Wednesday, I had the pleasure of attending the American Kratom Association’s press conference at the CNN Omni Center, in Atlanta, GA. The following is my opinion on kratom, referencing facts from studies done at the University of Florida and various sources available at the American Kratom Association.
WHAT IN THE WORLD IS KRATOM?
In my opinion, kratom is the most incredible plant to reach the United States since coffee and the most revolutionary “new” dietary supplement since the multi-vitamin. Those are BIG words, but I believe them, and a growing number of educated Americans believe them. If you read no further, please click this link to protect our right to obtain kratom, as a dietary supplement:
*See note at bottom to explain grammatical errors*
I have always had a keen interest in health and human nutrition and though I did not major in it I studied it extensively while at the University of Florida. I tend to maintain decent physical fitness, without swinging from diet to diet, because I take pride in it, understand human nutrition and exercise regularly. I once did a stint as a personal trainer. I discovered kratom at a craft grocery and bottle shop, in Austin, in 2014. The proprietor of the store had jars of what looked like green tea capsules for sale and told me they were an Asian “tea” leaf that aided with energy and concentration. Sounded great to me! He offered me a sample, and I loved it. I wondered why I had never heard of this before! Turns out, that though the tradition is centuries old in Asia, it has only recently gained popularity in the USA. I am an avid believer in legitimate dietary supplements, and have used them for half my life.
I turned to Google and found a lot of mixed information as well as some unfortunate branding of kratom. Though I had never noticed any negative side effects, after a few months of use, I decided not to use the tea anymore until I studied it more. Reason being, I read literature that compared it to opioids. Now, more than ever, I do not want to put any opioid into my system! The more I read, the more my interest grew and the more convinced I became of the safety of this plant, I made the educated decision that it was safe and a supplement I could benefit from. I found out that there were a number of alternative healing (hippy) stores, in Austin, that carried it and reintroduced it into my regimen. It is my favorite pre-workout supplement and great for working and writing. It turns out there are a lot of folks who enjoy the benefits of kratom. Many people have discovered kratom as a multi-faceted plant that can alleviate minor pains, aid with concentration, alleviate anxiety and even improve the mood of the consumer! All of this is wonderful, but the kicker is this:
Kratom can play a major role in ending the opioid epidemic!
The reason so many people continue using opioids after their prescription is up or after they WANT to quit is not because they are bad people but because they simply don’t want to be sick. The body becomes physically dependent on these prescribed (and/or illicit) drugs and when one tries to quit, they become violently ill. VIOLENTLY ill. The vast majority of these people do not wish to maintain a drug habit for their whole lives, they physically can not help it. Their sickness overcomes their morality and their behavior becomes intolerable; they steal, they lie, they do whatever they need to do, just to not get sick. Certain alkaloids, in the kratom plant, shut off the triggers that cause withdrawal sickness. Because of this, people are able to return to being responsible members of society! Former addicts are again wonderful employees, employers, mothers, fathers, police officers, doctors, lawyers, musicians, fire-fighters etc. all without being passed from prescription to prescription, chemical to chemical! To me, this is absolutely wonderful.
Why would ANYONE want to stop this? There is, undoubtedly, a culture of fear when it comes to new supplements, but I don’t believe that is all. Do you believe it is far-fetched that the FDA is in bed with Big Pharma? Three active ingredients (alkaloids) have been successfully synthesized and patents go back as far as 1964, by Smith Kline, of Glaxo Smith Kline, & French Laboratories. Unfortunately for Big Pharma, society has more access to information than ever before and kratom is saving lives daily, at a very low cost to the consumer, especially when compared to pharmaceuticals. America does not need a company to synthesize and make an expensive prescription pill out of it. We just need testing to confirm purity/safety and the OK, from Uncle Sam, to go about our lives as we choose! I add that I am very grateful for the FDA and to live in a country where we can reasonably assume our food, drugs and supplements are safe to consume.
I am very grateful to be alive at this time and I am very grateful for kratom. I believe that the American consumers have a right to access this plant and if you agree, I would urge you to please sign this current petition.
*See note at bottom to explain grammatical errors*
Interesting Facts About Kratom:
Kratom (mitragyna speciosa) is a cousin of the coffee plant, indigenous to Southeast Asia. The leaves are dried and then crushed or powdered, and may be brewed as tea, mixed into a beverage or put into capsules and swallowed.
Most kratom enthusiasts are in their 30’s and 40’s.
Many Americans love kratom as a morning pick me up, mild pain reliever and for the energy and sense of well-being its consumption can provide. The effects of kratom, in smaller doses, can be compared to a great cup of coffee. Unlike coffee though, there is a “tipping point” at which kratom begins to become a sedative. Additionally there are three primary strains with varying degrees of energetic vs. relaxing properties.
Unlike prescriptions for ADHD, kratom’s increased energy/focus does not come with raised heart rate and blood pressure.
Unlike opioids, kratom will never shut down your respiratory system.
Kratom is an all-natural pain reliever.
Will kratom “f” you up? No. While it can certainly aid in a sense of well-being, and pain relief, its effects do not resemble those of alcohol, marijuana or other substances usually associated with partying. In general, you just feel good.
Why has kratom occasionally gotten a bad rap in the mainstream community?
A lot of the kratom in the United States is currently sold in head shops, which some mainstream Americans view negatively. Unfortunately, kratom entered popularity around the same time as illicit bath salts and authorities thought they were related. They are NOT!
Some kratom has been branded in a way that unfortunately compares it to illicit drugs. In all fairness though, there is in fact a “Cocaine” caffeine energy drink and if you honestly consider the branding of caffeinated beverages and many supplements, the kratom brands could have done a lot worse.
Some kratom brands and (energy-style) shots, include dozens of additional ingredients leading the consumer to misunderstand which effects came from where.
Many kratom enthusiasts, including myself, may feel uneasy discussing the supplement with friends or loved ones, because some of the press has been negative, due to misinformation and fear of judgement. I have decided not to let this inhibit me any longer. This is not just a supplement that Americans benefit from, this is saving lives. I believe in saving lives. If you do too, please sign:
Note the creator of this petition only has one working hand and his bad hand hit “Submit” before he was able to edit. Please forgive the misspellings. Because momentum had already begun, the American Kratom Association opted to continue moving forward with this petition, in spite of grammatical and spelling errors.