We are happy to announce our new brand. Even better than before and here’s a new strain too. Enjoy. To order go to Get Kratom Here.com
June 21, 2016
New Yellow Vietnam Kratom Strain is one of the newest additions to the Kratom strains. This new strain has instantly grabbed the attenti
on of many Kratom users and has now gained a long list of enthusiastic followers. It may sound strange to call the Vietnam new strains since Southeast Asia is the country where a majority of Kratom strains are being sourced from.
Kratom plants were thriving in Southeast Asia way before the Vietnam strains were discovered over 5,000 years ago. As long as there are Asian cultures in the area, the Kratom plant has been used for a wide range of medicinal purposes. Until currently, Kratom leaves weren’t harvested from Vietnam and were not being available for the users in the Western World including the US. Today users from all over the world can give a try to this strain and benefit from it.
Where In Vietnam The Growing Kratom Can Be Attained?
Located in beautiful 200 miles long scenery of dense forest along the Mekong River, the large number of Kratom plants offers a never ending supply of health and beneficial Kratom leaves. The Giang province Capital Long Xuyen is an attractive location for exporting rice. It just recently turned into a place for exporting and harvesting the Kratom herb.
The weather conditions in this area are the main factors in making high-quality Kratom plant. These factors include appropriate elevation, humidity, river proximity, and mineral-rich local soil. Kratom plants that flourish in such surroundings are extensively practical to feature 20% more alkaloids than other Kratom plants from other areas.
Such alkaloids are what make this Kratom plant so powerful in offering elements that can elevate mood and have healing properties. For the first time, the New Yellow Vietnam Kratom Strain is making its way to the other parts of the world where it is being welcomed by the Kratom fans.
Known Effects Of The Yellow Vietnam Kratom
With the increasing number of Kratom enthusiasts they now get a chance to get their hands on the Yellow Vietnam Kratom Strain, the strain is receiving serious praise. The Vietnam Kratom is offering highly enjoyable and sophisticated effects for both the body and mind.
Kratom users have listed a complete sensation with the whole experience of the Yellow Vietnam Strain and included these effects:
A balance in terms of energy and calmness
The best mind clearing effect
Soothes the stomach
Elevates the mood
Heightens the visual perception
No bitter taste
Comparing Yellow Vietnam Kratom With Maeng Da
The other Kratom strain that has been the best and a hit on every Kratom users list is the Maeng Da for its popular effects like strength and intensity. But how does it compete with the Yellow Vietnam Kratom Strain? Both offer high alkaloid content. When both compared to each other Kratom users find them both calming and soothing varieties. Maeng Da is often considered to be a highly powerful, stimulating and energizing. Vietnam Kratom strains have been experimented to have pain relieve characteristic and a feeling of bliss. But definitely, the most important factor is person body chemistry mixed with the taste preferences and depends on the Kratom user.
Is Kratom Legal In Vietnam?
It’s very unfortunate but the ironic twist is that the Kratom plant grows in abundance is illegal to utilize in areas where it is grown for more than centuries. Information on whether the Kratom is legal in Vietnam is still tricky. Some reports state that taking Kratom in the form of powder in some countries is illegal. The other states that the ban is merely a law which has not been implemented yet.
Though considered to be very rare, leaves and powder Kratom from Vietnam are now widely available in international market. This outstanding strain mixed with its suitable environment and geography from where it originated, is a new experience and option for Kratom lovers in the Western world. You can take it in the form of a capsule which is available with some of the vendors online or you can take it in the powder form.
Thanks to all of you for your patience. We are now fully stocked with over twenty strains of Kratom that are lab-tested and cleansed after arriving in the U.S. for the safety of our customers. Some of you have tried our six new ones while waiting for our other regular strains to arrive.
Additionally, our new brand “Happy Dragon Kratom” is on the shelves. Hope to see you here at our shop. We look forward to serving you for years to come as your go to for the best natural remedies in the country.
According to authorities in Washington DC, Kratom is not listed, nor are any chemicals in Kratom listed, as controlled substances and they are also not scheduled at all. This from a customer today and verified with multiple sources from DC.
ON APRIL 23, 2015Sometimes, solutions to even the most entrenched public health crises are right in front of our eyes, growing naturally from Mother Earth.Richard Smith* struggled with an opiate painkiller addiction for four years before he found a way out through something called kratom.
“It works amazingly well,” Smith said. “I’m surprised it isn’t being prescribed as a treatment by doctors.”
Kratom comes from a tree, Mitragyna speciosa, that grows in Southeast Asia. The leaves have long been taken as medicine by people living in its native jungles, but the remedy is now growing in popularity around the world. Leaves can be chewed fresh, or dried and consumed in powder, tea or bar form. In small doses, it can have stimulative effects, but in larger quantities it acts as a sedative.
Kratom has been used as an aphrodisiac, painkiller, appetite suppressant and for diarrhea relief. Its most promising effect, however, is in weaning people off heroin and morphine addiction using chemicals that stimulate opiate receptors, reducing the brain’s cravings for the genuine article.
Smith got hooked on painkillers after undergoing surgery for an injury he suffered in the military.
“I was prescribed the medication by a doctor for three or four years,” he said. He tried quitting cold turkey, and by replacing the opiates with alcohol, but nothing worked.
That’s when he heard about kratom. The idea appealed to him more than checking into rehab to go onto methadone or suboxone, so he purchased some from a local natural products store and gave it a shot. He took the kratom for two or three months and was able to leave behind his addiction completely, without experiencing the crippling symptoms that usually accompany opiate withdrawal.
“I was able to go to work, take care of my family,” Smith said.
Awareness of the kratom’s therapeutic properties seems to be growing. “If you want to treat depression, if you want to treat opioid pain, if you want to treat sleepiness, this [compound] really puts it all together,” Edward Boyer, a professor of emergency medicine and director of medical toxicology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, said to Scientific American.
Side effects are minimal, including nausea, itching, sweating, dry mouth and increased urination. Kratom can be addictive, according to reports, but a 2011 study by the International Drug Policy Consortium and Transnational Institute found that withdrawal symptoms were weak and nearly inconsequential compared to the suffering of people trying to quit opiates or amphetamines.
“I’ve heard there are withdrawal symptoms from kratom itself, but I didn’t experience that,” Smith said. “At least in comparison in trying to wean myself off narcotics for pain.”
The public profile of kratom is thriving, at least online. Reddit has over 5,000 members on its kratom forum that discuss its effects and how to acquire it.
Vocativ described it as the “sleeper-hit wonder drug that’s as schizophrenic as the Internet that spawned it” and called for 2015 to be “the year of kratom.” The site surveyed internet reviews and concluded that the substance could cause you to have the best or worst sex of your life, would make you feel amazing or terrible, gain superhuman strength or suffer crippling weakness, and might make you poop weird.
Another kratom enthusiast, Brandon Bird, who buys in bulk from Indonesia and resells it under the name Snake Oil Peddlers, spoke to Resetlast year about how kratom helps him manage his PTSD and allowed him to quit taking prescription painkillers.
It hasn’t gotten on the bad side of America’s drug warriors yet, so kratom remains unregulated and unlisted under the Controlled Substances Act, although the Drug Enforcement Agency has ominously and inaccurately claimed that it has “no legitimate medical use.”
However, its active chemicals, mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, were banned in Indiana in 2012, and Tennessee followed suit in 2013.
Restrictions in other states and localities are under consideration. Lawmakers in Arizona tried to ban kratom last year, but the bill failed to pass. And Palm Beach County in Florida mulled over forcing vendors to post signs warning of its addictive properties, but recently decided against moving forward with the measure.
Internationally, kratom is illegal in Thailand, Australia, Myanmar and Malaysia, although Thailand has reportedly been considering dropping the ban.
When governments think about banning a substance or smearing it as a drug, it’s important to consider the evidence and harm reduction potential. With opiate addiction a growing problem in the United States, kratom is one therapy that can help people get their lives back on track. “Painkillers are an addiction that a lot of people are dealing with,” Smith said. “I think it’s important that people are aware that this is an option. It worked for me.”
Per request, one or more names have been changed for this article to protect the source’s identity.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) — The Federal Drug Administration is keeping a close eye on the herbal substance, kratom.
Most recently, The FDA issued a mandatory recall for all products containing kratom that were made by Triangle Phamanaturals, which carries more than twenty brands under it’s umbrella. The FDA claims Salmonella was found in several of its kratom products.
“This product has been used for decades,” Eduardo Brambila with the Kratom Trade Association told WKYT’s Miranda Combs. “It’s actually been used for centuries in other countries. We have a good track record showing the safety of this product.”
But why is the federal government showing increased scrutiny over it? Brambila could not provide a definitive answer.
“That’s exactly the kind of questions we are posing and we want to clarify, as well,” Brambila said.
At least 3 million people in America use kratom. They came out by the thousands a few years ago when the Drug Enforcement Agency tried to make kratom a Schedule I drug, putting in a category with drugs like heroin and morphine.
“Over 33,000 comments that they (DEA) received in a 30-day period,” Brambila explained.
The DEA reversed their decision, in an unprecedented move.
Branbila believes the DEA’s retreat eventually led to the beginning of the Food and Drug Administration’s increased scrutiny.
“The overreach that have been used for this particular product fro the FDA is definitely of concern,” Brambila says. “I definitely say there is a serious bias for this product right now. The FDA is coming up with a lot of information that may not represent the product as accurately as it could be presented.”
He and other kratom supporters argue kratom is literally a life-changing organic substance. WKYT spoke with Rebecca Patrick-Howard in February who said her life is worth living again because of kratom. She suffers from chronic pain because of a life-long disease. She mixes kratom powder into a tea several times a day.
“People don’t use kratom for the euphoria effect of it. It’s just not there,” she advocated.
The FDA disagrees and said in multiple press releases that there are reports of deaths associated with kratom. The federal government believes kratom affects the same opioid receptors in the brain as morphine, and it is just as addictive. Three men WKYT interviewed last month at the Isaiah House Recovery Center agree. One man said he was “heavily addicted to kratom” and spending $60 a day to have it.
WKYT told Brambila about the men in rehab, and he believes it’s important to look at their cases.
“If anyone’s having effects that are of concern we definitely want to know about this and figure out what the whole story is,” he replied.
Brambila believes the kratom debate shows why some regulation could provide benefits for both sides.
“When you have regulation, it means there’s been some testing done, it means there’s an understanding of how a product is best used. It also sets standards and quality assurance for the consumer which is the upmost importance.”
Kratom is an all-purpose herb that is gaining popularity across the whole world.
Derived from the species of Mitragyna speciosa, you can buy Kratom locally and appropriate some benefits.
It works in an amazing way and produces different effects at different doses. It can provide stimulation to the body to have a fresh day and energizes it to tackle the difficult tasks.
At the same time, Kratom can also help in producing sedation and inducing sleep.
While everyone wants to try these significant effects of Kratom, some might face difficulty in finding Kratom.
Kratom is a naturally transpiring herb that is an alternative to therapeutic medication and not sold over the counter in pharmacies.
Although many countries like the United States and those in Europe have hailed the current consumption of Kratom, short listing the best places that sell premium quality Kratom at the most convenient prices may involve some exertion.
Choosing the best places to obtain the Kratom powder, extracts or capsules depends on the requirements and desires of the customer.
Following are some of the ways how you can buy Kratom locally, of which some are best while others might not prove as reliable.
Smoke shops are an option to buy Maeng da Kratom on a local level.
However, these shops do not serve as a reliable source for this purpose.
Smoking shops are not bad; some of them might even have finest forms of Kratom in stock.
However, strains available from these kinds of shops do not have any guarantee of being real.
Therefore, always be careful while buying Kratom from smoking shops. Do not go for Kratom packed in the shiny package.
Also, make sure that you can scrutinize the product in visual terms. Prefer purchasing Kratom in the form of powders.
Avoid buying it in capsule form or Kratom extracts as they have a high risk of being expired or impure.
Shops at Gas Stations
If there is no smoking shop or a head shop in a particular locality, the chances are that the stores and mini-marts at gas stations are selling it.
Kratom is legal product now hence; its availability at the shops present in gas stations must not seem surprising. Take great care in using Kratom from these stores.
That is because there is a possibility of being fake or polluted as these kinds of shops do not have the best interests of consumers in their minds.
Special shops selling CBD and Kratom
Special shops selling cannabinoids are in almost every locality.
There is a high probability of finding Kratom products in these stores.
Just like Kratom, cannabinoids are the derivatives of a plant named cannabis.
Because it is a plant derivative just like Kratom, store retailers also have Kratom locally along with the cannabis products in their shops.
Using Google map to find Kratom shops locally
If there are no apparent shops in a state, the internet is a great way to sort them out.
Google Map is the latest technology that provides an overview of an area with all the essential details.
Just like we can find the places to eat and drink in a locality, it can also search for shops that were specifically selling Kratom and related products.
Both mobile phones and laptops support the app to find out more about the desired places. Install the app and type “Kratom shops near me” and search for the nearest store.
Always remember to switch from the “lite mode” in the app to find out about the Kratom shops unique to an area.
Using Yelp and Yellow Pages to locate local Kratom stores
Yelp is a most popular local directory to know all types of businesses surrounding a particular field.
It is a community that provides people with all kinds of activities including that of Kratom. Why using Yelp to locate stores selling Kratom locally is beneficial because it will filter the shops by rating, distance, price and hour of operation.
Moreover, it will also provide the reviews made by other customers about a Kratom shop.
That will help people choose the best shop for purchasing Kratom with the high levels of credibility and user ratings on Yelp.
Just like Yelp, the US residents can also make use of Yellow Pages to locate the best shops engaged in selling Kratom locally.
It not only provides the address of the nearest Kratom store but will also provide the contact number and customer rating in most of the cases. That will reduce the chances of getting adulterated Kratom.
Is kratom available at Walmart and GNC?
Both Walmart and GNC are large corporations, and Kratom is not usually available for sale in these stores.
The reason why big stores like Walmart and GNC do not keep Kratom in any form because the DEA has some concerns regarding the effects of Kratom on the body.
The sales and use of Kratom are still controversial even after it acquired a legal status. That’s why Kratom will not be present in these best-ranking chains of stores.
Which areas don’t sell Kratom locally?
Even though Kratom has a lot of benefits to offer, its consumption has always faced issues. Two schools of thoughts are present regarding the use of Kratom.
The first one suggests it to be a useful drug while the second one considers it a drug just like marijuana.
Currently, four out of 196 countries in the world have made it illegal to consume Kratom under any circumstances. Some of the countries have not entirely banned it, but have strict rules that govern its usage.
Most the countries consider the sales and purchase of Kratom legal at a local level.
Areas like Australia has not allowed Kratom sellers to sell it on a local level while the government of Myanmar and Lithuania have completely banned the sales and purchase of Kratom. In Denmark, Kratom is legal to use but it is a controlled substance, and its availability at a local level is quite difficult.
Other countries where Kratom is not available locally include New Zealand, Poland, Malaysia, South Korea, and Israel. Kratom is legal and locally available in many states except for Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Vermont, and Wisconsin.
Find the legality of Kratom here.
Are Kratom capsules available at local stores?
The shops selling Kratom online are quite a few. Most of these shops sell Kratom in the form of powders and extracts.
Kratom capsules are quite rare to find. That is because consumers prefer to buy Kratom locally in powdered or obtain forms because these forms are purest in most of the cases.
Capsules can be impure or expired, and a high risk involved in buying these. Hence, not many places exist on a local level where Kratom capsules are available, but it is not entirely impossible to find them.
Brewing up a cup of Kratom tea is one of the most preferred ways by many to consume the naturally grown herbal, Mitragyna Speciosa. If increased energy and enhanced mood is what you’re after then you’ll be able to reap full benefits from drinking Kratom tea. Easy to prepare, all you really need is Kratom in a coarsely ground or crushed form, weigh scale, a pot, strainer, cup, some water, and a stove to boil on. We’ll help you through the process and provide recipe guidelines along with variations, Kratomdosage information, and how to store your Kratom tea. Before we get into all that, I’m sure you’d like to know the characteristics of Kratom tea and what makes this method of consumption so great; let’s dive in!
What is Kratom Tea
Kratom tea is a herbal remedy that is consumed by many for its invigorating, energizing and stimulating effects on the body and mind. When Kratom leaves are brewed as a tea or kratom powder is added to hot water, the alkaloids in the kratom infuse into the water and through ingesting, the individual’s physiology is modulated. Drinking Kratom tea often results in increased desired physiological effects.
As a note: The amount of sediment that is found at the bottom of the Kratom powder tea, may be an indicator of the alkaloid constitution. The more sediments, the more alkaloids, the more effects.
Benefits of Drinking Kratom Tea
The way you consume your Kratom with yield specific side effects. Many people enjoy drinking Kratom tea because they claim there are minimal side effects. Individuals also say that drinking Kratom tea eliminates the possibility of the nasty wobbly side effect that is often associated with consuming the powder straight.
If you are looking for a method to consume your Kratom, that will offer greater stimulation effects, then drinking Kratom tea is the answer.
*It’s important to note that if maximum pain benefits are what you desire from drinking your Kratom tea, this method will not be the best for you; this is because the analgesic effects are masked slightly when Kratom is made into tea.
How long before the effects kick in?
Within 20-30 min the effects of Kratom tea can kick in, thus making it one of the most fast acting methods of consumption. What’s great about taking Kratom in a tea is that it’s an easy way to control your intake for the simple fact that it’s being consumed slowly. If you feel any small unwanted side effects coming on, you can simply stop drinking the tea. The relaxing and stimulating effects of drinking Kratom tea will typically last 2-3 h but could last longer depending on the strength of the batch. Strains such as Maeng Da often last longer.
For tips on how to increase the length of time you feel the effects,
check out #6 in our FAQ, found at the bottom of this article.
What are the main benefits of drinking Kratom tea?
First things first, the great thing about consuming Kratom in a tea is that drinking tea naturally helps release endorphins in the brain which activate your opiate receptors thus bringing about feelings of happiness. There are numerous benefits of consuming Kratom powder in tea, these are the most common:
Offers energy boosting effects
Helps lesson feelings of bloating and/or abdominal cramps
Improves skin complexion
Boasts healing properties by increasing circulation and blood flow
Kratom Tea Recipes – Basics to Brewing
There are a variety of procedures for brewing Kratom tea, some more simplified than others but they all share a similar method. If you’re looking for a simplified method to brew a cup of Kratom tea, head to the bottom of this section.
Take a look below for what you’ll need to make Kratom tea:
Kratom tea leaves or powder (depending on the recipe)
Heat source (stove or kettle)
Flavour enhancer (ex. Lemon)
Standard method for how to make Kratom tea – Maximum benefit method
The following recipe is for 8 doses of a semi strong Kratom tea. Remember that properly making the tea takes a bit of time which is why making more and storing for same day use or next day use will help you save on time.
For 8 doses you will require 2 oz of dried crushed or coarsely ground leaves. In a saucepan, combine the leaves as well as 1 litre of water.
* See the next section for how to properly measure your dosage
* If you have a blender or coffee grinder you can use either to grind your Kratom leaves
Bring the liquid to a simmer for 15 min
Pass the liquid through a colander or strainer into a container and reserve
Squeeze the leaves in the colander to extract the remaining water
Return the leaves to the saucepan, add another litre of water
Simmer again for another 15 min
Strain the liquid into the container where you put the liquid from step 3
Simmer both batches together & reduce
The longer you reduce the liquid, the more concentrated it will become. You can experiment at this stage to see how much reduction in the liquid provides you with your desired effect.
Throw the leaves out after you’ve simmered them a second time
Simplified method of a Kratom tea recipe
Take 1/2 cup of water & squeeze in the juice of 1/2 lemon.
Bring the water to a simmer while stirring in the Kratom powder or leaves (measured out based on your deserted dosage – see section to follow on dosage guidelines)
Simmer for 15 minutes
Take off the heat source & Strain
Reserve any undissolved powder or the leaves, for use later or throw away.
*Remember, when using the leftover kratom a second time, the tea will not be as potent.
Although you can simply mix in powder to a hot cup of water, you will not receive maximum benefits and that’s because simmering the tea will allow for maximum release and absorption of the alkaloid properties into the water.
For accurate dosages, always measure your Kratom with a scale rather than by volume for the simple reason that 1 tsp of finely ground kratom will weigh different then 1 tsp of crushed leaves. Measuring by volume will result in inaccuracies.
The information below on dosages serves only as a general guide for the average person. Everyone will react differently to a specific dosage which is why, it’s always good to listen to your body and take care when experimenting with a herbal remedy that is new to you. What may be strong or weak for one may not be for another.
As a general guide, for a finely ground powder:
1-3 grams will produce a mild effect
5 g – standard dose for an average user
10 g – strong dose
11 + – extremely strong dosage
Measuring your dosage
1 tsp of:
Coarsely ground = 0.8g
Finely ground = 2g
Very finely ground = 2.25g
Storing & Reheating Your Kratom Tea
For the best effects, it is advisable to drink your Kratom tea immediately following preparation. If you want to make a larger batch and store it for later consumption you’ll still be able to enjoy the benefits if you follow these steps for proper storage.
1) Cool your batch of tea before pouring it into a container, preferably a sealed glass container. Glass is best to ensure that no contaminants can leach through.
2) Place inside the fridge for storage up to 5 days.
3) If drinking the tea cold, make sure you stir the liquid so that the sediments can be mixed back in, these would have precipitated out while sitting in the fridge. We do advise heating the tea back up so these sediments can properly dissolve.
4) Re-heat on a simmer just until the tea is adequately warmed and the sediments have been dissolved.
5) Pour yourself a cup of tea and enjoy the effects.
*Take a look below at #4 in the FAQ to know how to add flavour to your Kratom tea; you’re going to want to!
What’s the best time of day to drink my Kratom tea?
First thing’s first, the time of day you drink your tea may change the type and intensity of the side affects you experience. These slight difference in the side effects is affected by the time of day of ingestion. The circadian biology of your system plays a huge factor in these side affects. For example, we will naturally feel drowsy closer to the evening therefor, if drinking Kratom tea at night then these feelings may be amplified more.
Should I drink my tea on a full or empty stomach?
This is an area that has not yet been scientifically observed very well. What is known though, is there is a possibility that when consuming Kratom tea on an empty stomach, individuals may potentially experience a mild irritability and anxiety; for others, no side effects will be noticed at all. Factors such as the time between meals & Kratom ingestion, as well as hydration, type of macronutrients & micronutrients ingested before or after Kratom may all effect the side effects you may experience. Research suggests that certain drugs reach their maximum plasma concentrations when ingested on an empty stomach. Studies also claim that eating before ingesting a drug will affect the production of hormones and neurotransmitters which determine how you respond to a particular substance.
What type of powder should I use to make my Kratom tea?
The answer to this question will depend on the desired effect you’re after although, the preferred strain is red-veined Bali. This variety is known to produce the most relaxing and powerful effects, leaving the individual with a feeling of comfort and ease. For a more stimulating effect and an enhanced energy booster, the Maeng Da variety as well as a white vein kratom will produce the best effect.
We advise you to experiment with different strains as each one will provide you will varied effects; what may work for one, may not be as effective for another. Experimenting with various strains will help you determine the best one for you.
What’s the flavour like?
You now have the knowledge to brew a cup of the best Kratom tea but before you make your first batch, we’d like to remind you of one very important thing. Kratom tea does not taste good, we’d like to say it’s an acquired taste but that would be an understatement. Kratom tea is extremely bitter and undesirable to drink which is why you’ll want to jazz it up a bit.
Here’s a few ways you can add flavour to your Kratom tea:
Squeeze in a little fresh lemon into your cup. Not only will the lemon improve the flavour, it will actually help to protect the alkaloids present in the Kratom.
For all those chocolate fans, you can add powdered chocolate to the mix for an energy boosted hot chocolate.
Some other examples of flavour enhancers are honey, raw sugar, and cinnamon.
Is Kratom stable at high temperatures?
Although Kratom is stable at high temperatures it doesn’t hurt to take precautions to protect the alkaloids which is why we recommend that rather than boiling Kratom tea it is best to only simmer it.
How can I make the effects of Kratom tea last longer?
If you want to lengthen the time you’ll feel the effects of your tea you can do a number of things such as: Using a more powerful strain, combining 2 strains, drinking the tea on an empty stomach, brewing the tea for longer, or by taking a more concentrated dosage.
