This week, researchers from Harvard are warning that a workout supplement, marketed under the brand name Craze, may contain DMAA, a potentially harmful synthetic methamphetamine-like substance. An attorney for the maker of Craze has denied those allegations, but questions remain about the product’s safety in light of the reported Harvard findings.
At the same time, use of another naturally-occurring stimulant, Mitragyna speciosa, more commonly known as kratom, has raised hardly any concerns at all, despite its unknown long-term effects and the fact that it’s currently being used by millions in the U.S.
Kratom is a plant indigenous to Southeast Asia and is a member of the coffee family. It’s readily available for sale on the internet, and a reported 40 million people currently use it for a variety of ills, including to mitigate opioid withdrawal. It’s apparently not illegal in the U.S. to use or possess, but it’s also not FDA approved, nor is it well studied or understood at this point.
The DEA lists it as a “drug of concern,” and has also noted its use in the illegal manufacture of synthetic heroin.
It is currently outlawed in Thailand and several other countries around the world, but some are arguing that it should be legalized and used to treat substance abuse disorders, especially withdrawal symptoms.
According to a 2013 case study published by the National Institutes of Health about a 43-year-old man who used kratom to on his own to manage his issues with pain and opioid withdrawal:
One striking finding of this report is the extent to which kratom attenuates potentially severe opioid withdrawal, yet cessation of kratom administration itself appears to be associated with modest abstinence symptoms.
The report also notes, however, that the risks and outcomes of long-term use are still largely unknown.
According to the Kratom Association, many of the risks and downsides of kratom have been overblown or misreported in the media, including its safety, its addictive properties, and its potential for legitimate medical use.
As in the NIH study above, the Kratom Association highlights the drug’s potential for treating substance abuse in particular:
Kratom is an exceptional aid for overcoming addiction. For many people, it still is the only thing that has ever truly worked. From alcohol to prescription drugs or heroin, countless people have used kratom to rid themselves of their addictions and regain control of their lives. It contains for example the compound rhynchophylline, also found in cat’s claw that possesses NMDA antagonistic qualities, which are proven to disrupt addiction and habituation.
What are your thoughts? Have you used either Craze or kratom? How should these substances be handled in terms of medical treatment or use as supplements?
Leave a comment and share your perspective!
Also, take a moment and share this post with all your favorite services!