Update 2/3/20. Until recently, I'd never heard of kratom, also known as mitragyna speciosa, but a quick search revealed that this stuff is pretty popular online with many people passionate about how well it works. Kratom contains compounds that can have both stimulating and calming effects. It's promoted to help reduce pain, improve exercise, help insomnia and drug addiction among others. After looking at various blogs and videos on this stuff, I got interested. So, is it safe? Is kratom addictive? Any side effects? I'm going to just look at the research I was able to uncover and let you decide. No agendas here. Just science and rational thought. I hope this review will help you decide if kratom is right for you.
Other Kratom Reviews
Can You Trust Kratom Companies? (video review)
What Is Kratom?
Kratom, whose scientific name is Mitragyna speciosa is also known as Kratum and Ketum. It's related to the coffee plant and is usually pronounced either as “Cray-tum” or “Crah-tum.” Kratom is a tree that grows in places like Southeast Asia and the Philippines. In other parts of the world, the herb has been used to treat several conditions ranging from helping fatigue to reducing pain.
Kratom Is Also Called…
According to the FDA, kratom is also known by these other names:
|madat||Maeng da leaf||nauclea||Nauclea speciosa or thang|
Other more street slang names for this plant include “herbal Speedball” and “Thom.”
Some companies advertise “organic kratom” although whether or not organic versions of this herb are better or healthier than non-organic versions. is open to speculation.
The leaves of the tree contain various chemicals that are said to have a variety of effects such as increasing energy levels and also helping people feel calmer and at ease.
The degree to which it has either of these effects – and others- is said to be dose-dependent.
In other words, at:
- Lower doses = it has stimulant effects, almost like caffeine.
- Higher doses = it has sedative effects.
See the kratom section of this review for more information.
Kratom Active Ingredients
Because it's a plant, kratom likely has many active ingredients. That said, those that often get most of the attention include:
- Mitragynine (pronounced ma-tra-ja-neen.”)
I think its more complicated than this, however.
Other chemicals in kratom include:
Over 40 different compounds in kratom have been identified.
As stated above, at low doses, mitragynine seems to act as a stimulant. This may be why some people say mitragyna gives them more energy. At higher amounts, though mitragynine has opioid-like /sedative effects. These effects may be at the heart of the “legal high” that Kratom is sometimes marketed to provide.
The FDA, using computer analysis to look at 25 compounds in kratom, determined that the chemical structure of these compounds was similar to opioids. They went on to say that 22 of the 25 compounds would bind to opioid receptors.
Kratom Human Research
I searched the National Library of Medicine (Pubmed.gov) for these words:
- Kratom Human
- Mitragyna speciosa human
My hope was that this would reveal human clinical studies involving this herb. I did not uncover much.
Here's a summary of the human research I found:
One investigation, which involved 10 men who regularly used mitragyna. Researchers gave the men either 2 oz or 4 oz of kratom tea for 7 days.
No serious side effects were reported although all the people in the study reported tongue numbness after drinking the tea. All the people in the study also had increased heart rates and blood pressures and these appeared to occur 8 hours after drinking the tea.
Other than this study, I did not locate any other human investigations. The majority of studies I did find involved either lab animals (mice or rats) or isolated human cells that were subjected to the herb. Some of that research, I'll cover below in other sections.
Human cell research is interesting, but since we are more than isolated cells in a test tube, I don't know how well those results translate into showing the effects of this herb in live human beings.
I also found various case reports stemming from emergency room visits, which I'll list below in the side effects section. At this time, I'm forced to conclude that kratom appears to have little published, peer-reviewed clinical trials involving people.
Kratom For Opioid Withdrawal
Because kratom contains mitragynine, an opioid-like compound, it's become popular with some people trying to curb addiction to opioid drugs such as oxycodone and fentanyl among others. Does it work? In theory, molecules that look like opioids might attach to opioid receptors; this might help with withdrawal.
It sounds plausible however according to an FDA press release dated November 14 2017, “There is no reliable evidence to support the use of kratom as a treatment for opioid use disorder.”
That may be due to a lack of good human research on this.
And then one has to wonder if it did work, what would stop people from becoming addicted to kratom? It would be like going from one addiction to another. Indeed, from the comments below, kratom addiction is something some people have been wondering about and trying to take steps to avoid.
If the FDA is correct and kratom ingredients look like opioids and bind to opioid receptors, then this could lend evidence of it's alleged addictive nature.
Kratom And Pain
While mitragyna seems to have pain-killing effects, it's structure is different than morphine. But, mitragynine – one of the chemicals in the plant- can bind to the same opioid receptors as morphine does. This is likely why some people with chronic pain issues might turn to mitragyna for help.
Because of this, some have wondered if the plant (or just mitragynine) might one day be used to help people wean off drugs like opioids and heroin. As can be seen from the side effects section below, there is at least one case report of someone doing this. That said, at higher doses kratom might have a stimulant-like effect.
How Much Kratom Is Safe?
Since mitragynine can have both stimulant effects (at lower dosages) and act like a sedative (at higher doses), one has to ask the question, “How much is a little bit and how much is a lot?”
Dosage instructions for taking mitragyna can be found on the internet. However, given the lack of human research, I have to wonder who is making up these instructions? None of the websites I looked at for this review which discusses how to take kratom showed me scientific studies to back up the dosage instructions they advocated.
Some websites might base their recommendations on asking people how much they took. I'm sorry, but that's poor science. I say this because it does not take into consideration many other things that could be going on. For example:
- What if you have depression/are bipolar and take mitragyna?
- What if you have high blood pressure and mitragyna?
- What if you mix mitragyna and alcohol or other medications?
- How long does mitragyna stay in the body after you eat it vs. drink it?
Some websites say people should use a certain amount of mitragynine such as 1-2 grams for example – but again, where are these amounts coming from? Is it trial and error?
Given the lack of human research, I recommend viewing dosage instructions skeptically.
What about long term effects? In other words, what are the effects of someone using kratom regularly for years? Unfortunately, I can't give an answer to that. The research needs to be done.