With our guide on how to make Kratom tea, we’re sure you now have the knowledge to become a pro at brewing up the best cup of tea on the block with the maximum effectiveness you desire. Always remember to follow the procedure for your Kratom tea recipe and use the proper measurements to ensure you’re consuming a safe amount; if you do this, you’ll have nothing to worry about. Due to the fact that Kratom tea doesn’t have extreme risks associated with it, and drinking Kratom tea in Canada is legal, you can drink it with peace of mind and ease.
Disclaimer: Make sure that you are buying your Kratom from a reliable source, one that completes rigorous testing on their products to ensure there are no contaminants present.
So is the FDA helping or hurting. Botanicals like Kratom and even Marajuana don’t make them money, but addiction and misfortune do. The FDA continues to approve drugs that kill people and fights drugs that save people. Are they working in our best interest or their bottom line?
Last updated on: 1/30/2014 1:09:10 PM PST
35 FDA-Approved Prescription Drugs Later Pulled from the Market
Below are the 35 drugs we could find that have been recalled from the US market since the 1970s, some that had been in use since the 1930s. A sample of advertisements for only some of the drugs are included because there is a scarcity of ads for withdrawn drugs online due to manufacturers removing ads for withdrawn drugs as part of the agreement to no longer market the drugs.
According to the FDA, a “drug is removed from the market when its risks outweigh its benefits. A drug is usually taken off the market because of safety issues with the drug that cannot be corrected, such as when it is discovered that the drug can cause serious side effects that were not known at the time of approval.” The FDA also takes into account the number of people taking a drug being considered for removal so as to not harm those patients.
1. Accutane (Isotretinoin)
on the market for 27 YEARS
Use: Acne Manufacturer: Hoffman-La Roche
1982 to June 2009
Cause for recall:
increased risk of birth defects, miscarriages, and premature births when used by pregnant women; inflammatory bowel disease; suicidal tendenciesOver 7,000 lawsuits were filed against the manufacturer over the side effects including a $10.5 million verdict and two $9 million verdicts.
Cause for recall:
rhabdomyolysis (breakdown of muscle fibers that results in myoglobin being released into the bloodstream) which led to kidney failure; 52 deaths (31 in the US) worldwide; 385 nonfatal cases with most requiring hospitalization; 12 of the deaths were related to taking this drug in combination with gemfibrozil (Lopid)
Cause for recall: serious cardiovascular adverse events (like death, MI, stroke); increased risk of serious skin reactions (like toxic epidermal necrolysis, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, erythema multiforme); gastrointestinal bleedingThe FDA determined that Bextra showed no advantage over other NSAID pain relievers on the market.
Bernadette Tansey, “Hard Sell: How Marketing Drives the Pharmaceutical Industry/The Side Effects of Drug Promotion/Aggressive Ads for Painkillers Left More Patients Exposed to Risk,” www.sfgate.com, Feb. 27, 2005
4. Cylert (Pemoline)
on the market for 30 YEARS
Use: Central nervous system stimulant to treat ADHD/ADD Manufacturer: Abbott Laboratories
1975 to Oct. 2010
Cause for recall:
liver toxicityThe FDA added a box warning to Cylert in 1999, alerting doctors and patients to the potential of liver damage.
Abbott Laboratories, “Cylert,” American Journal of Diseases of Children, www.bonkersinstitute.org, 1976
5. Darvon & Darvocet (Propoxyphene)
on the market for 55 YEARS
Use: Opioid pain reliever Manufacturer: Xanodyne
1955 to Nov. 19, 2010
Cause for recall: serious toxicity to the heart; between 1981 and 1999 there were over 2,110 deaths reportedThe UK banned Darvon and Darvocet in 2005. The FDA was petitioned in 1978 and again in 2006 to ban the drug by the group Public Citizen.
Christian Sinclair, “Are You Glad Darvocet Got Pulled by the FDA? Are You Sure?,” www.pallimed.org, Nov. 30, 2010
6. DBI (Phenformin)
on the market for 19 YEARS
Use: antidiabetic Manufacturer: Ciba-Geigy
1959 to Nov. 1978
Cause for recall:
lactic acidosis (low pH in body tissues and blood and a buildup of lactate) in patients with diabetes
7. DES (Diethylstibestrol)
on the market for 31 YEARS
Use: synthetic estrogen to prevent miscarriage, premature labor, and other pregnancy complications Manufacturer: Grant Chemical Co.
1940 to 1971
Cause for recall:
clear cell adenocarcinoma (cancer of the cervix and vagina), birth defects, and other developmental abnormalities in children born to women who took the drug while pregnant; increased risk of breast cancer, higher risk of death from breast cancer; risk of cancer in children of mothers taking the drug including raised risk of breast cancer after age 40; increased risk of fertility and pregnancy complications, early menopause, testicular abnormalities; potential risks for third generation children (the grandchildren of women who took the drug) but they are unclear as studies are just beginningStudies in the 1950s showed the drug was not effective at preventing miscarriages, premature labor, or other pregnancy complications.
Barbara Hammes and Cynthia Laitman, “Pharmaceutical Company Advertisement for DES by the Grant Chemical Company, Brooklyn, NY, Printed in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology in 1957,” Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health, www.medscape.com, 2003
Cause for recall: 4 deaths; 8 patients requiring liver transplants; 12 patients with severe liver damageDuract was labeled for maximum use of 10 days but patients often received/took more than 10 days worth of pills; all cases of death and liver damage involved patients taking pills for longer than 10 days.
9. Ergamisol (Levamisole)
on the market for 11 YEARS
Use: Worm infestation; colon and breast cancers; rheumatoid arthritis Manufacturer: Janssen Pharmaceutica
May 8, 1989 to 2000
Cause for recall:
neutropenia (a type of low white blood cell count), agranulocytosis (a type of low white blood cell count), and thrombotic vasculopathy (blood clots in blood vessels) which results in retiform purpura (a purple discoloration of the skin that can sometimes require reconstructive surgery)Levamisole is still used to treat animals with worm infestations in the US. It is also being found in street cocaine as an adulterant to increase euphoric qualities.
Cause for recall:
slowed potassium channels in the heart that could cause torsade de pointes (TdP; a heart condition marked by a rotation of the heart’s electrical axis) or long QT syndrome (LQTS; prolonged QT intervals)
11. Lotronex (Alosetron)
on the market for 0.8 YEAR
Use: Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in women Manufacturer: Prometheus Laboratories, Inc.
Feb. 9, 2000 to Nov. 28, 2000
Cause for recall:
49 cases of ischemic colitis (inflammation and injury of the large intestine); 21 cases of severe constipation (10 requiring surgery); 5 deaths; mesenteric ischemia (inflammation and injury of the small intestine)Lotronex was reintroduced to the US market in 2002 with restricted indication.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome Self Help and Support Group, “Lotronex,” www.ibsgroups.org (accessed Jan. 6, 2014)
Cause for recall: increased cardiovascular and stroke riskFDA reviewer Dr. David Graham listed Meridia with Crestor, Accutane, Bextra, and Serevent as drugs whose sales should be limited or stopped because of their danger to consumers in Sep. 30, 2004 testimony before a Senate committee, calling the drugs “another Vioxx.”
13. Merital & Alival (Nomifensine)
on the market for 3 YEARS
Use: Antidepressant Manufacturer: Hoechst AG (now Sanofi-Aventis)
1982 to 1985
Cause for recall:
haemolytic anemia; some deaths due to immunohemolytic anemia
Cause for recall:
QT prolongation and potential for cardiotoxicity
15. Mylotarg (Gemtuzumab Ozogamicin)
on the market for 10 YEARS
Use: Acute myeloid leukemia (AML, a bone marrow cancer) Manufacturer: Wyeth
May 2000 to
June 21, 2010
Cause for recall:
increased risk of death and veno-occlusive disease (obstruction of veins)
16. Omniflox (Temafloxacin)
on the market for 0.3 YEAR
Use: Antibiotic for pneumonia, bronchitis, and other respiratory tract infections; prostatitis and other genitourinary tract infections; skin ailments. Manufacturer: Abbot Laboratories
Jan. 31, 1992 to June 5, 1992
Cause for recall: 3 deaths; severe low blood sugar; hemolytic anemia and other blood cell abnormalities; kidney disfunction (half of the cases required renal dialysis); allergic reactions including some causing life-threatening respiratory distress
Cause for recall: high levels of palladone could slow or stop breathing, or cause coma or death; combining the drug with alcohol use could lead to rapid release of hydromorphone, in turn leading to potentially fatally high levels of drugs in the system
18. Permax (Pergolide)
on the market for 19 YEARS
Use: Parkinson’s disease Manufacturer: Valeant
1988 to Mar. 29, 2007
Cause for recall:
valve regurgitation (a condition that causes the valves to not close tightly, which allows blood to flow backward over the valve) in the mitral, tricuspid, and aortic heart valves, which can result in shortness of breath, fatigue, and heart palpitationsPermax is still available in the U.S. for veterinary use, specifically for pituitary pars intermedia hyperplasia or equine Cushing’s Syndrome (ECS) in horses.
Cause for recall:
30% of patients prescribed the drug had abnormal echocardiograms; 33 cases of rare valvular disease in women; 66 additional reports of heart valve diseasePondimin is better known as “Fen-Phen” when prescribed with Phentermine.
Cause for recall:
fatal interactions with at least 25 other drugs (ex: common antibiotics, antihistamines, and cancer drugs) including astemizole, cisapride, terfenadine, lovastatin, and simvastatinPosicor was found by the FDA to offer no significant benefit over other anti-hypertensive or antianginal drugs, which made the risks of drug interactions “unreasonable.” Patients immediately switching from Posicor to another calcium channel blocker were at increased risk of going into shock within 12 hours of the drug switch.
21. Propulsid (Cisapride)
on the market for 7 YEARS
Use: Severe nighttime heartburn associated with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) Manufacturer: Janssen Pharmaceutica
1993 to July 14, 2000
Cause for recall:
more than 270 cases of serious cardiac arrythmias (including ventricular tachycardia, ventricular fibrillation, torsades de pointes, and QT prolongation) reported between July 1993 and May 1999, with 70 being deaths.Propulsid is also banned in India (2011) and available for limited use in Europe. It is still available for use in animals in the US and
22. PTZ & Metrazol (Pentylenetetrazol)
on the market for 48 YEARS
Use: Convulsive therapy for schizophrenia and other psychiatric conditions Manufacturer: not known
1934 to 1982
Cause for recall:
uncontrollable seizures; pulled muscles; fractured bones; spine fractures in as many as 42% of patients
Use: Sedative and hypnotic Manufacturer: William H. Rorer Inc. & Lemmon Company
1962 to 1985
Cause for recall: mania; seizures; vomiting; convulsions; deathMethaqualone was originally tested in India as a malaria treatment (it was ineffective). The drug is now a schedule 1 drug in the United States (like heroin, marijuana, and LSD).
Res Obscura, “From Quacks to Quaaludes: Three Centuries of Drug Advertising,” www.resobscura.blogspot.nl, June 11, 2012
24. Raplon (Rapacuronium)
on the market for 2 YEARS
Use: Non-polarizing neuromuscular blocker (used in anesthesia Manufacturer: Organon Inc.
1999 to Mar. 27, 2001
Cause for recall: bronchospasms and unexplained deaths
25. Raptiva (Efalizumab)
on the market for 6 YEARS
Use: Psoriasis Manufacturer: Genentech
Apr. 8, 2009
(completely withdrawn by
June 8, 2009)
Cause for recall:
progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML; a rare and usually fatal disease that causes inflammation or progressive damage of the white matter in multiple locations of the brain)
26. Raxar (Grepafloxacin)
on the market for 2 YEARS
Use: Antibiotic for bacterial infections Manufacturer: Glaxo Wellcome
Nov. 1, 1999
Cause for recall:
cardiac repolarization; QT interval prolongation; ventricular arrhythmia (torsade de pointes)
Cause for recall: 30% of patients prescribed the drug had abnormal echocardiograms; 33 cases of rare valvular disease in women; 66 additional reports of heart valve diseaseRedux is better known as “Fen-Phen” when prescribed with Phentermine.
28. Rezulin (Troglitazone)
on the market for 3.25 YEARS
Use: Antidiabetic and anti-inflammatory Manufacturer: Parke-Davis/Warner Lambert (now Pfizer)
Jan. 29, 1997 to Mar. 21, 2000
Cause for recall: at least 90 liver failures; at least 63 deathsAbout 35.000 personal injury claims were filed against the manufacturer (Pfizer).
29. Selacryn (Tienilic acid)
on the market for 3 YEARS
Use: blood pressure Manufacturer: SmithKline
May 2, 1979 to 1982
Cause for recall: hepatitis; 36 deaths; at least 500 cases of severe liver and kidney damageAnphar Labs (which developed the drug in France and sold rights to sell in US to SmithKline) sent a report to SmithKline in Apr. 1979 (translated in May 1979 to English from French) stating Selacryn damaged livers. On Dec. 13, 1984, SmithKline Beckman plead guilty to “14 counts of failing to file reports with the drug agency of adverse reactions to Selacryn and 20 counts of falsely labeling the drug with a statement that there was no known cause-and-effect relationship between Selacryn and liver damage”
30. Seldane (Terfenadine)
on the market for 13 YEARS
Use: Antihistamine Manufacturer: Hoechst Marion Roussel (now Sanofi-Aventis)
Feb. 1, 1998
Cause for recall:
life-threatening heart problems when taken in combination with other drugs (specifically erthromycin (an antibiotic) and ketoconazole (an antifungal)Seldane was not considered an imminent threat. The FDA pulled Seldane from the market because Allegra and Allegra D were produced by the same company and were deemed safer by the FDA.
31. Trasylol (Aprotinin)
on the market for 15 (48) YEARS
Use: antifibrinolytic to reduce blood loss during surgery Manufacturer: Bayer
1993 (but used since the 1960s) to Nov. 5, 2007 (marketing suspension request to phase it out of the market);
May 14, 2008 (manufacturer announced complete removal from market)
Cause for recall:
increased chance of death, serious kidney damage, congestive heart failure, and strokesOn Feb. 8, 2006, the FDA issued a public heath advisory to surgeons who perform heart bypasses, alerting them of possible fatal side effects.
32. Vioxx (Rofecoxib)
on the market for 5.3 YEARS
Use: NSAID (pain relief) Manufacturer: Merck
May 20, 1999 to Sep. 30, 2004
Cause for recall:
increased risk of heart attack and stroke; linked to about 27,785 heart attacks or sudden cardiac deaths between May 20, 1999 and 2003Ads for Vioxx features Olympic gold medalists Dorothy Hamill and Bruce Jenner. Vioxx was prescribed to more than 20 million people.
Use: Severe sepsis and septic shock Manufacturer: Eli Lilly & Company
Nov. 2001 to
Oct. 25, 2011
Cause for recall:
no survival benefit
34. Zelmid (Zimelidine)
on the market for 0 YEARS
Use: Anti-depressant Manufacturer: Astra AB (now AstraZeneca)
1982 to 1982 (withdrawn by the FDA before being released in the US market)
Cause for recall:
Guillain–Barré syndrome; higher risk of suicide
35. Zelnorm (Tegaserod maleate)
on the market for 4.6 YEARS
Use: irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C) and chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC) in women younger than 55 Manufacturer: Novartis
July 24, 2002 to Mar. 30, 2007
Cause for recall:
higher chance of heart attack, stroke, and unstable angina (heart/chest pain)The FDA permitted restricted use of Zelnorm on an emergency basis (with prior case-by-case authorization from the FDA) on July 27, 2007.
FDA, “Zelnorm (tegaserod maleate) Information,” www.fda.gov, May 11, 2012
Jef Feeley, “Pfizer Ends Rezulin Cases with $205 Million to Spare (Update1),” www.bloomberg.com, Mar. 31, 2009
Barbara Forney, “Pergolide for Veterinary Use,” www.wedgewoodpetrx.com (accessed Jan. 6, 2014)
Curt D. Furgerg and Bertram Pitt, “Withdrawal of Cerivastatin from the World Market,” www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, Sep. 26, 2001
Raymond Goldberg, Drugs across the Spectrum, 6th edition, 2010
Barbara Hammes and Cynthia Laitman, “Pharmaceutical Company Advertisement for DES by the Grant Chemical Company, Brooklyn, NY, Printed in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology in 1957,” Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health, www.medscape.com, 2003
David Healy, Let Them Eat Prozac: The Unhealthy Relationship between the Pharmaceutical Industry and Depression, 2004
Charles D. Helper and Richard Segal, Preventing Medication Errors and Improving Drug Therapy Outcomes: A Management Systems Approach, 2003
Irritable Bowel Syndrome Self Help and Support Group, “Lotronex,” www.ibsgroups.org (accessed Jan. 6, 2014)
Harvey Kirk, “Darvon and Darvocet Deaths Lead FDA Panel to Recommend Recall,” www.youhavealawyer.com, Feb. 2, 2009
Lilly, “Lilly Announces Withdrawal of Xigris R Following Recent Clinical Trial Results,” www.fda.gov, Oct. 25, 2011
National Cancer Institute, “Diethylstilbestrol (DES) and Cancer,” www.cancer.gov, Oct. 5, 2011
Steven Morris, “Abbott Gets FDA Approval for Omniflox Antibiotic,” www.chicagotribune.com, Feb. 1, 1992
MSNBC Staff, “Report: Vioxx Linked to Thousands of Deaths,” www.nbcnews.com, Oct. 6, 2004
Pink Sheet, “FDA Clears Treatment IND for Colon Cancer Drug Levamisole,” www.elsevierbi.com, May 15, 1989
Res Obscura, “From Quacks to Quaaludes: Three Centuries of Drug Advertising,” www.resobscura.blogspot.nl, June 11, 2012
Renato M.E. Sabbatini, “The History of Shock Therapy in Psychiatry,” www.crerbromente.org.br (accessed Dec. 19, 2013)
Christian Sinclair, “Are You Glad Darvocet Got Pulled by the FDA? Are You Sure?,” www.pallimed.org, Nov. 30, 2010
Ruth SoRelle, “Withdrawal of Posicor from Market,” www.circ.ahajournals.org, 1998
Sheryl Gay Stolberg, “New Painkiller Is Withdrawn after 4 Deaths,” www.nytimes.com, June 23, 1998
Bernadette Tansey, “Hard Sell: How Marketing Drives the Pharmaceutical Industry/The Side Effects of Drug Promotion/Aggressive Ads for Painkillers Left More Patients Exposed to Risk,” www.sfgate.com, Feb. 27, 2005
How can we possibly trust the FDA to make decisions about our best interest when they approve everything except drugs proven to be safe and that are impossible to overdose and die from. Drugs that have been used safely for hundreds of years, leaving the people criminalized. They research forever and then approve dangerous drugs only to turn around in criminalize safe drugs that do the same thing without the safety issues (CBD, Kratom, etc).
May 9, 201712:29 PM ET
Kaiser Health News
The anti-inflammatory drug Bextra was taken off the market because it increased the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Tannen Maury/Bloomberg via Getty Images
The Food and Drug Administration is under pressure from the Trump administration to approve drugs faster, but researchers at the Yale School of Medicine found that nearly a third of those approved from 2001 through 2010 had major safety issues years after the medications were made widely available to patients.
Seventy-one of the 222 drugs approved in the first decade of the millennium were withdrawn, required a “black box” warning on side effects or warranted a safety announcement about new risks, Dr. Joseph Ross, an associate professor of medicine at Yale School of Medicine, and colleagues reported in JAMA on Tuesday. The study included safety actions through Feb. 28.
“While the administration pushes for less regulation and faster approvals, those decisions have consequences,” Ross says. The Yale researchers’ previous studies concluded that the FDA approves drugs faster than its counterpart agency in Europe does and that the majority of pivotal trials in drug approvals involved fewer than 1,000 patients and lasted six months or less.
It took a median of 4.2 years after the drugs were approved for these safety concerns to come to light, the study found, and issues were more common among psychiatric drugs, biologic drugs, drugs that were granted “accelerated approval” and drugs that were approved near the regulatory deadline for approval.
Taking Shortcuts In Drug Testing Can Put Patients At Risk
SHOTS – HEALTH NEWS
Taking Shortcuts In Drug Testing Can Put Patients At Risk
Drugs ushered through the FDA’s accelerated approval process were among those that had higher rates of safety interventions. These approvals typically rely on surrogate endpoints, meaning that researchers measured something other than survival, such as tumor size, to determine whether the drugs worked.
“This [finding on surrogate endpoints] has the greatest relationship to policy today,” Ross says. “In the 21st Century Cures Act, there’s a push to have the FDA move to further support the use of surrogate markers … [but] they’re more likely to have concerns in the post-market setting.”
President Barack Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act into law on Dec. 13. It offers ways to speed drug approval by pushing the FDA to consider evidence beyond the three phases of traditional clinical trials. The new process has made some researchers worry that it will open the door for approvals of drugs that haven’t been adequately tested.
“I’m actually sympathetic to the idea that there are ways in which the FDA can be more streamlined and do a quicker job,” says Dr. Vinay Prasad, a hematologist-oncologist and professor at Oregon Health and Sciences University who did not work on the study. “The one place you don’t want to cut a corner is safety and efficacy prior to coming to market.”
The FDA’s system for reporting drug- and device-related health problems is voluntary. The reports are not verified, and critics say this system is underutilized and filled with incomplete and late information. The FDA also monitors other available studies and reports to determine whether it needs to take action on a particular drug.
FDA spokeswoman Angela Hoague said the agency is reviewing Ross’ findings.
“In general, the FDA does not comment on specific studies but evaluates them as part of the body of evidence to further our understanding about a particular issue and assist in our mission to protect public health,” she said.
Surprisingly, drugs approved in under 200 days were less likely to have safety issues, which the authors speculate could be because “some approval packages provide clearer evidence of safety, allowing for more rapid regulatory approval.”
The study included market withdrawals of three drugs: the anti-inflammatory drug Bextra; Zelnorm, which was used to treat irritable bowel syndrome; and the psoriasis drug Raptiva. Bextra and Zelnorm were withdrawn because of cardiovascular risk, and Raptiva was withdrawn because of increased risk of a rare and fatal infection that causes brain damage.
Still, it’s important to keep in mind that the post-approval safety issues cover the spectrum from relatively minor to serious, says Dr. Caleb Alexander, co-director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Drug Safety and Effectiveness who did not work on the study. Good next steps would be to dig into the most serious safety problems, determine whether the FDA could have flagged them sooner and examine how they might have been missed, he says.
Alexander commended the researchers, saying their study “underscores the importance of surveillance” after a drug has been launched. He says this helps researchers find new problems — and new benefits — associated with a drug.
“All too often, patients and clinicians mistakenly view FDA approval as [an] indication that a product is fully safe and effective,” he says. “Nothing could be further from the truth. We learn tremendous amounts about a product only once it’s on the market and only after use among a broad population.”
Kaiser Health News, a nonprofit health newsroom whose stories appear in news outlets nationwide, is an editorially independent part of the Kaiser Family Foundation.
KHN’s coverage of prescription drug development, costs and pricing is supported in part by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation.
The FDA has been in the pockets of big pharma forever as we all know. What most people don’t know about though is that they approve hundreds of drugs that are extremely dangerous. Even after significant study and warnings from the drug industry, doctors, patients, and their own studies, many of these dangerously addictive drugs, still made it to the market and as more are coming along they keep approving them. Bad decisions made by the FDA kill thousands every year and they have yet to be held accountable for their failure of their entire mission to protect the American people from dangerous and deadly drugs and food. Yet they have plenty of time to fight the two most natural substances that actually save lives and have been proven safe and have killed no one. The FDA is no longer viable and needs to be overhauled. Drug industries should not be advertising since their product should only be used as needed. It time for kickbacks and favors to end.
The Kratom market is constantly changing. With the FDA and DEA putting their noses where they don’t belong and Mastercard and Visa give vendors a hard time about how our customers can pay. It’s not just Kratom though, its CBD and other herbs that they have decided to attack, though they admittedly have no evidence. This volatility is causing vendors to find new ways of doing business and some are dropping out of the market.
Because of this I have found some other suppliers. I like to buy from suppliers in the states that get their product from the farmers. This way it is fresh and lab-tested. So, there will be different strains that are no longer available and new ones added. Keep this in mind when making orders as I phase out some strains from certain suppliers that are exiting the market.
Thanks so much for you past support. I will continue to provide the best quality Kratom I can find.
This articles backs my previous statement that the FDA is no longer a viable institutions as it is no longer serving the people at this point. They are also killing people daily with their policies and their unbelievable attempts to become the food and drug police. BD
DAVID WILLMAN, Times Staff Writer
For most of its history, the United States Food and Drug Administration approved new prescription medicines at a grudging pace, paying daily homage to the physician’s creed, “First, do no harm.”
