What is Kratom?

I found a bunch of these "legal highs" online and saw a few products containing Kratom (a plant?). I've never heard of such a thing. What is it? Where does it come from?

asked 14 Mar '12, 15:43

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(27 Mar '12, 16:15) Jack ♦



Kratom is an organic plant with a medicinal history, similar to the coffee plant. It has been chewed for mild stimulating effect (similar to caffeine). Concentrated extracts may have sedative properties.

Kratom is a plant found in Southeast Asia and is considered a controlled substance by many countries in the Eastern hemisphere of the world. Its leaves are harvested for its medicinal properties, as it is known to combat withdrawal symptoms in opiate dependent individuals. The plant contains both stimulant and sedative qualities, so its effects are often inconsistant. Low doses are said to stimulate the mind while higher doses cause extreme sedation. That being said, I found other sources that claimed the exact opposite effects to be true. Online stores selling "legal highs" sell Kratom in the form of pill, powder, or resin.


answered 27 Mar '12, 15:35

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Jack ♦
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Kratom is a tree related to the coffee plant and native to South-East Asia. Kratom is also known as Mitragyna Speciosa. Kratom is a controlled substance in Poland, Latvia, Norway and Sweden, Bhutan, Australia, Malaysia, Thailand, Finland, Denmark, Grenada, Lithuania, New Zealand, Romania, and Myanmar (there may be others, or these may have changed). The reasons for it being controlled are not always clear. Since Kratom has been used in southeast asia by people tryingg to break free of heroin addiction, it may be associated with the heroin trade.

In the United States, two primary alkaloids in Kratom (Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine) have been listed in Indiana and Tennesee as controlled/banned substances. There is controversy over this, as the molecules are on lists of "synthetic" substances, but are organic non-synthetics.

There are some 25 alkaloids (active drug-like molecules) in Kratom, so "Kratom Extracts" are commonly derived from the plant and sold. These Kratom extracts contain some variety of active alkaloids, depending on the commercial product. For reference, consider caffeine that is in coffee. If caffeine (an alkaloid in coffee) is the desired active ingredient, then coffee extracts would be produced as commercial products. A "ful spectrum" Kratom product typically contains all alkaloids in the same proportions as occurs naturally in the plant.

Each product is marketed differently, with some causing more controversy than others. The "Lucky Kratom" brand is often the focus of concern among lawmakers, law enforcement, and parents, due to the way it is packaged, marketed, and sold in "head shops".

By far the most attention is on alkaloids Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, which have mood altering properties. Mitragynine is more prevalent in Krotom by weight, and is considered the primary "active ingredient". The 7-hydroxymitragynine is present in much lower quantity but is far more active (causes more effects). The effects range from mild stimulation (similar to caffeine - believed to be caused by Mitragynine) to strong sedation (an opiate-like effect, thought to be caused by 7-hydroxymitragynine).


answered 06 Aug '13, 16:47

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According to NYS government :

Symptoms of Kratom intoxication include:

  • Pupil reaction to light- slow at doses of five grams or higher Pulse- near normal Blood pressure- near normal Body temperature- near normal Pupil size- near normal (constriction in high doses)

Kratom's area of action is believed to be the delta and mu opiate receptors. Mitragynine is the major alkaloid found in Kratom, 7-hydroxymitragynine is a minor alkaloid in Kratom that exhibits opiate-like analgesic effects that are similar or greater than morphine. Kratom has a biphasic effect with initial exhilaration followed by a sedating phase. The effects described as relaxing, anxiety reducing, and euphoric are most likely attributable to Kratom's activity at the delta and mu opiate receptors. There have been reports of use of Kratom for the treatment of the opiate withdrawal symptoms. One can postulate that the use of this drug could lead to an opiate-like dependence. Side effects, although rare, may include dry mouth, increased or decreased urination, loss of appetite, and nausea or vomiting. Heavy use can result in a prolonged sleep.


answered 06 Aug '13, 17:16

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Kratom Significance

Kratom is an herbal product that is not illegal in the United States (Federally) and not regulated by the FDA. It is commonly found marketed as an alternative herbal product to recreational drug users, for its mild stimulant properties (similar to caffeine).

Unfortunately it has also been mixed in with serious illegal and potentially harmful drugs (such as opioids, synthetic opiates like heroin) by drug dealers. (ref).

Kratom appears to be a legitimate herbal medicinal, like many teas for example. However Kratom extracts are of unknown potential (usually designated with an "x" factor like Kratom-10X) since they are produced without oversight and often marketed to drug users.

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Asked: 14 Mar '12, 15:43

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Last updated: 06 Aug '13, 17:18

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