Kratom comes from a tree native to Southeast Asia and is related to the coffee plant. Called Mitragyna Speciosa, Kratom is a substance that has stimulant effects at low doses and pain relieving effects at somewhat higher doses. Use of this plant-based substance likely originated in Southeast Asia where individuals would ingest the leaves to improve their work productivity, mediate pain and other ailments. It was also used in religious practice.
Kratom takes enough of the pain away so that people can live their lives. It does not cure. The leaves of the plant are often chewed or brewed into a beverage like tea. In the US it is available in capsules or in powder form. The taste is fairly bitter, so many people put the powder into grapefruit juice, which mitigates the taste. Its most impressive ability is that it allows people to stop opiates altogether with NO withdrawals and NO depression. It relieves pain, gently lifts mood and provides energy.
In August 2016, the DEA proposed making Kratom a Schedule I drug. There is no evidence whatsoever that it causes harm by itself. If this goes through, Kratom would then join the list of restricted substances that includes marijuana, heroin and LSD. This would mean no more research would be possible, and the people who now depend on it, would be forced back into opiates, by prescription or on the street.
The War on You: Why Kill Kratom? Is Giordan Emilio Zemach's documentary on his personal experience with Kratom. From age five, he has suffered from a chronic pain condition called Fibromyalgia/Chronic Fatigue. He was finally diagnosed and put on opiates at the age of nine. Traditional school became impossible and he educated himself at home. But it is now almost eight years since his last opiate prescription. Kratom allows him to live a more normal life, though, again, it is not a cure. The DEA wants to ban it or destroy its production with no cause--except that the powerful pharmaceutical companies cannot own it.
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