Then in the early 1990s, the demand for AIDS drugs changed the political climate. Congress told the FDA to work closely with pharmaceutical firms in getting new medicines to market more swiftly. President Clinton urged FDA leaders to trust industry as “partners, not adversaries.”
The FDA achieved its new goals, but now the human cost is becoming clear.
Seven drugs approved since 1993 have been withdrawn after reports of deaths and severe side effects. A two-year Los Angeles Times investigation has found that the FDA approved each of those drugs while disregarding danger signs or blunt warnings from its own specialists. Then, after receiving reports of significant harm to patients, the agency was slow to seek withdrawals.
According to “adverse-event” reports filed with the FDA, the seven drugs were cited as suspects in 1,002 deaths. Because the deaths are reported by doctors, hospitals and others on a voluntary basis, the true number of fatalities could be far higher, according to epidemiologists.
An adverse-event report does not prove that a drug caused a death; other factors, such as preexisting disease, could play a role. But the reports are regarded by public health officials as the most reliable early warnings of danger.
The FDA’s performance was tracked through an examination of thousands of pages of government documents, other data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and interviews with more than 60 present and former agency officials.
The seven drugs were not needed to save lives. One was for heartburn. Another was a diet pill. A third was a painkiller. All told, six of the medicines were never proved to offer lifesaving benefits, and the seventh, an antibiotic, was ultimately judged unnecessary because other, safer antibiotics were available.
The seven are among hundreds of new drugs approved since 1993, a period during which the FDA has become known more for its speed than its caution. In 1988, only 4% of new drugs introduced into the world market were approved first by the FDA. In 1998, the FDA’s first-in-the-world approvals spiked to 66%. The drug companies’ batting average in getting new drugs approved also climbed. By the end of the 1990s, the FDA was approving more than 80% of the industry’s applications for new products, compared with about 60% at the beginning of the decade.
And the companies have prospered: The seven unsuccessful drugs alone generated U.S. sales exceeding $5 billion before they were withdrawn.
Once the world’s unrivaled safety leader, the FDA was the last to withdraw several new drugs in the late 1990s that were banned by health authorities in Europe.
“This track record is totally unacceptable,” said Dr. Curt D. Furberg, a professor of public health sciences at Wake Forest University. “The patients are the ones paying the price. They’re the ones developing all the side effects, fatal and non-fatal. Someone has to speak up for them.”
The FDA’s faster and more lenient approach helped supply pharmacy shelves with scores of new remedies. But it has also yielded these fatal missteps, according to the documents and interviews:
* Only 10 months ago, FDA administrators dismissed one of its medical officer’s emphatic warnings and approved Lotronex, a drug for treating irritable bowel syndrome. Lotronex has been linked to five deaths, the removal of a patient’s colon and other bowel surgeries. It was pulled off the market on Nov. 28.
* The diet pill Redux, approved in April 1996 despite an advisory committee’s vote against it, was withdrawn in September 1997 after heart-valve damage was detected in patients put on the drug. The FDA later received reports identifying Redux as a suspect in 123 deaths.
* The antibiotic Raxar was approved in November 1997 in the face of evidence that it may have caused several fatal heart-rhythm disruptions in clinical studies. FDA officials chose to exclude any mention of the deaths from the drug’s label. The maker of the pill withdrew it in October 1999. Raxar was cited as a suspect in the deaths of 13 patients.
* The blood pressure medication Posicor was approved in June 1997 despite findings by FDA specialists that it might fatally disrupt heart rhythm and interact with certain other drugs, posing potentially severe risk. Posicor was withdrawn one year later; reports cited it as a suspect in 100 deaths.
* The painkiller Duract was approved in July 1997 after FDA medical officers warned repeatedly of the drug’s liver toxicity. Senior officials sided with the manufacturer in softening the label’s warning of the liver threat. The drug was withdrawn 11 months later. By late 1998, the FDA had received voluntary reports citing Duract as a suspect in 68 deaths, including 17 that involved liver failure.
* The diabetes drug Rezulin was approved in January 1997 over a medical officer’s detailed opposition and was withdrawn this March after the agency had linked 91 liver failures to the pill. Reports cite Rezulin as a suspect in 391 deaths.
* The nighttime heartburn drug Propulsid was approved in 1993 despite evidence that it caused heart-rhythm disorders. The officials who approved the drug failed to consult the agency’s own cardiac specialists about the signs of danger. The drug was taken out of pharmacies in July after scores of confirmed heart-rhythm deaths. Overall, Propulsid has been cited as a suspect in 302 deaths.
The FDA’s handling of Propulsid put children at risk.
The agency never warned doctors not to administer the drug to infants or other children even though eight youngsters given Propulsid in clinical studies had died. Pediatricians prescribed it widely for infants afflicted with gastric reflux, a common digestive disorder.
Parents and their doctors had no way of knowing that the FDA, in August 1996, had found Propulsid to be “not approvable” for children.
“We never knew that,” said Jeffrey A. Englebrick, a heavy-equipment welder in Shawnee, Kan., whose 3-month-old son, Scott, died on Oct. 28, 1997, after taking Propulsid. “To me, that means they took my kid as a guinea pig to see if it would work.”
By the time the drug was pulled, the FDA had received reports of 24 deaths of children under age 6 who were given Propulsid. By then the drug had generated U.S. sales of $2.5 billion for Johnson & Johnson Co.
Questions also surround the recent approvals of other compounds that remain on the market, including a new flu drug called Relenza. In February of 1999, an FDA advisory committee concluded that Relenza had not been proved safe and effective. The agency nevertheless approved it. Following the deaths of seven patients, the FDA in January issued a “public health advisory” to doctors.
A ‘Lost Compass’
A total of 10 drugs have been pulled from the market in just the past three years for safety reasons, including three pills that were approved before the shift that took hold in 1993. Never before has the FDA overseen the withdrawals of so many drugs in such a short time. More than 22 million Americans–about 10% of the nation’s adult population–took those drugs.
With many of the drugs, the FDA used tiny-print warnings or recommendations in package labeling as a way to justify approvals or stave off withdrawals. In other instances, the agency has withheld safety information from labels that physicians say would call into question the use of the product.
Present and former FDA specialists said the regulatory decisions of senior officials have clashed with the agency’s central obligation, under law, to “protect the public health by ensuring . . . that drugs are safe and effective.”
“They’ve lost their compass and they forget who it is that they are ultimately serving,” said Dr. Lemuel A. Moye, a University of Texas School of Public Health physician who served from 1995 to 1999 on an FDA advisory committee. “Unfortunately the public pays for this, because the public believes that the FDA is watching the door, that they are the sentry.”
The FDA’s shift is felt directly in the private practice of medicine, said Dr. William L. Isley, a Kansas City, Mo., diabetes specialist. He implored the agency to reassess Rezulin three years ago after a patient he treated suffered liver failure taking the pill.
“FDA used to serve a purpose,” Isley said. “A doctor could feel sure that a drug he was prescribing was as safe as possible. Now you wonder what kind of evaluation has been done, and what’s been swept under the rug.”
FDA officials said that they have tried conscientiously to weigh benefits versus risks in deciding whether to approve new drugs. They noted that many doctors and patients complain when a drug is withdrawn.
“All drugs have risks; most of them have serious risks,” said Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA’s drug review center. She added that some of the withdrawn drugs were “very valuable, even if not lifesaving, and their removal from the market represents a loss, even if a necessary one.”
Once a drug is proved effective and safe, Woodcock said, the FDA depends on doctors “to take into account the risks, to read the label. . . . We have to rely on the practitioner community to be the learned intermediary. That’s why drugs are prescription drugs.”
In a May 12, 1999, article co-authored with FDA colleagues and published by the Journal of the American Medical Assn., Woodcock said, “The FDA and the community are willing to take greater safety risks due to the serious nature of the [illnesses] being treated.”
Compared to the volume of new drugs approved, they wrote, the number of recent withdrawals “is particularly reassuring.”
However, agency specialists point out that both approvals and withdrawals are controlled by Woodcock and her administrators. When they consider a withdrawal, they face the unpleasant prospect of repudiating their original decision to approve.
Woodcock, 52, received her medical degree at Northwestern University and is a board-certified internist. She alluded in a recent interview to the difficulty she feels in rejecting a proposed drug that might cost a company $150 million or more to develop. She also acknowledged the commercial pressures in a March 1997 article.
“Consumer protection advocates want to have drugs worked up well and thoroughly evaluated for safety and efficacy before getting on the market,” Woodcock wrote in the Food and Drug Law Journal. “On the other hand, there are economic pressures to get drugs on the market as soon as possible, and these are highly valid.”
But this summer–following the eighth and ninth drug withdrawals–Woodcock said the FDA cannot rely on labeling precautions, alone, to resolve safety concerns.
“As medical practice has changed . . . it’s just much more difficult for [doctors] to manage” the expanded drug supply, Woodcock said in an interview. “They rely upon us much more to make sure the drugs are safe.”
Another FDA administrator, Dr. Florence Houn, voiced similar concern in remarks six months ago to industry officials: “I think the lessons learned from the drug withdrawals make us leery.”
Yet the imperative to move swiftly, cooperatively, remains.
“We are now making decisions more quickly and more predictably while maintaining the same high standards for product safety and efficacy,” FDA Commissioner Jane E. Henney said in a National Press Club speech on Dec. 12.
Motivated by AIDS
The impetus for change at the FDA emerged in 1988, when AIDS activists paralyzed operations for a day at the agency’s 18-story headquarters in Rockville, Md. They demanded immediate approval of experimental drugs that offered at least a ray of hope to those otherwise facing death.
The FDA often was taking more than two years to review new drug applications. The pharmaceutical industry saw a chance to loosen the regulatory brakes and expedite an array of new products to market. The companies and their Capitol Hill lobbyists pressed for advantage: If unshackled, they said, the companies could invent and develop more remedies faster.
The political pressure mounted, and the FDA began to bow. By 1991, agency officials told Congress they were making significant progress in speeding the approval process.
The emboldened companies pushed for more. They proposed that drugs intended for either life-threatening or “serious” disorders receive a quicker review.
“The pharmaceutical companies came back and lobbied the agency and the Hill for that word, ‘serious,’ ” recalled Jeffrey A. Nesbit, who in 1991 was chief of staff to FDA Commissioner David A. Kessler. “Their argument was, ‘Well, OK, there’s AIDS and cancer. But there are drugs [being developed] for Alzheimer’s. And that’s a serious illness.’ They started naming other diseases. They began to push that envelope.”
The wielding of this single, flexible adjective–“serious”–swung wide the regulatory door knocked ajar by the AIDS crisis.
New Order Takes Hold
In 1992, Kessler issued regulations giving the FDA discretion to “accelerate approval of certain new drugs” for serious or life-threatening conditions. That same year a Democrat-controlled Congress approved and President Bush signed the Prescription Drug User Fee Act. It established goals that call for the FDA to review drugs within six months or a year; the pharmaceutical companies pay a user fee to the FDA, now $309,647, with the filing of each new drug application.
The newly elected Clinton administration climbed aboard with its “reinventing government” project. Headed by Vice President Al Gore, the project called for the FDA, by January 2000, to reduce “by an average of one year the time required to bring important new drugs to the American public.” As Clinton put it in a speech on March 16, 1995, the objective was to “get rid of yesterday’s government.”
For the FDA’s medical reviewers–the physicians, pharmacologists, chemists and biostatisticians who scrutinize the safety and effectiveness of emerging drugs–a new order had taken hold.
The reviewers work out of public view in secure office buildings clustered along Maryland’s Route 355. At the jet-black headquarters building, the decor is institutional, the corridors and third-floor cafeteria without windows. The reviewers examine truckloads of scientific documents. They are well-educated; some are highly motivated to do their best for a nation of patients who unknowingly count on their expertise.
One of these reviewers was Michael Elashoff, a biostatistician who arrived at the FDA in 1995 after earning degrees from UC Berkeley and the Harvard School of Public Health.
“From the first drug I reviewed, I really got the sense that I was doing something worthwhile. I saw what a difference a single reviewer can make,” said Elashoff, the son and grandson of statisticians.
Last year he was assigned to review Relenza, the new flu drug developed by Glaxo Wellcome. He recommended against approval.
“The drug has no proven efficacy for the treatment of influenza in the U.S. population, no proven effect on reducing person-to-person transmissibility, and no proven impact on preventing influenza,” Elashoff wrote, adding that many patients would be exposed to risks “while deriving no benefit.”
An agency advisory committee agreed and on Feb. 24 voted 13 to 4 against approving Relenza.
After the vote, senior FDA officials upbraided Elashoff. They stripped him of his review of another flu drug. They told him he would no longer make presentations to the advisory committee. And they approved Relenza as a safe and effective flu drug.
Lost Faith in the System
Elashoff and other FDA reviewers discern a powerful message.
“People are aware that turning something down is going to cause problems with [officials] higher up in FDA, maybe more problems than it’s worth,” he said. “Before I came to the FDA I guess I always assumed things were done properly. I’ve lost a lot of faith in taking a prescription medicine.”
Elashoff left the FDA four months ago.
“Either you play games or you’re going to be put off limits . . . a pariah,” said Dr. John L. Gueriguian, a 19-year FDA medical officer who opposed the approval of Rezulin, the ill-fated diabetes drug. “The people in charge don’t say, ‘Should we approve this drug?’ They say, ‘Hey, how can we get this drug approved?'”
Said Dr. Rudolph M. Widmark, who retired in 1997 after 11 years as a medical officer: “If you raise concern about a drug, it triggers a whole internal process that is difficult and painful. You have to defend why you are holding up the drug to your bosses. . . . You cannot imagine how much pressure is put on the reviewers.”
The pressure is such that when a union representative negotiated a new employment contract for the reviewers last year, one of his top priorities was to defend what he called the “scientific integrity” of their work.
“People feel swamped. People are pressured to go along with what the agency wants,” said Dr. Robert S.K. Young, an FDA medical officer who in 1998 formed a union chapter to represent the reviewers. “You’re paying for these highly educated, trained people, and they’re not being allowed to do their job.”
Each new drug application is accompanied by voluminous medical data, enough at times to fill 1,000 or more phone books. The reviewers must master this material in less than six months or a year, while juggling other tasks.
“The devil is in the details, and detail is something we no longer have the time to go into,” said Gurston D. Turner, a veteran pharmacologist with the FDA’s scientific investigations division who retired this year. “If you know you must have your report done by a certain date, you get something done. That’s what they [top FDA officials] count, that’s all they count. And that is really, to me, a worrisome thing.”
The FDA did spur reviewers to move at record speed.
In 1994, the FDA’s goal was to finish 55% of its new drug reviews on time; the agency achieved 95%. In 1995, the goal was 70%; the FDA achieved 98%. In 1996, the goal was 80%; the FDA achieved 100%. In both 1997 and 1998, the goal was 90% and the FDA achieved 100%.
From 1993 to 1999 the agency approved 232 drugs regarded as “new molecular entities,” compared with 163 during the previous seven years, a 42% increase.
The time-limit goals quickly were treated as deadlines within the FDA–imposing relentless pressure on reviewers and their bosses to quickly conclude their work and approve the drugs.
“The goals were to be taken seriously. I don’t think anybody expected the agency to make them all,” said William B. Schultz, a deputy FDA commissioner from 1995 to 1999.
Schultz, who helped craft the 1992 user-fee act as a congressional staff lawyer, added: “You can meet the goal by either approving the drug or denying the approval. But there are some who argue that what Congress really wanted was not just decisions, but approvals. That is what really gets dangerous.”
Indeed, the FDA drug center’s 1999 annual report referred to the review goals as “the law’s deadlines.” And, Dr. Woodcock, the center director, elaborated in a subsequent agency newsletter:
“In exchange [for the user fees], FDA makes a commitment to meet certain goals for review times. [The agency] has exceeded almost all of the goals, and it expects to continue to exceed them. Basically, the number of new approved drugs has doubled, and the review times have been cut in half.”
The user fees have enabled the FDA to hire more medical reviewers. Last year, 236 medical officers examined new drugs compared with 162 officers on duty in 1992, the year before the user fees took effect.
Even so, Woodcock acknowledged in an FDA publication this fall that the workloads and tight performance goals “create a sweatshop environment that’s causing high staffing turnover.”
An FDA progress report in 1998, describing the work of agency chemists, said that “too many reviews are coming ‘down to the wire’ against the goal date. . . . This suggests a system in stress.”
Said Nesbit, the former aide to Commissioner Kessler: “The clock is always running, whereas before the clock was never running. And that changes people’s behavior.”
Dozens of officials interviewed by The Times made similar observations.
“The pressure to meet deadlines is enormous,” said Dr. Solomon Sobel, 65, director of the FDA’s metabolic and endocrine drugs division throughout the 1990s. And the pressure is not merely to complete the reviews, he said. “The basic message is to approve.”
Over the last seven years, “there has been a huge shift,” said Kathleen Holcombe, a former FDA legislative affairs staffer and congressional aide who now is a drug industry consultant. “FDA, historically, had an approach of, ‘Regulate, be tough, enforce the law [and] don’t let one thing go wrong,’ ” Holcombe said, adding that now, “the FDA sees itself much more in a cooperative role.”
The perception of coziness with drug makers is perpetuated by potential conflicts of interest within the FDA’s 18 advisory committees, the influential panels that recommend which drugs deserve approval or should remain on the market. The FDA allows some appointees to double as consultants or researchers for the same companies whose products they are evaluating on the public’s behalf. Such was the case during committee appraisals of several of the recently withdrawn drugs, including Lotronex and Posicor, The Times found.
Few doubt the $100-billion pharmaceutical industry’s clout. Over the last decade, the drug companies have steered $44 million in contributions to the major political parties and to candidates for the White House and both houses of Congress.
The FDA reviewers said they and their bosses fear that unless the new drugs are approved, companies will erupt and Congress will retaliate by refusing to renew the user fees. This would cripple FDA operations–and jeopardize jobs.
The companies’ money now covers about 50% of the FDA’s costs for reviewing proposed drugs–and agency officials say that persuading Congress to renew the user fees into 2007 is now a top priority.
Yet even if the user fees remain, the FDA is prohibited from spending the revenue for anything other than reviewing new drugs. So while the budget for pre-approval reviews has soared, the agency has gotten no similar increase of resources to evaluate the safety of the drugs after they are prescribed.
“It’s shocking,” said Dr. Brian L. Strom, chairman of epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania. “How can you say, ‘Release drugs to the market sooner,’ and not know if they’re killing people? . . . It really is a dramatic statement of public priorities.”
More than 250,000 side effects linked to prescription drugs, including injuries and deaths, are reported each year. And those “adverse-event” reports by doctors and others are only filed voluntarily. Experts, including Strom, believe the reports represent as few as 1% to 10% of all such events.
“There’s no incentive at all for a physician to report [an adverse drug reaction],” said Strom, who has documented the phenomenon. “The underreporting is vast.”
Even when deaths are reported, records and interviews show that companies consistently dispute that their product has caused a given death by pointing to other factors, including preexisting disease or use of another medicine.
To be sure, a chain of events affects the safe use of a prescription drug: The companies’ conduct of clinical studies; the FDA’s regulatory actions; the doctor’s decision to prescribe; the pharmacist’s filling of a handwritten prescription; the patient’s ability to take the drug as directed. A lapse at any link could prove fatal.
And once a pill is approved by the FDA, the manufacturer often spends heavily on promotion to seize the largest possible market share. This can exacerbate the risk to public health, according to experts.
“Aggressive promotion increases exposure–and doesn’t give you the time to find the problem before patients get hurt,” said Dr. Raymond L. Woosley, pharmacology department chairman at Georgetown University and a former FDA advisory committee member.
When serious side effects emerge, the FDA officials have championed using package labeling as a way to, in their words, “manage” risks. Yet the agency typically has no way to know if the labeling precautions–dense, lengthy and in tiny print–are read or followed by doctors and their patients.
The FDA often addresses unresolved safety questions by asking companies to conduct studies after the product is approved. But the research frequently is not performed–prompting the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services to say in 1996 that “FDA can move to withdraw drugs from the market if the post-marketing studies are not completed with due diligence.”
Since that report was issued, the FDA has not withdrawn any drug due to a company’s failure to complete a post-approval safety study. Officials conceded this week that they still do not know how often the studies are performed.
One consequence is that greater risk is shifted to doctors and patients.
For example, Woodcock and her senior aides allowed Rezulin to remain on the U.S. market nearly 2½ years after it was withdrawn in Britain in December 1997. The FDA recommended frequent laboratory testing of patients using the drug but had no scientific assurance that the tests would prevent Rezulin-induced liver failure.
“They kept increasing the number of liver-function tests you should have,” noted Dr. Alastair J.J. Wood, a former FDA advisory committee member who is a professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University. “That was clearly designed to protect the FDA, to protect the manufacturer, and to dump the responsibility on the patient and the physician. If the patient developed liver disease and he hadn’t had his [tests] done, somebody was to blame and it wasn’t the manufacturer and it wasn’t the FDA.”
Leading industry officials say Americans have nothing to fear from the wave of drug approvals.
“Do unsafe drugs enter and remain in the marketplace? Absolutely not,” said Dr. Bert A. Spilker, senior vice president for scientific and regulatory affairs for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, in remarks last year to industry and FDA scientists.
But during interviews over the last two years, current and former FDA specialists cited repeated instances when drugs were approved with less than compelling evidence of safety or effectiveness. They also said that important information has been excluded from the labels on some medications.
Elashoff, for instance, was surprised at the labeling for a drug called Prograf, approved in 1997 to prevent rejection of transplanted kidneys. The drug first had been approved in 1994 for use among liver-transplant patients.
The new label notes that Prograf was proved effective in a study of 412 U.S. kidney transplant patients. But no mention is made of the company’s 448-patient European study, in which 7% of the patients who took Prograf died–double the 3.5% death rate among those who received a different anti-rejection drug, documents show.
An auditor from the FDA’s scientific investigations unit, Antoine El-Hage, examined the European study results and concluded the “data are reliable.” Elashoff agreed in his review.
Yet the only way for doctors or patients to find that data is to search the medical literature or seek the FDA’s review documents.
Excluding the European study from the Prograf label, Elashoff said, “was just a total whitewash. . . . I think any rational person would reconsider taking this drug if they knew what happened in Europe.”
A spokesman for the manufacturer of Prograf said the company had no objection to including the European study results in the labeling. William E. Fitzsimmons, a vice president of drug development for Fujisawa Healthcare Inc., said the decision to exclude the results was entirely the FDA’s.
“We submitted that data,” he said. “It came down to what the FDA was comfortable putting in the label. . . . We certainly have no interest in trying to hide that information. We presented it at major meetings on transplantation. . . . We’re comfortable with that information being out in the public domain.”
But if the FDA had included the European results in the label, it would have impugned the agency’s basis for approving the new, expanded use for Prograf, according to Elashoff and others.
Asked why the agency excluded the information, Woodcock said the European results were “unreliable . . . and could be potentially misleading to doctors and patients in the U.S. if these were included in the label.”
“CBD Kratom” reads the large sign over Dafna Revah’s storefront on Central Expressway’s frontage road. Just south of trendy Knox Street, it sits beside a Marble Slab Creamery, two doors down from a Potbelly Sandwich Shop and around the corner from an Apple store and Kate Spade shop. “You can’t miss it,” Revah says. Unblemished glass walls, doors and windows communicate to passersby: We’ve nothing to hide here.
At least not for the moment.
St. Louis native Revah and husband David Palatnik co-own a few successful smoke shops — that’s a polite term for head shop — an endeavor that began with a store in St. Louis called Mr. Nice Guy. They added another in Chicago and partnered with a California dispensary that sells medical marijuana.
A shrewd, bold businesswoman, Revah remains sanguine despite having opened two dispensary-style boutiques in Dallas, both called CBD Kratom. Medical marijuana isn’t legal in Texas, so don’t expect to find kush at the shop on Knox Street or the second on Davis Street in Oak Cliff. Still, the name is ballsy considering the controversy surrounding kratom, a South Asian plant that many users hail as a potential life-saving herbal alternative to opioids.
While conventional head shops often camouflage controversial products, at CBD Kratom, these supplements stand tall. The small bags, jars and bottles of kratom are aesthetically packaged, benign looking, and customers rattle off praises for the plant. Unfortunately, kratom’s fans don’t include federal regulators. In February, the Food and Drug Administration threatened to stop kratom from entering the United States, and the Drug Enforcement Administration has threatened its legality.
