Fascinating and incredible benefits of this amazing plant.
South Asia is the home of Kratom, this plant is a deciduous tree native to the tropics and popular for its medicinal advantages. It made the news headlines only recently. The DEA wanted it declared as an illegal substance during an emergency summit about public health challenges (Shortly before this scheduling, CDC publicized a review where it mentioned the plant had been linked with many instances of cases in poison management centers. Just two months later after much debate, the Enforcement body drew plan from its previous stance calling for a public hearing from as many individuals who have profited from using Kratom and its derivatives.
After the stipulated deadline three months later, over 20,000 people turned in their testimonies about Kratom with majority sharing how Kratom has provided relief for a variety of health concerns like PTSD, anxiety, arthritic pain, lowering their very high blood pressure, reducing stress, helping in sleep deprivation issues, easing anxiety, boosting their immune system by making them less prone to sickness they were once exposed to and alleviation of addiction. This people also mentioned the immense benefits Kratom has opened to and that preventing them from using it would roll-back the benefits they had gotten from it. Credit to the union that comprises of opinion takers, end users, sellers and the Drug Enforcement Administration's transparency in requesting for comments about this product, the passionate union who emerged out of the dark helped sensitized the nation by pioneering a repository of anecdotes that provided proof about the effectiveness and health benefits of this plant. At the moment, Kratom can be used in U.S. (with only a few states exempted) and most certainly the testimonies from the users of Kratom may have contributed to rescuing it from a previous ban slammed on it that would have limited its use tremendously.
For the moment, it is uncertain what fate holds for Kratom under the current administration but scientists like Jack Henningfield, a professor of behavioral psychology renowned for his reviews and works in health policies and abuse-liability declared his voice behind the concerns of its users about banning it. “If it is classified as Schedule 1, further research becomes restricted and it creates an illegal boom for the product, and this is devastating," says Henningfield who also participated in creating a detailed report about Kratom that helped the Drug Enforcement Administration in its present decision to unban the product. While compiling reviews for the report, himself and his team did not find any proof linking Kratom to any fatalities, rather, the troubles identified mostly came out from a combined use of Kratom along with other (possibly) illegal substances. His report on this issue is outlined in the publication on Addiction released in 2008. There was no proof of poisoning in children. (Though the CDC, on the contrary reports severe possible after-effects that incudes seizures and psychosis.)
Inspite of the CDC findings, the John Hopkins professor mentioned that there were many people who benefited from using this substance and were receiving huge benefits - comparing it with nicotine gum. Limiting the use of this products and its derivatives, he said it is not what emergency scheduling act is created to address.
No one knows what the future has in place for Kratom with the use still hanging in the balance, Science of Us had heart to heart conversations with many users of Kratom across the entire country, here’s what a few people had to say about Kratom and how it has significantly changed their lives for the better.
Phillip, 42, Georgia
Tell us a few things about you.
I joined the U.S. navy back in 2003. I'm no more in active service, because I became in capacitated with my right hand in Guantanamo. I served closed to ten years, in Asia and the Middle East.
My wife wanted me to return, so I came back to D.C. I was used to life in the Navy so returning was a difficult challenge for me.
What made the difference?
It's challenging to take it slow. So i returned to Guantanamo -actually, I went on a volunteer mission in 2009. We were informed the place would be closed down. During our stay in the first couple of weeks, some detainees made attempts to injure themselves. We prevented a man from the group so he could be examined, though he was attempting to bite me. I must have moved my hand enough to give him the opportunity, so he managed to squeeze himself out and started hitting his head on the floor on my hand. This resulted in damages in my nerves and caused some displacement in my bones. Guantanamo may appear like picture of the Caribbean except for the high detention center with its barb wires. You sleep and wake to the loud noises of prayer calls. It's an horrendous clash of ideologies and social differences. After the incident that left my hand damaged, my hand was placed in a cast and since MRI was unavailable and the precise damage that was done couldn't be detected, the situation gradually became worse with time.
