Kratom capsules may be illegal in countries like Thailand and Australia, but the capsules packaged from the kratom tree are legal in the United States. A stimulant at low levels and a sedative at higher ones, many people are using kratom capsules with very little information on how they work or whether they’re safe.
Where Do Kratom Capsules Come From?
Kratom capsules are made from an evergreen tree known as the Mitragyna speciosa. This tree is native to countries with a tropical climate, including Myanmar, Malaysia and Thailand. The tree produces dark-green leaves that are crushed or powdered and placed into capsules.
Sometimes the capsules are also fortified with other plants, which can make it difficult to determine a proper dosage for kratom capsules. In addition to capsules, a person may also find kratom as a paste or tablet or brewed as a tea.
Kratom capsules are available for purchase at many health food and natural supplement stores. The substance has been a very controversial one. In 2016, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration was considering making the substance illegal in the United States, even saying the agency would categorize the drug as a Schedule I substance, which is the same as heroin and ecstasy. However, this proposed ban was delayed pending further research.
What Effects Do Kratom Capsules Have?
Some people take kratom capsules for their stimulant properties, because the capsules make them feel more awake. Taking a few grams of kratom capsules can make a person feel more alert, allowing them to potentially improve their concentration.
Other people take kratom capsules in doses of between 10 and 25 grams. This can produce a sedative effect in the body. Symptoms of high doses of kratom capsules can include calmness and euphoria. Some people even use them as a means to stop using sedatives or opioid painkillers.
Are Kratom Capsules Safe?
Health experts don’t fully have an answer for whether kratom capsules are safe. Some are concerned because kratom contains compounds known as alkaloids, which act on the same receptors in the brain as opioid painkillers and heroin. Doctors also know that compounds found in them are addictive. As a result, a person can experience withdrawal symptoms, including nausea, difficulty sleeping, hallucinations and muscle tremors.
In addition to these concerns, in February 2018, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported an outbreak of salmonella infections in 20 states related to kratom capsules. While the results were not deadly, packaging the capsules can have adverse health side effects.
Because the FDA doesn’t regulate kratom capsules, manufacturers could theoretically put whatever they wanted to in them. Therefore, there isn’t a lot of information on safe dosages or if there are people who shouldn’t take kratom because it could affect their health.