Revah seems unfazed, but the government’s threats have stirred fear and lobbying efforts among some of the countless Americans who are treating themselves for chronic pain with kratom. Some are convinced they will die without it, killed by the addictive narcotics that kratom purportedly replaces.
Kratom has been used since the 1800s for a number of purposes, including reducing the pain of opium withdrawal, but the FDA’s letter declared the plant dangerous and addictive.
Revah disagrees. Thousands use kratom for wide-ranging reasons — insomnia, coughing, pain, Crohn’s disease. There is voluminous anecdotal evidence that the herb’s subtle narcotic effects have bettered the lives of chronic pain patients and people dependent on prescription opioids.
Right now, more than 2 million Americans are hooked on some variety of opioid. Overdoses from heroin and its more powerful synthetic cousin fentanyl claimed some 30,000 American lives last year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate opioids will kill another 52,000 Americans this year and as many as half a million in the next decade.
Revah says she worries for the people in pain. “It’s sad,” she says. “They do not want to addict themselves to oxycodone, so they come buy kratom. Taking it away would be very bad.”
As feds require, CBD products in her shop — oils, creams, capsules, edibles and waxes — contain less than 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol, the chemical that produces marijuana’s high. Regardless, consumers and sellers say CBD goods produced from hemp can relieve pain and inflammation and reduce anxiety and nausea.
At Revah’s shops, educated, friendly staffers won’t hover but usually are on hand to answer questions. The space resembles the sterile, practically clinical environment of legal marijuana dispensaries found throughout Colorado and other states.
CBD sales are carrying on with minimal fuss. The lesser-known kratom, however, is fighting for its legal life.
Customers browse kratom products at the CBD Kratom store in Knox Henderson.
Why stop kratom?
In 2012 and again in 2014, FDA import reports included mention of kratom, indicating the agency felt it had enough evidence to warrant stopping it at the border. Since 2014, federal law enforcement officials have seized at least $5.5 million worth of kratom, according to the FDA.
So kratom disappeared from shelves of American shops, and most of the industry moved online. A growing contingent of users bought from “trusted” online vendors. (Scammers promptly were called out on kratom forums.)
And merchants placed labels like “incense: not-for-human-consumption” on bags and boxes before shipping them overseas.
In spring 2016, the DEA announced plans to make kratom (more precisely, its two primary psychoactive compounds, mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine) a Schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substances Act. That’s the category reserved for the worst chemicals that are medicinally irrelevant and have the highest potential for abuse — heroin and ecstasy, for example. It would mean an all-out ban.
To the thousands of Americans who treat pain with kratom, the news ignited fear and indignation. Online vendors, who spent the previous few years booming in business, stood to lose thousands of dollars in sales and inventory or risk becoming criminals.
Protests, letters, videos, petitions — the outcry was more than the government expected, and Congress stalled “for an FDA analysis.”
Still, CBD Kratom opened its two Dallas stores earlier this year, and the herb is on gas station counters again.
Producing stimulant or depressant effects at varying doses, kratom is an unusual compound. Its voyage has been as peculiar.
In the 1800s, amid the humid thickets of Southeast Asia, laborers discovered kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) leaves growing — broad, glimmering green in tall tropical trees. The vegetation, when nibbled upon, eased pain and increased energy.
Around that time, it first was documented as a potential opium substitute. In Thailand, it became “part of the ritual worship of ancestors and gods,” Darshan Singh noted in “Traditional and non-traditional use of Mitragyna speciosa,” which surveyed and summarized dozens of published studies conducted in Thailand.
Extracts from the plant found use as a local anesthetic and a treatment for coughs and intestinal infections. The stuff reportedly staved off pain, depression, exhaustion, coughing and dysentery. Users described feeling happy, creative, energetic and even horny, according to “The pharmacology and toxicology of kratom,” published in the 1996 International Journal of Legal Medicine.
Enterprising sharecroppers figured its recreational, feel-good effects meant money, especially if peddled outside Asia, where the plant did not grow. In the late ’90s, kratom spread to America and was touted as a euphoric “legal high” on shelves in head shops.
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The brown plant extract came as dirt-flavored dust inside colorful containers. Bright, playful fonts read “Purple Sticky Stuff” or “Captain Kratom.” A dose or two went for $20 to $25.
Wayward marketing maybe cultivated its ill repute, as did its listing on the DEA’s “drugs of concern” resource guide, which made it tough for medical researchers to study its lifesaving or harm-reducing potential. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health denied a grant request to study kratom, explaining that the foundation does not fund the research of “hazardous materials.”
“Were it further regulated or banned, kratom would become even more difficult, virtually impossible, to analyze,” American Kratom Association President Susan Ash warns.
That’s one of the many catch-22s in America’s approach to drug regulation. Because plants such as kratom or marijuana lack acceptable studies demonstrating their value as medicine, the DEA can declare the drugs medically useless, making it virtually impossible for researchers to actually study them, according to University of Mississippi’s Chris McCurdy, a researcher studying drug withdrawal and kratom, in a 2016 Scientific American article. “Not many of us [researchers] have a Schedule I license,” he notes.
Dallas resident and Marine Anthony August Larson relies on kratom for relieving constant back pain.
Fighting pain and fighting back
Among those working to promote the plant’s goodness and educate users and vendors is Anthony August Larson, a Dallas resident, disabled Marine, a trained herbalist and one of America’s staunchest, most outspoken and organized advocates for kratom’s legitimacy and continued legality. He is hell-bent on changing that “legal high” perception.
Because of condition that caused constant back pain, Larson says he relied on morphine prescribed by doctors in order to function. He learned about kratom when traveling in Indonesia, after he ran out of pain pills and sought out a prescription. Instead of pharmaceuticals, the doctor gave him kratom. After kratom, he says, he dosed less morphine and quickly quit craving it.
In the early ’00s in Seattle, he worked at a Veteran Affairs hospital, where, he says, he learned some of the more traumatized soldiers were using kratom.
“They had heard of it — some of them — he says, but they were buying it at head shops at these insane markups, so I would give it to them,” he says.
Larson says he could see their demeanor, confidence level and general wellbeing transform with a combination of kratom, other doctor-recommended treatment and counseling.
In 2003, he launched a project called KratomDocumentary.com. It’s a website containing hundreds of interviews with all manner of people lauding the benefits of kratom.
He wanted to start this, he says, because he could see what was coming.
“I am a capitalist, not a conspiracy theorist,” Larson says. “But it doesn’t take a genius to see that if a cheap plant stands to diminish the need for billions of dollars in pharmaceutical sales, well, someone decided it was time to make it go away.”
Scientific research is preliminary at best, but anecdotal evidence related to kratom abounds. Larson has been collecting and documenting testimonials, and he says he constantly is surprised and impressed by what he hears.
Spencer Owens at 43 was preparing for a total hip replacement.
“It had been two years living uncomfortably since I was diagnosed with this hip problem,” he says. “They determined I had no cartilage left, a torn labrum. It couldn’t be fixed with arthroscopic surgery, so I was going to have this major operation.”
After a second opinion, Owens, an active, scarcely middle-aged man, rejected the invasive procedure and opted for physical therapy, weight loss and pain management using narcotics such as hydrocodone and oxycodone.
The latter option seemed considerably safer, at first.
As the American opioid crisis began dominating news headlines, Owens questioned his reliance on narcotics for relief. Even more disturbing, Owens’ body adapted to his prescribed doses. The pills worked wonders at first. Then his physiology changed, and his body grew accustomed to the medicine. The pain increased.
He lost weight and performed agonizing therapeutic exercises, but his hip did not improve, and every few weeks, his pain medication lost effectiveness. Like millions of legitimate chronic pain patients, he was at the mercy of doctors when it came to controlling his pain. Hospital visits became nerve-wracking ordeals.
As the opioid epidemic worsened, the DEA imposed limits on doctors prescribing or ordering controlled substances, so physicians fear prescribing enough medicine to adequately treat patients’ pain.
Within two years, Owens could hardly walk — physical therapy, jogging, outings with the dog all became unbearable without strong narcotic analgesics, which, to make everything worse, also made his head “fuzzy.” And he battled to bury this nascent apprehension that even if his hip magically healed, his body would demand the pills all the same.
Frightened about his steadily growing reliance on the drugs, fed up with feeling foggy all the time and worried antsy prescribers would cut him off, Owens began looking for an alternative.
People in pain can grow desperate for relief. Moms, teachers, lawyers, cops — anyone in physical agony is capable of things they never imagined.
A single mother of two leaving CBD Kratom in Oak Cliff (we will call her Cheryl; she only agreed to chat anonymously) works in an expensive, exclusive preschool by day and picks up occasional nighttime catering or bar-tending shifts.
A few years ago, she began experiencing severe pelvic pain. The petite, freckled strawberry blonde, 32, is resilient to the core, and she regularly runs herself ragged, forever fighting misery.
“It hurts physically, yeah,” she says, “but it makes me sad too, depressed even. I want to do things, like with the children, and … [gazes down at shaky hands, folded in her lap] I just can’t.”
When she was 30, doctors diagnosed interstitial cystitis, a painful bladder condition with no cure but some moderately effective treatment options. She tried nerve stimulation, physical therapy and anti-inflammatory drugs, antidepressants, and — finally, reluctantly — narcotics.
She spreads paperwork across a table, her documented diagnosis with instructions, prescriptions, insurance letters and specialists’ phone numbers — a cache kept in a bound, pocketed journal.
As with Owens, Cheryl’s opiate regimen worked — for a time. By winter 2017, she needed something stronger because her tolerance had increased. She had to work double shifts to cover bills and put presents under the tree. But her doctor refused to prescribe stronger meds. In fact, he told her he planned to wean her off the narcotics. He had few options.
When your body hurts all the time, “this plague, the crisis, outbreak everyone’s talking about — it means very little to you, personally. All you can think about is your own pain, sleeplessness and frustration,” she says, tears streaming.
Despairing, Cheryl first committed a crime of opportunity: she swiped an old, barely touched bottle of oxycodone from a relative’s medicine cabinet.
At a Christmas party she worked last year, a bartender at the end of a shift snorted a tiny bump of beige powder. Heroin. She was hurting so badly she could hardly think.
The bump of heroin up her nostril felt just like morphine, she recalls telling her pusher. “It’s basically the last thing I remember before waking up in a hospital bed, a tube down my throat, dried vomit in my hair.”
She would have died without a shot of naloxone, the drug that reverses opioid overdose, at the ER.
In the white room, Cheryl drew her knees to her atrophied, aching tummy. At midnight two days before Christmas, she brought her smartphone close to her blurry eyes and scoured the internet for alternatives to opiates. Anything, she wept. Trembling — exhausted to the bone but wired “like a speed freak” — she mussed the sheets, soaked them in sweat, snot and tears.
Her fumbling fingers after a few minutes took her to Reddit.com and the site’s kratom forum, where she read narratives she could have typed herself.
“I could not believe there were this many of us out there,” she says.
Some of the sub-Reddit’s 40,000 members said they took the herb for physical relief while others called it the antidote to anxiety and depressive disorders.
To her amazement, self-identified “junkies” — one after another — wrote of weaning themselves off all manner of pharmaceutical narcotics.
She read the reviews, inspected vendors and, in an attempt to save her life, or at least any semblance of its quality, ordered a bag of powdered plant. She relied not on physicians but anonymous mentors — Weezer2040, BisonPuncher, Drunkendolphin1, MichaelKeaton.
She felt different — hopeful, even — when that first teaspoon took effect 15 minutes after she ingested it (place powder on tongue, drink full glass of water or orange juice, do not puke) a few days after Christmas.
“It was gentler than oxycodone but eased all my tension in the most painful areas; the agony, oh my God, the agony, eased up,” she says.
She alternated oxy and kratom, but within a week or two, she says, she preferred kratom. Not only did it alleviate the pain, but also she found herself smiling, playing with the children. She did not feel foggy when driving to school, work, overtime gigs. She somehow felt safer, she says, and cleaner — although she was chugging a teaspoon of dirt every four to five hours.
When the pharmaceutical drugs ran out, she experienced withdrawal symptoms from oxycodone. But instead of the norm — shaking, freezing, sweating, pounding heart, panic, vomiting, feeling as if her skin was inside out, each nerve exposed — she says she dealt with irritability, runny nose, chills and a little trouble sleeping for about a week.
Owens, too, sought alternatives, but not in street drugs. Rather, he looked into homeopathic and herbal supplements.
His search, much like Cheryl’s, led the Dallas man to kratom.
Owens’ description of his kratom trial, also like Cheryl’s, seems too good to be possible. He feared his first dose was a dud, he says.
“But when I increased my intake just a little, it did wonders,” he says. “It relieved my pain without any intoxicating effects, and I thought, I have found something that works. And it curbed my cravings for narcotic pain medicines. In fact, it just pretty quickly cut out my use of them altogether.”
He conferred with his physician, he says, but the doctor had never heard of kratom. If some herbal supplement helped him, the doctor told him, go for it.
He has been self-medicating with kratom ever since, he says. “I kinda don’t know what I’d do without it,” Owens says. “I’ve done endless research on this by now — most controversy about kratom is due to lack of knowledge.”
Stirring the masses
The DEA drug scheduling announcement of 2016 brought kratom users out of hiding — protests in Washington, hometown rallies (a couple hundred people showing up at many, especially when Larson went with his camera) — to record more web testimonies:
“I work a full-time job now,” a 40-year-old woman says. “I raise two kids all by myself without feeling drugged out because of pain pills.”
“Tried everything from surgeries to acupuncture for 13 years, finally discovered that opiate pain meds work — 60 milligrams of oxycodone per day,” an older man says, “but now doctors bullied by the DEA don’t want to prescribe. Kratom has been an absolute lifesaver … but if they take it from us … what then?
DEA scheduling could prove devastating for the thousands of Americans self-treating pain and other ailments, those weaning themselves off opioids such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine and fentanyl, and it would essentially put a stop to research on humans.
Even Trae Crowder, the comedian known as Liberal Redneck, spoke up: “This is deeply personal to me. My momma’s a recovering addict. Pills. Hillbilly heroin, Percocet … the DEA just did something that will make it even worse … an epidemic that no one is doing anything about, partly because it effects mostly poor people. and everyone knows poor people are super gross. … Pills are as bad as any drug out there. I’ve seen it. They have made a lot of dirty people a lot of dirty money.”
Larson says he was caught off guard when the stories of opiate withdrawal treatment began to emerge. People did not want to talk about that at first, but when they did, it was a floodgate, he says.
“What an opportunity during an opiate crisis in our country!” His enthusiasm, if possible, intensified.
But the FDA’s announcement, which released results from the promised further study of kratom, was a kick to the gut. FDA administrator Scott Gottlieb cited “44 reported deaths associated with the use of kratom [among other drugs, since 2011].” He continues, “There is no evidence to indicate kratom is safe or effective for any medical use.” And he stated that the supplement “isn’t just a plant — it’s an opioid.”
Ash, president of the AKA, says there’s more to the numbers.
“They are saying 44 people died from a range of causes and that they had kratom in their system. It’s like blaming fatalities on coffee because 44 people who drank coffee died today,” she says.
Larson puts it like this, acknowledging kratom can indeed make one sick, or, combined with other drugs, dead: “So say you order kratom from some rando off the internet and you get sick, throw up, dizzy,” Larson hypothesizes. “Some vendors just do not care. Others do not actually know about keeping their product pure and clean.”
Larson travels the country talking to sellers and, if they will have him, letting them know how to properly wash and prep their inventory. Some — especially the “hippie types on the West Coast” — truly care about their clients and kratom’s image, he says. The point: Kratom isn’t causing illness; it’s contamination or adulteration somewhere along the way.
“But when the ER doc asks you what you took, you say kratom, they call poison control and we have another ‘adverse incident’ on the books,” he says. There is not one record to date of a kratom-caused death, he insists. Not from kratom alone. Mixed with other drugs and conditions, yes, apparently 44.
Kratom-associated death, according to the FDA, can include something like this: A 43-year-old man suffering severe complications because of deep-vein thrombosis had a long list of medical problems, including chronic back and shoulder pain and a history of alcohol and prescription drug abuse. Toxicology tests returned positive for opioids, benzodiazepines, antidepressants, a medication used to treat Tourette’s syndrome and kratom. The FDA listed his death among “kratom-associated” fatalities.
Among deaths of people who are chronically ill, drug addicts, abusers of illicit substances, patients undergoing treatment for a variety of mental illnesses among them, 44 have involved kratom in some manner, backing evidence that it is potentially deadly, Gottlieb insists. But people do not die from kratom, Larson says. Not from just kratom. It does not depress breathing as other opiates do.
“No one, not a single person, has died by kratom use alone,” Larson says. “The kratom-related deaths they point to, in every case, involve other illicit or prescription drugs, alcohol or some major underlying condition.
“If I took way too much kratom, and I did take three times too much at first because the consistency was different from what I knew in Indonesia, I would feel nauseated, might vomit, might get a headache and go to bed,” Larson says. “In a few hours, I’d be fine. Do the same with oxy, fentanyl, heroin — not so. You are probably going to die.”
Even allowing for these 44 kratom-related deaths in America since 2011, that pales compared with the anticipated more than 50,000 deaths expected from opioid overdoses this year. This doesn’t mean kratom is always safe, either. Kratom bought online can be contaminated or adulterated with other substances, possibly to hook customers.
A smaller sub-Reddit focused on quitting kratom contains heart-tugging tales and conversations among kratom users who feel they have lost control and want to stop and others who say they have been physically addicted but tapered off. They experienced similar symptoms to those detoxifying from heroin — diarrhea, agitation, chills, sweats, insomnia and restless leg syndrome — but to a lesser degree, according to member I_Wise. One woman says all was fine until she purchased a so-called “enhanced” tincture.
“Then I was like a heroin addict,” she says. “There are products out there one must stay away from — do your research.”
About 4,000 members belong to the quitting kratom sub-Reddit. “We are a group of people dedicated to helping each other kick the kratom habit,” its administrator notes.
What better way to be able to hold your kratom vendor accountable than selling it from a storefront, Larson asks rhetorically, expressing excitement about Dallas’ new brick-and-mortar shops. “As long as they are honest with people, don’t gouge people, educate consumers, I think it is great. I mean, you are going to pay a little more for the overhead and security,” he says, adding that he wants to meet the owners.
Although kratom is not a magic cure and there are risks (dirty vendors, adulterated products, evidence of addiction potential, and more), its possibilities seem to shine most brightly in matters of harm reduction, an emerging movement in which the main goal is to not die. Stay alive, and there is always a chance — it’s a phrase often heard in 12-step meetings.
Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, the mainstays for addiction recovery, do not consider a person using any mood-altering substance clean or sober. It’s a problem because there is no instant cure, says one former NA member shopping for kratom. “If you want to fully recover, you must have spiritual, therapeutic support as well as medicinal treatments,” he adds.
A couple of university professors, whose research focuses on design, synthesis and development of drugs to treat pain and drug abuse, concentrate on opioids and have studied kratom as a replacement for methadone, a powerful opiate used for long-term weaning off heroin, morphine, oxy, fentanyl and the like. Kratom can touch the brain’s opiate receptors, creating a similar, if subtle, narcotic effect. However, unlike every other opioid, including maintenance drugs such as methadone and Buprenorphine (pharmaceutical, long-acting, expensive opiates the FDA champions as the only approved medicinal treatments for withdrawal syndrome) kratom does not cause any significant respiratory depression.
Dr. Edward W. Boyer, professor of emergency medicine and director of medical toxicology at the University of Massachusetts School of Medicine, collaborated on a study with Christopher R. McCurdy, then at the University of Mississippi. They discovered the plant’s most abundant alkaloid, mitragynine, and tested the pure compound on lab mice.
“Results indicate this compound’s activity is superior to methadone in treating withdrawal … and that carefully created chemical variations may provide an alternative to methadone in treating addictions to opiates,” McCurdy determined. “Mitragynine completely blocked all withdrawal symptoms and could provide a remarkable step-down-like treatment for people addicted to hardcore narcotics such as morphine, oxycodone or heroin. The compound has been known for years, but we’re working to come up with an improved synthetic analog or a better formulation of the tea for testing in humans.”
Opioid analgesics kill so many people because the medicines can lead to respiratory depression, Boyer says. “When you overdose on these drugs, your respiratory rate drops to zero. In our animal studies where rats were given mitragynine, those rats had no respiratory depression. This opens the possibility of someday developing a pain medication as effective as morphine but without the risk of accidentally overdosing and dying.”
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Revah says she wants anyone who needs kratom or CBD to have access. Some of the people who need or want to try kratom, for example, are older people who are not comfortable walking into a head shop and asking for a product the DEA called hazardous and almost banned.
“We are here to put our clients at ease,” she says. A customer or two have complained about prices steeper than they find online, but the stores are drawing curious newbies and thankful longtime users. Sometimes it’s just about relaxing with a little kratom tea after a long week, she says.
She understands the risks of building a business around a product that just a year ago was one step away from being outlawed. She is prepared for pushback. Although the couple’s multiple stores, including Mr. Nice Guy, generate more than $1 million annually under their M&G umbrella, they would not have opened a kratom store if they did not think it would remain legal, Revah says.
The FDA and DEA, she says, are lying. “They say they want to save people dying from opiates and unbearable pain — well, we feel they aren’t doing their job, and this war against kratom certainly is not going to help a thing.”
The use of the herb kratom in pets has been a subject of much interest, due to the amazing results pet owners have reported and credited to the botanical. Much of the research to determine the safety of kratom has been done on animals, generally on rats and mice, but occasionally on dogs and cats. The good news, though limited, is that — even at absurdly high doses of the pure principle alkaloid, Mitragynine or standardized extracts of the whole plant, all the animals survived. Only at the highest doses of pure Mitragynine was there found to be any damage to the animals’ kidneys and/or livers.
Anecdotal reports by those who care for pets have been very encouraging for dogs with hip dysplasia, other injuries, anxiety, and age-related low energy, etc., as you’ll see below.
The comments of several veterinarians and care-givers in pet rescue facilities have been supportive of giving kratom to dogs in small doses. For some unconfirmed reason, veterinarians are apparently universally opposed to giving kratom to cats. Nobody has been able to tell us why or to direct us to research that would confirm this.
We can only speculate on whether kratom supplementation in other pets, such as rabbits, donkeys, and reptiles would be healthy for them. By deductive reasoning, those that are able to digest plant matter should be fine. The owners of pets should keep in mind that kratom, even with all fiber removed, still has the effect of slowing digestive motility, so it’s important to keep doses to a minimum and watch for signs of constipation.
Having said this, let’s allow the pet owners tell what they have seen in their Pets:
Dominique: My 3 legged pit bull gets Kratom when he’s in pain. 1/8tsp does it and you can see the relief both in his expression and movement within 20 minutes.
Kristie: I wet the part of my finger they take your finger print from and then press it into my dogs kratom. Then rub it on their gums and whats left rub on their tongue. I use it on my beagle for her seizures. They have stopped since I started her on kratom. Then I give my pit kratom for pain. She has cancer. I only give them reds with just a tiny bit of yellow kapuas. With the pit I will add just a tad of white if she is having a good day and wants to go and do doggie things.
Katie: We had a dog named Red, he was an old boxer with terminal bowel cancer, in his last few days before he was to be put down I gave him a dose of Kratom, I figured that it helped me feel better, and his pain meds were doing nothing. Lo and behold, the old bastard got up from his somber sad corner of the world and started playing for the first time in months, and he ate for the first time in a couple of days, it was like he was a totally new dog. I only wish I would have given it to him much sooner maybe it would have slowed the whole process down or even stopped it. He was still put to sleep, because it was 2 little too late, but at least he was able to enjoy his last few days, I definitely would recommend kratom to literally anyone or any animal. I hope this story helps.
Bekkah: My Winston, he’s a little Jack Russell/Javanese mix and the biggest baby you’ve ever seen. We thought he had sprained a paw or something, he was limping around all afternoon so for dinner I took about an eighth of a teaspoon or a little less and sprinkled it on his food. Took a little coaxing but he ate it. About 45 minutes later I noticed him jumping on the couch without trouble.
Connie: I used it for my Jack Russell for several months before we let her rest. She was hurting a lot and 1/4 tsp on her good morning and night helped her get through the day with her tail wagging. I alternated red Sumatra at night and bentuangie in the mornings.