Who Uses Kratom??
I first became aware of kratom from a college student. But students are not the only people experimenting with this stuff. In a 2017 review that included over 8,000 mitragyna users who were given surveys, researchers noted that most people who responded were:
- 31-50 years of age
- Made at least $35,000 per year
The surveys also noted that side effects were most common when people used more than 5 grams per day or were very frequent users (22 doses per week). Side effects were usually gastrointestinal in nature, including constipation and nausea. This is common for many supplements and medications too.
What Is The American Kratom Association?
The American Kratom Association (AmericanKratom.org) is a non-profit advocacy group based in Virginia. The website states the organization was founded in 2014. The organization website was created in 2015. Part of their mission, they say, is to educate people on the safety of mitragyna/kratom.
The website also keeps visitors up-to-date on various legal issues relating to mitragyna and provides email addresses of local government officials who seek to increase government oversight of this herb.
While lobbying government officials and sending emails is nice, the Association, needs to fund clinical research on Mitragyna speciosa. Instead of lobbying, Senators, the best way to prove to Senators and the public that kratom is safe is to do clinical studies on Kratom itself.
Update. The American Kratom Association seems to have changed its name. Visitors going to their website (AmericanKratom.org) are redirected to another site, AmericanBotanicals.org. This site was registered in 2017. Why did they change their name?
Was it because “botanicals” is a more friendly-sounding name?
Update. Clicking on AmericanKratom.org now takes people to that url (it no longer goes AmericanBotanicals.org). Those typing searching for AmericanBotanicals.org are now redirected to AmericanKratom.org.
Is Kratom Legal In My State?
It depends on where you live. Currently, mitragyna is legal in most US states. States, where it is banned, include:
- Rhode Island
- Washington DC
In other states, it's not banned but some have pending legislation that would criminalize the growth and use of the plant. Around the world, mitragyna is illegal in some countries such as Thialand as well as Australia and Malaysia.
Kratom And The FDA
In 2014 the FDA sized over 5 million dollars worth of a product from a company in California citing that it deems this to be a compound “that poses a risk to public health and has the potential for abuse.” In January 2016, the FDA sized 90,000 bottles from another company.
The FDA is also detaining shipments of the product that attempt to enter the US. I have not yet seen mitragyna used in dietary supplements. I believe this may because the FDA considers it a new dietary ingredient.
A new dietary ingredient would be something that has not been in the general food supply for a long enough time to determine if it's safe or not. In cases like this, companies have to convince the FDA that new dietary ingredients are safe for humans – and by convince, I mean show them published clinical studies.
In 2017 the FDA issued a press release expression concern over the use of Kratom. The FDA has also advocated that kratom compounds chemically look like opioid pain revealing drugs.
While there are regions of the world where mitragyna has been used for a long time, I'm not aware of much in the way published human clinical trials.
Kratom And Exercise
Because mitragyna is supposed to have stimulating effects at low dosages, some might wonder if it would make a good pre-workout drink or something to add to a smoothie. I can tell you that I am not aware of any exercise-related research on this herbal preparation. I can't say if it would make someone last longer in the gym or run faster or longer. Based on that alone, I don't think it's worth spending money on.
As a side note, I'd mention that pre-workout supplements, in general, are mostly just caffeine and other ingredients that, for the most part, have little proof they work better than caffeine alone.
That said, a quick online search reveals several websites and videos where mitragyna is being marketed to bodybuilders with some saying it can improve:
- Mental focus
- Reduce appetite
- Boost metabolism
- Help fat loss
For all these claims and others, I can only say that human evidence for them is lacking. There are many different types (strains) of kratom out there. Different strains may have different active ingredients (there is more to this plant than just mitragynine). When human studies are published on its effects on exercise, I'll update this review.
What I can say is to be very careful experimenting that has sedative effects when lifting weights. In theory, the sedative properties of mitragyna could lead to injuries in the gym.
Kratom overdose has been implicated in the death of a 27-year-old police officer/armature bodybuilder.
Kratom And Diabetes
Can this herb help people with type II diabetes (the most common type)? Online people do discuss this. One study used to support this a rat cell study published back in 2008. Basically, this investigation noted mitragynine increased glucose uptake by cells. In theory, this would lead to lower blood sugar levels.
This sounds great, but this is a rat cell study. Yes, we share some DNA in common with rats but since we are not rats, this really isn't proof kratom helps humans with diabetes.
The best way to know is to give kratom to people with diabetes and test their blood sugar levels. To see if it might, I searched for proof it might help diabetes but do not turn up any evidence. There is no evidence mitragyna lowers AIC levels.
For the type II diabetics reading this, I can tell you there is hope but I don't feel its this herb. I have seen diabetes reversed in people. I've even seen it reversed in a quadriplegic! The key to reversing diabetes is not an herb or a supplement. It's exercise and more importantly, losing weight and eating better (fewer calories cut back on fast-acting carbs).
Does this work for everybody? No, but it works enough to make me want to tell you about it. The faster you catch type II diabetes, the better the odds of reversing it.
I've written this on the diabetes cure for more insights.
Is Kratom Addictive?
If Mitragyna speciosa can be used to help people wean off pain killers and other drugs, one wonders how difficult it might be to stop taking kratom after their withdrawal symptoms from the other drugs go away? In other words, is mitragyna addicting? The American Kratom Association's website says “Kratom is non-habit forming unless taken in extremely high doses for extended periods of time.”
Where is the clinical proof of this?
The Association goes on to say that when it is used in excess, “Kratom consumers may experience dependence, similar to caffeine dependence.”
How do they define “excess?” Is it 1 gram or 20 grams? They don't say.
The science page of the American Kratom Association does not provide any evidence showing withdrawal in humans is similar to caffeine withdrawal. See the side effects section below.
There does appear to be evidence some people can become addicted to mitragyna. In this 2014 report of 293 regular users, it was noted that more than half of those who regularly used kratom for more than 6 months, experienced “severe dependency problems.” Researchers also noted that 45% experienced “moderate” dependence.
