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Addictive Substance Called Kratom Becoming Popular in South Florida

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A legal, natural and addictive substance called kratom is becoming increasingly popular in South Florida, according to a news report. Kratom comes from the leaf of a tree grown in Southeast Asia, WPTV reports.

According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), kratom is widely available on the Internet. The DEA notes that kratom is mainly being abused orally as a tea, but some people chew kratom leaves. An investigation by WPTV found that kratom is available in tobacco shops and in Kava Bars in South Florida, where it is mixed into a tea-like drink. Several doctors told the news program they are seeing more patients who are abusing kratom.

The DEA says that kratom has been described as producing both stimulant and sedative effects. Acute side effects include nausea, itching, sweating, dry mouth, constipation, increased urination and loss of appetite. Kratom consumption can lead to addiction, according to the DEA.

21 Responses to this article

  1. Herbert G / September 7, 2014 at 11:43 pm

    This is a good thread on Kratom. Paul kemp ,above had some good points. I also don’t belittle tea squires post about her husbands addiction to it. I have read a lot of threads about withdrawal from it today. The real problems seem to be from people who use way too much of it. It also seems people are using it for sedation mainly. I really hope it doesn’t become a scheduled drug , because that will only put its distribution into the hands of the drug cartels. I hate to think of all the older people who use it for legitimate reasons being turned into criminals also. I have used it for arthritic back pain and leg pain. It is a mood elevator and is wonderful for laborious hard work. I’m currently using a minimal amount because I was taking too much. I started with a gram to two grams three times daily with remarkable results. This turned into a max of fourteen grams per day as I was having too much fun with it. I went from fourteen grams a day to only four grams spaced out every four hours with no wd’s . This was done over night. I don’t plan on stopping completely because it is very effective for what I use it for. I do realize its potential for abuse though. I also don’t see it as having strong potential for abuse among young people because illegal pot is so readily available. Also because it doesn’t produce a strong high like other drugs. With time and trial and error, I think people will learn to use it responsibly or stop using it completely. People will always take things to detrimental extremes whether it be substances, food, or behaviors. Hopefully legal Kratom will remain under the radar so people who have a real need for it will be able to use it as a safe alternative to all of the horrible prescription drugs that are killing people every few seconds. The DEA should be more concerned about all the feel good doctors peddling dangerous prescription drugs and the epidemic of heroin the U.S. Government is allowing into our country from Afghanistan and our unsecured Mexican border. Please leave Kratom alone. I’m sure it may be a problem for some , but others shouldn’t have to suffer because of some peoples recklessness.

    • William / September 19, 2014 at 12:17 pm

      These types of articles are about as useful as three eyebrows. Scare tactics used to bolster the failed War on Drugs and protect profits for the big pharma. Below is an article written originally for Forbes Magazine by David DiSalvo. I think it sums up Kratom quite accurately, from my experience with the substance which has been pleasant and non-debilitating in any way.

      This post is a follow-up to an article I wrote on Forbes entitled, The Kratom Experiment Begins.

      First, I should explain why I am publishing this piece here instead of Forbes. When I wrote the original piece, I mentioned that I would be using Lucky Kratom brand capsules for the evaluation. This set off a cascade of comments and emails telling me that I was making a mistake limiting myself to that brand, for a variety of reasons.

      At the same time, several Kratom distributors contacted me offering free samples to use during my evaluation. I decided to accept samples from three of these companies:

      Mayan Kratom

      Nutmeg Kratom

      Online Kratom

      Because I accepted these free samples, I felt it was no longer ethical to write the follow-up article on Forbes — a venue for which I am paid to write. Instead I chose to move the follow-up here, to The Daily Brain, a blog I own and derive exactly zero compensation from.

      I am grateful to each of the companies that supplied samples, because they enabled me to conduct a much more thorough evaluation than would have been possible with only one brand (Lucky Kratom – a product I paid for myself, I should add).

      Having said that, I will not be comparing products from different companies in this post. That was never my intention. Rather, I will simply provide you with my personal experience with the products in general.

      The two forms of Kratom I experimented with were powder and capsules. I also experimented with a variety of strains and “fusions” of different strains and extracts. Generally speaking, I took Kratom in the morning, usually mixed with a small amount of orange juice.