Stormy: I use it for my two chihuahas all the time. The past 3 weeks my female is in heat so my male has been running around house nuts whining 24 hours a day. I give him half gram Green Indo[a type of kratom] and he relaxes and is not in misery anymore.
Kerra: This past summer an old stray dog showed up here. In bad shape! Hungry, covered in fleas, ticks, and some sores. Missing teeth and arthritic, we took him in, bathed and pampered him. He got real bad at one point. Wouldn’t or couldn’t get up to go outside or eat. We sprinkled just under 1/4 teaspoon Red Bali [another type or “strain” of kratom] in his breakfast for three days. Day 3 he got up, running around like a young pup. Doing fine since then. Haven’t had to give more at this point.
Julie: I have been giving kratom to my senior dog for his arthritis for about 4 months now. He was at the point where he could hardly get up or walk. I hate the arthritis meds the vets give for dogs (really damaging to liver and expensive). I mix a 1/4 tsp Red Borneo or Bali in a tsp of coconut oil, morning and evening, and he laps it right up. I’ve even started to mix in a pinch of turmeric. (He’s about 50 lbs) Everybody has noticed the difference in him, in fact my husband was getting a little annoyed because now he’s up and begging in the kitchen again lol! If I am late for a dose he will come and find me to remind me, so I know even he knows it’s helping him. I don’t know anything about using kratom in younger dogs, but for these older dogs who aren’t going to be around much longer, it sure is nice to know there is something to help them feel comfortable in their senior years.
Jeannette: I used it for our little dog that is about 30 lbs and 2 yrs old. He had abdominal surgery for a blockage. The surgery went well but the vet tech put him on a heating pad while he was still out of it and he ended up with 3rd degree burns on about 1/2 of one side of his body. He was in so much pain and tramadol was not even touching it. He just laid there and cried. I gave him 1 (00 size) capsule and it seems to really help but he was still whimpering. I gave him another and he quieted right down so he was getting 2 capsules about every 4 hrs for about a month and a half. He would just eat them like a treat. When it began to wear off, he would cry and whine. After about 2 months he is about healed up and no longer needs the kratom but he still begs for it. His scars look great and hair is slowly beginning to grow back. I really think kratom probably saved this little guy’s life. If not that, it sure helped him with recovery.
Sue: I’ve been giving Kimmie, my twelve year old Border Collie Mix three capsules of red every day. She seems to feel so much better from her arthritis.
Amy: I have a 3 year old golden with severe hip dysplasia. I’ve tried all the supplements. NONE of them worked except this one! I also have a ton of friends in golden rescue who I’ve switched them over to it as well. Not a single complaint. Only positive stories.
Jill: I’m a foster mom for the local shelter and I use kratom for scared, anxious or hurt dogs. I also use it for my 18 yr old Collie and it helps my Terrier with her nervous behavior.
Ryan: So I gave Kratom to my chihuahua. His paw was hurting for some reason. He was barely walking around.. After he ate it though, he was running around the yard like it’d never even happened. It was strange cuz he hasnt been limping since.
Robert: We utilized kratom with our 14 year old black lab, ‘Bear’. He had severe joint/hip pain (and other issues), so severe, that he didn’t jump on ‘his couch’ for 3+ years. I mixed aprox. 2 grams of a green vein, in with his wet/dry dog food mix.
ONE hour later, he had jumped his big ass on ‘his couch’ again! It may seem insignificant, but this was HYUUUGE for him, at that stage in his life!
He left us a year & a half ago, but ever since that jump, he had his proprietary blend of kratom mixed in with his dog food every day.
Our ONLY regret was not trying this ‘experiment’ sooner.
Gina: I have a 10 year old male poodle who weighs 20 pounds. He was diagnosed with arthritis in both of his back legs about 6 months ago. The vet put him on 2 prescription drugs. It helped very little. I started him on kratom 7 days ago. 1 gram of a mixture green/red. Once again kratom worked its magic! He is back to walking normal and going up and down steps. He even wants to play ball again. My only regret is not putting him on kratom 6 months ago. He’s back to being my mischievous boy!
Adan: I have a 15 year old Maltese with cancer, I’ve been feeding her kratom, turmeric, cat’s claw and graviola, needless to say the doctors were shocked to see her tumors disappearing, she was diagnosed 3 years ago. Kratom helped most of all to get her up, motivated, active and helped with her appetite. I assume it’s because of its pain relieving properties that she’s so healthy and eating well despite having had cancer.
Here is the little that I’ve been able to find in the kratom published research concerning cats:
“…it had little effect on the blood pressure of dogs, was only hypotensive in cats at high doses, and was much less of a respiratory depressant than codeine.” Referring to testing with pure mitragynine on cats and dogs. It went on to say, “Large doses in cats had stimulating effects, qualitatively different than opiates.” From “Ethnopharmacology of Kratom and the Mitragyna Alkaloids” Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 231988115119, Elsevier Scientific Publishers Ltd. Ireland
The researchers’ idea of high doses was 18.4 — 46mg/Kg of PURE Mitragynine, without the moderating effects of the other alkaloids in the botanical — and no deaths or other negative side-effects were mentioned, which leads me (tentatively) to believe, pending further evidence of possible negative effects of other of the 27 alkaloids usually present in whole kratom, that kratom for cats is safe, at least for acute pain relief in the short term.
We heard one anecdotal report of a cat whose leg was broken when a car hit the cat during the winter in Maine. The cat was found by its owners with a chicken sitting on it, keeping it warm (and alive). It being the weekend and no veterinarian available, they gave the cat kratom to ease the pain, which caused the cat to stop crying and be able to eat, rest, and recouperate. When the cat began crying again, a few hours later, the kratom was given again as needed. When the cat was strong enough, the leg had to be amputated, but the cat is now healthy and no longer needs kratom.
It is my hope that pet owners can deduce for themselves a sense of the safety and efficacy that the use of kratom may provide their pets so they can enjoy life more, in spite of aging and injuries. There were many more owner accounts — all favorable — that I will use in a future article on the subject of pets and kratom.
Paul Kemp is fascinated with all the many uses people have found for the herb kratom. He has written about it frequently since 2012.
Here is a study that demonstrates that pure Mitragynine is relatively safe for rats (and we may assume other mammals) at lower sub-chronic doses.
For more information on how to provide the essential nutrients needed to prevent and reverse the common symptoms blamed on aging, contact the author of this blog.
When one of our institutions get to a point in which its mere existence is causing pain and suffering, then it is time to reconsider whether it is needed. Since its creation, the FDA has consistently tested and approved drugs and procedures that kill people on a regular basis and a massive scale.
The FDA approved opiods. The FDA encouraged the prescribing of opioids by allowing high pressure sales professionals to market right to the prescriber. Promising nice trips and kickbacks to doctors that are already squeezed by over-regulation. All this time the FDA has known that opioids are deadly. It wasn’t even until it began to get out of hand, that they even reacted, and when they reacted they caused the criminalization of Americans over and over again and still do to this day.
When the FDA and the DEA realized there was something getting in the way of their cash cow, they chose to try to make it illegal. Our government is screwing with the lives of millions who are just trying to take their lives back from the grips of addiction caused by the same people who are attempting to criminalize the only legal way to get past opioid addiction without creating another addiction or dying of an overdose as the FDA would have you do.
So if you are an addict, are in pain, have high anxiety, or use Kratom for anything to avoid using the death elixir the FDA would have you use and risk death or arrest. Folks, counseling works 18% of the time because most people are not originally addicted due to mental illness and prefer not to put their dirty laundry out to a bunch of strangers when all they really need is to get relief and over withdrawals to move on with their lives.
Ask yourself if the FDA is really an institution that is protecting YOU – or are they protecting their pockets.
Oct. 26, 2017 — Eric Mayhew Jr. wanted to break his more than decade-long addiction to opioids — one that started when his doctor prescribed them for knee pain.
But he didn’t want to do an in-house treatment and tried to detox on his own.
Nothing worked, until 2 years ago when he tried kratom.
“What kratom does is kills your brain’s desire when you are addicted to opiates and you want opiates,” says Mayhew, 37. “It dulls your painand you start to get your wits back again.”
Now he takes the recommended dose of two to four capsules a day. He says he has had no side effects but admits he still needs his willpower.
“You have to want things to work. Nothing works unless you understand that,” says Mayhew.
He says he hasn’t relapsed since.
When it comes to withdrawing from opioids, medical experts and addiction counselors agree that you will be far more successful with support than trying it alone. But traditional treatment can be expensive and time-consuming, if it’s even available. Many treatment centers have long waitlists.
One study from 2015 found that only 21.5% of people with opioid abuse disorders are getting treatment. At the same time, about 91 Americans die every day from reasons related to opioid dependence.
That’s why some people dependent on opioids are rejecting traditional, medical-based withdrawal and seeking a do-it-yourself path.
Experts say — and conversations online show — that one of the most talked about methods is using kratom, a little-known herb made from the leaves of a tree that grows on the other side of the world. A recent survey found that nearly 70% of people using kratom were doing so to cut back on or get off of opioids or heroin.
But there’s little research on the herb’s effects on people, and some experts say it also can be addictive.
The herb is illegal in six states and the District of Columbia, and the Drug Enforcement Administration is considering labeling it as a Schedule I drug — a category that includes heroin, ecstasy, marijuana, and LSD. For now, the agency calls it a “drug of concern.”
Christopher R. McCurdy, PhD, a professor of medicinal chemistry at University of Florida’s College of Pharmacy in Gainesville, studies kratom and says while he believes the raw substance holds great promise for opioid withdrawal, he has deep concerns about how it is bought and sold.
“I definitely believe there is legitimacy to using kratom to self-treat an opiate addiction. I believe it from the standpoint of the material we know is pure and unadulterated and good. I just don’t know if all products available are consistently pure and good,” McCurdy explains.
Kratom for DIY Withdrawal
Kratom is made from the leaves of a tropical tree in Southeast Asia (Mitragyna speciosa) that have been used for hundreds of years to relieve pain. The leaves can be eaten raw, but more often are crushed or ground and brewed as tea or turned into capsules or liquids. It is sold online, where prices vary depending on the strains, amount, and form you buy.
DEA spokeswoman Katherine Pfaff says the agency considers it “harmful and dangerous.”
The FDA has warned people not to use any products labeled as containing kratom out of concern for its toxicity and potential health impacts.
“As our nation struggles with epidemic levels of opioid abuse, we should be doing everything possible to ensure that those suffering with addiction have access to FDA-approved medicines and appropriate treatment options; not unregulated substances bought and sold over the internet,” Pfaff says.
In August 2016, the DEA announced its plans to temporarily classify the main psychoactive elements of kratom as Schedule I drugs, calling them an “imminent hazard to public safety.”
The DEA says it is aware of 15 kratom deaths, although other drugs were also reportedly found in those victims.
But after a public outcry, the agency agreed to allow time for public comments and an FDA investigation. The DEA says as of Oct. 12, 2016, it had received more than 23,000 comments from the public about kratom and is reviewing them as part of its decision on the fate of the herb, which for now is up in the air.
The FDA is preparing an analysis of kratom. A spokesperson says the agency has no time frame to complete this review.
A study published in July 2017 found kratom is used for self-treatment of pain, mood disorders, and withdrawal symptoms that come with prescription opioid use. It was found to have few negative effects, including nausea and constipation, but generally only at high doses or when taken frequently.
But there aren’t a lot of human studies of kratom. In 2008, Edward W. Boyer, MD, director of academic development in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, published a study about a 43-year-old man who abruptly stopped abusing opioid pain medicine by taking kratom.
The man spent $15,000 a year on kratom he bought online, drinking it in tea four times a day to ease his opioid withdrawal. The man said the herb cut his pain a lot and didn’t make him drowsy or cause any real side effects.
“I think the cool thing about it is this guy went from injection drug use to nothing, and all he had was a runny nose,” Boyer says. “It’s similar to something like methadone or any other opioid, but what is different is withdrawal from those substances is far more involved.”
People who use kratom typically don’t have withdrawals, says McCurdy, the University of Florida professor.
“That it helps them stop their cravings for going back to opioids and helps them with their mood. They feel good. They mention that they aren’t lazy like when using opioid prescriptions or addicted to opioids. They feel more productive and are doing things they love again, returning to a normal lifestyle.”
McCurdy’s research on mice shows kratom has a clear potential to treat opioid withdrawal with few side effects.
“It is probably addictive, but its addictive equivalent is something like coffee, which isn’t surprising because the leaf is in the coffee family,” McCurdy says. “We firmly believe that it will be very good for treating opioid withdrawal and may be a possible solution to the opioid epidemic we are facing as a country.”
But he says that would require testing kratom in clinical trials and controlled studies. He’s hopeful that will happen in the next 5 to 10 years. For now, he warns buyers to beware.
“You don’t know what you are getting, and I think that is the scary thing about going into self-treatment. On the flip side, I can tell you I get at least one email a week from someone on prescription opioids or heroin that states they have gotten off those drugs by using kratom,” McCurdy says.
Boyer agrees, urging caution because he says it’s still not well understood. Kratom isn’t regulated, and there are no standards for what is sold in the U.S. McCurdy and Boyer were involved with a study published in 2016 that analyzed several commercial kratom products and found many had opioid levels that were “substantially higher” than those in kratom’s raw leaves.
“We know that people buy what they think is kratom. We don’t know that it actually is,” Boyer says. “Some people have found it useful, but nobody can vouch for its safety or efficacy. So to say that it is miraculous is clearly an overstatement.”
While kratom seems to be the most commonly used substance for self-detox from opioids, experts say other people try marijuana, Imodium, and over-the-counter pain relievers for body aches.
“It’s not surprising to me that people would try anything to alleviate the symptoms,” says Darren Ripley, a counselor with the Alliance for Addiction and Mental Health Services in Augusta, ME. “What I am hearing more of is marijuana.” He says people claim it helps with pain and anxiety.
Research out of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health finds the most common treatment option is self-help groups.
But the National Institute on Drug Abuse says successful treatment for drug addiction includes medical and mental health services.
FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, says people who use medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid addiction cut their risk of death from all causes in half. Medication-assisted treatment is the use of medications like methadone and buprenorphine along with counseling and behavioral therapies.
What Can You Do?
Ripley is not just a counselor but also a recovering addict. More than 25 years ago, he says, he got clean with the help of a 28-day medication-based detox program. He thinks that to successfully detox, people also need a support system and peer-to-peer help like a recovery coach.
“There was nothing that was easy about it, and I have all the empathy in the world for someone just starting out and trying it,” he says.
When patients overdose on opioids, they often end up in emergency rooms, where they may have a chance to get professional help.
Bayshore Medical Center in Holmdel, NJ, started an intervention program in July to help addicts find treatment. Since then, 64% of those involved in 34 bedside interventions with recovery coaches have entered into treatment and recovery programs.
“When you have a coordinated support team, your success rates will be higher than going home and doing treatment out-patient or on your own,” says Rajiv Prasad, MD, medical director of the hospital’s Department of Emergency Medicine.
If you want to try to detox yourself, Boyer says it’s helpful to at least understand and expect that withdrawal is not going to be pleasant. “Opioid withdrawal is certainly uncomfortable but is not life-threatening. So the safest but most unpleasant approach is just to go cold turkey.”
But Mayhew says kratom was the answer for him. He works, is a proud uncle, takes things one day at a time, and says kratom has been a real lifesaver.
“I am just a guy from Kentucky, but I can tell you it gave me my self-respect, my word, my accountability back, and it gave me back what I felt like before I took opiates. It’s a long road. But you get your life given back. It is a really powerful thing.”
Choosing the right type of Kratom strain that fully meets your requirements is not an easy task. Buying a Kratom was not that challenging a decade ago as it has become today. The only popular Kratom strains that were known several years ago were Maeng Da and Bali.
But the ever-increasing variety of Kratom strains has made it really difficult for the consumers to choose the ideal Kratom strain that better meets their needs. To make it easier for Kratom users to shop this incredible herb, this article provides detailed information about the most potent Kratom strains that they can buy from the market.
Kratom is a popular medicinal plant that belongs to mitragyna speciosa family. Kratom is cultivated in the lush green rainforests of Thailand and Malaysia. It has been used for decades as a natural remedy for low energy levels, stress, and anxiety, as well as pain relief.
A long time ago people who used Kratom were only limited to Bali and Maeng Da Kratom. But today, there is a wide range of this herbal plant to choose from. While the locals prefer to directly chew on raw Kratom leaves to attain desired results, in other parts of the world this herb is majorly sold in the form of powder, extract, capsules and teas.
No matter which type of Kratom product you are using, if you have purchased premium quality Kratom supplement, you can easily get the dynamic benefits this plant can deliver.
Since there are many types of Kratom strains, we decided to categorize the strongest strains based on benefits that they deliver. For example, analgesic, nootropic, stimulation, etc.
The Strongest Kratom Strains
If you are seeking natural remedies to overcome fatigue, depression, pain, and insomnia instantly, then we suggest that you chose from the following strains of Kratom.
Powerful Analgesic Kratom Strains
Kratom contains particular chemical compounds known as 7-hydroxymitragynine and mitragynine. Both alkaloids that interact with the mu-opioid receptors in the body to alleviate pain and aches.
However, some Kratom strains, despite being natural painkillers, are mild in their action. They might not be able to relieve chronic pain and aches. Therefore, it is important to get powerful analgesic Kratom strains to get rid of pain and suffering.
The strongest analgesic Kratom strains that you can buy include:
Red Bali Kratom
Maeng Da and Indo Kratom are the very much credited for their pain-relieving potential. But, in case you want to get rid of a pain in the fastest possible way, then nothing can match the potency of Red Bali.
Red Bali has remarkable pain relieving capabilities that instantly alleviate pain and provide quick relief and relaxation to the users.
The 7-hydroxymitragynine content in Red Bali is comparatively higher as compared to that of other Kratom strains. This alkaloid makes it a potent painkiller and muscle relaxant. People who suffer from joint aches and cancer-related agonizing pain can definitely benefit by including Red Bali in their daily routine.
This is the latest addition to the Kratom variety. Bentuangie Kratom belongs to the Red Vein family and it has even more remarkable pain alleviating properties than Red Bali.
If you are looking for a fast-acting remedy, then Bentuangie Kratom might not help. It takes time before delivering its desired, but it is quite powerful in its effects. It not only eliminates even the most excruciating and unbearable pain but it also wipes out body’s perception of painful sensations.
When choosing between the two for pain relief, it must be kept in mind that Red Bali has the potential to induce sedation in users. So, if you don’t want to feel dizzy or hung-over throughout the day then picking Bentuangie Kratom would be a wise decision. (2)
Indo Kratom is very powerful, both in its action and effects. Because of its sedating properties, Indo Kratom is considered one of the most effective strains for relieving stress and anxiety.
It is also remarkable when it comes to dealing with insomnia. Indo Kratom helps users to fall and stay asleep by eliminating all sorts of thoughts and chatters in the mind. Individuals can relax and sleep peacefully. Eventually, they wake up fresh, active, and energetic the next day.
Strongest Stimulating Kratom Strains
Finding a stimulating Kratom strain is not tricky at all. It is the advantage of this incredible plant. Almost every variety and strain of Kratom possesses cognition-boosting properties. But for those who want to know the most active and potent nootropic Kratom, following are a few strains popular for enhancing cognition:
Green Malay Kratom
When talking about nootropics, Green Malay tops the list of cognition enhancing strains. Green Malay has a perfect blend of flavonoids as well as opioids that make it a highly effective nootropic supplement. People can get rid of brain fog, improve their mood and thoughts, feel motivated and combat anxiety by using Green Malay.
It is considered an excellent remedy to overcome stress and depression. It helps individuals to feel positive and motivated by producing positive thoughts and joyful feelings. It is also known for improving focus and concentration levels in individuals.
Borneo is subtle when it comes to action but considering its nootropic effects, it is one of the strongest Kratom strains that you can buy. Borneo is an incredible remedy for people who suffer from stress and anxiety. It produces comfort, relaxation and peace of mind to users. It is a powerful Kratom strain for combating anxiety and insomnia.
Since it does not induce sedation, many people prefer to buy Borneo over other powerful nootropic Kratom strains.
Strongest Energy Boosting Kratom Strains
Feeling sluggish and fatigued all the time? Does lethargy seem to have taken over you for the rest of your life? Well, there is no need to feel upset about your condition because we know some of the most powerful and effective Kratom strains that can boost your energy levels instantly.
Sourced from the mainland Thailand, Thai Kratom is the most robust strain of Kratom you can buy to overcome low energy levels. Thai Kratom is an instant energy booster and works better than caffeine. It is its high mitragynine content that makes this strain such a powerful energizing agent.
Just replace your daily dose of coffee with Thai Kratom, and we bet you would feel upbeat, active and alert throughout the day.
Vietnam Strains are prized a lot for their stimulating properties. Unlike Thai Kratom, the Vietnam variety doesn’t produce get-up-and-go effects, but it delivers a slow yet remarkable burst of energy that lasts for quite a long time.
White Vein Kratom
The white vein variety of Kratom is quite famous for its energizing effects. This type is very stimulating and enhances energy levels, significantly. People who suffer from lethargy and fatigue can stay active and alert throughout the day by using white vein Kratom.
White Vein Kratom is also credited for its potential to efficiently remedy depression related to low energy levels. (8)
The Most Potent Kratom Strains for Euphoria
Did you know that the 7-hydroxymitragynine which gives Kratom the quality to deliver astounding medical benefits can also produce euphoric effects?
The alkaloids present in Kratom leaves (mitragynine, and 7-hydroxymitragynine), are opioid agonists and can result in euphoria. They can interact with the opioid receptors in the brain to produce high effects.
Kratom users who want to use this herb for recreational purposes, to attain euphoric effects, can try one of the following Kratom strains.
Borneo is the most potent strain of Kratom when it comes to euphoric effects. Although Borneo is more famous for its immense energizing qualities, this powerful Kratom strain delivers intense feelings of euphoria, when taken in the right dose.
Borneo leaves its users in a relaxed state of mind, making them feel joyful and happy. It improves one’s moods and produces positive feelings and thoughts.
Green Malay Kratom
Green Malay Kratom is another strong Kratom that can cause euphoria. Green Malay is known for its high potency and maximum impact. It contains higher alkaloid levels, which interact with the mu opioid receptors in the brain. This results in feelings of relaxation and happiness.
Green Malay doesn’t act very fact, but once it kicks in, its euphoric effects last longer than Borneo and Maeng Da. People who are looking for get-up-and-go effects should pick Borneo instead of Green Malay as it doesn’t act instantly to produce a High.
Maeng Da Kratom
Despite the availability of other powerful Kratom known for their euphoric effects, Maeng Da is still the most popular strain of Kratom among all.
Maeng Da is prized for its perfect combination of analgesic and stimulating effects. It is still many people’s favorite euphoric Kratom.
What really adds to the popularity of Maeng Da is its mechanism of action. Maeng Da can deliver strong euphoria instantly, and its effects do not last longer than a couple of hours.
It might be too high for the beginners, and therefore, they must choose from a variety that produces delayed effects.
The Food and Drug Administration recently released another attack on kratom yet, and in its logic, continues to undermine their own claims. The latest release tallies the deaths attributed to kratom, scientific jargon, and includes an explanation of a 3-D modeling on how kratom attaches itself to the body’s opioid receptors like a addictive drug.
Because of this, according to the FDA, kratom should be considered dangerous and scheduled like heroin, hydrocodone, fentanyl, and methadone.
But after filtering through all mumbo jumbo, all that FDA’s Commissioner Scott Gottlieb is pushing is junk science.
Take for example the number of deaths the FDA claims were caused by kratom. In November, the agency claimed there were 36. Today, it’s up to 40 with nine being in Sweden. In their fake science news, the FDA also distributed selected portions of the medical examiners’ reports of those deaths attempting to confirm the danger of kratom. What those reports clearly show are people dying from anything other than kratom. For examples: one person was shot in the chest and it was ruled a homicide. Another person fell out of a second story window, broke bones, and then refused medical treatment. The following day he was found dead. An obese man with a history of drug abuse and alcoholism was taking medication for his high blood pressure, Xanax, other anti-depressants, marijuana and opioids died from a blood clot. The Swedes took a poisonous illicit synthetic drug. Others were addicts making their own concoction of illicit drugs, synthetics and alcohol. Only one person who ingested kratom by itself died. The results are still inconclusive because the FDA refuses to release the complete report.
This hodgepodge of anecdotal reporting does not bolster the agency’s credibility; rather it makes it suspect at best.
