Kratom also known as the ketum is an evergreen tree belonging to the coffee family rubiaceae. It originates from Southeast Asia where it was used to relieve pain, fatigue, opioid withdrawal, diarrhea and cough.
The pharmacologically active compounds in kratom contain mitragynine, 7- hydroxy mitragynine, paynantheine, speciogynine and 20 other substances were considered for study.
The extensive amount of unreliable evidence and scientific research on kratom can be safe and less addictive for the treatment of opioid withdrawal.
Walter Prozialeck, chairman of the Department of Pharmacology at Midwestern University Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine said, "There's no question kratom compounds have complex and potential useful pharmacologic activities and they produce chemically different actions from opioids."
"Kratom doesn't produce an intense euphoria and, even at very high doses, it doesn't depress respiration, which could make it safer for users."
"Many important medications, including the breast cancer treatment tamoxifen, were developed from plant research," he added.
Kratom is used as an herbal supplement and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has scrutinized after 660 reports of adverse reactions being reported between 2010-2015.
Anita Gupta, DO, PharmD and special advisor to FDA, said, "While the DEA and physicians have valid safety concerns, it is not at all clear that kratom is the culprit behind the adverse effects."
"Many of my patients are seeking non-pharmaceutical remedies to treat pain that lack the side effects, risk, and addiction potential of opioids," she added.
Kratom is currently banned in Alabama, Florida, Indiana, Arkansas, Wisconsin and Tennessee. The DEA is yet to decide to place kratom in the Schedule 1 drug category.
Schedule 1 category consists of drugs without any known medical benefit. Heroin, mescaline, marijuana are some of the drugs placed in the DEA Schedule 1 category which does not allow scientists from studying those substances.