(Newly updated on May 22, 2019)
Kratom is obtained from the cannabis plant. Due to its many benefits, the kratom demand is increasing. Many studies and research have been conducted to demonstrate the various effects of kratom on the human body. Below is the discussion of the numerous studies and research:
Kratom and cardiac injury
An investigation was conducted to illustrate the cardiotoxicity of kratom and its analogs. Lu et al. published the study in 2014. In the research, pluripotent stem cells that were extracted from the cardiomyocytes were used. Administration of mitragynine was done. At the end of the study, it was found that the duration action potential was prolonged. Arrhythmia was also induced. Another observation was that mitragynine could cause Torsade de Pointes. The phenomenon results when the mitragynine inhibits rapid delayed rectifier potassium current.
Kratom and kidney injury
Harizal et al. conducted a toxicity study of the standardized methanolic extract of kratom. kratom was administered to rodents. At the end of the study, minimal nephrotoxicity was observed in histopathological results. However, acute severe hepatotoxicity was evident when kratom was administered in very high doses. Mitragyna speciosa is the scientific name of the plant.
Another research was conducted to illustrate the effects of kratom on the kidney. McIntyre et al. described a report of a 24-year old man with a history of depression and alcohol abuse. In the peripheral blood, 0.23mg/l of kratom was detected. In the central blood, its concentration was 0.19mg/l. Together with a negligible amount of ethanol, therapeutic concentrations of mirtazapine, venlafaxine, and diphenhydramine were also found. During the autopsy, Kratom was screened. Pulmonary edema and congestion were evident. There was also urine retention. All these were attributed to kidney injury caused by kratom.
A research was done in 2010 by Nelsen et al. A case of a 64-year old male was reported. The man experienced a seizure after taking a mixture of kratom and Datura stramonium. He had a history of alcohol and tobacco use. When his urine was screened, traces of cannabinoids, oxycodone, and antidepressants were detected. The seizure most likely was caused by the kratom.
Yusoff et all carried another study in 2016. The researcher concluded that there was impairment of the acquisition, consolidation, and retrieval of memory when mitragynine was administered.
A case was reported by Boyer et al. in 2008. From the report, a patient had stopped consuming hydromorphone. He then switched to kratom as a pain reliever. After taking kratom, the patient reported that he started experiencing a tonic-clonic seizure. Although in animal studies, there is no finding of seizure-like symptoms.
A deficit of cognitive functions can result when mitragynine is administered in rodents. The cognitive deficit was reported in a paper by Suhaimi et al.
Chittrakarn et al. did another research. It was found that skeletal muscle relaxation occurred when mitragynine was administered. Increased concentration of mitragynine and kratom extracts blocked the compound action potential. Therefore, more effects are exhibited at the neuromuscular junction, as compared to the somatic or skeletal muscle. At a concentration of 0.1mg/ml, kratom was found to decrease the contraction of muscles on a phrenic nerve-hemidiaphragm preparation. When mitragynine was administered in high concentrations of 1mg/ml, complete contraction of the relaxed muscle was evident.
Kratom and cellular injury
A study by Saidin et al. was conducted to outline how kratom can cause cellular injury. The cellular toxicity of kratom Korth on a cell of the human was studied. The arrest of the cell cycle was found to occur after the toxicity as the study suggested. The primary cell phases where the arrest took place were G1 and S phase. A high concentration was required to decrease the relative cell number. It was also found that low doses of kratom also stimulates the proliferation of the cells. All these proof that kratom can induce cellular toxicity.
Kratom and Neuromuscular injury
Chittrakarn et al. conducted a study to illustrate how kratom causes neuromuscular injury. In was done in 2010. It was found that mitragynine at a high concentration preferably 2mg/ml produced blockage of the compound nerve action potential. A decrease in the muscle twitch was observed when mitragynine and kratom extract was subjected to the skeletal muscle.
Kratom and Thyroid injury
Sheleg and Collins conducted a study. The study involved a 44-year old man with a positive history of alcohol use. For management of pain, he opted to use kratom for four months. The report suggests that the man gained 60 pounds. He also developed lethargy and myxedematous face. It was found that the patient was suffering from primary hypothyroidism. It was concluded that the usual response to thyroid-stimulating hormone was reduced in the thyroid gland. This was attributed to the higher doses of the mitragynine in the kratom he was using. Mitragynine could have also suppressed the function of the thyroid gland.
KRATOM: THE BITTER PLANT THAT COULD HELP OPIOID ADDICTS—IF THE DEA DOESN’T BAN IT – you may also want to see this resource.
Kratom and death
Kratom has NOT been associated with causing death, unlike some people try to claim.
Due to the popularity of kratom, many studies and research are being conducted to outline its effectiveness and adverse side effects. Non-medical use of kratom in western countries is increasing at an alarming rate. Many are using it for self-treatment of pain and opioid withdrawals. From the above-discussed research and studies, it is evident that kratom can pose serious complications, primarily when used in high doses. However, to come up with a standard therapeutic dosage, a lot of research needs to be conducted. As of now, individuals have been advised to use the approved drugs for treatment purposes, instead of kratom.