Physiological and behavioural effects related to use, abuse, and addiction to Kratom (FULL ARTICLE)
This is just a review of the scientific literature and is merely a presentation (citations) of the existing knowledge up to 2012 when it was written.
The most interesting part of this article, besides the list of studied alkaloids and their effects, is how diverse the alkaloid profiles were in the study based on geography. The review indicates that there might actually be 3 strains. Thai, Malaysian, and possibly a third (presumably borneo), which appear to be dramatically different in alkaloid make up.
Differentiating the strains even further, very young leaves had only 4 of the alkaloids found in mature leaf. This could explain why "white vein" might be considered to have a different effect. Unfortunately, the differences in genetics were not documented, which means the differences in the alkaloid profiles may be caused by the genetic differences vs the differences in geographical agricultural conditions.
The known health benefits and historical medical uses of alkaloids (as cited by the review) are numerous and listed with citations in this article.
...Vicknasingam and colleagues performed a survey of current
M. speciosa use in 136 active users in northern Malaysia. They
found that M. speciosa (Ketum) users were relatively older (mean
38.7 years). About 77% of the users had previous drug use history.
Long-term consumers with more than 2 years of use had
higher odds of being married, of consuming more than the average
three glasses of Ketum a day and reporting better appetite.
Short-term users (<2 years of use) had higher odds of having
ever used heroin, testing positive for heroin in a urine sample
and of using Ketum to reduce addiction to other drugs. Both,
short- and long-term consumers reported that they used Ketum
in order to reduce their intake of more expensive opiates, to manage
withdrawal symptoms and because it was cheaper than heroin.
Only very few consumers (5.6–12.5%) report ‘euphoria induction’
as a reason to use Ketum. Drugs can be consumed in order to
instrumentalize their psychoactive effects to better achieve other,
non-drug related goals (Müller and Schumann, 2011). Ketum users
report as major self-perceived benefits of their drug use that the
drug ‘helps to work harder’ (76.6–87.5%), that it ‘makes more
active’ (76.6–86.1%), it ‘increases sexual desire’ (73.4–84.7%), and
an increase in appetite (57.8–77.8%). Interestingly, self-perceived
use was higher in short-term than in long term users, thus
suggesting a loss or reduction of the self-perceived instrumentalization.
These findings differ from those in neighbouring Thailand
where Ketum was used primarily to increase physical endurance.
According to this study, the daily consumption of Ketum solution
is 3 × 250 mL to ease opiate withdrawal symptoms, which contains
There is a general effect of ‘cocaine-like’ stimulation in small
doses, while at high doses ‘morphine-like’ sedation and nausea are
reported (Babu et al., 2008). Several studies suggestthat M. speciosa
preparations have analgesic, antipyretic, antidiarrheal, euphoric,
anti-depressant, and anxiolytic effects. They may work as immune
booster, lower blood pressure, and have anti-viral, diabetes- and
appetite suppressing effects (Macko et al., 1972; Burkill, 1935).
Besides this, they can also cause anorexia, dry-mouth, diuresis
and constipation after long term use at high doses (Suwanlert,
1975; Perry, 1980).
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