considered a tree in the coffee family (hence the stimulant effect of the plant).
What makes Kratom an effective pain reliever is the way that the plant’s alkaloids bind to the receptors in the brain. The chemical “process” that occurs when the Kratom leaf (or powder) is ingested, mirrors that of an opiate. In a sense you could say that the body, more specifically, the brain, is tricked into thinking it just received an opiate. The result is similar to an “opiate-like” effect. A person considering Kratom for pain relief must keep in mind that using Kratom, in whichever form (leaves, powder, etc.) they choose, should not expect to “feel” like they just took a prescription vicodin or morphine, etc. The effects are similar but not the same.
Does Kratom really work for pain relief and is it possible to replace one, or several, prescription medications with Kratom? Absolutely. In fact, that’s what all the hype is about! Not just raving reviews and personal testimonies about how Kratom changed a someone’s life but almost the same level of disapproval and naysaying from “big pharma” and their advocates. Kratom has literally changed the lives of countless chronic pain sufferers and, as a result, is responsible for a reduction in doctor-written, prescriptions being filled. That translates into a reduction in profit for the pharmaceutical companies which is the driving force behind the movement to ban it in the US.
Why are so many people ditching their prescriptions and embracing Kratom for pain relief? Because Kratom not only relieves pain, just as well as a precription pain reliever, it does a better job. With a typical narcotic pain mecication there are always side effects, many unwanted, and one pain medication, a vicodin for example, may not be sufficient to “cover” a person’s pain. In this case, traditionally, a pain doctor would precribe a combination of “pills” to treat an individiual’s pain. Depending on the individual, they might be prescribed a base pain medication, another pain medication for what’s termed “break through pain” and yet another prescription to treat muscle spasm. This is just one example but for anyone suffereing from chronic pain, I suspect this is not unfamiliar. Did you ever wonder why you still have pain after taking your prescribed/recommended amount of pain pills each day? It’s a bit counterintuitive…or is it?
Enter Hyperalgesia. Hyperalgesia is the term used to describe an increased sensitivity to pain. This can, of course, be the result of a serious injury or condition such as nerve damage. It can however be caused by the chronic (long-term) use of opiods (e.g. morphine, vicodin, oxycontin, etc.). This is not simply tolerance to a given medication, rather it is the result of an over stimulation of the opiod receptors. Many or even most times, this is treated by prescribing larger doses or higher doses of the opiod. Unfortunately, this has the potential to worsen the problem. It becomes a vicious cycle of “chasing the pain”. This is a nightmare, worst case scenario for someone suffering from chronic pain.
A huge benefit of using Kratom is that due to the variety of “strains” available, and constantly being harvested/produced, there are likely never two, exact strains, produced. The potential benefit of each Kratom leaf is entirely dependent on the location of where it’s grown but additionally the climate and several other environmental factors. The plus side to this is that, in a sense, the exact chemical makeup of a Kratom strain is, most likely, never the same, from one batch to the next. The body will still receive the “opiod-like” benefit, without the risk of “overload” to the receptors. The result, continual, even and full coverage pain relieving benefit. Kratom not only provides an opiod-like effect, there’s the added benefit of a mood enhancer, energy boost and anti-depressant in just about any strain available. You almost can’t go wrong.
All of this comes with a caveat, a huge caveat…Kratom does “act like a drug” when ingested in the body. That being said, it would be very foolish to not give it the respect it deserves. In order to benefit from all this plant has to offer, it is essential to treat it just as you would, a powerful pain medication. Follow, and respect, the recommended dosage guidelines set forth by those who have experience using it…just as you would follow a doctor or pharmacist’s recommended dosage for any other pain medication. Do not abuse Kratom and you will, in all likeliness, not have any undesireable experiences.
In summary, there is definitely a reason for all the hype! If you have been considering Kratom for pain control / relief, you really have to try it for yourself. Many vendors even offer sample packages, in several strains, for new users to try. You might be very pleasantly surprised!