If you’ve happened to keep up with the media’s reports on Kratom over the last year, you may have noticed one similar, recurring statement in all of them that sounds something like “Kratom has not been found to carry any medicinal value.” How could this possibly be? These news and government organizations are trying to tell me that despite the use of this plant for 100’s of years and the countless success stories that can be found on the internet today for its multiple uses, not a single person has thought to actually test Kratom out in a laboratory setting? No way I say, so I took it upon myself to figure this out. About 60 seconds later I found a site with 10 different research papers written over the last 30 years, which I’ve linked to at the bottom of this article. Reading through them, I found out quite a bit of interesting information.
The second paper listed was extremely informative. It is titled “Ethnopharmacology of Kratom and the Mitragyna Alkaloids” and was written by Karl L.R. Jansen and Colin J. Prast at the University of Auckland Medical School in New Zealand circa 1988. They listed the results from several studies, done throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. The main study that grabbed my attention from this research paper was one conducted by E. Macko in 1972. He found Kratom to be comparable with codeine as an analgesic and cough suppressant in a study on dogs. We see often in negative media reports that Kratom is a “Deadly respiratory depressant,” yet Codeine is prescribed to millions of Americans every year, while this study shows that Codeine at equivalent doses would cause vomiting and shortness of breath. This is irony at it’s very best. Kratom also had little effect on the blood pressure of the dogs being tested. He noted that Mitragyna Speciosa appeared to be a much less toxic alternative to any other known analgesic, especially considering that there was no opiate-like addiction syndrome found in any of the subjects. Sounds really deadly huh?
The fourth paper listed brought up another perspective on Kratom that I feel is underutilized, and that is the effect of Kratom on potential weight loss. Two men by the names of Peter J. Houghton and Ikram M. Saida conducted a study on lab rats titled “Acute and long-term effects of alkaloid extract of Mitragyna Speciosa on food and water intake and body weight in rats.” When administering Kratom extract to the rats they noted results of dose-dependent decreases in food and water intakes. This would only make sense, considering that a study done at the University of Cambridge in 1932 by K.S. Grewal showed Kratom to be a central nervous system stimulant. What this means in layman terms, is that it speeds up the central nervous system, not only causing you to want to do more, but to eat less as well. If used responsibly, this could lead to a much healthier lifestyle for countless Americans. It’s no secret that obesity, due to lack of motivation and far too much caloric intake, is a huge problem in the United States. Considering it can do this with little effect on blood pressure is pretty amazing, and makes Kratom a much safer alternative to other weight loss supplements that attempt to create these same effects synthetically which can cause blood pressure to raise significantly. I know this from personal experience and research from using it myself.
The last of these studies I will mention here is the one that I found the most significant, considering that I thought Kratom was some mass placebo effect when I first heard about it, and even when I first tried it. This was a study done only a few years ago in 2006, conducted by a man by the name of Kenjiro Matsumoto. He titled his research paper “Pharmacological Studies on 7-Hydroxymitragynine, Isolated from the Thai Herbal Medicine Mitragyna Speciosa: Discovery of an Orally Active Opioid Analgesic.” Matsumoto started his study by comparing analgesic effects of Kratom and Mitragynine (The most prevalent alkaloid in Kratom) separately, concluding that Kratom itself had a more powerful analgesic effect. What this meant is that there is at least one, if not multiple, alternate alkaloids in M. Speciosa that gives it powerful analgesic properties. What he found absolutely blows my mind. When Matsumoto isolated the alkaloid 7-hydroxymitragynine, he found its analgesic effect to be 17 times as potent as morphine. Yes, you read that correctly, 17 times as potent as morphine! This alkaloid only accounts for 2% of the plant, but regardless, this alone is more than enough proof to anyone that Kratom is a justifiable analgesic and does carry medicinal values.