With the rise of e-commerce and natural health stores, people have been turning to alternative options like natural medicines for recreational drug use. People are starting to experiment with natural, psychoactive substances that are relatively new to Western markets in order to achieve a natural high or a replacement for prescription drugs. One of these natural drugs, which is increasing in popularity, is kratom powder.
Kratom powder is a psychoactive drug that is derived from the leaves of the kratom tree. Kratom trees are native to Southeast Asia. For hundreds of years in Southeast Asia, kratom tree leaves have been chewed raw or brewed into a tea and consumed for their mild stimulant effects. Kratom can also be obtained in powder form and, in recent years, it has seen a rise in popularity in the United States, Canada and Europe. Kratom powder can provide a variety of effects, depending on the dosage. Kratom powder also has potentially dangerous side effects and has a potential for addiction and dependence if used repeatedly. It is currently not scheduled as a controlled substance in the United States.
In low doses, kratom powder gives a slight stimulant effect. More in line with its traditional use, low doses of kratom powder can increase energy, focus and attentiveness. It can elevate the mood, increase sexual arousal and curb appetite for those aiming to lose weight. Many people have started to substitute kratom for caffeine, nicotine and other everyday stimulants.
In higher doses, kratom powder can be dangerous. In high doses, it provides a sedative effect that can be similar to the effects of opiates or opioids medications. People taking higher doses of kratom powder report feeling euphoria and other effects comparable to opioids or depressants. Kratom powder has become popular for use as a replacement for opioids for people who are struggling with opioid addiction.
Despite its purported advantages and benefits, information regarding the safety or effectiveness of kratom powder remains unknown. There is no regulation of the manufacture or packaging of the drug. Kratom powder, bought in stores or online, can contain any number of other substances and degrees of potency. Also, the full extent of side effects and potential health risks are still not fully understood by the medical and scientific community.
With such similar properties to other opioid drugs, kratom powder has the potential to become addictive. Withdrawals symptoms such as headaches, irritability, depression and nausea are common for those who have taken large amounts of kratom powder.
It is possible that using kratom powder in combination with other drugs can cause dangerous interactions and lead to a greater risk of overdose.
Kratom powder has not yet been scheduled by the DEA as a controlled substance. An attempt was made to categorize the drug as a Schedule I controlled substance in 2016, but the legislation was not passed. It has been made illegal in several of the Southeast Asian countries from which it originates. Additionally, many states in the US have classified the drug and banned it on the state level, and a few counties and cities have banned the sale of the drug altogether. Until more research is conducted on the safety and usefulness of kratom powder, it remains a risky alternative for those looking for a natural high or as a treatment option.
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