So about two weeks ago I sent a letter to my local congresswoman urging her to see the legitimate health benefits of Kratom, which are especially effective when dealing with the hell of opiate withdraws. Kratom has a lot of benefits to consider, especially when compared to other opiate replacement therapies, like Methadone or Buprenorphine. First, it’s not a “replacement”. It’s a tool to cease use. It doesn’t have the same addictive qualities, side effects or stigma as it’s opiate cousins. Methadone is a drug widely used and accepted to deal with the physical hell people suffer when quitting opiates like heroin. As is the more recent but increasingly popular Buprenorphine (the primary, opiate-derived ingredient in Suboxone or Subutex). When trying to quit more dangerous or injectable opiates, like Heroin, Dilaudid or Fentanyl, these drugs can be lifesavers. They’ve worked miracles in lives of countless addicts, as I’m sure many readers here could attest. We are extraordinarily blessed to be born in a time where these drugs are available (along with drugs like Naloxone, which has basically wiped out the necessity for heroin overdose, if only people would obtain it and actually use it). They’ve given us a considerable advantage over every junky that’s lived over the last 4,000 years; the ability to quit relatively easily, without having to suffer the physical effects of withdrawal. When a heroin addict kicks dope (yes, I mean, heroin in this context, but the sentiment could be applied to any other variants of the word, I suspect) there are about 10,000 other things that need to be addressed to be successful, dealing with our demons, confronting the people who lives we’ve affected, learning to live like a regular person and not a constant drain on society, figuring out what else we enjoy doing in life to keep us busy, training ourselves for a real profession, overcoming the guilt we’ve been stifling since starting our use, rebuilding relationships with our families and the list goes on. I would venture to guess that if you asked anyone who has successfully kicked heroin, they would rank that accomplishment as one of the hardest and most rewarding feats of the lives, probably THE hardest and most rewarding. With all of that to look forward to and constantly haunting our thoughts, why shouldn’t we utilize modern medicine to help deal with the physical symptoms in order to address the more complicated psychological issues, the real root of our addiction?
(A side thought):
To those who feel we deserve to suffer in order to pay real penance for our crime, I have this to say: You will never know suffering like an addict who successfully navigates through their addiction and comes out the other side clean and alive. And you should get on your knees and thank your Higher Power every day that you were spared the scarring pain and emotional distress and never ending, constant guilt that we have to live with for the rest of our lives, even after we’ve quit and are confronted with just badly we’ve hurt ourselves and our loved ones. You will never have the strength or character of spirit as one of us. You should be looking up to recovering addicts as role models. I’d like to knock these judgemental hate-mongers down from their self-inflated superior moral high ground, and remind them that their judgment is in stark contradiction to the teachings their own self-professed religious affiliations. In case you have forgotten… “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven.” (Luke 6:37) “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone” (John: 8:7) “For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.” (James 2:13) “Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?” (James 4:11-12) “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” (Matt 7:1-5) and finally… “But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.” (Matt 5:12)
Back to the post… However, if there was a herb available that could do what modern medicine is doing, but with less of the side effects associated with manufactured pharmaceuticals, and it’s technically not an opium-derived opiate, but an opioid, attaching to the same receptors in the brain, giving it opiate detox qualities, while mitigating the euphoric effects, making it less addictive yet still effective, wouldn’t that be something to look into? It seems reasonable to me. Unfortunately, just breath the word opiate or any variation of it, and watch how quickly any use for it gets shut down, unless presented by Big Pharma. But what these small minded people fail to recognize is that while kratom does bind to the three opiate receptors, it does so in different concentrations and has entirely different characteristics. There are two main alkaloids in kratom, and upwards of 50 insignificant ones. The two main alkaloids are mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine. The reason for the major difference between traditional opiates and Kratom stems from the fact that while opium-based chemicals prefer to attach to the mu-opioid receptors, Kratom favors the delta-opioid receptors and even has an affinity for the k-opioid receptors, which all other opioids basically ignore, which is what gives Kratom it’s stimulating effect (which I’ll go into in just a second), while giving it’s more traditional-opioid like qualities a ceiling. While mitragynine is the most abundant in Kratom, it’s 7-hydroxymitragynine that contains the opioid qualities, although both have extremely effective pain relieving qualities. Mitragynine, however, also has stimulating properties, when taken in relatively low doses, like you’d find in most tinctures. But when taken in high doses, it actually flips the script and has a sedative effect. This occurs when 10-25 g of dried Kratom leaves are consumed. In comparison, it takes about 3 grams of dried leaves to feel stimulation. 7-hydroxymitragynine provides the most opiate like sensations, but is found in only a very small concentrations compared to mitragynine. Luckily, it’s also extremely potent. Tinctures that are best for treating opiate withdraws, contain a high percentage of 7-hydroxymitragynine, much higher than you would find in nature. Combined, they are an excellent pair for treating moderate to severe pain, with the added benefit of not causing respiratory-depression, like all other types of opiates.
