09 Mar Does Kratom Really Have Opioids In It?
You may have heard of kratom, the alternative and allegedly all-natural pain reliever. At Integrated Pain Consultants, patients often ask for non-addictive, organic alternatives for pain relief, and that’s a smart approach to take. Usually, you’ll find kratom in smoke shops (both tobacco and recreational marijuana shops). Kratom is an herbal drug derived from the kratom tree, common in Southeast Asia (especially in areas growing coffee). It gained popularity in recent years, but the latest news is that it contains opioids. Does it?
Does Kratom Contain Opioids?
There’s no straight answer. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says that kratom is in the opioids category, but what defines an opioid? In early February 2018, FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb made headlines when he referenced a new research study on kratom compounds that suggests kratom impacts the body just like opioids. FDA researchers determined that the majority of compounds in kratom link to the same opioid receptors in the body as the highly addictive opioid drug. According to Dr. Gottlieb, the FDA has secured 44 reports of deaths linked to kratom.
Uses For Kratom: Anxiety, Depression, and More
Kratom supporters, some of whom have taken the herb for years, say that it helps with anxiety, depression, and pain depending on the strain (kind of like marijuana, kratom can allegedly treat various elements depending on what kind of kratom leaves are used). Some scientists have hailed kratom as a safe alternative to opioids. However, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has pushed for the ban of kratom since autumn 2017. The agency called it an “imminent hazard to public safety” and pushed to make it a Schedule 1 drug. Schedule 1 drugs are the “hardest” and include heroin, ecstasy – and marijuana. One person’s, or agency’s, definition of a “hard drug” is subjective.
Congress members encouraged the DEA to put the ban on the backburner so the public could have input. Unsurprisingly, the input has been mixed. It was the DEA that asked the FDA to prioritize a study on kratom, claiming it has a high risk of abuse and no medical benefits. Kratom supporters rallied together and gathered over 142,000 signatures for a petition demanding the agencies reconsider their stance.
Alternative Pain Management at Integrated Pain Consultants
Fortunately, there is a myriad of alternatives to pain management. Even as kratom is under the microscope, patients have options to treat pain that don’t include opioids. Contact Integrated Pain Consultants and book your appointment online. We also invite you to learn more about Dr. Nikesh Seth and other providers including Dr. Anne-Marie Cosijns, Dr. Lisa Sparks, Dr. Michael Givens, and our team of Nurse Practitioners.