Kratom grows in Southeast Asia and yet, in the 200 years of Western knowledge, not one Asian death can be attributed to the plant. Even a Lexis-Nexis search of thousands of newspaper archives failed to find one story saying a Southeast Asian died from kratom.
According to a 2008 national survey in Thailand, more than a million people reported using kratom. In several southern districts in Thailand, up to 70 percent of the male population use kratom daily. And yet the FDA is not capable of pointing to what should be a staggering number of Asian deaths attributed to the plant. Are Americans and Swedes the only ones susceptible to the deadly plant?
The FDA website discreetly places a caveat of their findings, saying the medical cases don’t imply a “causal relationship” between a product and an event. It also notes the “(medical) reports do not always contain enough detail to properly evaluate an event.” So the FDA is pushing fake science.
The FDA’s smoke and mirror show continues with the claim they did computer modeling showing the compounds found in kratom attaches itself to the mu-receptors in the body. Mu-receptors attract opioids. The agency’s conclusion is “we feel confident in calling compounds found in kratom, opioids.”
Using the FDA’s logic, if a compound sticks to the receptors it must be an opioid. Well then, they are going to have to put coffee, chocolate and dairy products on the dangerous drugs list too, for they all latch onto to the receptors as shown by numerous National of Institute of Health studies.
But this is old science. Scientists have known this for years.
Andrew Kruegel, an associate research scientist at Columbia University, said the FDA’s computer modeling adds nothing new to the research.
“They said these compounds are predicted to turn on those opioid receptors; that’s already known,” Kruegel said. “I don’t understand what that’s contributing to the field. It’s almost like going back to an earlier stage of scientific discovery.”
Kruegel said the FDA’s claim was akin to “saying that all opioid agonists have the same effect, which is not true based on what we’ve learned about these compounds.”
The fallacy of computer modeling is, that it is done in a vacuum, and the rules are set by programmers. The modeling process doesn’t end when you complete it. You have to compare it to the real world, and that’s done with real-world testing which the FDA and other agencies willingly will not do.
“Molecular modeling is not infallible,” said Josh Bloom, senior director Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences at American Council on Science and Health. “When used in drug design it is not uncommon for the model to explain the activity of a molecule rather than predict it.”
Bloom adds, “The magnitude of the effect of any drug is dependent on its dose and binding affinity. Without knowing both, it is impossible to determine the pharmacological effect of a given drug.”
The risk of not having kratom available to those who need it, despite all its liabilities, may be greater than whatever harm the drug may cause, Bloom said.
One has to ask, with all the science that contradicts the FDA’s announcements, why are they so intent in wanting to schedule kratom? What is the real reason for wanting to ban the plant, and yet support pharmaceutical drugs that are more dangerous?
The FDA’s anti-science attacks against kratom fail to recognize that thousands of people using the plant are suffering from intolerable pain, some caused by the very drugs they have approved. By making kratom illegal, Gottlieb’s actions will make law-abiding American citizens criminals by forcing them to seek relief from street drugs. Those have a guaranteed consequence of long-term addiction and death. The FDA is better than that, and should allow real independent science to take place, instead of pushing fake science.
Once again, the failing FDA, CDC and DEA let us down. Now they try through the CDC to stop Kratom use by saying it is the cause of salmonella poisoning, however only 8 of 11 interviewed used Kratom. If Kratom is the cause it would make sense everyone would have to ingest it somehow to get the salmonella. Makes more sense that they got their Kratom at a specific shop. Just another shot from this corrupt government and big pharma that created the opiod crisis by approving the drugs in the first place. Oh yes and the 65000 that will die this year from overdoses according to the FDA should go ahead and die because Kratom as an alternative is too dangerous. I don’t see the comparison but I do see the failing FDA with their hands out to big pharma.
Also, look at the map in the next article which shows multiple states in which Kratom is illegal were effected by this outbreak. Very hard to believe this story at all especially when experienced in addiction, Kratom, and other herbs.
Kratom blamed for salmonella outbreak in 20 states.
CDC says stay away from kratom for now
by Maggie Fox /
Kratom may be linked to salmonella outbreaks, the CDC said.Joe Raedle / Getty Images file
The popular herb kratom is linked to an outbreak of salmonella that has made 28 people sick in 20 states, federal health officials said Tuesday.
Most of the people who have been made seriously ill in the outbreak remember having recently used some form of kratom, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
It said 11 people were sick enough to have been hospitalized.
“At this time, CDC recommends that people not consume kratom in any form. The investigation indicates that kratom products could be contaminated with Salmonella and could make people sick,” the CDC says on its website.
The Drug Enforcement Administration is looking at a strong restriction on the sales of kratom, which is currently traded freely on the internet and in some stores.
“Kratom is a plant consumed for its stimulant effects and as an opioid substitute. Kratom is also known as Thang, Kakuam, Thom, Ketom, and Biak,” the CDC says.
Kratom enthusiasts say it’s enjoyable to use recreationally, but say it is also useful for treating withdrawal from opioid use and can be used to treat pain.
“Kratom is not a drug,” the American Kratom Association says on its website.
“Kratom is not an opiate. Kratom is not a synthetic substance. Naturally occurring Kratom is a safe herbal supplement that’s more akin to tea and coffee than any other substances.”
It says kratom is illegal in Indiana, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Vermont, Arkansas, Alabama and Rhode Island, as well as some local jurisdictions including Sarasota County in Florida, San Diego and Washington, D.C.
Salmonella is a very common bacteria that causes food poisoning. The CDC says it is not clear how it could have gotten into supplies of kratom. But genetic testing links the cases that have been reported.
“In interviews, ill people answered questions about the foods they ate and other exposures in the months before they became ill. Eight (73 percent) of 11 people interviewed reported consuming kratom in pills, powder, or tea,” the CDC said.
“No common brands or suppliers of kratom have been identified at this time.”
This is a book about my personal experiences with kratom. I write about it as a sufferer of chronic pain, and severe restless legs syndrome (RLS). I am not a doctor. I am not a medical researcher. I did do some research about kratom, before I started using it, but I used only sources that are available to everyone. I am not advising anyone else to use kratom, as I don’t think I have any right to do that. I am just telling you my experiences. I know that both chronic pain, and RLS, are complicated conditions, and may respond to different treatments in different people. Kratom may not work for you. But it has been a wonderful, life-saving herb for me. And so I wanted to pass along my story.
I’m seventy years old, and can barely remember a time when I wasn’t bothered by restless legs syndrome, and by chronic back pain. The back pain I could manage pretty well with daily exercises. For most of my life, the RLS–those unpleasant, crawly sensations in my legs that made it imperative for me to move around—were intermittent and fairly mild.
I could manage them with a short walk, a hot bath, or a variety of over-the counter remedies. Then, about three years ago, the RLS became much more severe, and my back pain was starting to need more than daily exercise. I went to a chiropractor for my back pain.
I had an MRI and was diagnosed with mild degenerative disc disease and moderate to severe facet joint osteoarthritis, as well as moderate narrowing of the spinal canal, secondary to some disc bulging.
The exercises and the chiropractor helped, and if that had been my only problem, Iwould have been okay. Yes, the pain was often troubling, but I had no desire to go on heavy pain medications. When I got very uncomfortable, Advil usually helped, although I worried sometimes that I was taking too much of it. In addition to the back pain, a few years ago I developed shoulder pain, with inflamed rotator cuffs.
I also do exercises for my shoulders, which help quite a bit and, again, Advil helped. But, meanwhile, the RLS was getting much worse, and nothing I was taking seemed to help it. Gradually, it wasn’t just one or two nights a month that I was awakened by the absolute need to get out of bed and start walking; it was every night.
And not just once or twice a night—sometimes, it seemed, the entire night. From being a good sleeper, I started averaging only two or three hours of sleep a night. Some nights I barely slept at all, in spite of all of the over-the counter remedies that used to work, as well as two or three hot baths.
In addition, being able to sit and read or watch a video on the couch in the evening became impossible. After only a few minutes, the feeling in my legs made me get up and move around. I stopped even trying to go to movies or a show in the evening.
One of my children lives across the country from me, and one lives in Hawaii. I found I was also now dreading airline flights. Even though the RLS was most disabling at night, it seemed that no matter what time I scheduled an airline flight, my legs acted like it was the middle of the night. Having to sit through a long flight had gone from being bothersome to being almost unbearable.
So I started doing research. The back pain was no mystery: exercise, Advil, and some visits to the chiropractor could keep it somewhat in check. But I had no idea what to do for the RLS. I searched “restless legs syndrome” and read everything I could find on it.
Here’s the short version: Restless legs syndrome has been renamed Willis-Ekbom Disease (WED), principally, I gathered, because the medical profession was now understanding the seriousness of the condition—and “restless legs” doesn’t sound that serious. But since RLS is the more common name, I’ll use that term in this book.
It turns out that, although there are many theories of its cause–usually centering around a lack of dopamine, or a lack of iron, or too much glutamate–no one knows why someone develops it, or how to cure it. That last part was very clear: no one had a cure for RLS. The most to hope for was that some way would be found to “manage” it. The only glimmer of hope I found in my research was the theory that some cases of RLS were secondary to some other, treatable condition—such as low iron, or low vitamin D. Pregnancy seemed to cause a flare-up of it, and it seemed to accompany some other diseases, such as Multiple Sclerosis and Diabetes.
The hope was that managing these other diseases–or waiting for the pregnancy to end–would also cause a remission of the RS. It’s hard to get accurate statistics on how common the condition is, since many sufferers don’t realize that it’s a definite disorder, and so don’t seek medical help. However, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NIH) estimates the percent of people affected may be as high as ten percent, with two to three percent of the population having moderate to severe RLS. NIH also estimates that as many as a million children may be affected. I find this especially heartbreaking, as kids being diagnosed as hyperactive, or behavior-disordered, may be suffering from RLS. They won’t sit still when told to because they can’t.
The best medical description of the condition I found was in a book titled Clinical Management of Restless Legs Syndrome by Hochang B. Lee, Mark J. Buchfuhrer, Richard Allen, and Wayne A. Hening. It’s available on Amazon, and I highly recommend it. Get the second edition. It lists five diagnostic criteria for RLS which are, essentially, that sufferers feel a compulsion to move their legs, the compulsion is strongest after a period of rest, movement relieves the compulsive feeling, the urge happens mostly in the evenings and at night, and this compulsion to move is not caused by anything else.
This book, Clinical Management, also outlines treatment options. Essentially, it recommends first to do the kinds of things I was already doing: exercise, watching my diet, hot baths, etc. When these mild interventions stop working, it recommends a class of drugs called dopamine agonists (DA’s). In searching the Internet, I found that, indeed, most sufferers of this disease report that these are the drugs most prescribed.
The most helpful site I found on the Internet was that of the Willis Ekbom Disease postings from this discussion board, and a couple of things jumped out at me. One was that most people who bother to post are those suffering the severe form of RLS. So this was definitely my group. And many had been struggling with severe RLS for years, and had undergone all of the available treatments. It was their experiences that I was most interested in, as I was trying to decide what to do myself.
I knew I had to do something, as the RLS was now having a major, negative impact on my life. Combined with my chronic back pain, it was making my life very difficult. It seemed like I was exhausted and in pain much of the time.
Almost uniformly, the posters reported being put on a DA by their doctors (usually neurologists or primary care doctors) after their RLS became severe. The good news was that the DA’s seem to control RLS symptoms pretty well. But, for me, the bad news almost overwhelmed the good news.
First of all, there are significant side effects to the DA’s. Common ones are headaches, nausea, and either sleepiness, or trouble sleeping. More severe ones included compulsive behavior, such as gambling, or compulsive eating.
That was troubling enough, but for me the showstopper was that in some cases—and I’ve seen statistics all over the place as to how many cases—people on DA’s eventually augment. This means their RLS gets worse. While before starting the DA’s the symptoms were confined primarily to their legs, and happened primarily in the evenings and at night, after being on a DA it sometimes started happening all over their bodies, and was active twenty-four hours a day.
Some sufferers on the discussion boards reported that they had a pretty long run on the DA’s—some as long as ten years—before running into augmentation. Others seemed to experience it fairly quickly. But once it happens, the general consensus seemed to be that you would eventually—and probably quickly—augment on all of the other DA’s as well.
There well may be many, many people who never augment on these drugs, who take them for years, for their lifetime, without running into problems. These people most likely don’t bother to go online and read the forums, since they’re doing well. So I tried to keep in mind that I was undoubtedly reading a skewed sample of people.
But the many, many accounts of augmentation I read were truly horrific. I read accounts of people who were living in agony—unable to sleep, unable even to sit down.
And the worst part of augmentation seems to be that there is a way to manage it, but few doctors feel they are able to use this way. Clinical Management, which is really the main authority for treating RLS, notes that the only way to manage the severe symptoms that usually happen with augmentation is to prescribe opioids until the DA is out of the patient’s systems and the severe symptoms abate. However, it also notes that since some patients will experience augmentation on other DA’s, they may need to be maintained on a low dose of opioids indefinitely.
I am simplifying the treatment options recommended, but the short version is that opioids are probably going to be needed for at least part of the treatment, and for some patients may be the primary medication needed.
The problem is that many doctors are either unwilling, or unable, to prescribe opioids. This leaves their patients in a horrible, never-never land. They are worse off then they were when initially diagnosed and prescribed a DA, but can find no doctor willing to prescribe the only medication (opioids) that can now relieve their suffering.
Chapter Two: What To Do?
For my back pain, I decided to keep doing what I was doing: exercises and visits to my chiropractor. For the RLS, I decided to see a neurologist who specialized in the disorder to see if something treatable was causing my distress. Maybe I had low iron or low vitamin D, and some iron infusions or more vitamin D tablets might be the answer. Maybe I was developing diabetes, and that’s why the RLS had become so troublesome.
The neurologist ran a whole series of tests, but they all came up negative. My iron levels were good. I had no peripheral neuropathy. I didn’t have diabetes. It seemed that, indeed, my RLS was primary. He wrote me a prescription for a DA, and told me to check back in with him in a couple of months.
I put the prescription in a drawer, and thought about it. I really, really, did not want to start down that road. I was afraid of the side effects of the dopamine drugs and even more afraid of the possibility of augmentation.
So I renewed my search online for something else that might work. Some writers are adamant that inflammation causes RLS and chronic pain. My primary care doctor tested levels of inflammation in me, and they were low. I took every vitamin and mineral I could find that might help. I think some have helped a little—and I still take them—but essentially my RLS was still raging unchecked and my back and shoulder pain flared up much too often for my comfort. Plus I was reading more and more research about how you shouldn’t take too much Advil.
One comment that came up again and again in the online forums was that many RLS sufferers saw a complete remission of their RLS symptoms when they were put on pain killers for another condition. After back surgery, for example, they were put on Percocet for a bit, and noticed that not only did it help with back pain, they were completely free of RLS while on it.
This was very interesting, but prescription painkillers have been abused so much that the guidelines for prescribing them are now very strict. Even Clinical Management, which notes how effective they are for even recalcitrant RLS, only recommends them as a last resort drug. And most doctors won’t prescribe them at all for RLS. I thought that perhaps I could get them prescribed for my back pain, but I understood that doctors were even becoming reluctant to do that. Plus I had taken Vicodin after some surgery a few years earlier, and had hated the way it made me feel.
I live on the East Coast, and about this time was planning a trip to California to see one of my children. I didn’t see how I could get through the flight without some kind of drug to manage the RLS.
But I really, really did not want to start taking the DA drug prescribed for me. Should I go to my primary care doctor and try to get Codeine or Percocet, telling her it was for my back? Certainly I did have back and shoulder pain too. But I was afraid any of the prescription drugs would be as unpleasant to take as Vicodin was.
So I kept doing research, and eventually stumbled across a herb called Kratom. Most of the information about it concerned its use with chronic pain—well, that was certainly me—but none suggested it was also good for RLS., and RLS was my major problem. But it was a herb that had pain-relieving properties, and—unlike the prescription pain killers that I was afraid of—had a reputation for being gentle and essentially free of side effects.
Maybe I should explain here that, even though I came of age in the 1960’s, I’ve never used drugs. LSD? Angel Dust? God no. I’ve never even smoked marijuana—or even cigarettes. I’ll have at the most one or two glasses of wine a week. I had been doing everything I could for years to avoid using drugs for my back pain. I just don’t use drugs.
But the RLS was becoming unbearable, and my back pain was becoming harder and harder to manage. I had to do something. I decided to investigate this gentle herb, kratom.
Chapter Three: What’s Kratom?
According to Wikipedia, kratom is an evergreen tree, native to Southeast Asia, whose leaves are used for medicinal purposes. It goes on to say that “Kratom behaves as a μ-opioid receptor agonist like morphine and is used in the management of chronic pain, as well as recreationally.”
I found out, first of all, that it is legal in every state in the U.S. except Indiana [this has since changed as more states have made kratom illegal – check your local state laws]. However, recently the FDA announced to its field personnel that they could detain certain products containing kratom. I haven’t been able to determine exactly why the FDA took this action. I think it’s because they believe kratom has no acceptable medical or nutritional uses, but I’m not sure. It may be because they are getting pressure from other sources.
I also found out that occasionally there is a groundswell of political pressure to make kratom illegal. Recently, Oklahoma, Arizona, and Illinois have all attempted to ban the herb, although it is looking more and more like the ban might only cover buyers who are under the age of 18—not a bad idea, I think. It does seem ridiculous to me to try to make a mild herb illegal when we are finally getting sensible about marijuana.
At any rate, kratom is still legal to use. To be illegal, the FDA would have to classify it as a Schedule 1 drug. And, although it seems like the FDA action, allowing it to be detained, would cut down the supply, it hasn’t appeared to do so. Kratom is even sold on Amazon, although the word “kratom” is rarely used now. To see it on Amazon, you need to search by the type of kratom you want, rather than by the word “kratom.”
So you can search for “maeng da” or even just “MD powder,” and maeng da kratom will come up. “White Borneo” will bring up White Borneo kratom on Amazon. And on the page where it lists what buyers of this product also bought, other types of kratom will be listed. I won’t list all of the different types here; I have attempted to do so in the Appendix.
Since the FDA was listing it as a drug of concern, one would think that there were many instances of severe problems caused by kratom, but I could find hardly any. There are a few reported instances of kratom being implicated in the death of someone, usually a teenager who was using it to get high. But in every report I found, the teenager was taking other drugs with it. I haven’t yet seen a report where kratom is clearly the cause of death. For example, this summer (Aug. 2014) a young man in Florida, Ian Maunter, committed suicide, and his mother blamed the suicide on his use of kratom. But the young man had had problems for years, and was being treated for depression. It seems just as likely to me that depression caused the suicide.
By comparison, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that excessive alcohol use leads to about 88,000 deaths every year, and cigarette smoking is responsible for one out of five deaths in the U.S. every year. And no one is talking about banning them. The CDC also reports that forty six people die each day from an overdose of prescription painkillers (like Percocet and Vicodin). But since I don’t think our lawmakers always act rationally, I figured that—if I started using it–I needed to be prepared for the possibility the FDA would make it a Schedule I drug, a disturbing thought.
The other disturbing thing about kratom is that I could find no good academic studies on it. And because kratom has been studied very little, it’s hard to find out exactly what the effects of using it are. I was dependent on personal Internet accounts for that, and what I found was encouraging. The most troublesome side effect seems to be constipation, which is a common side effect in many painkillers. The other side effects—nausea and headaches primarily—seem to occur when someone takes too much, or doesn’t drink enough fluids.
While it’s hard to find accounts of deleterious effects of kratom, stories of its benefits abound. A Google search brought up over 200,000 entries. The benefits claimed generally fall into one of two categories.
The first benefit claimed—and the one that people anxious to ban kratom always tout—is that it is a mood enhancer. This is certainly the benefit that drives much of the Internet chat about it. There are endless postings about how much kratom you need to take to get high, the best way to ingest it, etc.
There are some major drawbacks to using kratom as a mood enhancer, however. For one thing, it is a very mild plant, which means people trying to get high need to take high doses of it. While large doses of kratom don’t cause breathing difficulties, as opioids can, too much kratom can cause nausea and vomiting. In addition, apparently one develops a tolerance to kratom when using it as a mood enhancer, and you have to keep increasing your doses to get the same effect.
I wasn’t interested in getting high, so the postings I searched out and read were those from people who used it to manage medical conditions. There are also many, many of these. The accounts I found were from people who used it to manage chronic pain, anxiety, depression, and withdrawal from other, harder drugs, such as prescription opioids, alcohol, and illegal narcotics, like heroin.
Here are a few of the comments:
In September, 2013, Ed Hoy posted this note on the Scientific American Site: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/should-kratom-be-legal/#comments
“I have used this natural unadulterated leaf for over 5 years to treat the pain and symptoms of diverticulitis, bulging discs, and degenerative disc disease. During this time, not only have my symptoms receded, but I have completely quit my dependence on pharmaceuticals like Vicodin, and Oxycodone. Prior to finding this plant, I was hopelessly dependent on opiates, which no longer even worked to alleviate my pain.
“Possibly related to Kratom is the fact that during this same time I have also quit smoking cigarettes, and cannabis. My alcohol consumption has also dropped significantly. I do not experience any type of high from Kratom, and the amount that I take daily has not increased in 5 years.”
Wow, that was encouraging. We have exactly the same back problems, and I even have diverticulosis as well. A match!
On the same site, Tom Kray posted this note in July, 2014:
“I have suffered for a decade with severe chronic nerve pain as a result of a surgery complication. I spent years on legally prescribed opiates, neurontin, flexeril etc. while simultaneously getting nerve blocks and ablations of the damage nerve. I did acupuncture, active-release treatments, physical therapy and tried every other possible approved treatment but nothing worked. The way the medical community dealt with my chronic pain made my mind foggy, my body exhausted and my spirit crushed. The chronic pain destroyed my life and led to depression that was also treated with various medications. Kratom gave me my life back. It is a miracle plant . . . Kratom has not caused me any of the long list of side effects that the FDA approved medicines I was on clearly caused in me. No lethargy, no constipation, no foggy thinking…. nothing but feeling better. I believe it is safer than drinking coffee. Because of Kratom I have no need for any medications or treatments at all and have not taken anything else but Kratom for several years. . I feel better than I have ever felt. I am not in severe pain all day long like I was even when on opiates. My mind is clear and I have hope. I am not depressed anymore or having anxiety attacks from thinking about how much pain I will be in by the end of the day. I feel better, act better, look better and think better since I stopped taking FDA approved medicines and started using Kratom instead.”
Another site that had some interesting postings was this:
In August of 2014 Chris posted: “3 years ago, I began taking kratom 2 to 3 times daily for anxiety and depression after trying just about everything else and then drowning in sorrow, booze and low self-worth and all of that great stuff that comes with being a sad depressed bag. I’ve experienced no negative side effects whatsoever with kratom. I can even testify that kratom has not only helped me stop drinking but actually repelled me from it, and I honestly couldn’t be happier!”
From the same site, LJ_CO wrote this in June 2014: “I’ve used Kratom for going on 5 years now. Never had one issue or any flag in my blood work. As a matter of fact, my borderline high blood pressure dropped to near normal levels. I use it for anxiety and opiate cravings, thus keeping me off illegal opiates. This plant is a God send for many people.”
A Forbes writer, David DiSalvo, wrote an article somewhat critical of Kratom in September of 2012 here: http://www.forbes.com/sites/daviddisalvo/2012/09/22/is-kratom-the-new-bath-salts-or-just-an-organic-pain-reliever-with-euphoric-effects/
He got eighty comments from that article, most of which, he reported, were supportive of Kratom. Here are a few of the comments: Brent Amenell posted this: “As someone who has suffered with chronic pain for over 20 years, Kratom has been my miracle. I was tired of taking pills, fighting with doctors for pills, and all the bad things that come with pills. Kratom helps relieve my pain without all the side effects of the opiates. I can still function, and over time, I do not need to take more and more Kratom.”
Deborah Wertwijn’s comment (with typos corrected to make it more readable) is here: “Hi, I am using this for a year now, I was before using tramadol and oxycodone for the pain I have because I have Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. Kratom is a very good painkiller for me. I do not experience any withdrawal if I do not take it, as when I used the chemical painkillers I got really sick when I did not take them. I do not feel sleepy or under drugs when I take kratom. The only thing I experience is that the pain is much less, and the most wonderful thing is that when I started using kratom I had no withdrawal effects from stopping the tramadol and oxycodone. I also take less anti depressive tablets now. In my opinion the big pharmaceutical companies do not want us to use Kratom because than they will not make so much money anymore!”
