Kratom Abuse : Sense or Non Sense ?

Posted on December 1, 2011 by


kratom use or abuse

Just while I was enjoying my second cup of kratom tea today, google send me a news alert,  kratom was mentioned once more in the press.
After a few clicks the top of my screen read ” Kratom Abuse”  and “tips and warning signs for parents” .   Probably another rehab clinic or prescript med sponsored  article raising fear among parents. I guessed well, the article continued “Kratom, a recently popularized abused over the counter eastern medicine, is now making waves and parents are left not knowing what it is or what to look for if abuse is suspected. “Time to took a few more sips from the tea.  Parents are left? Abuse and Abused twice in one sentence? making waves?  Luckily the article ( here it is)  contained very useful tips for parents and of course a link to the rehab clinic.

After finishing the article, I was’t sure whether I should laugh, get angry or sad. I didn’t feel “unexplained exitment or mania” , yet according the this article that is one of the effects of kratom, maybe they have different powder than I have. One thing was sure, I wasn’t going to tell me 80 year old mom.   The laughable part is within the article itself. It described effects and symptoms that one can hardly imagine, “prolonged  sleep…together with nauseau and vomiting” , yeah waking up in your own vomit isn’t pleasant, yet I have never heard of a kratom user experiencing this.  Parents should watch their kids and look for “mysterious powder and leaves”, of course parents will get worried when they find their kids in their rooms chewing hands full of dried leaves, yet again its not likely to happen.

A bit Angry and sad as well. Since kratom is a herbal plant that has been used for thousands of years, by old and young, without ever creating any issues in families or the community in most cases.  Tribal usage was often a social event where many participated in. But the rehab clinics (try to find one that charges less than 5000USD per day) use this magical new herb to create fear among parents that don’t know any better.  If one were to write an article about coffee abuse, it would be not taken very serious, but when kratom abuse is mentioned a couple of times in the press, it will contribute to a negative image of kratom, simply because kratom is not so well known yet as coffee.

But lets get to the point, is there something like kratom abuse ? For this we need to look carefully at the use of kratom itself . I took the following diagram randomly from a health organisation, Source: A Public Health Approach to Drug Control in Canada Health Officers Council of British Columbia, October 2005 ( ) . It shows where kratom usage would be healthy and when use becomes abuse.


kratom use or abuse  Although there are side effects at times, kratom usage rarely, if not never, leads to the situation where usage results in negative effects for the user and his friends and family. With alcohol this would be very recognizable, but the kratom user becomes a rather active and social member of his groups.  Most kratom users are taking kratom for (semi) medical reason, simply said to feel better, whether they deal with pain, anxiety, addiction or other ailments . Most users are therefor in the green.  It may happen that kratom is taken frequently, this may increase tolerance a bit, but it will not have any negative effects for the health of the user or his/her environment.

The World Health Organization has something to say as well about the term “abuse“, and shows that it  is sometimes used disapprovingly to refer to any use at all.

Because of its ambiguity, the term is not used in ICD-I0 ( International classification of deseases from the WHO); harmful use and hazardous use are the equivalent terms In WHO usage, although they usually relate only to effects on health and not to social consequences. ” Abuse” is also discouraged by the Office of Substance Abuse Prevention (OSAP, now CSAP – Center for Substance Abuse Prevention) in the USA, although terms such as “substance abuse” remain in wide use in North America to refer generally to problems of psychoactive substance use.

So considering the relative safety of the kratom leaves, the fact that no one needs to steal car-stereo’s to get some kratom and that families don’t break up over a cup of kratom tea, makes it hard to speak of “abuse”.  In line with the WHO , we discourage the use of the term “abuse” especially anywhere near the name of our tree.

The only form of abuse I see here, is that of the kratom itself , and abuse of the worried parents that don’t know any better. One could even argue that sending minors to a rehab clinic , filling them up with unneeded and potentially harmful prescription drugs, all for the goal of making a profit,  could be seen as a form of child abuse.