A disturbing report comes from a 37-year-old teacher who was addicted to kratom for 2 years after taking it for carpal tunnel pain. Over time her dosage increased and each time she tried to detox from kratom she developed cravings for the herb, depression, and anxiety as well as blurred vision, loss of sleep, abdominal sweats, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Her appetite was reduced to the point where she lost weight. She admitted to hiding kratom around the house and having it shipped to a FedEx store out of fear her husband would discover her use. She feared shed lose her family if they continued to use.
Doctors in Canada reported the case of a pregnant woman who used kratom during pregnancy and up till she delivered. She was taking 18-20g of kratom powder 3 times a day (that's about 2.5 ounces a day). Two days after giving birth, her baby started having withdrawal symptoms including vomiting, irritability, jitteriness and problematic feeding. The baby had to be given morphine and eased off it to reduce the symptoms.
To me, this proves mitragyna is addicting.
Researchers in Malaysia looked at the severity of pain and sleep problems in 170 regular kratom users after they stopped using kratom tea/juice. They noted the following
- 84% experienced moderate pain
- 46% of people reported more sleeping problems
Pain that interfered with sleep was worse in those who consumed 4 or more glasses of kratom tea/juice per day (containing 76-115 mg of mitragynine). These effects were less in those who consumed 1-3 glasses of kratom tea/juice per day. The researchers concluded, “cessation from regular kratom tea/juice consumption is not associated with prolonged pain and sleep problems.”
Physical symptoms of withdrawal from mitragyna included muscle spasms and pain, sleeping difficulty, watery eyes/nose, hot flashes, fever, decreased appetite, and diarrhea. In the side effects section below, notice that one man spent $15,000 a year on kratom. That's a lot of money and it makes me wonder if addiction is a possibility, at least for some people. I believe more research needs to be done to better understand kratom addiction.
Kratom For Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is a disorder where people are in pain almost all the time. It's believed to be a disorder of the nerves. While the use of kratom among those with fibromyalgia is unknown, it does occur. In the report of the teacher addicted to kratom, described above, the woman admitted she was first given the herb by a fellow teacher who was using it to manage fibromyalgia pain.
Given that mitragynine may have multiple drug interactions, it's recommended people with fibromyalgia discuss thoughts of trying kratom use with their pharmacist and fibromyalgia doctor. This is the safest and wisest course of action.
See the ribose and fibromyalgia review for more insights.
Kratom Side Effects
Until good human studies are published, it's difficult to know what long term side effects might be. Much of the research involves lab animals and test-tube studies. Many of the proposed side effects discussed below come from case reports of single individuals. I think the side effects – and severity of them – would vary according to a number of factors such as:
- How long someone took it?
- How much active ingredients are in the product?
- What medications (legal and illegal drugs too) are also being used?
- What health conditions you have?
- Does the product contain anything else?
Generally, I would say that people should not drive while using mitragyna. I also don't believe women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should take it. I would not combine it with any prescription medication or illegal drugs or over the counter medications. It's also wise to stop taking mitragyna at least 2 weeks before having surgery.
There is at least 1 report of drunk driving while taking kratom.
At various websites that discuss this topic, some people claim mitragynine was associated with a variety of side effects ranging from constipation and itching to erectile dysfunction. I was not able to find human research to substantiate most of what I saw, however.
According to Wikipedia and this kratom review, several side effects from mitragyna may occur such as:
|Elevated heart rate||Elevated blood pressure||Trouble sleeping|
|Breathing problems||Liver toxicity||Dry mouth|
|small black feces||Anorexia/weight loss|
Again, the degree to which any of these symptoms are experienced, I believe, can be related at least in part, to the points mentioned above. In November 2017, the FDA reported it was aware of at least 36 deaths associated with this herb.
Here are some potential side effects and case reports that I was able to discover. I provide these in the hopes that they help others doing their own research as to whether this herbal preparation is right for them.
Researchers in Malaysia saw, for the most part, no significant differences in blood chemistry profiles when they tested 77 people (58 regular users and 19 healthy non-users). The only difference they noted was that kratom users had higher LDL (bad cholesterol) and HDL (good cholesterol). They also noted that long term use of kratom (more than 5 years) did not seem to negatively impact the blood of users.
This same research group published a paper of 19 regular kratom tea/juice users (more than 2 years) showing no change in testosterone levels when used at 76.23mg to 94.15mg per day.
Doctors in Oklahoma reported the case of a 42-year-old man with low sex drive and low energy and low testosterone and elevated prolactin levels. He was also a frequent user of kratom. After he stopped using the product, his testosterone and prolactin levels returned to normal.
At least one cast report notes hepatitis from drinking kratom herbal tea.
News reports linked kratom induced hemorrhagic pulmonary edema to the death of a 27-year-old police officer.
There is at least one case report of Posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome (Leukoencephalopathy) in a man who combined kratom with the ADHD medication, Adderall. Symptoms of this disorder include headaches, elevated blood pressure, seizures and changes in vision. A CT scan revealed a small hemorrhage in his brain.
Mitragynine appears to interfere with an enzyme called “P450” which is involved in the breakdown of many prescription medications. Because of this, people who take medications are highly advised to speak to their pharmacist and doctor first.
It's theorized that mitragynine may promote hypothyroidism in some people.
Some lab animal and test-tube studies have noted that mitragynine might raise blood pressure, impair learning and be harmful to the heart. Whether or not this occurs in people is open to debate and needs more study.
Kratom Side Effects
Most of whats known about the side effects come from those who were addmited to hospitals. Let's look at some of those reports below:
- A 25-year-old man developed liver problems after 2 weeks of use. He started out taking 1-2 teaspoons or kratom powder per day and later increased the amount to 4-6 teaspoons per day (about 14-21 grams a day). It was 5 days after he stopped taking mitragynine that he started having symptoms.
- Doctors in Florida reported the case of liver toxicity in a 38-year-old man. His liver symptoms improved after he stopped using this herb.