It is the perception of many individuals that people who went to Guantanamo lacked emotions. I assumed the facility would be closed down. It was not extraordinary to have feces or urine
tossed at you. The shouts of detainees yelling curse words was a usual experience and they did it in different languages, screaming continuously. This breaks one down. Remembering Guantanamo leaves me with some feelings because it was a new beginning for me.
Did you feel helpless when you returned?
Yes, for a while. I returned in a brace so it was obvious. People would look at the injury and they'll say different things. They didn't know how I felt.
I became easily irritated and sometimes I wouldn't sleep for days. My life became a routine. I would only go home from work. My spouse became anxious about my condition on few occasions, she even advised me to seek professional help.
I met with a psychologist that helps in stress related challenges. She told me I had symptoms of PTSD. They checked me out using an SSRI, but i suffered different weird side effects. I believe about seven panic attacks. I must have taken about nine treatments in that year. My blood pressure was extremely erratic and I constantly experienced anxiety. This makes me sleepless at night and when i started to gain some healthy rest, I had intense moments caused by nightmares that left me ruined and uncoordinated for the following day.
Did you ever reach a period where you were unable to function?
In August of 2012, I lost total control of the affected hand. I experienced tics and while I was sitting in my cubicle one day, I had a stroke or maybe a seizure, either form it took, I was unable to speak -people were trying to communicate with me, but the look on my face, the dystonia, the tics and my jaw motion was critical that I was unable to speak. An ambulance was called immediately.
I was placed on heavy medication that I felt like a zombie for a moment. By 2014, the tics got out of control and didn't respond to any sedatives. The pain was dreadful, and I took about 5 Vicodin daily. There were days I was placed on an opioid relief prescription known as Dilaudid. I experienced critical side-effects and spent a significant amount of my days in the closet. I was taking Imitrex to combat the severe pains in my head - the pains were so severe sometimes, it felt like the head was sawn into two, I felt like a gun was placed to my head during these periods.
Imitrex alleviated the pain instantly, but I became anxious, so after the headaches, I begin to experience a cardiac attack. I experienced lots of pains during this period. This is not how I like to live my life. My spouse would assist me during the day, and I’d sit, watch TV and fall asleep day after day. This was my routine for years. The tics didn't subside and I couldn't form my own words.
What about Kratom?
One advantage of the Military specialists is they are not restricted and this makes them very innovative.
I was in luck. I was assigned to a specialist that was well versed, I told him, “I don't want to remain this way. I’ve become trapped in my own body, there must be a way to help me.” He declared, “There isn't a thing I can do for you. Perhaps you should explore natural products.” It became clear to me that I had to do something to evade death.
After getting home, I spent significant time searching the web for anything that could help and came across Kratom. Lots of people were talking about it, and it attracted me. Weeks later, I went back to the doctor and told him, “I’ve found a natural product I wish to give a try, but I need your opinion about it, because in all sincerity I think I’m out of options. Should this plant be as effected as people claim it is, then I would like to try it out?” I didn't think it would work. But I wondered why people were discussing about it online. It wasn't even legal in a few states.
Your specialist must be an intelligent one. What counsel did he give to you?
He checked for compliance reports online and then checked what relevant agencies says about the product, he went on to say, “Now it looks like we're through with the formalities, let's dive deeper.” What an honest man. He explained in clear terms everything he knew about the product. He reiterated his firm stance against using it, but told me if I felt at ease with the product I could give it a try, " it could help and there's no reason why you shouldn't give it a try, he suggested.”
It was an eye-opening moment. I stayed online for more weeks reading more about kratom and talking to people online. I joined different forums and read up on what people were saying about Kratom. People noticed the sudden spike of activity in me as I took keen interest with the studies, I looked up every information I could find like: What were the possibilities like? Will I get addicted if I used this product? Are there ratings the product should have? I chewed on the slightest of detail I could get. I got many stories about people who used it.
I was aware some shops sold it but they were very expensive so I decided to order for a one-ounce sample. After a couple of weeks, I stayed on the little amount I could use and stayed off my prescriptions entirely. Yes, I was in chronic pain, but I needed to reach a convincing point to know if Kratom truly worked. At first, I used the red-veined strand, because I learnt it was very effective for anxiety and pain relief. I made tea with it just using half a spoon but didn't experience relief from the pain.
