Kratom: the risky new substance you need to know about | Alaska Regional  Hospital

Kratom: An Overview of the Herbal Supplement

Kratom, scientifically known as Mitragyna speciosa, is a tropical evergreen tree native to Southeast Asia, particularly in countries like Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Papua New Guinea. The leaves of the Kratom tree have been traditionally used for their stimulant and opioid-like effects by people in the regions where the plant grows naturally.

Key Aspects of Kratom:

  1. Traditional Use: In its native regions, Kratom leaves have been used for centuries for various purposes. They were often chewed, brewed into tea, or used in other forms to help increase energy, alleviate pain, and improve mood.
  2. Alkaloids: Kratom contains various compounds known as alkaloids, the most notable of which are mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine. These alkaloids are believed to interact with receptors in the brain, leading to different effects depending on the dosage and strain of Kratom used.
  3. Stimulant Effects: At lower doses, Kratom is known to produce stimulant-like effects. Users often report increased energy, alertness, and sociability. Some even use it as a natural alternative to caffeine.
  4. Opioid-Like Effects: At higher doses, Kratom can have effects that are similar to opioids. These effects may include pain relief, relaxation, and a feeling of euphoria. However, it’s important to note that the opioid-like effects of Kratom are milder and less potent than traditional opioids.
  5. Potential Risks and Side Effects: While some people use Kratom for its potential benefits, it’s important to be aware of potential risks. Kratom can cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting, constipation, and dizziness. In higher doses or with prolonged use, it may lead to dependence and withdrawal symptoms similar to opioids.

Legality and Regulation:

The legal status of Kratom varies by country and region. In some places, it is legal and can be purchased and used as a dietary supplement. In other areas, it may be regulated or even banned due to concerns about its safety and potential for abuse.

Where to Buy Kratom:

Kratom is available for purchase from various sources, including online retailers, specialty shops, and herbal stores. However, due to its varying legal status and potential safety concerns, it’s important to buy Kratom from reputable sources that provide information about the product’s origin, quality, and proper usage.


Kratom is an herbal supplement that has been used for centuries in Southeast Asia for its stimulant and opioid-like effects. While some people use it for its potential benefits, it’s crucial to approach it with caution and be aware of its potential risks and side effects. If you’re considering trying Kratom, it’s advisable to research thoroughly, choose a reputable source, and consult with a healthcare professional to ensure it’s safe and appropriate for your individual circumstances.

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