Kratom Vs. Opium
Mainstream media has branded Kratom an opiate, yet this is a completely misguided statement. Kratom is not an opiate, although they have certain similarities.
Kratom, a legally obtainable herbal medicine, is getting bad rep by the media. It is not uncommon for it to be described as the latest „street drug“ - addictive, destructive and dangerous. Sometimes it is compared to opiates like heroine or morphine – yet they are nothing alike, and all such claims are completely unfounded.
Not few media outlets feed on scare-mongering tactics to attract readership, the side-effect of which is that a lot of false information is being spread. Specially when it comes to drugs, it is rare to find a truthful voice, and even rarer to find this voice in the news.
The origins of Kratom’s liaison with opium stems from the fact that the active compounds in Kratom interact with some of the same receptors in our bodies as certain opiates. However, Kratom doesn’t contain any opiates - that’s a big difference right there. Kratom does not produce any of the problems associated with opiate-use like addiction, withdrawal, and physical harm.
The alkaloids found in Kratom are much more selective in their mechanism of action, primarily acting as an M-opioid receptor agonist, similar to Morphine. Yet, Kratom doesn’t create the bonding and craving that opiates do, which is the reason it is often used as a low-risk pain killer.
Irrespective of kratom’s chemistry, the potent effects and link to opiate receptors causes it to be viewed by mainstream society as a legal high that has somehow managed to avoid being outlawed. It is a misconception that acts as kratom’s biggest obstacle within society, even though it can actually be harnessed by medicine safely and to great benefit.
Let’s take a better look at this misunderstood herb, why it is wrong to put it in the same bracket as opiates, and exactly how kratom can actually help people.
What is an opiate?
First off, it is important to understand what kratom is not, and that is an opiate. Opiates have depressant qualities on the human body, specifically the central nervous system – reducing pain and numbing the mind. They also put the release of endorphins into overdrive, causing intense feelings of euphoria. The combination of these effects is the reason opiates like heroin are such popular drugs.
When it comes to illegal opiates, heroin is the most widely known. It was a drug that started out with genuine therapeutic applications, but was quickly outlawed for its potential for abuse, as well as for the devastation and addiction it can cause. Saying this, opiates are still widely used as prescribed medicine and are a common site in most hospitals as a way of treating severe pain. Many prescription opiates are actually synthetic versions of heroin, but as far as the body is concerned, they are exactly the same thing.
The dangers of opiates
The reason opiates are so addictive is because they fuse with the body’s receptors, becoming a permanent fixture and creating the need for more. It is this bonding that causes so many problems. When opiates fuse with receptors it creates a ‘hunger’ within the cells they are bound to, making opiates a requirement for normal function. Without them, the body’s production of endorphins dramatically plummets, creating intense feelings of withdrawal. It creates a cycle of addiction, which if left unchecked, causes severe cell damage and disease. It can make a detox a trip to hell.
Why it is wrong to consider kratom an opiate
There is one major key difference between kratom and opiates. This is the fact that the active compounds of kratom are alkaloids, of which only interact with a specific set of opiate receptors within the body. The alkaloids in Kratom do not fuse themselves to the receptors and thus do not create a long-term or damaging relationship with the body’s cells. This allows kratom to have relieving effects for real health issues without the risk of addiction or damage. There is only a negligible risk of addiction.
A reason kratom is sometimes considered an opiate is down to the fact that kratom can produce some very similar effects. Kratom acts like an endorphin within the body, and produces relaxing effects that some people find to have similarities (but not the same) as opiates. There is also the point that kratom is consumed as a 100% natural product, often as powder ground up from its leaves. Although this is not the case with most opiates, which go through heavy processing, many people consciously note that most opiates are made from poppies, and thus too are ‘natural’ – causing even more confusion when it comes to kratom vs opiates, and how they are different.
Kratom as a treatment for opiate withdrawals
Kratom has actually been used to help treat severe cases of opiate withdrawal. Kratom satisfies the craving of addicted cells that come off opiates, without feeding the actual opiate bond or causing any more damage. It allows cells to recover, whilst relieving withdrawal symptoms. Some large medical institutions actually think the alkaloids of kratom could be extremely effective for treating opiate addiction in future programs, and could even offer a solution of opiate addiction worldwide.
Taking kratom is much, much safer than opiates
Taking too many opiates can be fatal. Opiates slow your respiratory system, and can do so to the point where it stops, causing death. Kratom does not cause this effect, and has none of the serious effects that taking to many opiates can cause.
Kratom is legal
With the few exceptions of Thailand, Burma and a few other countries, kratom is legal almost much everywhere in the world – and the reasoning in most countries that have made it illegal tending to be politics and corruption. There are a few countries like Germany that control kratom, but it is still legal. It has been used for thousands of years with not one reported serious illness or injury being directly linked to its consumption.
So, as you can see, there are certainly links between kratom and opiates, but they are in no way the same thing. Labeling them such is dangerous, and only serves to create confusion and misunderstanding. Kratom offers a completely natural and alternative way to deal with a whole array of conditions. Some medical professionals even suggest it could be the way forward, replacing future pain treatments with this safe, useful herb. By understanding the true nature of kratom, its full potential can be harnessed.