Dangers of Kratom for Opioid Detox
As the opioid epidemic continues to be a growing problem, increased focus on eliminating opioid dependence continues to grow as well. One combatant in the war on opioids is in the form of Kratom, despite a lack of significant evidence that supports its effective use. Instead, federal officials warn of the dangers of Kratom for opioid detox. They have even gone so far as to recommend consumers refrain from using it.
What Is Kratom?
Kratom is a tropical tree that’s native to Southeast Asia (1). The Kratom tree’s leaves often have psychotropic and pain-relieving effects. This is due to the way two compounds in the Kratom’s leaves, mitragynine, and 7-α-hydroxy mitragynine, interact with your brain’s opioid receptors. The compounds often mimic the highs, the feelings of elation, and the pain relief that opioids can bring. This is why there are inherent dangers of Kratom for opioid detox. Kratom affects the opioid receptors in your brain as morphine does.
Additionally, Kratom seems to possess properties that increase your risk of abuse, dependence, and addiction to Kratom itself. There are so many dangers of Kratom for opioid detox, the Food and Drug Administration warns explicitly against the use of Kratom. (2)
There are no FDA-approved uses for Kratom, though it’s gained popularity to help those in opioid detox deal with withdrawal symptoms. And, there are concerns that it does more damage than good for those who consume it.
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Dangers of Kratom For Opioid Detox: More Harm Than Good?
Why is Kratom so dangerous when it comes to opioid detox and freedom? Mainly because it is incredibly easy to order from the Internet, and it’s not currently illegal. That said, the FDA joins a host of other medical professionals who believe that the use of Kratom is risky. (3)
Not only does it lend itself to a new addiction to the Kratom itself, but substances that are made from and with Kratom have also been found to be contaminated by Salmonella bacteria.
In fact, in May of 2018, the CDC concluded an investigation (4) that found 199 people had become ill with Salmonella associated with Kratom use. While no deaths occurred as the result of that multistate outbreak, Salmonella poisoning can be fatal.
Additionally, the FDA has linked at least 44 deaths to Kratom-related products. (5) Because Salmonella contamination doesn’t have visible warning signs, the FDA recommends avoiding all products that may have Kratom as an ingredient.
Liver Toxicity & Other Injuries from Kratom
It’s not just bacterial poisoning that concerns healthcare officials, though. A new study led by the U.S. Drug-Induced Liver Injury Network (DILIN) (6) found that Kratom may cause liver toxicity and severe liver injury in those who consume it.
Researchers looked at 404 cases of liver damage that were linked to dietary supplements. Eight injuries were those that involved Kratom-related products, and the researchers found significant evidence to tie seven of the cases specifically to the Kratom products. The seven recovered from the liver damage but first had to be hospitalized with abdominal pain, jaundice, and liver damage.
The FDA also warns that kratom products typically contain high levels of heavy metals (7) like lead and nickel. These metals can bring about lung disease and neurological damage.
Kratom For Opioid Addiction: An Alternative Therapy Or New Addiction?
As if the obvious and inherent dangers of Kratom for opioid detox are not enough, the science does not support the efficacy of Kratom in helping with detox. While some find temporary relief from withdrawal symptoms, the side effects of Kratom use are often just as harmful. Those who turn to Kratom for withdrawal suffer side effects like nausea, sweating, vomiting, seizures, and psychotic symptoms and episodes.
According to The Mayo Clinic (8), studies show that the withdrawal symptoms you suffer when detoxing from Kratom are similar to those that you experience with opioid dependence.
Kratom may also cause your body to crave it just as much as it wanted the opioid you were trying to free yourself from in the first place. And just as with opiates, you can overdose on Kratom. The CDC found that at least 91 people died from Kratom overdose in 18 months alone. (9)
The most worrisome fact is that Kratom is currently unregulated and easily accessible via the Internet. There’s nothing that is stopping producers from lacing Kratom products with other compounds that may cause injury or death. Mixing substances is a common practice among illicit opioid producers to increase their profit margins.
It also means that if you want to break the chains of dependence and addiction to opioids, you may inadvertently be creating a new dependency within yourself by turning to Kratom. Many may think it’s a safer alternative to opioids because it’s natural. However, the sad reality is that you might end up just as dependent on something new and quite possibly just as dangerous.
Kratom Facts: The Science Doesn’t Support It
While FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb acknowledges there’s room for more research on how Kratom may be safely used, the facts thus far are irrefutable. (10) The compounds in Kratom are similar to those of the properties in opioids and have the same potential for abuse, addiction, health issues, and even death. It at least 91 people have died from Kratom overdoses, how many more have had severe adverse effects?
More, Dr. Gottlieb claims no reliable or peer-reviewed evidence supports the use of Kratom as a treatment for opioid use disorder. As of yet, the FDA has found no evidence that supports a medicinal use for Kratom. And there are no medications or behavioral therapies that have been tested explicitly for treating Kratom addiction.
U.S. poison control centers have reported that calls about Kratom-related injury (11) skyrocketed over 50 times the average amount between 2011 and 2017. Many of those calls resulted in serious health consequences.
Most importantly, there is no substitute for personalized treatment that addresses the root of opioid dependence.
Personalized Therapy Has No Substitute
There is just no substitute for customized care when it comes to freeing yourself from opioid abuse and dependence. Only experienced and compassionate caregivers like those at Desert Cove Recovery will look at you as a whole person, and address the issues that are tangled with your dependence.
There’s no evidence that Kratom helps you break those chains, but there is evidence that professionals using evidence-based treatments will. (12) There are many dangers of Kratom for opioid detox. But there are tremendous benefits to a treatment program that treats your mind, body, and spirit. That’s what Desert Cove has done successfully for years, and what they’re waiting to help you with as well.
If you’re struggling with addiction, Desert Cove Recovery can give you individualized care in a beautiful setting. Our caring and qualified professionals can help so you can begin living again. Make the call. We’re waiting to talk to you.