- A 64-year-old man developed seizures and went into a coma after using kratom tea, which he was using for chronic pain.
- This report reviews the deaths of 9 people who took a special blend called “Krypton” which is a combination of kratom and O-desmethyltramadol. The ingredient called O-desmethyltramadol is a metabolite of a narcotic pain medication called tramadol.
- This report reviews the death of a 17 year old man who had a history of drug abuse. The autopsy noted he also had taken over the counter cold medications and sleeping pills too.
- A 43-year-old man started using kratom to help him get off opiate pain medications. Since he did not experience any significant alertness from kratom, he decided to combine it with a drug called modafinil, which is used to improve wakefulness. As a side note, this particular man was spending $15,000 a year on kratom. As is reported in Scientific American, he suffered only a runny nose after he stopped taking kratom.
- This report mentions a possible association between kratom addiction and the development of hypothyroidism.
- Doctors in 2018 report how a baby developed withdrawal symptoms 2 days after being born to a mother who used kratom while pregnant.
- This 2014 article reports on the death of a 36-year-old man from Denver. His autopsy noted his cause of death as “apparent acute mitragynine toxicity.”
- In this report, a 44-year-old man developed withdrawal symptoms after halting his use of the product. His symptoms included anxiety, restlessness, tremor, sweating, and cravings for kratom.
One human study noted tongue numbness with mitragynine. This same study reported that blood pressures and heart rates appeared to increase about 8 hours after ingestion.
In a 2017 review of mitragynine clinical studies titled Biochemical Benefits, Diagnosis, and Clinical Risks Evaluation of Kratom, researchers noted that while there may be some benefits of kratom, they went on to say:
“it seems that its potential side effects outweigh the benefits, and severe and real health hazards can, insidiously, lead to death. Kratom clinical, psychological, and medical manifestations can be disturbing.”
Long term side effects of using kratom are unknown although the website DrugAbuse.gov does mention these potential outcomes:
|Skin darkening||Dry mouth||Frequent urination|
As can be seen in the comments section below, at least one long-time user has reported dramatic problems trying to sleep, after trying to stop taking kratom.
In 2017, FDA has stated that from 2010 -2015, kratom-related calls to Poison control centers have increased 10X. Their report goes on to say that “The FDA is aware of reports of 36 deaths associated with the use of kratom-containing products.”
When Forbes writer, David Disalvo, tried various blends of kratom for several weeks, he said he did not notice any significant side effects. See his website for his experiment.
All that said, here are some general precautions for those who use this compound. This list is not complete
- Stop taking kratom at least 2 weeks before having surgery
- Do NOT use kratom while pregnant or breastfeeding (your baby will become addicted)
- If you take ANY medications at all, speak to your pharmacist /doctor first.
- Caution in those who have GI problems.
Liver Problem From Kratom
Here's a quick rundown of reports of liver toxicity from kratom use. Some of these were reported above. Reports are listed here as well to make it easier to get to the information you are seeking.
A 25-year-old man in Germany was diagnosed with liver problems 2 weeks after starting kratom.
A 38-year-old man was diagnosed with liver problems while taking kratom
See the LiverTox website for more information.
Kratom Drug Interactions
Mitragynine seems to interfere with an enzyme involved in the breakdown and metabolism of many medications. Just some of the drugs that kratom may interfere with include:
|Anti-anxiety meds||Ulcer meds||HIV/AIDS meds|
|Blood thinner meds||Insomnia meds||Antibiotics|
|Blood pressure meds||Codeine||Viagra|
|Cholesterol medicine||Dementia meds||Anti-depressant meds|
As you can see, this is a big list. There are many others not listed here. To be safe, speak to your doctor and pharmacist if you take any medications -prescription or over-the-counter.
Can You Die From Kratom?
Some have died after taking kratom. Here's a short list:
Doctors in 2018 reported on the death of a 28 yr old man who used kratom within 24 hours of going to the ER. Within 12 hours of admission to the hospital, he died of heart and brain failure.
The death of a 36-year-old Denver Colorado man was attributed to kratom overdose. His cause of death was attributed to an “apparent acute mitragynine toxicity.” His family said he told him he was addicted after 3 weeks of us.
In a 2017 press release, the FDA said it was aware of 36 deaths linked to kratom.
Given the popularity of this herb, I think death is rare. But, it's serious enough to consider before experimenting with this herbal product.
In the majority of cases, deaths have been associated with people taking other drugs too. For more on this topic see this reveiw:
Can You Die From Kratom
Kratom Quality Control
As I was writing this review I spoke to a college student who told me he purchased kratom at a gas station! Was he really buying mitragyna speciosa or something else? I have no idea although I'd be cautious about buying mitragyna at gas stations. As this News broadcast tells us some products may contain no kratom :
Odds are that large stores like Walmart, CVS, RiteAid, Target, and Costco will not sell this mitragyna. Many people get it from smoke and vape shops. Even then, I still think it may be a challenge to know what you are buying.
There are many brands of Kratom out there. For example, just a few include:
- Maeng Da
- Hulu Kapuas
The plant can also be further classified by being red, white or green.
Are they all the same?
People online do discuss “fake or counterfeit kratom” but how prevalent this is, I can't say. So, how do you buy it from a company that you can trust to better your odds that you really are getting mitragyna and not a bogus or contaminated product? While nothing is foolproof, here are two things you can try that might help you in your research:
1. Google the address of the company. What do you see? Do you see an actual brick and mortar company that has its name atop a building? If yes that might be a good sign. Do you see a PO Box in the address? Do you see a strip mall where other businesses reside? If yes, that might not be a good sign.
2. Google the company name and the letters “FDA” and “FTC.” This can sometimes reveal if a company had any run-ins in the past with these agencies. I know not everybody reading this review will be fans of the FDA or FTC however, if you do this, you can read what the problems were. This can help you make a more informed decision.
Don't assume because some stranger on a YouTube video says it's safe and natural means it is. I really tried to find human research on mitragyna. What you read in this review is all the human evidence I could locate. I left nothing out to help you make the best decision for you.
