Kratom, or Mitragyna speciosa, is a tall, evergreen tree that grows in the jungles of Southeast Asia and belongs to the genus Rubiaceae (the coffee family). Now consumed by an estimated 15 million Americans on a daily basis, the Mitragyna speciosa leaf has sparked a hot debate between kratom enthusiasts and the FDA ‘ the government body responsible for approving drugs, biologics, and food additives in the United States.
One of the central issues to this nation-wide debate is the question ‘Is kratom addictive?’ Read on to discover the latest research findings about the effects of kratom.
Why Are the DEA and FDA Concerned about the Effects of Kratom?
While kratom is neither a food substance nor a standardized drug, the leaf does contain alkaloids that demonstrate psychoactive effects ‘ including the plant’s primary alkaloid mitragynine and second most influential alkaloid, 7-hydroxymitragynine.’
Rising numbers of calls to poison control centers and a small number of supposed ‘kratom-related’ deaths in the early to mid 2010s raised suspicion about the possibility that kratom might be addictive, and in 2016, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) along with the FDA tried to effect an emergency scheduling of kratom with the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).
The Factors that Place a Substance on the Schedule
In order to place any drug or substance on Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, the substance must meet the following criteria:
- Must have a high potential for abuse
- Must have no currently accepted medical use for treatment in the United States
- Must have a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision
The first factor ‘ ‘[the substance’s] actual or relative potential for abuse’ is one that the DEA was taking into consideration at the time of the announcement about kratom. However, scientists have only more recently been able to examine the effects of both mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine in kratom to determine if (and why) kratom is addictive.
Does the Research Show that Kratom Is Addictive?
In 2018, a groundbreaking study published by Scott E. Hemby measured the behavior of morphine-addicted rats after prior administration with either mitragynine (MG) or 7-hydroxymitragynine (7-HMG) to show whether kratom is or isn’t addictive.
While both of these alkaloids were previously thought to be habit-forming, the results of the study actually showed that this is not the case. In the experiment, rats who had previously received a dose of 7-HMG self-injected with more 7-HMG and increased their self-administration of morphine after exposure to 7-HMG. In contrast, rats who had been exposed to MG did not keep coming back for MG as a morphine substitute and actually decreased self-administration of morphine after exposure to MG.
Implications of the Hemby Study for Enjoying the Effects of Kratom Responsibly
For kratom enthusiasts wondering if kratom is addictive, this 2018 study has important implications:
- Legislators and members of the FDA need to be told about the Hemby study so that mitragynine can be studied for its potential as a withdrawal supplement and not scheduled on the CSA as a substance of abuse.
- Levels of 7-hydroxymitragynine should be tested in every batch of kratom marketed for sale to make sure that the alkaloid doesn’t exceed 2% of the powder’s total alkaloid content (as specified in the Kratom Consumer Protection Act).
- As a consumer, avoid any ‘enhanced’ kratom products that contain added alkaloids and purchase only pure, lab-tested premium kratom.
- If taking kratom on a regular basis, take a common sense approach by sticking to the minimum effective dosage, varying your strains, and taking frequent tolerance breaks.’
Support Kratom Transparency with Koko Kratom
At Koko Kratom, our mission is to provide the purest, safest kratom available online and answer kratom-related questions like ‘Is kratom addictive?’. While we test every batch for alkaloid levels and contaminants, this natural product will inevitably vary in its quality and aroma, that’s why we offer a 30-day satisfaction guarantee.’
Learn more about Koko Kratom here and spend $50 or more on our farm-fresh white-vein kratom, green-vein kratom, red-vein kratom, and special blends before 5pm Mon ‘ Fri CST to receive free, same-day shipping within the United States.
**Please note that our kratom is not FDA approved for human consumption and we make no medical claims about our kratom.