A tropical plant called kratom has gained popularity as an alternative to opioids and other drugs. It can be taken in many forms, including a tea or capsules. It is sometimes sold in Mitwellness or vitamin stores, and it is also available over the internet. It can cause side effects that range from mild to severe. In some cases, it can lead to seizures, liver damage, lung failure, brain swelling and trouble breathing. It may also cause hallucinations, muscle tremors and tongue numbness.
The drug is banned or regulated in some countries, but it’s legal in most of the United States. It’s a plant native to Southeast Asia that contains chemicals that can act on opioid receptors in the brain and body. It’s often used as a stimulant and to treat pain and withdrawal symptoms from opioid addiction. It’s also used as a mood enhancer and to treat anxiety. It can be consumed in the form of leaves that are chewed or brewed into a tea, crushed into a powder and put into pills, or smoked like tobacco or marijuana.
Some people use kratom to help them quit using opioids, but the FDA warns that it hasn’t been proven safe or effective for this purpose. In fact, it can even cause opioid withdrawal. It’s important to seek treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD) instead, and Ophelia’s at-home MAT program offers proven medications with clinical and personal support.
Until there is sufficient research to prove its safety, the FDA recommends that all consumers avoid kratom. It can be very dangerous if taken in large doses, and it can cause serious side effects that include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, depression, hallucinations and muscle spasms. It can also be habit-forming, and some people may need to build up a tolerance to it.
In addition to limiting its sale and consumption, Morrison’s bill would require all kratom products to carry a barcode or QR code that displays information on the manufacturer and product batch. It would also advise pregnant women to consult a physician before taking kratom. The bill’s passage could mean fines of up to $10,000 for sellers and purchasers.
The bill is currently in the House Committee on Corporations. At a hearing Wednesday, Representatives Kennedy and Bandy argued that the Rhode Island Department of Health relied on “misrepresentations” when it decided to ban kratom. They encouraged RIDOH to look at a number of pending legislative initiatives and continue to monitor emerging data trends.
Educating your teens about kratom and its risks is important. If you notice them showing signs of kratom addiction, such as a persistent runny nose, complaints about muscle and joint pains, or mood swings, they should consider an evaluation with an addiction professional.