Kratom is a supplement that is legal throughout the U.S., including Michigan. While it’s touted as a safe herbal extract, capable of treating things like muscle pain and even lessening opioid withdrawal symptoms, many medical professionals have concerns about this product and its side effects. The Mayo Clinic explains the downsides of kratom, some of which can be extreme.
Kratom is sourced from leaves of trees native to Southeast Asia. Different doses tend to elicit different effects, although the drug affects the same receptors as opiates like heroin. Lowers doses cause the user to feel stimulated and active, while slightly higher doses are used to relieve pain. The highest doses have sedative properties and can even induce sleep. Kratom can be taken in a pill form, brewed in tea, or chewed. Along with its medicinal uses, it’s also taken for the euphoric feeling it creates.
It’s believed that kratom is safe because its plant-based, but this isn’t actually the case. Kratom is associated with a number of symptoms, some of which can be serious based on the dosage. For instance, nausea, constipation, vomiting, weight loss, muscle pain, and dry mouth often occur. It can also cause liver damage in some cases, and is associated with dizziness, depression, seizures, and even coma. There have been deaths associated with the supplement, and between 2011 and 2017 there were approximately 1,800 reports provided to poison control centers.
Kratom is unregulated, meaning there is no way to confirm doses or other ingredients. In fact, some forms of kratom have been found to be contaminated with salmonella, which can have very serious effects. While it’s used as a method of easing opioid withdrawal, it can also cause withdrawal effects on its own.