Author: John Carter

Is kratom safe? FDA continues to warn of dangers of the supplement

can kratom kill you

There is some evidence to suggest kratom use during pregnancy can cause withdrawal symptoms in newborns. Less physical dependence and respiratory depression mark a major difference between kratom and traditional opiates. Opioids are commonly prescribed to individuals with chronic, acute, and terminal pain. However, abuse of these medications is incredibly common and presents an overdose risk to these patients [2]. At one time, some researchers believed that kratom might be a safe alternative to opioids and other prescription pain medications.

Kratom leaves can be chewed, and dry kratom can be swallowed or brewed. The liquid form is often marketed as a treatment for muscle pain, or to suppress appetite and stop cramps and diarrhea. In 2016, the Drug Enforcement Administration moved to classify kratom as a Schedule 1 drug, meaning it has no medical uses and has a high potential for abuse, but reversed course after public outcry. Kratom is still unregulated at the federal level, but five states have bans on the substance, according to the American Kratom Association, a group that advocates for kratom access in the U.S. Contamination in herbal supplements like kratom includes excess traces of heavy metals and bacteria. The FDA has issued numerous warnings about kratom contamination, including on the risk of developing heavy metal toxicity and exposure to contamination from salmonella.

Is Kratom an Opioid?

But it’s legal and available online and in many places in the United States. While kratom is considered a “drug of concern” in the United States, it’s not on the U.S. schedule of controlled substances. One of the main reasons why kratom overdose-related deaths are so rare is because of the self-limiting effect of kratom. If you keep taking more kratom past this point, you’ll start to throw up — effectively ejecting unabsorbed kratom from the gut.

Remedies for relaxation include valerian, lemon balm, and lavender. Kratom can be a dangerous drug if people do not use it correctly. If someone experiences any of the symptoms listed above, or any other concerning effects after taking kratom in any form, they should immediately see a doctor or attend the emergency room.

Kaitlin Sullivan is a contributor for who has worked with NBC News Investigations. She reports on health, science and the environment and is a graduate of the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at City University of New York. Last week, U.S. marshals seized an estimated $3 million worth of kratom that was being sold as a supplement by an Oklahoma-based company.

  1. In 2016, the Drug Enforcement Administration moved to classify kratom as a Schedule 1 drug, meaning it has no medical uses and has a high potential for abuse, but reversed course after public outcry.
  2. Different people experience kratom in different ways, and the products themselves can vary.
  3. In 2019, approximately 49,860 overdose deaths were caused by various opioids.
  4. Many of the problems that occur with pain medications happen when these drugs are used at high doses or over a long period of time.

Poison control centers in the United States received about 1,800 reports involving use of kratom from 2011 through 2017, including reports of death. About half of these exposures resulted in serious negative outcomes such as seizures and high blood pressure. Five of the seven infants who were reported to have been exposed to kratom went through withdrawal.

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You’ll be dizzy, nauseous, tired, and you may have severe diarrhea to boot. It’s very unlikely for anybody to want to keep drinking kratom past this point. So it is clear that kratom could be a contributing factor in cases where an individual has overdosed, as many other things could have been contributing factors as well. Let’s compare kratom to something that has become a true crisis in the world today, opiates. The problem with this report is that kratom was not the primary reason for most of these fatalities.

can kratom kill you

It’s up to consumers to weigh the allure of what some consider a more “natural” alternative to opioids against the stark warnings from health officials. Overdosing on kratom isn’t typically a concern unless you’re taking extremely large doses (not recommended) or mixing kratom with other painkillers, alcohol, or prescription medications. Here, we’ll explore the signs and symptoms of kratom overdose, how much kratom is needed to reach toxic levels, and why mixing kratom with other drugs is so dangerous. Kratom is also used at music festivals and in other recreational settings.

People who use kratom for relaxation report that because it is plant-based, it is natural and safe. However, the amount of active ingredient in kratom plants can vary greatly, making it difficult to gauge the effect of a given dose. Depending on what is in the plant and the health of the user, taking kratom may be very dangerous. Claims about the benefits of kratom can’t be rated because reliable evidence is lacking. Kratom is an herbal extract that comes from the leaves of an evergreen tree (Mitragyna speciosa) grown in Southeast Asia.

Early studies suggest that kratom may have potential as an antidepressant and a hunger suppressant. In one animal study, researchers determined that kratom lowers corticosterone levels in mice. Increased corticosterone levels are just one of the changes in brain chemicals that can be seen in depression.

Why Kratom Is Not Like Traditional Opiates

Kratom is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). You can find kratom leaves, powder, and capsules in some health food stores, vape shops, and online specialty stores. The most common uses of it are to relieve pain, depression, and opioid addiction. The two most active compounds found in kratom, mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, work on opioid receptors, but with fewer side effects.

However, its use has been linked to liver toxicity, seizures and death. A 2020 study also found that kratom users in the U.S. are typically more prone to substance abuse than people who use cannabis, alcohol or cigarettes. People report using kratom for pain relief and to help cope with depression and anxiety. Very rare but serious side effects include psychosis and death. Kratom is legal in the U.S. but is not regulated and is a drug of concern due to its potential for abuse and addiction. Kratom is said to have opioid-like effects, and kratom benefits reported include helping people cope with withdrawal symptoms and drug-related cravings, pain, fatigue, and mental health challenges.

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If kratom is used with other stimulants, like caffeine, these effects will be worsened. Likewise, if it is taken with any other substances that cause sedation, it can worsen that effect and even lead to respiratory depression and breathing trouble. There is also the potential of kratom interacting with any medicine or supplement that you are taking, so you should discuss that with your doctor or pharmacist before adding it. In 2021 alone, roughly 1.7 million Americans used kratom, although the F.D.A. has not approved it for any medical use. While some of the effects of kratom may feel physically similar to that of opioids, kratom does not interact with mu-opioid receptors the same way opiates do.

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However, doctors do not recommend their use in people with moderate to severe pain. An article in Clinical Toxicology concludes that kratom has links with serious medical outcomes, especially when people use it with other substances. Some people use kratom socially or for pleasure, while others may use it to self-treat certain health conditions. On the other hand, different types and doses of kratom can make you feel relaxed or confused. In another study with rats, kratom supplementation suppressed hunger by inhibiting the hypothalamus, the part of the brain responsible for appetite and cravings. More research on humans is needed to see if kratom has similar effects.