Kratom & Salmonella
Adding to the controversy, on February 12th, 2018, the FDA learned of a multi-state outbreak of salmonella contamination in several brands of kratom pills, teas, and powders from many different companies. As of February 28th, the FDA found evidence of 40 people, in 27 states were sickened with salmonella after consuming This has resulted in several recalls. Here is a summary of those companies.
Here are some FDA press releases of brands which were recalled:
- Sunstone Organics recalls several lots of kratom products. Potential salmonella contamination (3/4/19)
- Blissful Remedies recalls kratom powder Lot No.: 112710. Potential salmonella contamination (7/3/18)
- Gaia Ethnobototanicals recalls powder products because of possible salmonella contamination (6/22/18)
- Precious Lion Recalls kratom due to potential salmonella contamination (5/24/18)
- Badger Botanicals recalls Red Suma, Green Suma, Green Hulu 2 and Red Hulu 2 because of Possible Salmonella contamination (5/7/18)
- Viable Solutions recalls kratom powder (4/20/18)
- NextGen Botanicals (NGB Corp) recalls Maeng Da Kratom possible salmonella contamination (4/19/18)
- Nutrizone Recalls Multiple Kratom Dietary Supplements (4/18/18)
- Club 13 recalls Kratom Maeng Da Red Powder and Capsules (April 5, 2018)**
- FDA Issues Mandatory Recall of Triangle Pharmanaturals kratom (April 3rd, 2018)
- Revibe, LLC kratom destroyed by CDC over salmonella contamination (4/3/18)
- Tamarack Inc. recalls kratom (march 23rd 2018)
- PDX Aramatics DBA Kraken Kratom expanded kratom recall (March 22, 2018)
** Kraken Kratom also goes by the names Phytoextractum and Soul Speciosa
As of April 5th 2018, the FDA reports “thirty-seven different kratom-containing products have been tested and reported positive for Salmonella.” That same day the FDA further reported that ” a total of 132 people infected with outbreak strains of Salmonella.” Furthermore, “Of those Thirty-eight people (40%) have been hospitalized. ”
On 4/3/18 The FDA ordered a mandatory recall of all powdered kratom from Triangle Pharmanaturals LLC. The FDA issued the mandatory recall after “Triangle Pharmanaturals refused to cooperate with the FDA despite repeated attempts to encourage voluntary recall.”
On April 17th, 2018, Triangle PharmaNaturals, voluntary recalled ALL of their kratom powders it manufactured between April 4th -April 17th, due to their potential to be contaminated with salmonella.
See the Company Review of Triangle PharmaNaturals.
So why so many recalls? Could it be the demand for the herb is greater than the ability of companies to ensure a quality product? Either way, don't buy mitragynine supplements based on fancy-sounding business names. Investigate who you do business with.
Kratom Salmonella Video
Here's a quick YouTube video I created on the Kratom recalls
Watch this video on YouTube if you prefer
Does Kratom Contain Psilocybin?
Psilocybin (say, sil-a-psy-been) is a psychedelic (causes hallucinations) compound found in some types of mushrooms. People use this stuff to get high. While I don't believe there is any psilocybin in kratom, people wonder if they can use both at the same time. I'm not aware of any research on this topic. Some discuss this question online and give opinions on what “worked for them” but remember following the dosage instructions from people you don't know may not be safe.
For the person reading this who wants to try this combination, the question you should ask yourself is why do you want to do this? Are you looking for a “better high” than either botanical would provide by itself? If yes, then, you may want to consider that you have a drug addiction problem. See the addiction section below.
Kratom And Drug Testing
Kratom contains many different compounds. So, I think whether or not it would show up on a drug test, would depend on if the drug test is specifically screening for any of the compounds in kratom.
Several websites I saw that discuss this say that kratom does not show up on most urinalysis drug screening tests. To me, most mean it might show up on some. For what it's worth, the Ireland drug information website notes Kratom can show up on urinalysis tests for at least 6 hours.
Online you can purchase at home kratom drug testing kits but I would not rely on those.
If drug testing is something you are worried about, I'd personally steer clear of this stuff. If you are going to use it anyway, you should ask whoever does the testing if they screen for kratom or its metabolites.
Does Kratom Work / Is It Safe?
Human research on Kratom is lacking. Even though the herb appears to offer some potential to help with pain and drug addiction, that research is in its infancy. As such, I think there a lot of unanswered questions about how kratom works, how much works, and what its side effects might be. Kratom can also be addicting. I won't preach. I've shown you the research. I'll simply leave you with these words: You are not an experiment.
Joseph Trybyszewski says
Thanks for your research on Kratom. I will tell you that this is a very interesting plant. I first experienced it when in Thailand. I wanted to take some of my Thai daughter-in-law’s nephews and nieces to a beach. It was 95% temp, 75% relative humidity. An uncle volunteered to drive us to the beach 100 KMs away in his van.
Well, about 20 minutes into this excursion, the uncle pulled a fresh kratom leaf out of his backpack (I knew about Kratom already and recognized the leaf as the real thing) and handed it to me, advising it would help with the heat. The kids were all so excited (LOUD), and with that noise and heat it was a bit uncomfortable, so I chewed this leaf. Within about 10 minutes the discomfort of being in a small van with 6 loud kids, and the temperature, was totally gone!
Since then I have ordered some online here in the US, and experienced similar effects. However, I have some of the same questions you have raised, mainly about the documentation of purity from suppliers (all is sold as a dried powder so you have no way of recognizing it like you would with a whole leaf), but also about addictive qualities. I can say I never used it more than a few days in a row, but after doing it just for that period, I experienced what I would consider mild withdrawal symptoms such as a bit of a flu-like illness.
So I welcome your cautionary comments.
When I partook of leaves in Thailand it was technically illegal. It is used by many blue-collar workers such as taxi and tuk-tuk drivers. MY research found that the Thai government made it illegal years ago based on a single study that concluded habitual use could lead to insanity! However, it has recently been legalized for medical use, presumably due to purported benefits for those trying to kick opiate addiction. The law against it was rarely if ever enforced anyway.