This is a terrible waste of time and effort, I told myself. It's another falsehood, I argued within myself. Although, I got sad, I kept on using it.
I tried gaggling it in my mouth and I took it into my mouth - and guess what, this was when it started to work. Ostensibly, if it is mixed with too much water, it loses its effectiveness. I kept on experimenting. I checked online for more information about how to use it and I got insightful tips, I also maintained a journal. In a twist of fate, I began to feel better after few weeks. Each day, I mix some of it with some juice and drink the contents and hoped to achieve tangible results.
Talk more about what happened after using the product.
After about seven days, I stood up without using my cane. I felt better and energetic. I have not felt this way for years. I moved with ease. I wasn't anxious anymore about myself. I was able to sleep with ease and go out to meet people I loved.
I began to feel better about myself and didn't feel bitter or broken anymore. My sense of well-being I thought I’d lost was gradually being restored and I feel even more active. Until I started to use this product, I thought I could never get relief and my life was totally over.
To me, I’d say the trick for me was mixing the green and red varieties, and I maintain this combination till this very moment. I used the white one once, and it felt too strong for me. I felt nauseated and fidgety, the stuff made me felt messed up.
When it looked like it was going to be banned, I didn't use it for almost a week. I made short videos and posted them on YouTube so people would see what happened to me. After just five days, the dystonia had gotten to critical levels. I couldn't speak - the long-gone pain revived. I wasn't composed in how I walked. I had a close family made a film so the world could see the effects it would have on people like me if this product was banned.
Did you ever felt addicted?
I'm sure lots of people reading this would think you instantly become a kratom addict once you start using it. This perception is wrong. You don't get to become an addict. When you have severe complications like I do, and you finally find a winning formula, it is important to stick with the product you find working until you are certain the issues are resolved. Using kratom doesn't make anyone an addict.
I personally feel if one hides this kind of things, that it means one's going eventually end up as an addict. It is important not to be ashamed but focus on the benefits, your reason for using the product. At the point I was before using kratom, I had no other options. By tomorrow if my doctor came to me and says, “it’s not good for your health to use this product, without protest, I’ll stop because I trust my doctor. Until this happens, I don't see any reasons why it is a problem. I need to stress this point.
While there are few doctors out there who may have issues about kratom, I believe it is misjudgments on their part, in fact, I believe these doctors got themselves stuck in their set of rules and they are unable to escape from it.
Currently, how much quantity do you use?
I have tiny amount of blends I use, but when I experience chronic pains, I use the strongest red.
I apply it for 25 days and follow up with a break of four days for proper cleansing, because I have learned that opioid receptors within the body aren't just in the brain - they also exist in our digestive system. In order to make them bind well, it is important to maintain a clear, cleaned tract. Many times I change the meals I consume. Kratom is an important part of my toolbox. I make sure I go for therapy sessions and join PTSD meetings, I make sure I take good care of myself and whenever I wake up and don't experience the pain, I don't use it.
Do you experience any feelings of highness?
Not at all. Although we all have different body systems. It guidelines exist, I feel people should comply with the them and apply it responsibly. I also go for regular checkups to know the state of my liver enzymes. I watch my system closely and I’m getting the results I want to see with little or no concerns to worry myself about. I've experienced some dryness in my body and constipation but I easily deal with these issues by using magnesium. On a few occasions, I’ve nearly had too much and felt nauseated but I chewed some ginger and it fixed it. Compared to the effects of the other medications I used previously, this is almost nothing.
I know a few people that tag along with the white strain as though it was cocaine. some of these people have personal issues, so I think it's playing on their minds so they need to use it again and again. Many advocates of banning this substance have never tried it but are bent on peddling funny stories about it. Many people that use kratom do not want to hear words like
withdrawal, addiction and drug use. There's absolutely nothing to worry about if we use it responsibly and present the truth about how we use it.
Emily, 39, Orlando, FL
Can we know you?
