Purpose of review
To inform readers about the increasingly popular Western dietary supplement, kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) and how the products are available in the Western world compared with traditional Southeast Asian use. Kratom has been traditionally used for increasing stamina of outdoor laborers (farmers), mood enhancement, pain, and opium addiction. Interestingly, kratom has been reported to have a paradoxical effect in that stimulant feelings, and sedative feelings can be obtained depending on the amount utilized. There are several biologically active alkaloids present in kratom.
Recent studies have been focused on the interactions of mitragynine, the most abundant alkaloid, and opioid-like effects. This has been driven by the harm that kratom products have produced in the Western world, in stark contrast to the lack of harm in Southeast Asian traditional use over centuries. Many users in the Western world ingest kratom for mood enhancement and/or to ween themselves from prescription or illicit opioids. Highly concentrated products and recreational use and misuse have resulted in individuals pushing doses to levels that have not been imagined or ever studied in animal, let alone humans.
Kratom, as a preparation and how it is utilized is different around the world.