Joe Cannon says
Joseph, thanks for the info on Thailand’s laws on kratom. I’m starting to wonder if some of the toxicity issues surrounding kratom may be due to processing rather than taking it in its natural form as you did? Is it possible processing concentrates or adds something unintended? I’m not sure. Hopefully, we will one day have a better idea on kratom health effects and side effects.
I’ve read about Kratom and appreciate your review. What some people don’t realize is that you don’t give your OPINION, you give the facts, or lack of facts and research, and then each person can make their own decisions on whether to take this or not. I suffer from chronic pain 24/7 due to degenerative disease in my spine and joints from osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
The Health and Human Services, DEA, FDA, and our legislature have decided to ban opioid medications that they say have caused many deaths. However, in the HHS Policy Statement, they have lumped deaths from opioids taken by chronic pain patients being seen by qualified Pain Management physicians in with those deaths of HEROIN USERS, deaths of people taking opioids not prescribed to them, often mixed with other drugs, and who knows what else.
Because of this ban, I have been taken off the opioids I took for years that helped me manage my pain and live more of a normal life. Many, many people who have chronic pain have fared worse than me and have been taken off their opioids cold turkey. So they have turned to anything to help them-like Kratom or even Heroin.
I found a good Pain Management specialist after I moved from California to Wisconsin who changed me to less effective and much more expensive medications that are still opioid-based, but approved by the government. What is going on here? Who is benefitting? People in severe pain will try to find anything that will help them.
Opioids like Hydrocodone or Slow-Release Morphine that were used for decades for chronic pain patients, found to be safe by the FDA, are now being banned, so desperate people will look for unsafe ways to find help. Thanks, legislators. You can depend on the fact that THEY will be able to get ANYTHING THEY WANT if they have pain.
Joe Cannon says
Roseann, you bring up a good point about some people no longer being able to access opioid meds due to the bad publicity they are getting. I did not know they were lumping opioid deaths together with other drug overdoses. I can say I have never seen this angle of the story addressed in the news. Have you ever tried reaching out to your local TV news affiliate about this? Id bet they would be interested in doing a story about this. There is no doubt opioids help people like yourself. Reach out to your local TV networks about this. I have to believe they would be interested in this topic.
Joe, the people who have chronic pain know all about the inaccessibility of us being able to get the opioids that we had been getting for years, and so do our Pain Management physicians. Other doctors are afraid to prescribe opioids, even after surgery now, for fear of losing their licenses.
It’s something that’s been put into action under the “Opioid Crisis” for years. President Trump talks about the “Opioid Crisis”, but I believe all this started way before his administration. It’s just begun to horribly impact people with chronic pain the last couple of years. Anyone can read the policy statement of the Health and Human Services Department and see that they lump deaths from prescription opioid use in with deaths of heroin users. I’ll try to send a link.
That initial premise is absurd. My Pain Management physician, a doctor who is Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Pain Management, Sports Medicine, and Anesthesiology (4 Board certifications are the most I’ve ever seen) has been on Boards where Pain Management policies had been written in the past.
She said the government bureaucrats will not listen to the experts in policymaking or common sense.
Even if you could find a doctor who would write you a prescription for a medication like Hydrocodone, if a Pharmacist filled it, s/he could lose his or her Pharmacy license. There may be some exceptions, but this is the general rule of thumb for pain that is non-cancerous in source.
Yes, there have been many bad physicians and pill mills out there, where opioids were prescribed like candy. There were people who pretended to have pain and sold their opioids. Pain used to be “The Fifth Vital Sign” in hospitals, and pain relief was a big factor in patient care.
Now the pendulum has swung to the far extreme of never giving the old, tried and true and tested opioids. If you get any, they are brand new, expensive, and it’s unknown what the long-term side effects are.
I’m on Belbuca oral films that dissolve in my mouth. This drug, Buprenorphrine was first developed as an OPIOID to help people get off OPIOIDS, especially HEROIN!! ! It, too, is addictive. They gave it in pill form to recovering heroin addicts. I believe many people had a harder time trying to get off Buprenorphrine than they did their original opioid! The other I’m on is very new, Nucynta. It’s nowhere near as affective as plain old Hydrocodone was.
However, Hydrocodone was cheap, and Nucynta is very expensive. See where money is going?
And I have proven reasons for my pain. In fact, soon, I need to have a surgery to decompress the nerves in cervical vertebrae C-3,4,5,6. I’ve already had fusion surgery of L-4,5 and S-1, but I still have pain. Some people, like those who have fibromyalgia, may have no MRI evidence of where the pain is, but their pain is very real. Mainly, they are looked at by doctors as seeking opioids whenever they look for help nowadays.
I can guarantee that if every legislator, bureaucrat, policy-maker, and doctor felt the pain we suffer for a month, this whole OPIOID CRISIS DEAL would not be what it is today. There need to be changes to keep opioids out of the wrong hands, yet still prescribe them to people who desperately need them.
And pain patients ARE turning to whatever will help them. That’s why CBD oil and anything to do with marijuana and THC can be priced sky-high. A policeman in my tiny hometown in WI told a friend of mine that heroin is readily available, is cheap, and is a very big problem in a town of less than 1500 people. So heroin floods in to our country, but I couldn’t get a Hydrocodone if I begged for it. This is how it is for people with pain in the USA Today.
Joe Cannon says
Roseann, I feel just awful you are getting caught up in the opioid crisis. did your pain doctor give you an excuse why he was not longer giving you opioids or just say “this is better” or did he say hed lose his medical license if he did? I did not know about the pharmacist angle either. Id bet those politicians who are in pain ARE getting opioids to manage it.
I still think going to your local TV reporters about this would help put pressure on politicians. If you tell me the names of your stations I can see if I can find reporters in your area for you to reach out to.