I had a good upbringing. Life wasn't bad, I lived with my parents. I participated in sports in school, I was very timid but was social. I wasn't scared of too many things when I was young. I played hard and fell
from horses once in a while. I experienced anxiety even from a young age.
How do you mean, anxiety?
My parents and friends made me understand I experienced social anxiety. It must have started after I lost my grand mum. I was attached with her - It felt like you took some part of me after she departed and I didn't know how to process the feeling at a young age. After she passed on, I felt sore and deprived.
Though my doctors were constantly offering me different prescriptions on a regular basis. Initially, I was placed on antidepressants when I was 13 years old. Then they tried Deseryl and Zoloft...
Each time I remember this occurrences, it appeared clear that I didn't like the feeling of taking these medications at that age. I was just a teen! I took too many medications and I felt bad about it. All these medications were filling me with all sorts and nothing was in order. I quite remember what the doctor said once in a while. His words were clear in my mind, He says," Oftentimes you need some help, just a little, this will help you through. I didn't get relief; my condition didn't improve.
This almost felt like buying love or happiness, I realized.
This was how I gradually declined. During my teen years, I felt I was just flowing and wasn't truly existing. After I got into high school, I found weed, and I got high on it like it was candy. Oh boy, I got really pumped that stuff into my system.
Did you use other drugs?
I tried opiate. Things were complex, I kept looking for myself. My mum had cancer and I followed her for her therapy sessions weekly.
In my final year at high school, I tried cocaine. By this time, my mum had fibromyalgia. Doctors kept throwing different prescriptions at her. People kept their pills in the open those days.
The meds were in the open because we had no stash for them. We had them in the bathroom, dining room, kitchen. Doctors made her take 80pills sometimes. When I took six out of my mum's medications no one would know. Whenever we experienced headaches, we use Darvocet- it was the regular practice. Looking back, when I took much it made me puke. Because of this, I took Xanax and Darvocet.
By the time I clocked 22, the doctors had my gallbladder removed. I was placed on Lortab. From this time on, my appetite for opioids skyrocketed. It felt like falling in love.
Was this how you became addicted to opioids? How much did you take daily?
After high school, I enrolled to study cosmetology. Occasionally I asked myself if just cosmetics was what I would do with my life. Later I got hired as a med assistant. It was my job to oversee patients' prescriptions. And before too long, I started prescribing pills for myself. I did this for 12 months till I created a scenario at a drugstore. I got a year over fraudulent prescriptions. I got fired. My mum tried to save me and while trying to help her daughter, I was taken to North Carolina - this was recommended by the lawyer. My mum thought this was the end for me because I took way too many pills. She hurried me for emergency care and I was admitted for urgent treatment. When I woke and saw many tiny wires plugged into my body, I got scared and ripped them all out. Blood was pouring across the room, and I attempted walking out of the place in my transparent gown. My mum got notified, " she won't die, she's only very high at the moment,", one person mentioned. My mum broke down and I was broken likewise, though my mum remained hopeful.
I began to experience withdrawal symptoms; it was the worst kind. I lost control of my legs occasionally - it was severe. It felt like my bones were shrinking within me. I obviously felt sick within me, sick in my belly my legs and my head. I was begging for death during this period.
At a particular period, my mother was rubbing my legs lovely and gently. After four weeks, i recovered from it.
When you felt things were okay, what next did you do?
For a short period, I felt better. I thought my nightmare were over. Sadly, enough, just smoke months later, I was at it again, it started with alcohol, and it became my new found love. Now the combination of opioids and alcohol were an amazing discovery for me. Taking both make me feel high upon the clouds. I started with one bottle of drink every night. Fast-forward some years later, I was arrested for DUI twice and this was when I lost it. I got my license suspended. I lost my liberty. I couldn't focus because I felt totally out of control.
Did you get a prison sentence?
I got a sentence, I did rehab, met with many therapists - I took part in regular meetings and went for lots of therapeutic sessions. At a time, I felt I’d seen over a 100 therapists. I was placed on prescriptions to help me feel better, Topamax was recommended for my alcohol issues and it was meant to help me quash the urge. Suboxone was also prescribed. I lost two more years of my life to relapse.
