Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa)
Mitragyna speciosa is the botanical name of the plant more commonly known as kratom. In Thailand, other common names include ithang, kakuam, and thom. In Malaysia, it is commonly referred to as biak or ketum.
The Mitragyna genus is part of the Rubiaceae family, more commonly known as the coffee family. The Rubiaceae family is made up of over 10,000 species and 600 genera. Kratom has been used as medicine in Thailand since ancient times.
It is also a very well known medicine in other areas of Southern Asia, but until recently it was virtually unknown in America and areas outside of Asia. It wasn't until relatively recently (1836) that the plant was even described in western literature.
Scientific Classification Of Mitragyna speciosa Kingdom: Plantae Division: Magnoliophyta Class: Magnoliopsida Order: Gentianales Family: Rubiaceae Genus: Mitragyna Species: Mitragyna speciosa
Mitragyna speciosa is thought to have originated in Southeast Asia. It can now be found growing wild in Thailand and parts of some of the surrounding areas of Southeast Asia, like Indonesia and Malaysia.
Mitragyna speciosa grows into a large shrub or small tree. In most cases, plants will grow to a height of 12-15 feet, but some specimens can reach a height of 50 feet. A shrub is a type of woody plant that grows to a maximum height of 15-20 feet. A tree is a type of woody plant that grows taller than 15-20 feet.
Leaves on larger plants can grow over 7 inches long and 4 inches wide, they are dark green in color. The flowers are yellow and grow in clusters. Kratom is an evergreen, the leaves are constantly being shed and replaced. Plants like a wet, humus type of soil, medium to full sun, and an area protected from strong winds.
Chemistry Of Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa)
The primary active chemicals in kratom are mitragynine, mitraphylline, and 7-hydroxymitragynine. The chemical 7-hydroxymitragynine is effective as a pain reliever. Mitragynine is also a pain reliever, but it is not as powerful as 7-hydroxymitragynine.
At lower doses, ingestion of Mitragyna speciosa produces a physically stimulating effect. At larger doses it is more sedating, this is accompanied by a relaxed, euphoric cerebral sensation, with some pain relieving properties (similar to those of a mild opioid like codeine).
For most people, ingesting kratom will ease the discomfort of withdrawl from opium and opium based substances like heroin, morphine, hydrocodone, and oxycodone (the active ingredient in oxycontin). Some people may be able to switch from an opioid to kratom, then slowly ween themselves off kratom. But there is a chance of becoming addicted (if only psychologically) to kratom.
In the USA, the DEA has put kratom on their list of Drugs and Chemicals of Concern. This is a good indication that kratom will be scheduled as a controlled substance in the USA at a future date, but presently it is legal in America. Kratom is an illegal substance in Australia, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Thailand.
How To Use Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa)
You can buy Mitragyna speciosa leaves, extract, and live plants from a supplier located here. They ship from the USA to most countries. For my needs, resin extract is best for smoking, powder is best for putting into gelatin capsules. Leaves are better for making tea or making paste that can be formed into pills and stored. I have never made extract tea or smoked leaves, but you may wish to try.
Extract is a concentration of active chemicals. For example, 15x Thai extract is 15 times more potent than a similar weight of Thai kratom leaves would be. There are various types of leaves available, these are listed from the mildest to most potent. --- Hawaiian: Kratom from Hawaii. --- Malaysian: Kratom with red veins, from Malaysia. --- Thailand: High quality with red veins, from Thailand. --- Super Indonesian: High quality, from Indonesia. --- Maeng Da: Highest quality, most potent type.
It will require more material from less potent types of kratom (like hawaiian) than it would to produce the same effects as a lesser amount of super indo, or other leaves that are more potent than the hawaiian type. But lower potency leaves are usually cheaper. Whatever form of kratom you have, store it in a dark and cool space, inside of some type of air-tight container.
