Farmers, plantation workers, and seafarers in Southeast Asia have used Mitragyna speciosa leaves purchased from local kratom vendors since at least the 19th century to achieve what they report as energy boosts and reduced sensations of pain. Students in Malaysia are also known to buy air ketum (kratom tea) from kratom vendors on street corners with claims that it helps them focus better at school.
In 200+ years of use, kratom has not been known to cause a single death in its native context. So why is kratom being implicated in deaths around the world today and how can you keep yourself safe?
A Brief History of Kratom Vendors in the United States
According to the fact sheet published by the American Kratom Association, Mitragyna speciosa first became known in the United States after the Vietnam War when an influx of Southeast Asian immigrants arrived and returning soldiers wished to continue their newly-acquired kratom habit at home. At this time, the herb was typically supplied through the users’ personal contacts back in Southeast Asia and in ethnic delis that stocked Southeast Asian products.
Fast-forward to the year 2018 and the number of kratom users in the United States had increased to an estimated 5 million people — thanks to the increased availability of the herb at smoke shops and from several online kratom vendors. No longer was this leaf an obscure ethnic herb that few people even knew about, Mitragyna speciosa was now being used informally to reportedly address pain relief, to reduce anxiety, and to replace expensive and highly-addictive prescription opioids like morphine and oxycodone.
Kratom Gets A Bad Name
Along with the growth in kratom vendors and kratom sales came an increase in calls to poison control centers around the country. Furthermore, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported that Mitragyna speciosa had caused nine deaths in Sweden.
What the FDA didn’t know (or bother to investigate) was the fact that the deaths being attributed to kratom actually involved a product called Krypton, which was made from kratom powder that the kratom vendor had intentionally laced with a toxic amount of Odesmethyltramadol — an opioid analgesic and the primary metabolite in the pain medication tramadol.
Further “Kratom Deaths” Explained
35 other “kratom deaths” cited by the FDA in 2018 similarly involved the use of adulterated kratom, multiple drugs taken together, or an underlying medical condition. Such adulterated kratom powders had been mixed with opioids like heroin, morphine, and fentanyl — all the while being sold by kratom vendors as if they only contained pure kratom. Several batches of “pure kratom” were also found to be contaminated with salmonella — yet another blow to those seeking safe, pure kratom products.
Protect Yourself by Purchasing Lab-Tested Kratom
Koko Kratom stands out among the online kratom vendors who claim to sell premium kratom by having every batch of our powder lab-tested for alkaloid levels and contaminants.
As a kratom vendor who cares about your safety, Koko Kratom that goes to great lengths to ensure your kratom is free from:
- Added prescription and illicit opioids
- Added alkaloid extracts, including pure mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine
- Pesticides and heavy metals
- Bacterial contamination, including salmonella