Kratom — a New Reefer Madness for the 21st Century
Kratom — a New Reefer Madness for the 21st Century
Kratom — the Truth Behind the Hype of a Natural Herb
Is the United States federal government about to take Kratom into next-generation Reefer Madness?
Maybe. Kratom’s currently a coin held in the palm of the DEA — ready to flip. And while so far it’s legal in the US, don’t hold your breath.
Already, the Feds are practically calling heads — on a two headed coin. The FDA describes Kratom as an “opioid.” In November of 2018, the Department of Health and Human Services recommended classifying Kratom as a Schedule 1 narcotic, i.e. it as a “high potential for abuse” and “no currently accepted medical use,” right up there with heroin, cocaine, and — cough cough (bullshit) marijuana.
All that for a natural herb, used for millennia to treat everything from addiction to diarrhea to anxiety and depression management?
Do you smell something funny — or is it something I ate?
Time to Crack Open a Window?
The jig is rigged, and the game is almost up. But before the DEA or Congress rips some seriously toxic fragrance, let’s back up and breathe a little fresh air.
Kratom is a green powder supplement made from mashed leaves from the tropical tree Mitragyna speciosa, a coffee cousin grown in the forests of Southeast Asia. Traditionally, its green leaves are handpicked and dried in the sun — brewed as a tea or ground up and swallowed with water. About 4 million people are estimated to use Kratom in the U.S.
Humanity’s use of Kratom as a medicine is at least as old as the New Testament and then some. Peasants in Thailand chew it up to 10 times a day to work in the hot sun. Kratom has been used as a sedative replacement for opium in Malaysia. Some even spread it on their belly to drive out worms.
Perhaps Kratom’s a perfect prescription for Congressional constipation — an abdominal Kratom belly rub for the Soul, if you will?
Bernie Sanders happens to be a fan of Kratom. The presidential candidate has asked the D.E.A. not to restrict the supplement without careful deliberation, citing “the long reported history of Kratom use, coupled with the public’s sentiment that it is a safe alternative to prescription opioids.”
Because in addition to relieving the body of worms and politicians, Kratom is also great for treating opioid withdrawal, boosting energy, and providing pain relief. Kratom is so good for this, we wouldn’t be surprised if jazz musicians dedicated trombone solos to a little Kratom in the moonlight. Who knows?
So What’s the Hype About, Really?
Is Kratom safe?
About 91 people have supposedly died from using Kratom — perhaps some of the suburban kids whose moms donate dutifully to congressional political campaigns.
Take another deep breath and step back. Over 72,000 people died in the U.S. from drug overdoses in 2017 — more dead Americans in a single year than the entire Vietnam War. That number is driven by an increased use of opioids and an increased presence of Fentanyl on the black market — not to mention drug companies peddling Oxycontin like federally approved Captain America Pez dispensers.
Always read the fine print — almost all of those 91 deaths involved another toxic substance, usually Fentanyl, a powerful opioid with an overwhelming epidemic of overdose. Did we mention that many people turn to Kratom to ease addiction withdrawal? Turns out that Fentanyl was listed as the cause of death in at least half of those Kratom deaths. A quarter of Kratom deaths actually list other prescription opioids, heroin and benzodiazepines like Valium as the cause of death.
In only 7 of those deaths was Kratom the only substance found, though the C.D.C. still cannot rule out the presence of other toxic substances.
Lightning — hell, even Bonanza reruns — kill more people every year. Will politicians next ban summer thunderstorms and late night cable TV? Maybe. That might actually save more lives than outlawing a natural plant that some people use to keep from shitting themselves.
Game of Porcelain Thrones
Governmental overreaction has an interesting and shittastic history in lots of things — including Kratom.
In the early 9140s, the government in Thailand had a problem. Too many people were getting off smack. Opium addicts were instead turning to Kratom — an unregulated herb — and abandoning opium, which was the Thai government’s drug of choice that it depended on for tax revenue.
So the Thai government outlawed Kratom.
Today, Oxycontin is a $17.82 billion dollar industry. And pharmaceutical companies donated nearly $30 million to congressional political campaigns last year alone. That just happens to be enough money to buy 1 million acres of the Moon on Lunarland.com. Coincidence?
History doesn’t always repeat — but it certainly rhymes expectatives like the Notorious B.I.G. with a billion dollar bank roll stuffed down the front of its pants.
Moderation (in Moderation)
We’re not saying Kratom is the new Flintstone vitamin. We’re just calling for a little common sense.
Like everything else on the planet Earth, Kratom certainly has its caveats and side effects. So does water — drink too much, you’ll drown.
Heavy use of Kratom can cause health problems. It has been associated with racing heart problems and irritability, drowsiness, and respiratory depression. Conversely, it’s also been known to cause occasional sleep problems and hypotension. Regular kratom use after 2 to 8 weeks could lead to symptoms of nausea, itching, or abdominal pain.
Ragtime Badu — a Heroine in Knee High Boots & a Cape?
Kratom has not been found to be fatal, even at high doses. “…No fatalities were recorded in rats given 1000 mg/kg oral doses of kratom leaf extract or 806 mg/kg isolated mitragynine. Rhesus monkeys injected with 9.2 mg/kg mitragynine also presented no fatalities,” reports the Third Wave.
But Kratom does happen to be one of the most effective herbal analgesics, second only to opium — 13 times more potent than morphine but less addictive. Withdrawal symptoms from Kratom are also far milder and more short-lived. Among other benefits, Kratom could one day replace methadone as a treatment for heroin addiction.
Jazz also has a history of making politicians nervous — all those ragtime piano solos in living rooms driving suburban parents crazy. Perhaps Kartom is a Bonobos 12-inch vinyl remix — Reefer Madness overdubbed to 1920’s Jelly Roll Morton, with hip-hop by Erykah Badu and rhymes so fat they might as well be against the law.
Keep listening. Kratom’s beat is about to drop.
Wordsmith SpecialistA freelance writer for hire, Matt Gallagher is the face and voice behind Web Copy Magician. He enjoys Bear Blend as a tea to spiritually reconnect with nature and the therapeutic wonders of chlorophyll.
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