If you want to smoke kratom, use about 1/16 gram of 8:1 resin extract (1/4 to 1/2 gram of dry leaves) the first time you try. It is best to smoke it by itself to fully evaluate the effects. You can try mixing it with other herbs (like marijuana) after you know what kratom can do by itself.
For beginners, it is ok to smoke about 1/8 gram of 8:1 resin extract (1 gram of leaves) per session, sometimes a bit more. Larger doses may cause nausea and vomiting for a person not accustomed to kratom (or opium based drugs). Do not smoke any more if you feel any discomfort in your stomach.
For a longer lasting effect, kratom can be ingested orally. The first time you try, use about 1 gram of 8:1 extract or 1/2 gram of 15:1 extract. If it is moist, roll it into small balls about the size of a pill, and swallow. If it is dry, put it in gelatin capsules, and swallow. If no gelatin capsules are available, you can add the powdered extract to food or drink. When consumed orally, a full dose is 1-4 grams of extract (8:1 or 15:1).
To ingest leaves orally for the first time, 2-5 grams of dry leaves can be crushed into a powder, chewed, and swallowed. The powder can also be combined with foods or juices to mask the taste. An extract can be made by heating the leaves in water, then filtering out the leaves and heating the remaining water, until it has evaporated to a paste.
The resulting paste can be stored for several months (if stored in an airtight, cool, dark environment). The paste can be formed into small pills and consumed as is, or they can be added to warm water and consumed as tea.
A common way of ingesting kratom for medical, recreational, or spiritual purposes is to make it into a tea and drink it. To make kratom tea for the first time, take no more than 2-4 grams of dry leaves and crush into small pieces.
Add the kratom to some water and heat at sub-boiling temperatures (about 150-200 degrees F) for 30-60 minutes. A very gentle boil is ok, but higher temperatures will destroy some of the active compounds making the tea less potent. When ready, separate the plant material from the water with a strainer or something that will do the same job, then drink the water portion.
If desired, instead of drinking the tea right away, put it aside and repeat the process of heating the remaining plant material in water again to get any ingredients that remain in the plant material. Then heat the water from both batches until you are left with an amount that will fill a cup. Kratom tea can be added to regular tea or fruit juice concentrate, to make it taste better.
If tea made with 2-4 grams of material seems mild, you can increase the amount to 5 or more grams of leaves, but larger doses may cause nausea and vomiting. Depending on the potency of the leaves and personal preference, some people find 2-5 grams of leaves made into tea satisfactory, others require 10-20 grams.
When taken orally, the effects of kratom can be felt about 30-60 minutes after ingestion, and the peak lasts 2-3 hours. When smoked, the effects start quicker and last about 60-90 minutes. The only common negative comment about kratom is that it causes nausea at high doses.
Kratom is not checked for in drug tests, and will not be mistaken for an opioid. Of all the various legal drugs available, kratom would be my first recommendation to anyone interested in psychoactive substances. Even most regular drug users (with no opioid tolerance) appreciate kratom. If you don't consume drugs often, keep the doses low the first few times you try.
There is some debate as to whether kratom is physically addictive, like opioids. Most reliable reports say addiction is similar to opioids, but not as severe or long lasting. To minimize the chances of addiction and/or tolerance, it would be best to limit the intake of kratom to once every 4 days or less often. For example, if you do some on a friday, wait until the next tuesday or later before taking it again.
Kratom use in Thailand dates back hundreds, and probably thousands of years. People in Thailand and Malaysia often take Mitragyna speciosa as a substitute for opium (or related drugs) when opium is unavailable or unaffordable.
Refrain from ingesting opioids and kratom together, as this may cause cross tolerance between the two substances. For example, there may be a problem if you are taking 15mg of hydrocodone per dose on a regular basis and decide to also take some kratom at the same time.
Over time, your body might build up a tolerance to the combination. Since it produces effects that are similar to opioids, if you stop taking the kratom, you will probably need to increase the amount of hydrocodone you ingest to get the same effect.