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What is Kratom?

Kratom is the popular name for a tree native to Southeast Asia and the drug comes from its bitter leaves that contain psychoactive (mind-altering) opioid compounds.

What does it look like?

Kratom leaves are greenish brown and may be sold for tea or smoking, or as a green powder in capsules or in packets labeled “not for human consumption."

How is it used?

Usually the kratom leaves are chewed or consumed by being mixed in food or tea. Sometimes the leaves are smoked or combined with other drugs. It has been used for years in Southeast Asia as an anti-diarrheal medicine, a painkiller and a recreational drug.

What can be the symptoms of use?

At low dosages, it is a stimulant, making a person more talkative, sociable and energetic. At higher dosages, it creates lethargy and euphoria with psychotic symptoms being reported.

Short-term use can cause sensitivity to sunburn, nausea, itching, sweating, and dry mouth. Long-term use can cause anorexia, weight loss, insomnia, skin darkening, dry mouth, frequent urination and constipation.

In long-term high doses it can cause hallucination and paranoia. Like other opioid drugs, kratom may cause dependence and some users have reported becoming addicted to kratom.

What are some street/commercial names for it?

Herbal Speedball, Biak-biak, Ketum, Kahuam, Ithang, Thom

Where does it come from?

Kratom has been available online, at smoke shops, convenience stores and gas stations. Beginning September 30, 2016 the DEA will place kratom on its Schedule I drug list making it illegal to consume.

For More Information:

Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) Kratom Press Release

NIDA: Kratom February 2016