Dear Joe, I can look up reporters, but thank you so much. Actually, I would DIE if I happened to be interviewed now. I’ve been on steroids for 2 total months, and actually needlessly as it turned out. That’s a long story. But from the Prednisone I’ve become the heaviest I have ever been, with a moon face besides. It’s depressing.
But it’s not just me. Millions of people are in my situation, some much worse off than I am. Many have had their opioids cut off cold turkey. I, at least, was in a good Pain Management Clinic in California, and I’m being seen now in Wisconsin by a very qualified and caring Pain Management physician. Both places and physicians told me outright that the government was cracking down on opioid prescriptions, monitoring Pain Management doctors and Pharmacists, and dictating what could or could not be prescribed.
An Advanced Practice RN at the CA Clinic was the one who first told me about 3 years ago about the crackdown and the fact that if doctors wouldn’t follow the regulations, their licenses would be taken from them. My Pain Management doctor now said that she does not agree with many of the way extreme policies dictated by these bureaucrats in HHS, DEA And other agencies.
She’s the one who was on major committees making policies and procedures for Pain Clinics before the government got involved in making decisions that doctors should make. I’m a retired RN, so I know the Catch-22 that doctors and pharmacists are in. Many other patients blame the doctors, but it’s not the doctors’ fault at all. Government doctors’ faults, but not our local MD’s.
But thinking about publicity, maybe I could write an article about “The Other Side of the Story” regarding the impact of this so-called “Opioid Crisis” on chronic pain patients. My sister in law, who also has chronic pain, knows a man who committed suicide because of pain and no pain relief. She knew him personally.
Joe, there HAS been an abuse of opioids, no doubt about that. But to take it to this extreme is unbelievable in the United States, when doctors can no longer prescribe what they think is best and bureaucrats run the show.
Joe Cannon says
Roseann, that is so amazing. I can say I’ve never heard anything about this. So sad about you the friend of your sister in law. If you wanted to write an op-ed piece on this I’ll be glad to post it on my Joe-Cannon.com website. Have you been able to get out to the pool yet?
Hi Joe, no I’ve not been to the pool yet. I have a fracture in a small, but weight bearing, bone in my ankle, so I’m wearing a knee-high HEAVY boot and am not to put any weight on the foot for a month. Until the end of February.
Wow! I better write a good Op-Ed piece. As you can see from my replies above, I can be long-winded. Thank you for caring.
Joe Cannon says
Roseann, do take your time since you are wearing the heavy boot. Long winded is good for reviews -Im that way myself 🙂
The “attempt” at being unbiased in this article is commendable however the intent shines through clearly.
Why are folks interested in illegalizing things like this?
Most common response …..um, takes kids lives.
Ok, show me your similar efforts to ban swimming pools and beaches.
…. Now back to “why”
What’s your reason??….
There’s a game being played here folks and I can assure you it has NOTHING to do with their concern for other people’s health, happiness or life.
Fishing perhaps for feul for their game? Idk….let’s see the answer to the “why” they are even cinsidering bans, illegalizing, control etc. What’s the motivation?
It’s a BS world out there, sorry. Those research reports you give so much credence to can be just as faked (and many often are) as anecdotal reports in order to meet the funder’s objectives, believe me I know.
Nothing is as it seems. So why all of this over an herb that helps most people? Please, tell me because you care about other’s lives, lol. Then show me what else you’re working so hard to correct that actually does have real negative impact on the world.
Last I recall, not too many people needing pain killers or antianxiety meds who are committing many crimes or harming others in society. In fact I believe it keeps people going who would otherwise be hopeless, destitute and on welfare and many from dying of pain/stress related disorders.
Banning or even just regulating would drive a good portion of society to hopelessness, suicide, welfare and our own economical decay.
So again why is this an issue? Think.
Tfrog, I did not advocate for regulating kratom. I do believe you deserve better research. I also feel companies which make kratom should do a better job at policing themselves so you get a product that does not contain toxins like salmonella.
The research I presented and comments posted here do tell me kratom can become addictive. If regulating kratom would leave a portion of society hopeless and suicidal as you say, then you may have just agreed with me that kratom can be addictive.
Dave Dumas says
I think that Kratom is like every other drug in the world. Not great for everybody. Personally, it has changed my life for the better. I won’t go into all my medical issues, but I will say that I am much more active and interested in life.
I take 2 grams of powder that I incapsulate myself, 4-5 times a day. I have felt no desire to increase this, even after daily use for 6 months now. I occasionally take 1-2 days off just because I think that’s responsibly necessarily to check for addiction, and give my body a break if they is any cumulative toxicity.
I’d like to address comments about people reporting negative experience. If you’re already taking prescription drugs, Kratom may have interactions. If you’re looking to get high by taking excessive amounts of anything, you deserve what you get.
If you’re a first time user, of anything for that matter, start with the smallest possible dose and wait. You shouldn’t be in a hurry for results. As with most things, moderation and mindful intention are critical.
My hope is that the medical community will overcome the deliberate reluctance of the FDA to do research on this medicine, and do what will benefit humanity. It’s time for less addictive and harmful medicines to control pain, depression, anxiety and the dependence that these drugs have created for hundreds of years.
Thanks for being open minded enough to publish this and read my comment.
Hi Dave, thanks for sharing your thoughtful comment. I’m glad to hear you are getting some good results with kratom with no side effects. It sounds like you are doing everything right and I really do appreciate your tip on what someone should do when first starting kratom. I could not have said it better myself.
My daughter has been taking Kratom for 2 years now. She has bought in powder form bulk over the internet. She fills large capsules with the powder and takes many pills daily. She feels she is on her game, she said she feels more attentive, more energy and successful weight loss.
Initially, she said she would not stop taking the capsules because she did not want to gain the weight back. She did eventually gain a few pounds back. Her moods are all over the place. Her memory is horrible, especially short term. If you tell her about a school event or appointment for her kids, the next day she will not remember what you said and if you do say we just talked about this, she has become raged and swear at you. She may call you names and cuss in front of kids, then call you 2 days later as if nothing ever happened.
