Back to Journals » Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation » Volume 10

Current perspectives on the impact of Kratom use

Authors Veltri C, Grundmann O

Received 23 April 2019

Accepted for publication 7 June 2019

Published 1 July 2019 Volume 2019:10 Pages 23—31

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/SAR.S164261

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Melinda Thomas

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Professor Li-Tzy Wu


Charles Veltri,1 Oliver Grundmann1,2

1Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy, Midwestern University, Glendale, AZ 85308, USA; 2Department of Medicinal Chemistry, College of Pharmacy, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, 32611, USA

Abstract: The leaves from the tree Mitragyna speciosa, commonly known as Kratom, in the coffee plant family (Rubiaceae) are commonly used in their native habitat of Southeast Asia as a stimulant to sustain energy during hard day labor and as an opioid-like analgesic and sedative. Traditional and modern uses overlap based on the effects of the leaf extract which has also gained popularity in the United States and Europe in the last two decades. Kratom has and is being used for the mitigation of opioid withdrawal symptoms and as a harm reduction agent with a minority of users subsequently developing a dependence on the extract. The respective demographic use patterns of Kratom differ between Southeast Asia and the Western world. While pure Kratom is primarily used by day laborers and misused in conjunction with cough medicine by youth in Southeast Asia, a majority of users in the United States is middle-aged, has at least middle income, private health insurance, and completed some college. Deaths attributed to the use of Kratom have been reported in Europe and the United States but not in Southeast Asia. Although Kratom was detected as the alkaloid mitragynine in the blood of the decedents, causality could not be established in almost all cases because of poly-drug exposures. It is notable that Kratom can cause herb–drug interactions, especially with other central nervous system -active substances. Given the mostly unregulated market for Kratom products in Western countries, consumers may be exposed to adulterated or contaminated products, especially if purchased through websites or the darknet. A number of countries have scheduled Kratom because of its stimulant- and opioid-like effects and the established interaction of the alkaloid mitragynine with opioid receptors.

Keywords: Kratom, Mitragyna speciosa, use pattern, Southeast Asia, substance dependence


Creative Commons License This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.

Download Article [PDF]  View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]