Kratom? What's That?

Usually I know a thing or two (and maybe not much more) about medical announcements. But this one caught me unawares. Apparently, see below, the drug in question has been around for "thousands of years." 

Excerpt from the AMA email:

"The Washington Post (10/12, Ingraham) reports the DEA is withdrawing its proposal to classify kratom as a Schedule I drug, after a “public outcry” called for the agency to reverse its decision. The article explains that the DEA announced in August that it planned to classify kratom as a Schedule I drug, but Chuck Rosenberg, the acting administrator of the DEA, said that since that announcement the “DEA has received numerous comments from members of the public challenging the scheduling action.”

        The Huffington Post (10/12, Wing) reports the DEA announced it will now open a public comment period on the matter until December 1 and it has also asked the FDA to review the substance before making a new recommendation on how kratom should be scheduled. The article points out that kratom has been used to relieve pain for thousands of years, and some also claim that it can be used to treat anxiety, depression, and opioid addiction."

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So what should we do when we want to know more about a subject? 

Google it of course! 

So we find the following at Wikipedia:

Mitragyna speciosa Korth. (also known as kratomor ketum), [2] is a tropical evergreen tree in the coffee family (Rubiaceae) native to Southeast Asia in the Indochina and Malaysiaphytochoria (botanical regions). M. speciosa is indigenous to Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia, Myanmar, and Papua New Guinea[3]

Kratom has some opiate and stimulant like properties. [4] [5]

As of 2013 no clinical trials had been done to understand kratom's health effects and it had no approved medical uses.[6][3][7] In areas where the plant grows, it has been used in traditional medicinesince at least the nineteenth century.[6] Some people take it for managing chronic pain, for treating opioid withdrawal symptoms, or – more recently – for recreational purposes.[3][7] Onset of effects typically begin within 5 to 10 minutes and last 2 to 5 hours.[3]The plant's active compounds and metabolites are not detected by a typical drug screening test, but can be detected by more specialized testing.[8][9]

Minor side effects may include itchiness, vomiting, and constipation.[3] More severe side effects may include respiratory depression (decreased breathing), seizure, addiction, and psychosis.[3][10] Other side effects include high heart rate and blood pressure, liver toxicity, and trouble sleeping.[11][12] When use is stopped withdrawal may occur.[5] When mixed with other substances, kratom use has resulted in death.[7][5] In the United States, there were fifteen kratom-related deaths between 2014 and 2016.[11]

As of 2015 there was a growing international concern about a possible threat to public health from kratom use.[7][13] In some jurisdictions its sale and importation have been restricted, and a number of public health authorities have raised alerts.[7][11][13]Some versions of the product contain other opioids.[5][14]"

 

 

Paul Doriokratom, DEA