It seems to me an extraordinarily large amount of unjustified effort has been invoked to schedule this herb, while other herbs which mimic the effect of other illegal narcotics are allowed to flood, unregulated, into any home in America? Let’s take Bacopa Monnieri for example. It
helps enhance brain function and elevate mood and energy. It’s one of the most highly recommended and beneficial nootropic smart drugs around. It’s also been proven to be an unbelievably effective treatment for ADHD, doing away with the necessity of Adderall. Adderall, or Amphetamine, as everyone who reads this website should already know, is just Crystal Methamphetamine sans the euphoria. Not much good can come from its use. It’s basically just a gateway drug to Crystal Meth. Why have we been granted access to that psychoactive herb, but any herbal remedy that looks even slightly like molecular structure of diamorphine is automatically and universally banned the instant our government catches wind of it? It doesn’t harm you in any way. It doesn’t even come close to having the same addictive and detrimental qualities as Methadone or Suboxone. And while I won’t go as far as saying that it’s nonaddictive, but it’s far less addictive than any true opiate. It’s an excellent pain killer, great for those looking to kick real opiates and could be a great tool for harm reduction facilities and rehabs to use in the aid of treating serious addicts. I’m getting mixed signals here. On one hand the government claims to want addicts to shed their addictions and join the ranks of normal society (and pay taxes). On the other, they love to take away all of our tools to effectively do so, while leaving us with dangerous and equally debilitating alternatives like Methadone. And now the US Government has taken away our right to yet another herbal remedy.
Addiction is a big money business. And addiction recovery equally as big. With Big Pharma, Big Tobacco, Big Insurance and Big Cartels all fighting against our successful recovery in order to capitalize at our expense, is it at all surprising that long-term recovery success is so low? There’s no way access to a herb that would quell our addiction, for pennies out of pocket and no contribution to those in power, could have any staying power without somebody either finding a way to profit from it, or else exterminating it as quickly as possible.
I wanted to share with you this letter I got back from Dianne Feinstein, United States Senator and her somewhat polar opposite views from my own. But this is a free country, pick your side accordingly. It’s your right to do so!
Dear Ms. James:
Thank you for contacting me to express your views on kratom. I appreciate you taking the time to write and welcome the opportunity to respond.
As you mentioned in your letter, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced its intent to temporarily place two components of the kratom plant under Schedule I control, effective September 30, 2016. Pursuant to federal regulations, the DEA has authority to temporarily prohibit the manufacture, distribution, or possession of a substance if the agency determines “such action is necessary to avoid an imminent hazard to the public safety.”
Following this, the DEA shall conduct an extensive scientific and medical evaluation, conducted in accordance with the Controlled Substances Act and in coordination with the Department of Health and Human Services. Then, the DEA will determine whether or not to permanently list the substance as a Schedule I drug, which would restrict any possession, distribution, or the manufacture of the substance, unless specifically authorized by the federal government.
According to the Federal Register notice, kratom is abused for its ability to produce opioid-like effects on people. It is a substance that has no known medicinal benefits, and has already contributed to at least 15 deaths. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control reported that U.S. poison centers received 660 calls related from kratom exposure from 2010 to 2015, compared to only 2 calls from 2000 to 2005.
As Co-Chairman of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, I take substance abuse and its consequences very seriously. I believe it is important to take a balanced approach that focuses on curtailing drug abuse and protecting public safety while also ensuring protections for substances with evidence-based medicinal benefits.
I understand that you feel that kratom should not be temporarily controlled as a Schedule I drug. I will keep your thoughts in mind as I continue to monitor the situation.
Again, thank you for contacting me. I very much appreciate hearing your views. If you have any additional comments or questions, please feel free to contact my Washington, D.C. staff by calling (202) 224-3841 or visit my website at http://www.feinstein.senate.gov.
United States Senator
Okay. I know that people have trouble looking past the stigma that comes with anything carrying the title opioid. And certainly, the steep, almost vertical, jump in the number of reported complications attributed to Kratom is concerning. But I’m highly skeptical of the 15 deaths it reportedly contributed to. We don’t know any other facts about those fatalities. What else played a hand in the partaker’s death? Was it a drug cocktail? What medications were they taking? What setting had they staged to take the kratom? On top of that, 15 people? Total? That’s such a small number it wouldn’t even be a blip on the chart monitoring cause of death. Aspirin is the cause of more accidental deaths per year than kratom has ever been responsible for. Let’s get real here guys, there is enough to worry about already with real drugs you actually get high from that are already illegal and really killing people. Why do we have to waste time, paperwork, research and tax-payers money to outlaw an herb that the is extremely safe and effective? Why does the government continue to assume that the American public is t0o ignorant to understand what we put in our bodies and not fit to make this decision on our own? Why do they feel they have to micromanage our diets? When the vast majority of people with first-hand experience agree that kratom provides extraordinary benefits at the risk of minimal, if any, negative effects, maybe the critical mass might be on to something. Maybe, just maybe, we’re not the uneducated, naive, backwoods, country bumpkins that they treat us like. And just maybe we know what feels good to our bodies and what feels unhealthy. We aren’t all trying to just pull one over Big Brother, secretly getting high and laughing behind his back in order to make him look foolish. But that’s they way we are treated.
Alright, I’ve said my piece. I’ve personally ordered Kratom on many occasions and used it as a tool when detoxing. I’ve recently stocked up on some more extremely high potency Kratom supplements. And I’ve taken them quite a few times, with positive results, although I plan on saving most of them for when I try to kick for real, which I’m hoping is going to take place sometime within and towards the end of the next 30 days. More on that to come… (it’s a legal mandate, but I’m going to make the best of it!)
For those of you not ready to give up your Kratom, here is a recipe for a Kratom pizza that I think you’ll find quite lovely! Eat up while it’s still legal, lol!