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Kratom: A Possible Treatment for Pain Killer Abuse

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Many people use painkillers complacently, especially since most are available over the counter. However, the more potent ones would need a prescription. Due to their potency, there’s a huge tendency for them to be abused. As of March 2022, there are 104,671 reported deaths secondary to a drug overdose. These numbers have pushed researchers to find an alternative pain relief medication like Kratom.

Here are more facts that you should know about Kratom.

Kratom as a pain killer

Kratom, scientifically known as Mitragyna speciosa,  is a plant used for centuries in Southeast Asia as a medicinal plant. It’s widely used for its analgesic effect, similar to morphine, a potent opioid drug. 

Most users will chew or brew the Kratom leaves and consume them as tea or take them as a supplement. Aside from its opioid-like soothing effect, Kratom products also have mood-enhancing qualities. 

Kratom benefits and uses

The most common use of Kratom is for pain relief. The compound, 7-hydroxy mitragynine, binds to the receptors that regulate pain, giving it its analgesic properties. Kratom is also found to be effective in boosting mood. 

Consumption of Kratom stimulates the production of dopamine, a chemical responsible for emotion. It helps the brain block pain sensation and causes euphoria. 

For some locals in Thailand and Malaysia, Kratom effectively staves off fatigue in labourers. It also acts as a stimulant to improve focus and productivity.

Like any medication, Kratom consumption should be in moderation. It does have side effects secondary to overuse and abuse. 

Commonly abused painkillers

In 2019, about 10.1 million individuals aged 12 and older misused opioids. That’s why dose increases must always be under a doctor’s guidance to prevent prescription drug abuse. 

Several factors contribute to the growing use and misuse of prescription drugs, which cause increased dependency on these medications. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), some of the most commonly abused painkillers are:

  • Codeine
  • Morphine 
  • Methadone
  • Fentanyl analogues
  • Other opioid pain relievers (Oxycodone HCL, Hydrocodone Bitartrate Hydromorphone, Oxymorphone, Meperidine, and Propoxyphene)

These drugs can be naturally derived, semi-synthetic, or synthetic opioids. Morphine and codeine are natural opioids, while methadone and fentanyl are chemically made.

Opioid addiction effect

Opioid addiction has been a long-standing issue. Drug abuse can have devastating and life-threatening effects. An overdose happens when the body can no longer detoxify the drug fast enough.

In an opioid overdose, the compound binds to the receptors that regulate breathing, causing it to shut down. This is why a patient overdosing may exhibit slow to no breathing, faint pulse to no pulse, pale skin, and unresponsiveness.

Kratom and opioid withdrawal

Individuals with increased tolerance to prescription drugs must undergo opioid withdrawal. However, this process can be challenging for many due to its associated symptoms. This may include diarrhoea, agitation, insomnia, nausea and vomiting, and increased heart rate. 

Some research found that Kratom shows a promising result in opioid withdrawal. However, there is a high demand for further studying the correct dosage and limitations of using this plant.

Takeaway

The use of opioids, such as morphine, results in tolerance and dependence over time, requiring further care. Some may find it challenging to maintain a treatment plan that includes long-term medication. It can be a time-consuming and expensive process. 

Plant alternatives, such as Kratom, might help those suffering from chronic pain overcome this dilemma. Explorative research continues to uncover whether this plant alternative will offer more benefit than risk.

If you must use Kratom, buy from shops like SuperSpeciosa that offer Kratom products produced under strict regulations. They also follow the American Kratom Association’s (AKA) Good Manufacturing Program (GMP).

Always weigh down the risk and benefits of using alternative medicine. A consultation with your doctor is still the best option. 


David Tobin did his degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. He is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.

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