Kratom: Not Worth the Risks

John SniffenLa Hacienda, Treatment Team

The unregulated drug known as kratom is in the news as the general public, scientists, and health officials debate its benefits versus its risks.

Dr. Katie McQueen of the La Hacienda medical staff urges potential users to refrain from taking this “natural” drug until more scientific research is done to prove what it does and in what form or dose it should be used.

To hear Dr. McQueen’s full presentation about kratom, watch the video.

Many Unknown Factors

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved any uses for kratom, but it is marketed for pain relief and opioid withdrawal. The FDA notes concerns about kratom’s safety, including reports of user deaths.

Kratom is derived from a plant grown in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea. It affects the same opioid brain receptors as morphine, says the FDA. Risks include nausea, sweating, headaches, overdose, addiction, and potentially death.

As with other unregulated drugs, kratom is often sold mixed with other substances. People buying substances marketed as kratom have no reliable method of determining what else may be included.