In an age where energy boosters, fat loss supplements, and pain relieversare easy to get over the counter, little is known about a supplement known as kratom – an herbal extract which has been linked to at least 91 deaths, according to the CDC.
It has become a go-to for many people suffering from opioid withdrawal and substance abuse, and as kratom becomes more popular in the U.S., scientists are trying to better understand how it affects the body, and how to test for it in people who overdose.
Kratom is derived from a plant by the same name from Southeast Asia. It can be swallowed as a pill, brewed as tea, or crushed and smoked. Kratom’s key ingredient, mitragynine, can cause “stimulant” or energizing effects — similar to caffeine and amphetamines. At higher doses, it can cause opioid-like effects similar to narcotic pain medications.
Read more at ABC.