A tropical plant related to coffee trees, kratom (Mitragynine) acts on brain opiate receptors and affects mood. It is widely used in Asia for energy, pain relief and to boost mood. When brewed in tea, it is a stimulant and induces opioid-like effects, including pain relief, euphoria and increased focus and energy.

It is sold in powdered form, and can be consumed by putting it in tea or crushed up and put in a capsule. It is also available in resins, extracts and tinctures. According to the American Kratom Association, 10-16 million people in the United States regularly use kratom. It is a federally unregulated substance and lacks any legal oversight, which increases the risk of contamination or laced products. It is not listed as a drug of abuse, which limits insurance coverage for addiction treatment.

While a small number of users end up needing kratom addiction treatment, a large percentage of people are using it as a tool to treat depression, anxiety and other conditions, researchers say. The researchers point out that although surveys indicate that kratom is being used as nonprescription treatments for pain, opioid disorders and depression, kratom is not FDA-approved and scientific studies haven’t been conducted to formally establish its safety and benefits.

The authors urge primary care doctors to discuss kratom use with their patients and consider the risks. They suggest alternatives to kratom, such as yoga, meditation and exercise, which are known to aid in pain management, and CBD products that can help alleviate anxiety, provided they come from a reputable source. kratom benefits

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