Right about now, you may be asking the question: What is kratom? Kratom – a tropical evergreen tree native to Southeast Asia – is part of the coffee family. The kratom tree’s leaves have been put to good use for centuries in Southeast Asian countries. This includes but is not limited to Thailand and Malaysia. It is an herbal supplement frequently used for energy, pain relief, and numerous other benefits.
Alkaloids are the main active ingredients in the kratom leaf (which include mitragynine and 7-hydroxy mitragynine). These interact with your brain’s opioid receptors. Kratom is available in kratom powder, capsules, extracts, and tea forms.
How Does Kratom Work in Your Body?
After ingesting kratom, all throughout the body, the alkaloids bind to opioid receptors. There are several types of opioid receptors. They include mu, delta, and kappa receptors. What are those? Your mu-opioid receptors are responsible for producing analgesia (pain relief) as well as euphoria. The mitragynine and 7-hydroxy mitragynine alkaloids in kratom have an affinity for mu-opioid receptors. They do not, however, activate these receptors to the same extent as do classic opioids like morphine.
Kratom’s activation of mu-opioid receptors provides pain relief, feelings of pleasure, sedation, and decreased anxiety. The activation of kappa-opioid receptors also contributes added analgesia.
Currently, many hold the belief that, besides the effects on opioid receptors, kratom alkaloids interact with the brain’s dopamine receptors. Kratom’s activation of dopamine receptors may well be a contributing factor to increased energy, sociability, and positive mood.
What Are the Effects and Uses of Kratom?
There is a vast array of ways that you can use kratom, as well as the effects that can be experienced. Pain relief and heightened analgesia are one of the traditional and most common uses of kratom. At moderate doses, kratom can produce considerable pain-relieving effects. As a result of that, it’s used for chronic pain, joint and muscle pain, and pain from injuries. The combination of mitragynine and 7-hydroxy mitragynine join forces to activate opioid receptors and relieve pain sensations throughout your body.
Many people who use kratom also report mood lifts, feelings of optimism, and a more positive outlook during kratom use. More likely than not, this is because of the activation of dopamine receptors and the release of dopamine along with opioid receptor-mediated mood enhancement. This mood elevation can also be a contributing factor to reduced anxiety.
In small to medium doses, many kratom strains produce an energy boost, alertness, and wakefulness. More so, in fact, than what you get from caffeine. The combination of mitragynine and 7-hydroxy mitragynine provides effects not unlike stimulants. They act against opioid receptor-mediated sedation, so they create more of a balanced energy boost.
Kratom’s opioid and dopamine receptor activation could assist in lowering symptoms of anxiety, depression, and stress for some people. The regulation of neurotransmitters changes the body’s response to stress.
Because of the way it acts on opioid receptors, kratom might help mediate opiate withdrawal symptoms. It could act as a natural alternative to weaning off narcotic pain medication. It’s important to note here that much more clinical research is needed in this area.
Is Kratom Safe? Understanding Potential Side Effects
Like anything that you might put into your body, kratom carries its own set of possible risks and side effects of which you should be aware. The safety of this substance can be determined or influenced by a number of things (think the specific strain, the dosage you take, your age, weight, and any sensitivities of the individual). People taking high doses may notice effects like sedation, nausea, and dizziness. That’s why it’s important to stick to the recommended guidelines for dosing – so you don’t suffer any ill side effects.
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