The herbal substance kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) has been the focus of much debate and regulatory wavering in the United States over the past decade. Studies suggest that kratom, derived from a tree in the coffee (Rubiaceae) family that is native to Southeast Asia, is typically used to ease pain and symptoms related to mental health disorders and opioid withdrawal.1
Of more than 40 alkaloids found in kratom, mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine target the opioid receptors and have been identified as the plant’s primary psychoactive compounds.2 The effects of kratom appear to be dose-dependent, with stimulatory effects occurring at low doses and analgesic effects occurring at higher doses.3
The prevalence of kratom use has reportedly been on the rise in the US since 2007.4 In 2 studies published in 2021, results showed that 0.7-0.8 of the US population had used kratom in the preceding year.
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