Navigating Recent Studies About Kratom

October 16, 2020 0 Comments

Kratom is a substance that can be extremely beneficial to responsible adults who make use of it. Although it has great potential, there is still very minimal research and studies done that help it get more widely accepted. As there are not many of these studies to refer to, many people have conflicting opinions about its legitimacy, and regulators and legislators don’t have the information they need to make it known as a beneficial product. However, more studies are starting to be done, which could present much-needed progress on Kratom’s place in the United States. These studies also show that there is an increasing interest in establishing credibility for Kratom.

Kratom: What Is It?

Kratom comes from the mitragyna speciosa tree. This tree is native to Southeast Asia, and for many years the leaves have been culturally renowned for its healing properties. Through the cultivation and refinement of these leaves, the powders and extracts you see in Kratom stores are created. Kratom has gained a following of loyal and dedicated advocates who see the benefits of Kratom. They are the ones spreading useful information while US legislators continue to validate misinformation. As the FDA has not established a specific use or role for Kratom in the health industry, it has been pushing for it to become classified as a Schedule I substance within the controlled substances act. The most common forms of Kratom are powder, capsules, and extracts.

Why More Research Is Needed

The reason why more money needs to be invested in developing and practicing Kratom research is that the lack of information is what causes the intense stance that regulatory bodies have against it. If Kratom were to become a Schedule I substance before more research was performed, the number of resources needed to study it as a controlled substance would be much more extensive. With the currently limited amount of available research today, evidence points to Kratom as a useful and beneficial product for some adults. However, if Kratom becomes classified before more research is done, it may just become much less possible for research to be done. Outlined below are a few studies and their findings that have been conducted so far.

Hemby Study

Scott Hemby, A High Point University pharmaceutical science professor, performed a study that analyzed the potential for abuse of Kratom’s alkaloids against the healing potential. His research investigated the entire mitragyna speciosa species, looking closely at mitragynine, and 7-hydroxy mitragynine, the two most active alkaloids within the plant. Throughout the study, Scott Hemby learned that the alkaloid mitragynine demonstrated a meager, if not absent, potential for addiction or abuse. It could have beneficial effects in curbing the brain’s craving for opioids in previous habits.

Securing Funding

As Kratom is sometimes compared to dangerous substances listed under Schedule I controlled substances, securing funding can be very challenging. This funding is necessary for more research to be done, so it is yet another hurdle that Kratom advocates need to overcome. In 2018, NIDA granted a team at the University of Florida $3.4 million to research Kratom to combat the near classification of Kratom as a Schedule I substance. The grant was set to be dispersed over five years, so currently, the study is in action heavily focusing on other active compounds within Kratom other than 7-hydroxy mitragynine and mitragynine, to find out if there is a synergistic effect within the plant when certain alkaloids are present.

Identifying the LD50 For Kratom

The LD50 of any substance is the lethal dose required to cause death in half of the test participants. This number is found for many different substances so that researchers can better understand the effects and determine therapeutic dosing. The research done to determine this number for Kratom found that the amount was significantly higher than a standard dose that a consumer would typically consume. The same team who developed this also created a test that samples Kratom concentration in urine, which could also help fend off more safety concerns.

Kratom And The Opioid Crisis

Opioid addiction is rampant throughout the United States and many other countries. Opioid addiction tends to stem from an array of mental illnesses, and sometimes it can even be the cause of mental illness. A study that was conducted many years ago is now being brought back up because it focused on Kratom’s potential to help out people who suffer from opioid addiction. As the opioid crisis continues to grow, this information is becoming more relevant. This study found that Kratom could help curb the withdrawal symptoms associated with opioid cessation. Many people who try to quit opioids often have the most trouble because of the severe withdrawal behaviors and symptoms associated. By using Kratom, these symptoms could be more manageable.

With more scientists jumping on the movement to find out more about Kratom, there could be hope for its widespread availability and acceptance in the future. The best way to navigate these studies and emerging information regarding Kratom is to stay updated and informed of the progress.

Author : Andy Cyrus