What is Kratom?
Kratom is a tropical tree native to Southeast Asia. Consumption of its leaves produces both stimulant effects (in low doses) and sedative effects (in high doses), and can lead to psychotic symptoms, and psychological and physiological dependence. Kratom leaves contain two major psychoactive ingredients (mitragynine and 7-hydroxymytragynine). These leaves are crushed and then smoked, brewed with tea, or placed into gel capsules. Kratom has a long history of use in Southeast Asia, where it is commonly known as thang, kakuam, thom, ketum, and biak. In the U.S., the abuse of kratom has increased markedly in recent years.
How is it abused?
Mostly abused by oral ingestion in the form of a tablet, capsule, or extract. Kratom leaves may also be dried or powdered and ingested as a tea, or the kratom leaf may be chewed.
What are the effects?
At low doses, kratom produces stimulant effects with users reporting increased alertness, physical energy, and talkativeness. At high doses, users experience sedative effects. Kratom consumption can lead to addiction. Several cases of psychosis resulting from use of kratom have been reported, where individuals addicted to kratom exhibited psychotic symptoms, including hallucinations, delusion, and confusion.
What does it do to the body?
Kratom’s effects on the body include nausea, itching, sweating, dry mouth, constipation, increased urination, tachycardia, vomiting, drowsiness, and loss of appetite. Users of kratom have also experienced anorexia, weight loss, insomnia, hepatotoxicity, seizure, and hallucinations.
What is its legal status?
Kratom is not controlled under the Controlled Substances Act; however, there may be some state regulations or prohibitions against the possession and use of kratom. The FDA has not approved Kratom for any medical use. In addition, DEA has listed kratom as a Drug and Chemical of Concern.
Testing for Kratom
Typically testing for Kratom is conducted on 18-panel drug tests for either nail or hair. If you choose a hair test, you’ll be able to see Kratom use dating as far back as 90 days. The analysis should provide an accurate sample so that you can determine if a loved one was using and, if so, the best way for you to go about seeking treatment on their behalf.