What is often being represented in the media as a dangerous and addictive drug is — in its pure form — a mood-enhancing leaf that has been used for centuries by the people of Thailand and Malaysia.
Kratom Use Among Laborers
Traditionally, the use of kratom was mainly common among males who worked as farmers, fishermen, and rubber-tappers. These men would chew on the fresh or dried leaves 3 – 10 times per day to increase their stamina and calm the pain of their aching muscles. In fact, kratom use became so closely associated with hard work that being a “kratom user” was considered a positive trait in men.
Kratom Leaves in Folk Medicine
In rural areas of Southeast Asia, kratom uses were much more varied with the leaf being used to stop diarrhea, lower a fever, treat wounds, and even as a way to prevent and manage diabetes. The leaf would typically be chewed or brewed into a tea, and in Malaysia, kratom was even smoked together with dried cow dung!
Kratom for Opiate Withdrawal
The other most notable use of kratom in its region of origin was to reduce morphine dependence in Thailand and opiate dependence in Malaysia. The alkaloids mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine in the kratom leaf work on the opioid receptors in the brain in a similar way to opioid compounds (like morphine and oxycodone). This means that using kratom not only lowers sensations of pain and physical discomfort but can also reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms.
Kratom’s Transformation into a Recreational Drug
More recently, new uses of kratom have emerged that depart from the safety of long-time traditions. In the United States, the arrival of Mitragyna speciosa in the early 2010s provided a new “legal high” that became popular among recreational drug users and brought the substance into disrepute.
Some of the recreational kratom users began mixing kratom with cannabis, illicit and over-the-counter drugs like opioids, benzodiazepines, and cough medicine. Unfortunately, the mixing of substances and kratom overdoses led to reports of toxicity and almost saw mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine placed on the emergency drug schedule with the DEA. This move resulted in a huge outcry from medicinal kratom users who claimed that the herb had changed their lives for the better.
Today, kratom is legal in 4 states, semi-legal in 40 states, and banned outright in 6 states. Organizations like the American Kratom Association are working to have the plant legalized across the country and regulated for safety and purity.
Taking Kratom Back to its Roots
While we don’t have access to fresh kratom leaves here in the United States, the team at Koko Kratom is doing all we can to provide pure, all-natural kratom leaf powder and educate our customers about the medicinal uses of kratom. Learn more about our company by reading our story and shop our premium lab-tested kratom today!