      I did not experience a tremendous difference between strains, although the fusions that contained extracts were consistently more potent. Because the extracts lead to quicker tolerance, I spaced out my usage and tried to stick to regular strains most of the time. I especially liked Bali, Maeng Da and Green Thai.

      Now for the effects.

      My overall takeaway is that Kratom has a two-tiered effect. Initially it provides a burst of energy very similar to a strong cup of coffee. Unlike coffee, however, the energy I derived from Kratom was longer-lasting and level. My experience with coffee is that the initial burst is strong but it tapers and descends rapidly, leading to the well-known caffeine crash. The energy from Kratom, on the other hand, would often last for three or four hours, but was subtle enough that at no point did I feel like I was jumping out of my skin. I also did not experience an energy crash with any of the Kratom products I sampled.

      The second-tier effect was relaxing, but fell short of being sedating. I never felt sleepy while taking Kratom, but I did experience a level relaxation that was pleasant, and balanced out the initial energy-boosting effects nicely.

      As to side effects, I can’t say that I experienced any worth noting. A few times I noticed that my eyes were bloodshot after I used a fusion containing an extract, but that was not a consistent side effect and it never obscured my vision, nor did it seem related to any other drawbacks.

      As to the difference between capsules and powder, I noticed that the powder worked faster, but the capsules seemed to be generally as effective, though with somewhat delayed effects. That makes perfect sense since it takes the stomach a bit longer to break down the gelatin containing the powder.

      My biggest concern with most of the products I sampled is that it’s not easy to nail down the specific amount to take. I used “bakers spoons” that indicated how many grams a spoonful contained, but I’d strongly recommend anyone who wants to take the product long-term to invest in a decent-quality digital kitchen scale. I am indebted to several people who have sold Kratom for years for offering free advice on how to arrive at the correct amount for my body type (I’m six feet, 225 lbs with an athletic build).

      In my case, about three grams was adequate to induce an effect, but I have been told by several regular Kratom users that amounts vary greatly by person. I can’t make any recommendations on the “right” amount to use. I simply experimented with amounts (guided by the advice I mentioned) until I found one that worked well for me.

      My overall comment on Kratom is that it’s a lot like good coffee, but with a more even, long-lasting energy effect, and a much more pleasant “finish.”

      As to the results of stopping usage, I can tell you without hyperbole that getting off coffee is a far worse experience than getting off Kratom. I was able to stop taking Kratom for three days and at most I experienced a bit of sluggishness that wore off in a day or so. Withdrawal from coffee, for me, includes at minimum two days of excruciating headaches that make me want to rip trees from the ground and toss them through store windows (something I’ve never actually done, mind you). Suffice to say, caffeine withdrawal is significantly worse than Kratom withdrawal, if it can even be called “withdrawal.” There’s no comparison whatsoever.

      Having now experienced the product myself for a number of weeks, I can see no reason why it should be banned, or on what basis such a product would be banned if people can walk into a typical coffee shop and buy an enormous cup of an addictive substance that’s arguably more potent than any Kratom available anywhere.

      If you have any questions about my experience or would simply like to discuss further, please feel free to email me:

      disalvowrites [at] gmail.com

      You can also leave a comment on this post.

      *A note on quoting from or reprinting/reposting this piece: overall I am flexible on reposts, but please contact me ahead of time by email to let me know when and where you’d like to repost. Thanks in advance.

  2. palawoda / August 17, 2014 at 9:02 pm

    used krantom to get off opaites,…and get thru a gruleing work day after two years off from cancer surgery,…..works very well

  3. Tea Squires / August 3, 2014 at 7:22 pm

    Kratom can be highly addictive!!! My husband is destroying his life with this so called harmless stuff . Yes, very unlikely someone could OD from it yet it can destroy your mental health, physical, soul health and break families. Don’t be fooled it is far from harmless. Any substance has the potential to wreck havoc on someone’s life. I know I’m living through it now and it’s a nightmare. Especially since it’s legal and sold everywhere. I hope they change the laws God speed!

    • Keldred Sven / August 18, 2014 at 4:17 pm

      McDonalds / hamburgers can be addictive.

