Opioid related deaths are on the rise in the United States and a safer alternative is desperately needed now more than ever. A study by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Pinney Associates on October 29th, 2022, revealed that a plant called mitragyna speciosa (commonly known as kratom) and its predominate alkaloid, mitragynine, offer a potentially safer alternative to pharmaceutical opioids. The study revealed that mitragynine has very low respiratory effects even at extremely high doses. Respiratory depression or the slowdown of one’s breathing is one of the major causes of death with opioid use. With over 22 billion dollars on the line for Big Pharmaceuticals (“Big Pharma”) through opioid sales, there can be little doubt that kratom is Big Pharma’s worst nightmare.
Dangers of Opioids
Estimates from the US Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”) nearly 76,000 of the 100,000 drug overdose deaths in 2021 were attributable to opioids. What makes opioid medications effective for treating pain can also make them dangerous. At lower doses, opioids may cause sleepiness, but higher doses can slow your breathing (respiratory depression) and heart rate, which can lead to death. Additionally, the feelings of pleasure that result from taking an opioid can make you want to continue experiencing those feelings, which may lead to addiction.
In late 2021, the US Department of Health and Human Services (“US DHHS”) publicly announced harm reduction efforts would be implemented to reduce/eliminate opioid and other drug related deaths. Not surprisingly, kratom was NOT mentioned in the above referenced 2021 DHHS announcement. However, a US survey indicated that increasingly, kratom is used by thousands of opioid users to reduce/eliminate their
opioid users to reduce/eliminate their opioid use related to pain and opioid abuse.
What is Kratom and Why is It Important?
Kratom is a tropical evergreen tree in the coffee family (Rubiaceae) native to Southeast Asia. For centuries, kratom has been used throughout Southeast Asian countries like Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia. It has been traditionally used to help with pain and energy, as a local anesthetic, help with coughs and with intestinal issues. Today, kratom continues to gain popularity. Some of the alkaloids in kratom (it has 40+ naturally occurring alkaloids), like mitragynine, are researched for their potential to alleviate temporary discomfort. Others are researched for their potential to restore natural energy levels. Today, kratom powders, teas, and extracts are taken orally, primarily for health and well-being by millions of people globally. Others take kratom to eliminate opioid use and manage opioid withdrawal and use disorder.
Natural Alternative for Dangerous Opioids
This most recent study involving kratom and one of its major alkaloids, mitragynine, was published online by Jack E. Henningfield of Pinney Associates and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine on October 29th, 2022 (link above). It is significant in that it outlines actual scientific findings on the very low respiratory effects (effects on breathing) of mitragynine when in its natural, non-adulterated state. These findings also come as no surprise to most kratom users and advocates. Undoubtedly, these findings can be characterized as Big Pharma’s worst nightmare. Big Pharma guiltlessly pushes opioids and in fact they account for over 22 billion dollars in 2021. Now there is a potentially safer alternative to opioids as shown in this study which is Big Pharma’s Worst Nightmare. This powerful, amazing plant yet again proves that there may be a legitimate, less dangerous alternative for individuals whose symptoms typically are treated through opioids.