SJCO’s comment: “I have degenerative disc disease and sciatica that have been plaguing me since 2005. I had a 2-level spinal fusion surgery in 2006 which helped reduce the sciatica, but gave me new musculoskeletal pains in my lower back and hips. I have been on opiate therapy for my pain since 2005 and though I had managed to lower them considerably over the past year, I was still unhappy with taking such a high amount of opiates and Tylenol and knew that I had to switch to a safer alternative or risk having serious health issues from these medications as I aged. So I began using kratom on a daily basis and due to its excellent analgesic properties I was able to completely quit taking all RX’s for pain! It’s been a blessing for me and I have experienced no negative side effects at all since that time. I also have suffered with depression and anxiety for more than 15 years and have been on just about every medication made for both of those conditions and I find that kratom works wonders in both departments. I am no longer taking anything but kratom for pain, depression and anxiety and I’m so much healthier and happier for it! My wife also takes (a much smaller) amount of kratom daily as she suffers from chronic pain as well due to scoliosis. It helps her to relax, takes away her musculoskeletal pain, and seems so far to help keep her chronic migraines at bay.”
Reddit often has discussions of kratom use. One of the most recent threads is about using kratom for dental pain:
There are many threads that deal with back pain. Here is a typical comment at http://www.reddit.com/r/kratom/comments/26nys3/best_kratom_strain_for_back_pain/
Nursesati: “When I messed up my back and was in terrible pain for almost four months, green Malaysian was my absolute go to. I tried other strains but always fell back to this strain. Not a big buzz or feeling, but the pain relief for me was wonderful. When I stopped taking vicodin after a few weeks, I was able to cope fine. Red vein thai is also good too.”Return to top of page.
Chapter Four: Making a Decision
Kratom got such rave reviews from the medical users that I was tempted to order some immediately. But I made myself consider both sides first.
I wasn’t too concerned about side effects. The ones reported were mild, and I knew that anything I took would have side effects. The ones reported for kratom were considerably milder than the possible side effects of the dopamine drugs or opioids.
My concern was the quality control issue. How could I be sure that the kratom I ordered was safe? I wasn’t going to be getting it in a sealed bottle. It wasn’t approved by the FDA (au contraire). Even if all of the reports about the wondrous properties of kratom were true, what assurance did I have that the kratom I ordered would be fresh and not mixed with some other, contaminated substances?
The answer, of course, is that I would have no assurance.
But then I started thinking of all of the other produce I got that was unpackaged, and so could be contaminated. Of course, U.S. inspectors occasionally inspect any produce being sold—but they surely don’t look at every leaf. But just the fact that inspections are made gives one a certain peace of mind.
What keeps online stores—domestic or international—from ripping off customers is the fear of losing their good reputation. I think the Internet has really helped here. I was pretty sure that if some kratom vendor was selling stale or impure kratom, there would be messages about it all over reddit and other Internet sites that host discussions about drugs. I felt a certain measure of safety when I realized that.
I also decided that I could minimize my risk by ordering from a site that had many products, not just kratom. I would guess that they wouldn’t put their reputation at risk over a small part of their business. Finally, I decided I could look at the vendors who advertised on Amazon. Surely Amazon would throw them off of their site if there was a hint that they were selling poor products.
The advantages to using kratom were easier to see.
First of all, I liked the fact that I would be the one in control, not a doctor. I could try to figure out a safe, effective dosage myself. I wouldn’t have to count pills, worried that I lacked enough to get me through the month when I could get another prescription—if I could even get another prescription.
I liked the fact that kratom was a natural product, that had been used by people indigenous to Southeast Asia for centuries.
Surely if there were some severe side effect it would have come to light by now. Even in Thailand, one of the few countries where Kratom has been banned, the Thai Office of the Narcotics Control Board put out a report in 2010 saying that kratom had been banned for economic reasons, not health or social ones. Apparently so many people were switching from opium to kratom that the government was losing much money from the opium trade: simplest just to ban kratom—not that the ban has ever worked very well.
I liked that fact that, when kratom was used for a medical condition rather than for its euphoric properties, users didn’t seem to develop much of a tolerance. Users coaching others on how to get high on Kratom recommend started with doses as high as ten grams, and then always talked about the near certainty of developing a tolerance as well. Users looking to kratom for relief from a medical issue were coached to start with a low dose, of one to five grams. And many long-time users commented that they had never needed to increase their dose from their initial, fairly low starting dose.
Finally, of course, the possibility of using a natural herb that would take away my horrible compulsion to move my legs, as well as my chronic back and shoulder pain, was thrilling, to say the least. If it worked, it would change my life.
I decided to give kratom a try.
I know this sounds like a reckless decision—to start ingesting a drug from Southeast Asia that had never been approved, or even tested, by our FDA. I didn’t think my decision was a good one. But at this point I felt like I had no good options.
I had exhausted all nutritional and over the counter options. I was very afraid of going on a dopamine agonsit (DA) drug. I knew that no doctor would prescribe an opioid for me. If I had already been on a DA drug, and gone through augmentation, that there was a slim chance a doctor might prescribe an opioid, but I didn’t want to go through the hell of augmentation. Plus opioids carry their own risks and side effects. I was also keeping in mind the Center for Disease Control (CDC) statistic that 15,000 people die yearly from an overdose of prescription pain medication. Researchers are scrambling to find even one death that is clearly a result of taking kratom.
I’ve never looked upon using kratom as a good option, only a less bad option than all of the other available ones. If a good cure for RLS and chronic back pain was discovered, I’d be thrilled to take advantage of it. I’d drop kratom in a heartbeat.
But meanwhile I had a cross-country flight coming up. Perhaps I could continue a while longer pacing the floor at night, but I didn’t’ see how I could bear the torture of a long airline flight again. I decided to take the plunge, and try this South Asian plant.
Chapter Five: Trying Kratom
I did an online search for Kratom vendors, found one, ordered a small amount with my credit card, and waited for delivery. It never came.
That was how I found out about unreliable vendors. I will say that since then, I have found the other vendors I dealt with to be extremely reliable. But this was a bad start, and as a result, I left for California with nothing but my usual vitamins and supplements, and a large container of Advil for my back and shoulders.
The flights both ways were horrible. I squirmed in my seat. I hoped for long lines to form for the bathrooms, and immediately stood in them, to ease the squirmy feeling in my legs. I loved long lines. I counted the minutes, the hours, until we landed. The Advil helped my back and shoulder pain, but did nothing for my RLS.
And the nights in California were not any better. We stay in a short-term rental there, rather than with our son, so at least I could pace in the living room at night without disturbing anyone.
When I got home, and saw that I had a cross-country wedding to attend in another few months, I decided to try again to order some kratom. This time I chose a vendor more wisely, Kratom Therapy, and in a few days received my order.
Medicinal Kratom is made by turning the leaves of the Kratom tree into a powder. You can order this powder in capsules, or just by itself. I started by ordering the capsules.
I ordered something called “Red Dragon” and the first night took two capsules. They quieted my legs, and I fell asleep. I woke up a couple of hours later and took two more capsules. Again, after awhile my legs quieted, and I fell back asleep.
I followed this pattern for the next couple of weeks: two capsules before bed, and then two more each time I woke up, which was usually two or three times a night.
Even though I was waking up, and often had to wait for the Kratom to take effect, I was piecing together around six hours of sleep a night. Things were looking up!
I kept waiting to see if I developed any side effects, but I couldn’t feel any at all. I didn’t feel high from the little amount I was using. I wasn’t getting headaches. I wasn’t constipated. I never had the slightest “drugged” feeling. If the kratom hadn’t been relieving the RLS, and my back and shoulder pain, I would have thought it was doing nothing.
My route to the wedding involved flying from the East Coast to California, and then to Reno, Nevada. I took double my usual amount of kratom for the California flight, and took the capsules every two hours. It was incredible. I had no RLS symptoms at all. In fact, the absence of symptoms made me so cocky that I took much less on the Reno flight, and was again miserable, since it takes a good half hour to forty-five minutes for the capsules to dissolve and the herb to become active.
But, at any rate, when I got back home, I saw that Amazon was now carrying Kratom, and decided to order through them, since I was sure they would only deal with trustworthy vendors. The Kratom Therapy store had been very reliable, but I couldn’t resist trying out the vendor I found on Amazon, Velvet Soul. I also decided to try the powder rather than the capsules, as the powder would work more quickly.
I ordered a kratom strain called maeng da from Velvet Soul, and loved it. I found that by mixing it with a little orange juice, the powder was easy to take, and worked much faster than the kratom in capsules. Plus the maeng da seemed stronger than the Red Dragon, and seemed to last better at night. I started using a half a tsp. of it every couple of hours at night, and had better control of my pain and RLS than I had had with the capsules of Red Dragon.
I used the maeng da for a couple of months when I noticed that constipation was becoming a real issue for me. By then I had gotten in contact with another RLS sufferer who was using kratom, and she suggested I try the Red Leaf Borneo strain, as it was reputed to have the most pain-relieving properties, and to be the most sedating. She also told me that it was not causing her any problems with constipation—or indeed, with any side effects at all.
I took her advice and switched to Red Leaf Borneo, still from Velvet Soul. With that, and the addition of a little extra magnesium, the constipation completely cleared up. I was getting good relief from RLS and back pain without suffering any side effects at all.
I might mention that by this time Velvet Soul did not seem to be using Amazon anymore, so I ordered directly from their website without any problem, although, like Amazon, they avoided using the word “kratom.” I had to search for “Red Leaf Borneo” to bring it up. I kept ordering from them because their kratom was so finely ground that it was almost a powder. Also, on their site I could put my credit card in, whereas I had to call the credit card in on the Kratom Therapy site. But both sites, I emphasize, were very professional.
At this point, I’ve been using kratom for almost two years, and I am still extremely happy with it. I still have no side effects—no drugged feeling, no headaches, no nausea, no dizziness—none of the side effects often associated with pain killers. It’s not perfect; sometimes the back or shoulder pain breaks through. Sometimes it doesn’t calm my legs. I’m never sure if that’s because the pain or RLS is getting worse, or if I just need to take more kratom. Taking more will usually bring relief. Other days my legs are fairly calm, and I can use less than usual.
Sometimes I can figure out what causes good days and bad days. Other times I have no idea. But I am starting to relax about flying, and am starting even to enjoy flights.
This summer I started a trip by flying from Newark, NJ to Los Angeles. It was an early morning flight, and I tool plenty of kratom, starting a few hours before the flight. My back and shoulders, and my legs, were fine for the whole flight. It was great. The flight was crowded, but I had my seven-year-old grandson with me, and my kindle was loaded with books. I had set up my iPad mini with games and movies for my grandson, and leaned back and had a lovely time reading on my Kindle. No pain. No squiggly feeling in my legs. My charming grandson. Who knew life could be so good on an airplane?
A week later I flew from Los Angeles to Honolulu, with my younger daughter and a three-year-old grandson. Again, I took plenty of kratom, and so could enjoy reading on my kindle and watching my grandson play games and watch movies on my iPad. Again: an enjoyable flight! This was such a new experience for me.
And then two weeks after that, my husband and I flew from Honolulu back to Newark. Because of the six hour time difference, the only non-stop flights were overnight ones.
This was Mt. Everest. A night-long flight of ten hours.
The flight was due to depart at 8:05 p.m. By six I had started taking two grams of kratom every hour. Early evening is usually one of my worst times for RLS, and I was not optimistic.
I felt fine until everyone was on board. Then the RLS broke through the kratom. I was trapped, couldn’t get up at all, as we were getting ready for takeoff. I took another gram of kratom, waited about forty minutes, and then took one more grams. Since I had to use capsules on the plane, and they take awhile to dissolve after I take them, I knew I wouldn’t feel their effect for another half hour or so.
But finally, just as the plane was lifting off, the kratom kicked in. Heaven! My legs completely calmed down, and stayed calm and comfortable for the whole flight. I had no back pain at all now, and no shoulder pain. Ten hours. All night! And I read, and dozed, and watched a couple of movies. No problems at all!
I don’t know how much I took for that flight, as I had decided I wouldn’t keep track, but take what I needed to be comfortable. But I think I took somewhere around ten grams—a huge amount for me.
After that flight—a ten-hour overnight flight—I knew that, with kratom, I could go anywhere.
Chapter Six: The Nuts and Bolts
How Much to Take
I’m a small, elderly woman who weighs only a hundred and thirty pounds. So while one gram may be a big enough dose for me, larger, younger people will probably need more. The advice I read on Internet accounts over and over again is that you should start small. One teaspoon is about two grams, and I think for most people that is plenty for a starting dose. If you’re smaller, than try a half a teaspoon, or a gram. You can always take more. But wait at least an hour before you decide that you haven’t taken enough.
How to Take It
The Internet is full of advice for ways to take kratom, usually given by users who are trying to take a large dose and get high. They recommend something they call “toss and wash.” Apparently, this involves first taking a mouthful of water, and then adding the kratom to it. You swish the stuff around in your mouth and then swallow.
The problem with this is that users are always complaining that the kratom tastes terrible. Some people remark they usually throw up a bit.
That all sounds horrible to me—and I’m afraid I’d choke with all of that in my mouth. So here is how I do it:
I measure a dose—usually half a teaspoon—of the kratom powder, and dump it into a little cup. I use the small, plastic jello cups I order from Amazon. Then I add orange juice, and let the mixture sit in the refrigerator for at least twenty minutes. That gives the kratom a chance to dissolve, and the mixture is very easy to swallow. Plus it doesn’t even taste bad.
I usually make up five or six of these cups every day, and keep them on a tray in the refrigerator, so one is ready when I need it. Of course, if kratom would just develop a time-released leaf, I wouldn’t need to take it so often. But I’m not optimistic.
I know lots of other people make a tea with it, but since I am usually using it in the middle of the night, I don’t want to fuss with tea. But apparently, they use the kratom as tea leaves. Their advice is to let it steep for twenty minutes, and then strain it and discard the leaves.
Sometimes capsules are the most convenient way to take kratom. Certainly it’s what I need when I’m out of the house. There are a couple of gadgets that help you make up capsules of kratom with the powder you have. They are pretty cheap.
Again, I got one on Amazon, and I think they have various models for around twenty dollars. I keep about fifty capsules in the refrigerator, ready to take with me. Making up your own capsules is much cheaper—and I think the kratom is fresher—than depending on ones a vender makes up.
So when my capsules are getting low, I set up the little capsule-making gadget, put on a video, and start stuffing capsules. With the little gadget it’s very easy. I can usually make up a couple of hundred capsules during one video.
How Often to Take Kratom
It’s funny, but when I have to take it during the day (unless I’m flying, when all bets are off) a half of a teaspoon will last four or five hours. If I want to sit and read in the afternoon, I have to take a little kratom to be comfortable. So I may take some about 3:30. Then I’m usually perfectly comfortable until around eight at night.
But at night, when RLS symptoms are always much worse, a dose will often last only two hours. And just lately I’ve started keeping a cup with orange juice and a whole teaspoon which I used at night when the symptoms are the worst.
Generally, I’ve found that when I’m in a situation where I know the RLS will be acting up, it’s best to start taking the kratom early. So I begin taking some now at least two hours before something stressful is coming up, like an evening show or long car ride. Even if my legs are feeling okay at the moment—and I have the capsules and water in my purse so I can take it anywhere—I’ve found it’s better to start early. The capsules take awhile to dissolve, and once the pain, or RLS symptoms, get established, it’s harder to control them.
This is one area where there seems to be general agreement. Kratom should be stored in a cool, dark place. It’s a leaf, after all. I store mine in the refrigerator. If you’re storing some for a long time, and can seal it into an airtight bag, some people recommend the freezer.
It’s hard to emphasize this enough. You need to drink lots of water when taking kratom. Otherwise, your mouth will get so dry that you’ll have trouble swallowing, and I have seen some indications in postings that that you might be susceptible to liver damage. There hasn’t been any research on this, that I could find, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Take small doses and drink plenty of water.
Driving: I haven’t found any need to restrict my driving. If anything, kratom seems to give me more energy and make me more alert. I won’t drive anymore after even one glass of wine. But kratom doesn’t seem to affect me at all—except to manage my pain and RLS discomfort. In fact, if I’m driving long distances or if it’s late in the day, I feel safer if I take a small dose of kratom first. Driving with active restless legs, or bad back or shoulder pain, does seem dangerous to me. I just can’t emphasize enough how little a small dose of kratom affects anything but my pain and restless legs symptoms.
Exercise: The big drawback to kratom—chronic pain-wise—is that kratom is taking care of my back pain so well that I’m finding it very easy to skip my back and shoulder exercises. I know that kratom just gives me symptomatic relief. I know that I need to exercise to help my muscles be strong and flexible. And so I do. But, honestly, I do think kratom makes it a little harder. Before kratom, I knew I absolutely had to exercise every day.
Reading: I feel like kratom has given me back books. I used to love to read in the late afternoon and evening, but was usually too uncomfortable to manage it. Now, with a small dose of kratom, I can curl up with a book and be perfectly comfortable.
Little Chores: Because when I take kratom in juice, it usually takes fifteen or twenty minutes to kick in, I find that’s the perfect time to do little household chores. So I’m great now about emptying the dishwasher, putting away laundry, doing a little sewing, making beds—all of the little chores that it’s so easy to ignore. Before kratom, I used to be in despair so much, feeling that I would never feel better, that it was hard to get motivated to do anything. Now I know that wonderful little herb is going to get active very soon, so I might was well use the time waiting to get something useful done. A funny, unexpected side-effect.
I haven’t experienced withdrawal because I haven’t skipped a day since I started taking it. But I don’t think I’m addicted, at least not in the usual sense. I don’t crave it. I crave the freedom from RLS and chronic pain. That’s all.
Even though I haven’t withdrawn from it, the Internet has plenty of stories of what happens when you stop taking it. Generally, it seems, when people stop after taking doses as low as mine, there are few, if any, withdrawal symptoms. In fact, a comment I’ve read again and again, is that it was harder to get off of coffee than it is to stop taking kratom. People who take large doses to get the euphoric effect report stronger opioid-like withdrawal symptoms, but many people who have also withdrawn from opioids, report that the kratom withdrawal is quite mild compared to that. In fact, I’ve read lots of postings by former addicts who used kratom to manage their withdrawal from opioids, or even heroin. But, like I say, I don’t know. This is just what I’ve read. I’ve had no personal experience of withdrawal.
Talking about kratom research reminds me of the year Irish cookbooks were prominently displayed in stores, but when you opened them up, the pages were blank. I guess the Irish are not famous for their cuisine.
Well, I don’t see any pages dedicated to kratom research either. Occasionally something pops up. When I do an Internet search, a 1975 study of kratom users in Thiland appears. Here is the link to it:
And this is the study that is most often referred to.
The study consisted of interviews with thirty subjects. All but five had used the leaf for over five years, and one had used it for thirty years. There didn’t seem to be any effort to determine exactly how much kratom each subject commonly used. But the study reported that long-time users had darker skin and were thinner. Some developed insomnia. Some developed constipation. Five seemed to have developed what the researchers called “kratom psychosis.” But in four of these cases, the men (they were all men) were taking hard drugs, like heroin, along with the kratom. One was using a lot of alcohol as well. So it seemed a stretch to me to blame their psychological problems on kratom.
What I found interesting was that most of the subjects interviewed said that kratom helped them be “happy, strong, and active.” It motivated them to work in the rice fields or their own garden plots.
I thought this was very interesting, since most drugs seem to pull people out of society and work.
But it was a very sketchy study, and it’s the only one I could find. And I didn’t see any reports in it of people dying from overdoses. The Kratom Association (http:// www.kratomassociation.org/publications/kratom-research) lists several more studies on their website. All of these, from what I could tell, were preformed on rodents. I had a hard time figuring out exactly what they showed, although the one thing that popped up was kratom seemed to suppress weight gain in the rodents. And it did not cause deaths. But I couldn’t tell if kratom did anything for chronic pain in rats, or for stress, or for restless legs syndrome. I don’t even know if rats suffer from RLS. How could you know? Do some pace more at night? And stress? Do rodents suffer from stress?
At any rate, I didn’t find those studies very helpful. I do wish some researchers would do some solid research on Kratom.
Since I’m not sure how much supplements are contributing to my success with kratom, I thought I’d say a bit about them.
I’ve taken Co-Q10 for years, ever since I was put on a statin drug and promptly got a massive case of shingles. So no more statins for me, and no more shingles. But I’ve kept taking the Co-Q10.
I take a variety of vitamin, and I switch them around every so often. But mostly I take the usual: viatamin D, the B vitamins, some vitamin C etc.
At night I take two magnesium pills and two 100 mg. pills of l-theanine, which is apparently some green tea derivative. But the l-theanine seems to help me sleep.
Sometimes at night, if I’m feeling very restless, I’ll take some D-ribose. It’s a powder and I drop it in my cup of orange juice and kratom. I take it because another one of the theories about kratom is that the sufferers have too much glutamate in their brain, and this is responsible for the hyper-alert feeling that often accompanies the leg symptoms. In fact, the Johns Hopkins Center for Restless Legs Syndrome is doing a study on levels of glutamate in RLS suffers right now.
Usually the kratom will completely take care of my RLS and pain symptoms. But some nights I still have a restless feeling and am unable to sleep, and I’m thinking that Johns Hopkins is right, and I have too much glutamate. I certainly have what the study describes as a hyper alert feeling. So I studied up on glutamate and found that it was a neurotransmitter and that another neurotransmitter, adenosine, helped control it. Adenosine, I then found out, attached itself to a ribose sugar molecule. So I take some D-ribose. It often seems to help.
I just want to emphasize again that I’m not a doctor or a medical researcher. I’m just a chronic pain and RLS sufferer. I devoutly wish that there were good, available treatments available for chronic pain and RLS.
But it seemed to me that the side effects, or long-term effects, or difficulty getting prescriptions make the standard treatments for these conditions problematic. At least they did for me. That’s why I decided to try an unknown plant, that was far outside of my comfort zone. I’ve never looked at kratom as a good option—only a less-bad option.
So far, it works very well for me. Even on the nights when the hyper-alert aspect of RLS is overwhelming any sleep I can get, at least the kratom makes my legs calm, and my back pain-free. I can lie quietly in bed, reading or listing to the radio. And then I eventually do go to sleep.
Types of Kratom: I am just listing the different kinds I see described on various Internet sites. I have no idea if this is a complete, or even accurate, list. I don’t know where such a list would be found. So you can look at this list as a start—to give you some idea of the varieties of Kratom.
Kratom Online lists these strains, on http://kratomonline.org/types-of-kratom/. On the site is also listed the supposed properties and strength of each kind, which I won’t replicate here because I have no idea whether or not the properties are accurate. Many online kratom stores offer sample packages that a little of several strains. My advice would be to order a sample package and see what kind works for you. Bali Red Vein Thai Red Vein Thai Green Vein Malay Green Vein Borneo White Vein Maeng Da White Vein
Kratom Science offers another list, on http://www.kratomscience.com/strains-effects-and-dosage/. Most are similar to the Kratom Online list, with these additions: Ultra Enhance Indo Thai Essence Super Green Malaysian
Online Kratom has yet another list at http://www.onlinekratom.com/kratom-information/kratom-strains. Again, there is some overlap, although the site tends to throw all of the kratom from one country into one list item. Like this: Malaysian Kratom Indonesian Kratom Red Vein Borneo (Finally, my favorite!) Maeng Da Kratom (which they charmingly nickname “Pimps grade”). Some sites offer a kratom tincture. A tincture is made when some of the leaf is dissolved in alcohol. Apparently the resulting product is very strong. I haven’t tried a tincture yet, nor do I intend to.
Where to Buy Kratom:
Since my efforts to buy kratom initially resulted in my being ripped off by a site (whose name I truly can’t remember), I am reluctant to recommend any site myself that I haven’t used. The two I have used are Kratom Therapy
and Velvet Soul Naturals (http://www.velvetsoulnaturals.com/). I recommend both of these.
The best online list I found of recommended stores and reviews are here, at Kratom Online (http://kratomonline.org/category/reviews/).
The other thing to do is to go to Amazon, and put in the names of various strains, and see what stores are selling them. I will say that there is almost universal agreement not to buy kratom locally, in head shops or gas stations. Most online posters assert that kratom bought that way is more expensive, and more likely to be poor quality.
I’m sorry I’m not more help with good kratom vendors. I just really don’t want to recommend a store that I’ve had no personal dealings with.
