Kratom, also known as Mitragyna speciosa, is an indigenous tree in Southeast Asia. Its leaves contain mitragynine and 7-hydroxymytraginine. These components act on the brain’s opioid receptors and relieve pain. In high doses, it’s a sedative. In low to moderate doses, it’s a stimulant.
People have been using the herb for a variety of reasons. It has been used to relieve pain, instead of standard opioid medications. Others have taken it to wean themselves off opioids. Some have tried it because it’s a legal high.
Last August, the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) announced its intentions to classify kratom as Schedule I drugs. These are substances that have no medical use and are highly addictive. The agency recently halted their plans when they received online complaints about this plan. They have asked the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to assess the herb and make a recommendation. The public has until December 1 to comment on this issue.
Despite the limited time frame for public comment, its advocates, both users and researchers, are pleased with the development.