The Beginner’s Guide to Kratom

“Following “the Roots” of Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa): The Evolution of an Enhancer from a Traditional Use to Increase Work and Productivity in Southeast Asia to a Recreational Psychoactive Drug in Western Countries.”

A multinational interdisciplinary team of scholars provide a definitive roadmap of the history of kratom, beginning with the state of the art regarding pharmacology and identification. From there, researchers discuss the difficulties in isolating and evaluating the variety of phytochemicals and alkaloids that make kratom unique. Despite these challenges, every attempt is made to examine the studies and publications that have addressed the primary psychoactive compounds.

While the primary alkaloids in kratom are noted as mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, the complicated chemical nature of kratom is attributed to the variability in reported experiences. Specifically, the introduction states that, “The effects of kratom in humans are dose-dependent where small doses produce stimulatory effects resembling the stimulant effect of drugs such as cocaine or amphetamines, while larger dosages tend to be associated with sedative-narcotic effects that resemble drugs such as opiates.”

This paper is notable for its attention to the traditional uses of kratom in different cultures. Additionally, it provides a summary of anecdotal user experiences from across the web and provides a wonderful summary of best practices and expected effects. Finally, the authors wrap up with a comprehensive overview of side-effects and potential risks. All in all, this paper can be regarded as the definitive guide to kratom for those interested in the science behind the product.

Notable Quotes:  

  • The standard half-life of mitragynine is 3.85 ± ~1 hr, depending upon the individuals natural levels of enzymes and other factors [2425].
  • 7-Hydroxymitragynine has quite a bit shorter duration, with an average half-life of 2.5 ± 0.7 hours [2425].

Publication details: Biomed Res Int. 2015;2015:968786. doi: 10.1155/2015/968786. Epub 2015 Nov 10. PMID: 26640804; PMCID: PMC4657101.


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