Although I wanted to stay off booze and opioids, I was messed up beyond my control. I withdrew from taking Topamax because I felt I forgot things after I took them. I hear it is sometimes referred to as Dope-amax for this reason. The Suboxone produced a similar feeling, I was stuttering and I was cutting my hair and stuttering at the same time. Within some weeks, I slipped again going back into my addiction, Back to my medications and back to alcohol. I was too scared of withdrawal issues.
I remember looking back feeling doctors were the smartest most intelligent beings on earth, I taught so, I feel the society assisted in my deception.
How did you find out about Kratom?
I went back to cosmetics and worked at a salon. There was a cyst on my wrist and I wanted it removed. My system was still pretty much intolerant - the Percocet and Lortab I was prescribed were almost out. I was depressed and confused about what to do. I searched online about "natural relief for pain.”, this was how I discovered kratom. It felt like winning a trophy with my discovery. I continued my research and spent long amount of time chewing up on any information I could get. I read up on everything I got and participated in many forum activities. I discovered other people like me were also searching in this forums. I felt I had possibility and I wanted to explore it. And when I read people's testimonies, I screamed because I could relate with them – it made perfect sense I found where I belong.
There was hope, and I was elated about this. I felt I wasn't in the dark suffering alone anymore. People don't talk about addiction issues openly but here I’m talking all about this issues and speaking freely. I inquired about insights that would work.
What happened after you took it initially?
I found a guy around the corner after I got many referrals who sold a capsule for just one dollar. I used it and continued with my life. I was making a customer's hair, but I noticed I felt normal.
I didn't take any pills, and the urge to go throw up wasn't there. I wasn't feeling depressed neither did I feel sick - I was happy. I began to look around for online vendors and I started to place order for it. I've never felt better since I started using kratom. In fact, I’ve not experienced withdrawal, anxiety, depression or even opioid addiction for three years now.
How long were you addicted to opioids?
Over 14 years.
How often did you use it?
Initially I was taking three spoons every five hours, because I wanted to start easy. After a while I made friends in a group I joined online, and we spoke about numbers, we exchanged numbers and spoke
over the phone. I wanted to get whatever counsel I could get because she also experienced similar issues like me but had recovered fully. I felt hopeful because if she could quit heroin, I could come off this easily, I remember telling myself this. she advised that I take a couple of teaspoons every 240minutes and I’d be okay. I followed her instruction and before I knew it, I wasn't feeling like crap anymore. It provided relief the days I used it. My tolerance has improved a bit - at the moment, I use a teaspoon and half for every dose.
Kratom helped me regain balance and I didn't experience side effects.
You mean you didn't experience negative signs?
The white and green strains help me with my appetite. Kratom users use the term "wobbles", I must have used it a couple of times, I used it over an empty belly. It felt the same way when one loses balance
just a bit. I came off it with by eating a tiny meal.
Two months later I started taking it, I counted the days so I remember vividly. I had some spare cash in my account, I could do things I wanted to do but I wasn't feeding the monster anymore.
This is little compared to the way you felt when using the pills, correct?
Indeed! When I was loading up on the pills, I’d take six pills and before I knew it, I was back at it. It felt like being hooked on candy. I felt remorseful and disappointed with myself because I didn't have control of my life, but now, on this side, I can say I’ve won. I'm so happy I can scream it from the rooftops. I'm shy but I can scream it all out that I’m free. I'm now focused with my work, I am in high demand, people book appointments weeks ahead so I can work on them. I didn't have my center this straight before now. I am now responsible and accountable. I am no longer going through the circles. I'm successful with my work and life. I'm no longer helpless and hopeless.
After trying different strains, I know the red provides relief from pain, the green is excellent for depression and anxiety issues. I have a collection where I keep different kratom products along with other herbal supplements. I have my private collection and use it carefully.
What advice do you have for people that free it should be banned?
If I was told about kratom three years before now, I’d probably say bullshit. Now, it's different. I'm a firm believer, I’ve recommended it to a few people. Many of them have thanked me for it, it's unbelievable, they say to me. Beyond any doubts, kratom is the solution to the opioid challenges our country currently faces.
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