Yes, I know: I’m not much help in this appendix. I’m sorry. Maybe if some researchers would start examining this drug—and if the FDA would approve it—we could come up with a list of different strains and what they do, as well as a good list of the best places to buy it. Meanwhile, we sufferers of chronic pain and restless leg syndrome muddle along as best we can.
And kratom, for me, has been an amazing help. Thanks for reading.
[This book can be purchased on Amazon as a Kindle book.]
What helps in potentiating the kratom? You must be wondering about it, but you have natural things sitting right in your kitchen.
There are many methods for potentiating kratom and boosting its efficacy. The combination of certain herbs and foods can result in a synergistic effect which results in enhancement of herbal remedies example Kratom. This method results in potentiation, leading to the improvement of potency and strength of kratom with smaller dosages and with profound effects.
Compounds which help in potentiating the Kratom
The kratom powder is derived from the Mitragyna Speciosa tree. Its potency is increased by some common foods which we intake daily. According to the user’s experience, the best foods for potentiating kratom include:
Grapefruit Juice: It is an optimal potentiator and is used commonly in routine life by the kratom users. The users recommend the combination of kratom with grapefruit juice so that it can be easily swallowed and the bitter taste is alleviated.
The users use this method for prolonged motivation to use kratom and get help in reducing the bitterness, but the actual benefit with its combination is that the benefits endured longer with this consumption method. Grapefruit peels also contribute to accomplishing the same results.
The grapefruit juice enhances the kratom effects, but the chemical of grapefruit juice influences the digestive enzymes linking with the metabolism of kratom alkaloids, doubling the strength for the treatment of pain or anxiety.
Turmeric: turmeric is a type of ordinary spice grown in India. It is the perfect spice which surpasses the other foods which help in intensifying the kratom potency. The turmeric produces an encompassing intensification of various physical effects produced by kratom along with the extension of results.
The users claim turmeric as an active boost for kratom effects.
Cayenne Pepper: it is an especial hot pepper which helps in detoxing and cleansing the body. It aids in increasing the kratom’s potency and effects. Users prefer mixing the cayenne pepper with dry kratom powder. The pepper has an intense spiciness so use it in meager amounts.
The cayenne pepper is a powerful compound which helps in producing saliva for digestion, aids in weight loss and helps in relieving the joint pain with the use of kratom.
The combination of black pepper with the kratom helps in increasing the kratom’s potency along with it lowers the tolerance level.
Watercress: it is an ultra-hydrating lettuce which significantly potentiates the kratom effects. It is an effective natural food with a powerful mineral that potentiates the effects of kratom.
Guide for potentiating the Kratom tea
Add regular herbal teas with kratom, as opposed to brewing kratom alone as a tea. It is a good choice for integrating the herbal tea in your supplement routine. The common herbal teas include passion flower and chamomile. These herbal teas enhance the soothing effects, especially of the Red Vein kratom strains.
If you are choosing the green or white kratom strain for more energizing effects, Add yerba mate tea to it.
Supplements that help in potentiating the Kratom effects
These supplements include:
Valerian root: the root helps in a peaceful sleep and enhances the relaxing effects of various kratom strains.
Caffeine: the coffee has an enough amount of caffeine which helps in reducing the lethargy effects, that is a mild side effect of different kratom strains. The combination of caffeine with kratom increases the alertness, energy, and focus.
Cat’s claw: this herb has alkaloids which are like kratom. If you take cat’s claw along with kratom, it will intensify the effects and potency of any kratom strain. This woody vine is found in Central and South America. It is scientifically referred to as “Uncaria Tomentosa,” contains the alkaloids which synergize the kratom alkaloids for increasing the duration of kratom’s effects.
Timing for the use of potentiators with Kratom
Bear in mind that kratom stacks are ineffective until you ingest it at the same time or take it immediately after kratom ingestion. It is recommended that you should consume the potentiating herb or food around 45 minutes before ingesting kratom to accomplish the optimal effects. Expect longer effectual periods for kratom intake.
How do the potentiators result in high Kratom?
According to the science, how do the common foods potentiate the kratom? The foods which have the potentiating component works by regulating the metabolism, mainly focusing on the cytochrome P-450 enzyme. The alkaloids in kratom undergo breakdown along with the removal process due to the help of cytochrome P-450 enzyme within the system. Foods which result in reducing the enzyme function helps in extending the kratom effects.
Drugs which potentiate the effects of Kratom
The drugs which potentiate the effects of kratom leads to the inhibition of kratom’s metabolism in the digestive system, especially in the liver. However, these drugs result in dangerous interaction with liver’s microsomal enzyme system specifically CYP3A4 and CYP2D6.
These drugs lead to tolerance and adverse effects with a high dosage of kratom or more than the recommended amount. These drugs include:
Tianeptine: it enhances the euphoric consequences by the consumption of kratom.
Diphenhydramine: it enhances the sedative effects of kratom.
Acetaminophen: it increases the pain-relieving and analgesic effects of kratom.
Agmatine: it is also termed as Guanidine, which aids in improving the ability of kratom to treat the opiate addiction.
Magnesium: Magnesium is a popular supplement with potentiating effects. It serves in reducing the tolerance if used for long-term, allowing you to use less amount of kratom with time.
Magnesium helps in relieving constipation but will worsen diarrhea. This drug results in adverse effects on patients who are in self-weaning process with the use of opiates.
Phenibut: It is a substance which is available as a supplement and a prescription drug. It helps in treating multiple ailments example, anxiety, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), and insomnia. It helps in potentiating the effects of kratom for relaxation.
Cimetidine or Tagamet: It amplifies the kratom effects. It is an over-the-counter drug which helps in treating the gastric ailments along with the heartburn. The recommended dosage of this medication is effective to potentiate the kratom effects.
Note: Do not take more than one herb or supplement with your kratom experience. Users claim that one additive is more than enough for achieving the maximum results with kratom, it is not necessary to add more than one additive as it will not potentiate the benefits.
The combination of potentiators with kratom strain results in a long duration of effects. It allows the user to get through with adequate doses feeling more stimulated, relaxed and peaceful. With potentiators, the effects of kratom are more powerful and heightened.
This is not my article. I found it online at opiateaddictionsupport.com
In this article, I’m going to teach you how to use kratom for opiate withdrawal. When it comes to withdrawal remedies, kratom is one of the best-kept secrets there is. I went through opiate withdrawal many times over the span of a few years, and I never once heard of kratom.
It wasn’t until I noticed Kratom on CNN that I finally learned about kratom for opiate withdrawal.
I started researching it, and the things I learned blew my mind.
Here was a beautiful tree (member of the coffee family) that was not regulated by the Drug Enforcement Agency in the United States (making it legal), which had mu-opioid agonist qualities (like morphine), that could without a doubt help anyone ease their opiate withdrawal symptoms naturally.
How Kratom Works for Opiate Withdrawal
This evergreen tree native to Southeast Asia is not an opiate.
Kratom, simply put, is an opioid agonist. This is just a fancy term meaning that it mimics the effects of opioid drugs such as heroin, morphine, hydrocodone, oxycodone etc.
You’ve probably heard of the medications Suboxone, Subutex, and methadone. These are also opioid agonists, and they tend to eliminate opiate withdrawal symptoms and cravings especially well.
The only problem is that many individuals are now stuck on these powerful medications, due to them being a lot harder to come off than one might think.
Mitragynine, the major alkaloid in kratom, is a partial opioid agonist producing similar effects to morphine.
An interesting minor alkaloid of kratom, 7-hyrdoxymitragynine, has been reported to be more potent than morphine. Both kratom alkaloids activate supraspinal mu- and delta- opioid receptors, which is the main reason the plant alleviates withdrawal symptoms so well.
Several customers of mine have told me about kratom and how it helped come off methadone by reducing 90% of their withdrawal symptoms.
This piqued my interest, to say the least. After studying the plant on my own, I felt comfortable recommending it to my customers for coming off opiates and opiate replacement medications such as methadone and Suboxone.
My Experience with Kratom
To be quite honest, I was pretty bummed out that I never got to use kratom for opiate withdrawal. However, after two years of being fascinated with the plant, I finally gained the courage to try it from a strictly investigative perspective.
I obviously wasn’t using kratom to ease any opiate withdrawal symptoms, nor was I intending to get high or ease any physical pain.
I simply wanted to feel the effects of the plant before I wrote an article on kratom for opiate withdrawal.
I had been nervous about trying it for some time due to its potential for addiction and withdrawal symptoms. Fortunately, there is a store called Bountiful Herbs six blocks from my house that specializes in kratom.
I spoke with a very knowledgeable employee by the name of Alanna Donovan about different strains, dosages, and whether or not she thought I would get addicted to it.
After our conversation, I decided to purchase some Maeng Da kratom, which is one of the more powerful strains available.
I figured “go big or go home right?” I ended up really enjoying the buzz, which felt a lot like taking hydrocodone or oxycodone, though not exactly.
That was five months ago, and since then I’ve probably taken kratom around a dozen times.
I’ve experimented with different stains and dosages, and even different potentiators (something that increases the effects), in hopes of finding the perfect protocol for coming off opiates.
What I’ve come up with for you is an easy, step-by-step program on how to use kratom for opiate withdrawal.
I’m going to teach you what the best kratom for opiate withdrawal is, and you’ll also learn how much kratom to take for opiate withdrawal.
By following the plan I’ve created, you’ll be using a powerful, natural plant that binds to the same receptor sites in your brain that drugs like morphine and heroin bind to.
If you’re like my patient on methadone……a 90% reduction of withdrawal symptoms.
Best Kratom for Opiate Withdrawal
Classic Red Bali Klub Kratom is, in my opinion, the best kratom for opiate withdrawal. Also known as Red Indo kratom, this strain has powerful painkilling and sedating qualities, which makes it more desirable for opiate withdrawal than some of the stimulating types of kratom.
All strains of kratom work for opiate withdrawal, but the Red Vein types are preferable because of their ability to relieve symptoms to a greater degree. After trying over a dozen different kratom companies, Klub Kratom wins my vote for the purest and strongest at the best price.
How Much Kratom to Take for Opiate Withdrawal
The main alkaloid in kratom, mitragynine, is an opioid agonist, which means that it sticks inside opioid receptors in your brain.
These receptors significantly influence your mood and pain levels. Since mitragynine fills these receptor sites, it can produce euphoria and pain relief in the same way that morphine can, though it’s not the same as a morphine high.
The major difference between kratom and opiates is that kratom prefers delta- opioid receptors first, while morphine and other opioid drugs bind to the mu- opioid receptors.
However, if you take a large enough dose, kratom is able to more powerfully activate mu- opioid receptors.
The difference between kratom’s affinity for either delta- or mu- receptors depending on the dosage is most likely why the effects go from stimulating to sedating. At lower dosages of about 3-7 grams, kratom has more stimulating and mood-enhancing effects. At around 8 grams and up, it actually has more sedating and painkilling effects.
After experimenting with kratom dosages and strains, I’ve found that taking 9-10 grams of powder is the perfect amount to stimulate the mu- opioid receptors.
Using 9-10 grams of Classic Red Bali provided me with euphoria and sedation that was remarkably similar to an opiate high.
Furthermore, this dosage made me “nod out” hardcore while I was relaxing on the couch watching a movie, which was my determining factor for coming to the conclusion that this was the best dosage for treating opiate withdrawal symptoms.
How to Use Kratom for Opiate Withdrawal: Your 4-Step Success Plan
The following plan can be used for getting off heroin, hydrocodone, oxycodone, Suboxone, methadone, or any other opioid. If you adhere to the steps I’ve created, you should be able to eliminate 70% to 90% of your opiate withdrawal symptoms.
Being physiologically dependent upon opiates sucks. The fear of withdrawal can keep you stuck in your addiction for years and years. I want you to have a mild withdrawal, and most importantly, I want you to STAY CLEAN FOR LIFE!
You don’t have to be a slave to the drug anymore!
You can end your addiction!
You can use these steps to have a very mild opiate withdrawal!
You can stay clean and live the life of your dreams!
All of the courage, determination, love, and faith you need are within you now!
Visualize your life after getting off opiates. Imagine yourself looking and feeling healthy. Picture yourself waking up in the morning and feeling awesome without having to take drugs.
How does that feel? How bad do you want this? I know you can do it.
You can decide right here and now that you are going to follow this withdrawal plan and take back control of your life.
“It is in the moment of decisions that your destiny is shaped.” – Tony Robbins
Step 1: Go Shopping
My strategic plan for using kratom for opiate withdrawal consists of obtaining the following items:
The eight ounces of kratom should be more than enough to get you through your opiate withdrawal. The grapefruits on the shopping list are going to be used to make fresh juice to mix with the kratom powder.
Grapefruit juice is a great “potentiator”, which means that it increases the effects of kratom. You’re also going to need an accurate scale that weighs to the gram. This is very important because using 9-10 grams per dose is essential for stimulating the mu- opioid receptors, which are the ones that will relieve your withdrawal symptoms the most.
Note:Start out with 3-5 grams for your first time. This might be all you need. Everyone is biochemically unique, so different dosages and strains will work better for different people. The white vein kratom strains are more stimulating and energy producing, and the green veins are somewhere in the middle of white and red.
Feel free to try different strains, and you can even mix them together (quite nice effects if done correctly). Also, the grapefruit juice stretches the kratom further, but it might even make it too strong for you. Start off with low doses without grapefruit juice then see what your body needs.
Opiate Withdrawal Formula contains a powerful blend of amino acids, herbs, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that can help ease your symptoms in the following ways:
Eases stomach discomfort
Increases natural energy
Restores dopamine production quickly
Reverses insomnia and helps you get more restorative sleep
Step 2: Stop taking Opiates
There are are a few different ways to go about this next step. One is to come off opiates “cold-turkey”. I don’t ever recommend this method.
It results in the most severe withdrawal symptoms, and if you can avoid it I strongly encourage you to follow one of the next two strategies.
Another method is to “taper” your opiates, which means to systemically decrease the amount of narcotics you take over a period of time. Tapering is better than coming off cold-turkey because it is much less of a shock to your body.
By spending a few weeks or more slowly lowering your daily opiate intake, it allows your body to gradually adjust to the changes, which will result in a reduction of withdrawal symptoms.
The following plan I’ve outlined is based on a cold-turkey withdrawal.
Here are some important tips to remember before you plan your withdrawal:
Every individual is biochemically unique (so what works for one person may not work for another).
Depending on the severity of your opiate addiction, you may need to raise or lower your kratom intake (people with an extremely severe addiction might need a dosage of 16-25 grams).
Always use the least amount of kratom possible to alleviate your withdrawal symptoms.
Kratom can become addictive, so use with caution.
Listen to your body and adjust dose as necessary.
Always take kratom on an empty stomach as this helps with absorption.
Step 3: Use an Opiate Withdrawal Supplement and Kratom for Opiate Withdrawal
It’s VERY IMPORTANT that you start taking your Opiate Withdrawal Supplement a minimum of seven days before you come off opiates. Doing so will enable the nutrients to start priming your body for the impending withdrawal. If you wait until the last minute it will still help a lot, but the benefits from starting early are too good to pass up.
Days 1-4: Take Opiate Withdrawal Supplement in the morning. Cut a grapefruit and squeeze the juice into a cup.
Weigh out 9-10 grams of kratom powder and add it to the grapefruit juice. Stir it up good with a spoon, or put it in a blender on low for a few seconds (I prefer this method because it mixes it better). Drink up! Wait an hour before eating breakfast.
You can take 3 more servings of kratom and grapefruit juice throughout the day to minimize withdrawal symptoms, just make sure you always take it on an empty stomach (at least 3 hours after meals).
Before bed on an empty stomach, take the Opiate Withdrawal Supplement.
Days 5-7: Continue to take the Opiate Withdrawal Supplement, and reduce your kratom intake to only two 9-10 gram servings per day instead of four.
The hardest part of the withdrawal is usually over by the beginning of Day 5, and this will also help prevent you from going through mild kratom withdrawal.
Days 8-30: Discontinue kratom. Continue to take the Opiate Withdrawal Supplement. It will help restore your brain chemistry to its pre-opiate addiction state, and it will also promote a positive mood, increased energy, calming of the nerves, enhanced digestion and appetite, and better sleep.
Step 4: Stay Clean!
After using kratom for opiate withdrawal successfully, the final step is to stay clean and build a strong recovery.
I believe the most important part of recovery is correcting the biochemical imbalances that opiate abuse either caused or exacerbated.
Without first addressing this physical aspect of addiction, counseling and other types of psychological treatment can only lead to moderate success at best.
I encourage you to follow these guidelines to heal your body and mind:
Eat at least 20-30 grams of protein 2-3 times per day to boost endorphins and other mood-enhancing chemicals in the brain (organic, free-range and wild-caught are best).
Consume at least half of your body weight in ounces of water per day.
Eat plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes and healthy fats.
Eat high-quality protein foods like chicken, fish, turkey, beef and cottage cheese.
Eliminate or reduce refined carbohydrates, processed foods, sugar, nicotine, alcohol, and caffeine.
Focus mostly on organic whole foods.
Exercise on a regular basis to help your body produce endorphins (natural morphine).
If you can afford it, I also highly recommend taking this awesome supplement, because the benefits are just too good to pass up.
Let’s get right to it: Kratom is LEGAL in the United States as of this time.
The FDA’s recent update states they have proof that the chemical makeup of the plant resembles the same chemical structure as an opioid.
However, this does not mean the product is now illegal.
This simply means the FDA “supposedly” has evidence/tests that can support the DEA’s claims.
As some of you may have noticed, the FDA all of a sudden has a 44th case now that states someone died because of Kratom use ONLY – nothing else on the toxicology report supposedly.
It’s VERY interesting how all of a sudden they found this one case that helps support their claim.
As many of you know, we do not sell the product for consumption due to the FDA guidelines on selling a non regulated product, so it’s hard for us to comment on specific things, but we do find it very interesting how they all of a sudden have this one case now.
The DEA is now going to use these “tests” from the FDA to backup the fact that they need to Schedule the plant, or at least temporarily schedule the plant until they can find further information.
Until the plant is scheduled by the Federal Government, there is absolutely nothing that will be done, and we are going to continue selling just like normal.
We all know that there is something fishy going on behind the scenes, and we need to pressure our Congress members to realize that the FDA/DEA are up to something that needs to be stopped.
Just like in 2016, the DEA cannot simply schedule the plant because they feel like doing so.
As long as we can pressure Congress into supporting the correct side on this fight, then the DEA/FDA will continue having a hard time doing anything they want done.
The government does not simply do what they want, no matter how much they wish they could.
Some of us may tend to think that we do not have any control in politics at times, but we have proved that the citizens have the final say in this country in 2016.
Please do not think that this is not serious, or “oh, this happens every year, so nothing is going to happen” – this is what they want you to think.
They are going to keep doing this, every single year, until the majority of people slowly stop caring, and until they get to the point where people simply stop calling.
If we all want to keep this plant here in the US without it being controlled by multi billion dollar pharmaceutical companies, then we are going to have to do our absolute best to stay educated, and to stay active with calling our representative(s) of Congress even it means doing it every couple of months.
As we always say, we have the absolute best SUPPORTERS in this industry, and we will do our absolute best to provide updated information as well as be here for anyone that needs further information or help with an order.
As of this time, there is nothing to worry about, but we will all need to keep a close eye on the Federal Register and what they are going to do in the next coming days/weeks/months, or even years.
Scheduling a product could take YEARS to get done, but we are sure they are going to do their best to expedite this procedure as much as possible.
Again, we will keep you updated as much as possible, but please do not panic as the product is not illegal within the United States as of this time, and if we all work together, it will never become illegal.
If you have any questions or want to talk to a human, feel free to call us at 540-993-6953.
Kratom is scientifically known as Mitragyna speciosa and is a favorite herbal medicine for euphoria. The recreational effects of Kratom such as euphoria and stress release have become popular lately. Usually, people use harsh chemical based drugs for overcoming fear. These drugs are not only unhealthy but highly destructive also. It is better to use a natural alternate with controlled effects.
Kratom for euphoria is a safe solution in comparison to chemical based drugs. The effects are long lasting and without any damage to the body.
Not all strains of Kratom are euphoric. Only some high stimulation strains act for euphoric activity. These strains only show full effects when the user takes them in a high dose.
To select the best Kratom strain for inducing euphoria, this review will help you. It will also provide a guideline from where you can buy a particular Kratom strain.
What Is Euphoria?
Euphoria is an extreme state of happiness, delight or ecstasy. Everyone experiences it from time to time. There are certain moments in life which explain it better such as when you genuinely love someone.
Eating certain foods such as chocolate also induces the same effect. That is not an unnatural phenomenon. Many herbs exhibit it including Kratom. The bio-active compounds which are alkaloids in a case of Kratom produce this effect.
Can Kratom Induce Euphoria?
When you ingest Kratom leaves, supplements or powder, it reaches to stomach. Alkaloids of Kratom are absorbed and become a part of the blood stream. The natural opioid receptors catch these alkaloids and initiate the stimulation of sympathetic nervous system. This induction of brain releases endorphins which are neurotransmitters for positive feelings. They are also responsible for pain management and intense euphoric feelings.
Which Kratom Strains are Euphoric?
Kratom strains are distinct from their effects as per region and composition. They further differ in vein coloration. This difference determines their effects such as euphoria and sedation. Usually, green and white vein leaves are known for highly euphoric effects. Additionally, they provide energy to the user.
Importance Of Dosage For Euphoric Effects
Euphoric induction of Kratom strains requires a proper dose. The human body reacts to different dosages differently. You can read online reviews and determine an effective dosage for yourself.
Usually, low dosage (1-3 grams) provides energy. Intermediate dose (4-6 grams) provides relaxation with mild analgesic effects. A higher dose (7-10 grams) induces sedation and euphoria among a majority of users.
Best Kratom To Use For Euphoric Experience
Many Kratom strains provide ecstatic effects. According to user experiences, Maeng Da, Green Malay, and White Borneo are three euphoric strains of Kratom. Among these three the best choice to take is “Maeng Da” which is one of the most stimulatory Kratom strain.
Maeng Da Kratom – Is It Powerful?
Maeng Da is widely famous for one of the most potent Kratom types. The name Maeng Da does derive from the Thai language. It was taken from Lethocerus indices (Maeng Da) which are a giant water bug. The potential of this strain is not a myth anymore. It acts supported by scientific evidence which shows that Maeng Da leaves have the high quantity of alkaloids. Also, user reviews recommend it as the finest quality among all types of Kratom.
Where Does Maeng Da Grow?
The original strain of Maeng Da Kratom is a native of Thailand. It has three subdivisions based on venation; green, red and white. Out of these three, green Maeng Da is the premium quality Kratom strain with highest effects.
Popularity Of Maeng Da Strain
Mostly Kratom users only consider Maeng Da as the real soul of Mitragyna speciosa. It does mainly utilize for energy, focus and analgesic effects. There is not just one effect which you achieve from Maeng Da. It’s a combination of multiple effects. Different results show up on using different concentrations and dosage.
What Makes Maeng Da So Effective?
All Kratom strains share similar alkaloids. However, the quantity of these alkaloids is different. Some of these highly active alkaloids are mitraphylline, mitragynine, and 7-hydroxymitragynine.
Maeng Da has the maximum amount of active ingredients of all of the strains. For this reason, it is famous as the most stimulatory of all.
Benefits Of Maeng Da To Offer
It has so much to offer for its users. Some of its extended benefits are as follows.
A natural energy booster
Pain control and management
Social confidence booster
Long lasting effects
Maeng Da Dosage:
Although many users believe “less is more” theory for Kratom. Which means that it is better to use Kratom in little quantity for prolonging effects and also no side effects in any case.
However, sedative and euphoric effects do link with only higher amount dosage which is usually above 7 grams.
An ideal Maeng Da dosage to induces sedation and euphoria is between 7-10g. It is not advisable for the beginners to start with this dose.
It is better to take a start from lower dose such as 2-4 grams and eventually increase the dose with time. An experienced Kratom user can take a high dosage directly.
Is Maeng Da Affordable?
Maeng Da is readily available for purchase. Its price range from vendor to vendor. A standard pack can be somewhere between $14.00-$20.00 depending upon the discount offers which are given time to time.
Maeng Da in supplement form is more expensive to buy. Powder and extract forms of Kratom are comparatively cheaper options. The vendors will further offer more discounts if you order them in bulk.
Where To Buy Maeng Da Online?
Buying Kratom from trustable and individual vendors is important. Not all online sellers offer the best quality. Often you get a poor quality product or a delay in the order. Avoid gas stations and head shops for high quality and purity.