      Blaming Kratom for a person’s addiction is like blaming Nike for not being in the Olympics after you bought track shoes.

      Most people blaming Kratom as an addiction are generally covering up their real addiction, opiates, and attempting to pass blame onto Kratom so they can feel better about themselves.

      To the best of our knowledge, there has never been a documented case of Kratom addiction.

      Kratom can be habit forming like almost everything else in the food chain.

  4. Avatar of Roaddog
    Roaddog / August 11, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    Kratom is very effective in use of opioid withdrawels, I know, I have used it several times. I have used it to kick some pretty big habbits. Also yes, to some degree it is addictive. Not even 1/10 as addictive as opioids. So if your a herion addict, Kratom can save your life. If not, it can cause some slite addictive properties.

  5. Avatar of Paul Kemp
    Paul Kemp / July 7, 2013 at 11:42 am

    I agree with most of these comments — kratom is not a big deal. If someone abuses it with the intention of “getting high”, with high doses, then they may eventually have an unpleasant experience or create a dependence, but this is not why most people use it.

    Kratom has proven benefits for blood-sugar transport into the muscle cells, which is very helpful for diabetics. It can also help with chronic pain, generally without the mind-messing effects of marijuana.

    I suspect the media campaign about the few people doctors and ERs are seeing who have “overdosed” or are addicted to kratom are just the latest drug scare to beef up DEA and local police budgets.

    I also think the big pharmaceutical companies might like to see an herb that could help patients get off addictive opioid pain meds, anti-depressants, and diabetes meds as a MAJOR threat to their cash flow.

    Kratom, in general, is not that predictably rewarding compared to other options. Unfortunately, the negative publicity only attracts the attention of more abusers and warns away those who might find true relief from pain, opiate addiction, and diabetes symptoms, et al.

  6. Dacey / November 12, 2011 at 1:42 am

    Thai Kratom is believed to be the most optimum quality of Kratom leaves found in the entire globe. They are pure and simply authentic in their taste and effect. This bushy plant or more precisely a tree, grows to a height of 15 to about 20 feet in the sky and also include dark green colored leaves which grow upto 7 inches in length and 4 inches in width.

  7. Avatar of maria jose
    maria jose / October 14, 2011 at 12:28 am

    Nice. Kratom addiction is a very real possibility for those who abuse it.Increased tolerance tolerance, Daily use, Long term constipation are the signs of kratom addiction.

  8. Dacey / September 28, 2011 at 2:51 am

    Users report a relatively mild high from kratom abuse. however, the drug is addictive and prolonged use can lead to kratom addiction.Kratom is harmful if it is taken in high dose otherwise it has various medicinal values

  9. Avatar of Jeremy Gilbert
    Jeremy Gilbert / July 25, 2011 at 12:11 am

    A legal, natural and addictive substance called kratom is becoming increasingly popular in South Florida, according to a news report. Kratom comes from the leaf of a tree grown in Southeast Asia, WPTV reports.

  10. Avatar of byron sweet
    byron sweet / July 14, 2011 at 9:16 am

    People are going to something weak and pretty benign?? Just think about how big of a deal that is…. then think about some crime…. like rape… Then scream out loud “What the hell are our priorities!?!?!?!?” Imagine the face of a nation that had the same gusto that goes in to protecting the pharmacuticle companies, going towards actually making our people safer and happier. Marijuana is illegal (federally at least), for no apparent reason… No toxicity… makes you lay around, not fight…. Prohibition breads violence, just as it did with alcohol…. But who cares right? So when people go for something that is frankly not worth the time or money to treat themselves for pain or anxiety, don’t be surprised…

  11. Avatar of KA Associate
    KA Associate / July 13, 2011 at 11:09 pm

    Why would drug-seeking addictive people use Kratom when they can just go to you Detox folks for real-life dangerous opiates? You think Kratom is a problem? Come to Florida, where you’ll see that your pharmaceutical heroin (Oxycontin, Bupenorphine) is FAR more dangerous. This is an absolute joke. Find another marketing strategy.

