More recently a drug has made its debut in the U.S. as a more “natural” antidote for opioid withdrawal. This drug is becoming increasingly popular among the population, especially because it has a reputation of giving the user an energy boost while also increasing one’s sociability and alertness. However, what many people don’t realize is that this same drug is responsible for dangerous side effects and has a potentiality for addiction, especially for people who have a history of drug abuse. 

This popular drug is called kratom and it’s everywhere. In fact, you may have even heard about it on the news or seen it in a smoke shop or a vitamin store. You can easily buy it just about anywhere (at least in states that haven’t banned it’s usage yet). 

Although users swear by the mood enhancement and fatigue reduction kratom can provide, there are many safety concerns that arise from using this drug. There are even questions about its effectiveness and whether it’s truly beneficial for users to use this in place of other opioid medications or indeed just as harmful. 

Because kratom is becoming increasingly more popular among people it is, therefore, vital to one’s health and safety that they learn what exactly kratom is along with the side-effects associated with using this drug. Furthermore, understanding the addiction potential of kratom and why certain states are already starting to ban this substance will provide you with the awareness you need before jumping on the bandwagon of trying this drug.

Kratom is an herb that comes from a tree native to Southeast Asia. It comes in many forms, such as a pill or a liquid product. The leaves can be chewed and dry kratom can be swallowed or brewed. It is oftentimes marketed as a treatment for muscle pain or as a means to increase energy, suppress appetite, enhance one’s mood, or even stop cramps and diarrhea. It is also sold as a treatment for panic attacks. 

It is believed that kratom works on the opioid receptors and, as such, can increase feelings of pleasure in the user, especially if taken in higher doses. If taken in very high doses it can act as a sedative, making the user sleepy. 

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Some people take kratom as a way to mitigate the symptoms experienced from opioid withdrawal. Many people think that because it is “plant-based” it is a natural and safe substance to take, especially when substituting it for another addiction. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth, as taking kratom, especially when abusing or misusing the substance, can have devastating health effects for the user. In fact, the active ingredient in kratom can vary greatly depending on the plant, which makes its side-effects unpredictable for the individual. 

Because kratom is unregulated and may contain other dangerous ingredients, many states are starting to put a ban on using the product in hopes of protecting their residents from the possible health effects and potential for addiction. States in which it is illegal to buy, sell, or use kratom include:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas 
  • Indiana 
  • Rhode island
  • Vermont
  • Wisconsin 

Further states are starting to add restrictions on the use of kratom and some are looking to ban the drug, as well.

Is Kratom Addictive? Side Effects and Why Kratom is Not Legal in Some States

Kratom is widely recognized as a drug with a high potential for addiction. Furthermore, the Food and Drug Administration has not found evidence that kratom is therapeutic or has benefits for the user, but instead warns against its wide range of potential side effects. Some of these side effects include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Itching 
  • Chills
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation
  • Increased urination

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Some more serious side effects of using kratom, especially when used long-term include: 

  • Extreme weight loss
  • Skin darkening
  • Muscle pain
  • Hallucinations 
  • Liver damage
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Seizures
  • Coma 

When kratom is combined with other substances there is a high risk of an overdose, which could lead to fatality in the user.

The Legal Battle: Is Kratom a Natural Remedy for Opioid Withdrawal?

Although kratom is often thought as a natural remedy to overcome an addiction to opioids, the truth is that kratom itself acts like an opioid and is also extremely addictive. As such, kratom addiction can happen fairly quickly, causing symptoms similar to an opioid withdrawal to occur. This could include: intense cravings for the drug, nausea, vomiting, and muscle aches. 

Because kratom use can be serious, even life-threatening to the user, it is essential that help be sought immediately before an addiction comes into play. However, if an addiction is already at hand, it is vital that you work with a doctor that specializes in addiction or go to an inpatient/intensive outpatient drug rehab that can help guide you on the path to sobriety. Through the help of a trained professional, withdrawal symptoms can often be mitigated so that returning to drug use to avoid withdrawal symptoms can be avoided. Furthermore, a drug rehab can help you safely detox from kratom by providing 24/7 medical care as a means to fully protect you if a health crisis were to arise.

An inpatient drug rehab can be particularly helpful to create a solid foundation for lifelong sobriety. Because inpatient drug rehabs remove all distractions and temptations to return to drug use, you are given the opportunity to solely focus on your recovery and nothing else. Furthermore, inpatient rehabs provide behavioral or family therapy as a way to explore the reasons why your addiction took root in the first place while giving you healthier coping techniques to manage any difficult situations that may come your way in the future. 

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If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to kratom, the time to get help is now. Don’t let another precious moment of your life slip you by while living in the bondage of addiction. Reach out to a premier inpatient rehab that can get you on the path to sobriety immediately. Your future health and well-being will thank you for the investment you made into yourself today.

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