I cannot tell you how many countless times she is literally all over the place, pressured speech, snaps at kids, has a blow up over nothing and talks 90 miles an hour and the next day would deny the things she said and treat you as if you are annoying. Very heartbreaking. The same effect she had when she abused Tramadol and Hydros.
She did finally admit several months back to being addicted to Kratom. She has had withdrawal symptoms of nausea, constipation, mood swings and sweating. Her previous drugs of choice were Tramadol, Xanax, and Hydros. Only Tramadol was ever prescribed after an injury. That was a nightmare.
Now with her consistent Kratom abuse, it has become very sad. She said she is fine and it is legal! She would have Kratom before she would buy milk. Of course, cigarettes and wine too. I am sure she does not want to experience the withdrawal symptoms and does deny any of the above-mentioned behaviors.
I have heard that denial talk for years, Spoken like a true addict- I could list many instances that would blow your mind but enough said. I do hope Kratom is pulled as I have heard other stories of its effects and read some stories of the addiction to Kratom. However, it will still be available online so I don’t know what will happen.
I have been around addiction for many years and I know this will be hard for my daughter to wean herself off of the Kratom and claim her life back. Sadly, this will have to be her choice.
Oh Helen, I am sorry to hear what your daughter – and you and the your family -are going through. While I have heard from people who swear it has helped them, I have come to believe kratom can be addictive. But, I also have my doubts it will be made illegal US wide. I don’t think many of our political leaders have the backbone to make it so. Maybe they will read your words and think otherwise. I will say a prayer tonight for your family that your daughter gets the help she needs.
My heart goes out to her, for I too am addicted to kratom. I decided to try it for pain relief (migraines and fibromyalgia), and to help with weight loss. It helped me focus, I had a lot less headaches and pain, and it suppressed my appetite too!!
After about 4-6 months I started having some of the side effects, such as (tinnitus) ringing in the ears, involuntary muscles jerking and problems with my focus, as if my eyes were wobbling. I tried to decrease my dose, only to have withdrawal symptoms before my next dose was due.
I am at a point that I am physically ill from it, but have very bad withdrawals without it. Basically I’m one hot mess due to this so-called miracle plant!! I think it has it’s uses, however I wish people would get real about the abuse and addiction potential.
I find that there’s a lot of sugar-coating about kratom, and it’s misleading to those of us who suffer from addiction issues.
Also I’ve read tons of stories on the quitting kratom subredditt, and these are people from all walks of life, I myself am an R.N., and now that I have read a lot about kratom, I think it’s one scary plant…
Hi Stephanie, I really thank you for sharing your experience and am so very sorry to hear of your kratom addiction. I’ve come to the conclusion the information on kratom is very much as you say – sugar coated. Much of this is by people who don’t know what they are talking about -and also because of the potential for money to be made. It’s just sad.
You mentioned Tinnitus. This is something I suffer with. In case you missed it here are some tinnitus reviews Ive created
Tinnitus 911 Review
Supplements for Tinnitus: My quest to find a cure
About your fibromyalgia, have you ever looked at Ribose? Its a type of sugar. There is some fibromyalgia research. Here is my review
Ribose Fibromyalgia Review
I do wish the ribose research was better but it is intriguing – especially the report from the doctor who had fibromyalgia.
As an RN, is there anyone you can talk to about trying to get off kratom? I’m wondering if opioid withdrawal protocols may be of help?
Hi Stephanie, I am an RN, too. I have chronic pain also and have been taken off the opioids that used to help me in the last because of this so-called “Opioid Crisis”. I believe that is why desperate people are turning to Kratom and other dangerous things. Because our doctors can no longer prescribe the opioids that used to help us.
The Health and Human Services Policy statement on the “Opioid Crisis” lumps us, chronic pain patients, in with Heroin addicts when they count up deaths from opioids!! How wrong is that?? I surely hope you are OK today.
Kratom is the only thing that has allowed me to have a fairly normal life. My husband is a teacher so we have excellent insurance. I tried everything under the sun for 10 years. It wasn’t until I found Kratom that I was able to have a quality life and give my family the mom and wife they deserve.
Life for 8 years before taking Kratom
*taking 11 medications including prescribed dilaudid and fentanyl
*Using a wheelchair and walker
*rarely left the house
*couldnt go see my mom after she went to the nursing home for 3 years
*missed out on ALL activities my kids had at school
*i had no relationships with my kids
I have been taking KRATOM now for 4 years and this is my life now
* taking ZERO medications and my dr approves of Kratom
* I bike several miles a day through a nature preserve near our home or walk 2 miles a day.
*go out to places several times a week for dinner, coffee etc
*I see my mom every other week now
* I went on a family camping and road trip from Michigan to Wyoming for the solar eclipse where I even did some rock climbing
* I have been able to get to know my kids and establish a relationship. I am so lucky they all go to local colleges or I never would have gotten to know them.
And with the Christmas season I went to 4 events a week in months of November and December.
Last month for two weekends I went to a Barbershop chorus and quartet competition and the to a sweet Adeline’s chorus and quartet competition. My kids and husband are in these. I had a blast. Very tiring as we stayed up till the wee hours of the morning singing tags in stairwells, elevators, hotel parking lot and even serenaded a 4 couples coming to the hotel after just getting married.
I enjoyed Mother’s Day very much. Went to a Caberet show where my sons quartet was featured. I was able to go see my mom. Because of how sick I was for years I wasn’t able to see my mom. The times I was able to manage it I was anxiously waiting to go home. Not so anymore because of Kratom.
I am now planning our family camping trip from Michigan to Nebraska. We will be dry camping and really roughing it as we will be with amateur astrophotographers and no lights are allowed at night.
My doctor and my family supports me taking Kratom. My husband and kids even go to Congressmens office to talk about Kratom and garner their support to keep it legal. They don’t want to loose me again. So for me KRATOM SAVED my family.
Hi Melody, may I ask for what medical reasons were you taking the medications? Just curious what made you so incapacitated.