  12. Avatar of Dacey
    Dacey / July 11, 2011 at 2:21 am

    Kratom is not popular due to its drug property.It is famous because it is used as an medicine for various purpose like for relief from stress and for other purpose.

  13. Avatar of aalina
    aalina / July 9, 2011 at 1:19 am

    Kratom is a rather unique drug in that a low to moderate dose will usually bestimulating, while a high dose is almost always quite sedating. This is apparently because the active alkaloids have both stimulant and sedative effects. For kratom, like many drugs if used on a daily basis for a prolonged period of time, could become a habit hard to break.Before starting to experiment with it set yourself usage guidelines. If you ever find it is hard to stay within your usage guidelines immediately quit using kratom.

  14. Avatar of Chotzi
    Chotzi / July 8, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    Kratom seems more addictive to some than to others. It is, however, very useful for opiate detox. I was able easily to kick a 5 year opium habit using kratom. Kratom, too, causes withdrawal, down-regulation, etc, but not nearly as bad as opium. It’s a good way to step down for many people who can’t hack it any other way.

  15. Preston Gazaway, MD / July 7, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    In the past three years, I have treated two individuals who were addicted to Kratom. One chewed the substance and the other made a tea. When they presented after not using for a little more than 24 hours, both had a COWS score greater than 15 and urine drug screens negative for opiates, oxycodone and benzos. Symptoms were relieved by Subutex. Both were stabilized on Suboxone and easily tapered over three months.

  16. Steve Westen / July 7, 2011 at 8:05 am

    Just more propoganda so the DEA can keep us worried enough to continue funding them. The DEA is loosing ground on being effective and worth the tax payers dollars. With 1/2 of their funding being put towards cannabis and their ability to arrest these “offenders” coming to an end, they have to scrounge up something to continue instilling fear in us, so we will continue to give them a budget. Kratom has been around and used for thousands of years and I have personally known about it since the 90′s and all the sudden its now becoming popular… no… kratom is not popular and will not become popular. Its effects aren’t rewarding enough to use on a continual basis; compared to other mind-altering substances.

  17. Avatar of Jay
    Jay / July 7, 2011 at 2:05 am

    While I don’t know of any studies that specifically delve into the addictive properties of Kratom, it’s known that some of the alkaloids in Kratom are opioid agonists. When such things bind to the right opioid receptors, they create a ‘feel good’ environment (endorphins) where the body wants more. By regularly using substances the bind to these receptors, eventually your brain won’t release endorphins like they should, resulting in the dependence on these substances just to feel normal. Over time, you may even have to increase your dosage to feel normal in such cases.

    Kratom has been used for a long, long time and aside from the large amount of user reports (anecdotal) regarding Kratom addiction and the Bulletin on Narcotics, 1975; Vol 27(3): 21-27 that specifically studied Kratom addicts, the potential for physical dependence and addiction should be inferred due to what Kratom’s primary alkaloids do: bind to specific opioid receptors.

    That WPTV report, though, doesn’t appear to be a reliable or accurate news piece as per the comments. Things like the story purportedly misrepresents the business where Kratom was purchased and the lead character’s credibility was called into question. Plus, the story itself appears to promote a local detox center. All that and they call Kratom a ‘new natural substance’ when it’s an ages-old folk medicine.

    While anything that makes you feel good or better can be and is abused (alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, fats, sugars, etc) and can lead to some form of addiction or dependence in some people in some cases, that doesn’t inherently mean it’s a danger to society or to people in general.

    I mean, how many people ‘need’ their morning coffee to function? I’m not saying that addiction is good or should be an acceptable norm, but attempting to demonize something simply because it can be addictive or abused shouldn’t be acceptable, either.

  18. Clean and Sober / July 6, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    “Some observations on the pharmacology of mitragynine.” Macko, Weisbach and Douglas (1972) reported that mitragynine (active ingredient in Kratom) possesses pain threshold elevating and antitussive properties but no addictive properties. What research has determined it is now addictive?

  19. Avatar of Luc
    Luc / July 13, 2011 at 10:55 pm

    Kratom can be addictive when abused for a long period of time and high amounts, but the abuse potential itself is minor. But please lets keep in mind that kratom is being used for thousands of years in Asia with any lethal case or potential to damage the users.

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