Kratom has been making rounds on the market as the new natural hotshot herb that’s touted as an all-around solution for a variety of conditions. Presently, it’s most prominent benefit is its ability to alleviate pain on the same level as opioids – minus the addictive properties. But science has found that there might be much more to this herb than just the being a pain reliever.
About 40% of those who use kratom claim that they leverage the herb’s benefits versus depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems. But how true are these claims, and does kratom really have an effect on mentality? Here’s what you need to know.
How Does Kratom Work?
Kratom comes from a plant called Mitragyna speciosa which is native to Southeast Asian countries. The herb has long been used in folk medicine for its benefits, and is typically chewed raw by locals. Some also use the leaves to brew tea, which is a common practice for women and folk doctors.
The herb delivers a dose of pain-relief that’s similar to the effect of opioid medications. But aside from relieving pain, the plant also inspires feelings of well-being and euphoria, adding to the overall pleasant experience that minimizes pain and discomfort.
For the most part, science has emphasized how kratom works and interacts with the body’s opioid receptors. This is mainly why it’s used to treat pain or to assist with the process of opiate withdrawal. But emerging studies have found that kratom might also actually interact with serotonin and dopamine receptors in the brain.
One study found that administering mitragynine – one of the main active compounds in kratom – to mice with induced psychosis showed significant improvement in their condition. Scientists believe that it’s because mitragynine takes a similar pathway as antipsychotics and antidepressants, thus targeting both positive and negative symptoms of psychotic and mood disorders.
Mental Health Conditions That May Benefit from Kratom Use
The research that explores the effects of kratom on mental health is scarce. In fact, studies surrounding the effects of kratom all together regardless of scope are still relatively scant. Nonetheless, there are some well established studies that aim to uncover the truth behind kratom, and its potential benefits as treatment for mental health conditions.
- Depression – One comprehensive systematic review of literature exploring the effects of kratom for depression found that the herb does show promise in the field of depression treatment. They found that kratom’s stimulating and mood enhancing effects may be a viable treatment option for individuals experiencing the symptoms of depression.
One study in the review found that 79.4% of those who used kratom experienced an increase of energy levels, while 75.6% indicated that they felt relieved from their depressive mood. Of course, further science may be required to fully understand how the herb works, but these preliminary findings may serve as the foundation for the present acceptance of kratom as a potential treatment for depression.
- Anxiety – There is a growing number of anxiety cases across the globe, and the reasons are not entirely clear. However, with more and more youth susceptible to the discomfort and stress of anxiety disorders, it’s become important for medical professionals and experts to find a drug with a decreased risk of side effects and of abuse.
According to goldenmonk.com, since kratom is a natural remedy, kratom proves to be the ideal choice for treating youth and young adults with anxiety because of its organic composition. But more than that, studies have found that kratom can actually address the symptoms of anxiety including restlessness, apprehension, irritability, and panic, to name a few. It does this by sedating the system and calming the mind in order to reduce the prominence of anxiety-inducing thought content.
- Psychosis – Defined as a condition that alters the way your brain perceives information, psychosis is characterized by delusions and hallucinations that interfere with a person’s perception of reality. Presently, there is very little research that explores the effects of kratom against psychosis except for those that use animal models.
However, even these studies have shown promise. Kratom has been found to significantly decrease the presence of positive symptoms like hallucinations and delusions in psychotic mice. The herb also shows promise in the treatment of negative symptoms like loss of appetite, sleeplessness, and restlessness to help specimens function normally and independently.
The Role of Kratom Strains and Doses
It’s important to consider the different strains of kratom available, and the role that doses play in the use of the herb. There are many different varieties of kratom which are segregated by color to differentiate the kind of effects they produce. Depending on the variety you use, you might experience slightly different results.
Red kratom strains like Red Bali, Red Thai, and Red Kali get their ‘red’ properties from the color of the veins on the leaves. These varieties are typically more soothing and calming, making them ideal for individuals suffering from anxiety. They’re also the variety of choice for individuals who want to address mental discomfort like stress and tension.
Similarly, white vein kratom strains are called such because of the whitish color of the veins underneath the leaves. These strains include choices like White Borneo and White Thai. For the most part, these choices induce more stimulating effects that increase energy levels and motivation, making them the vein of choice for individuals with depression.
Then of course, there are the green vein kratom strains. Picks like Green Malay and Maeng Da showcase the same greenish vein tinge and produce a combination of stimulation and calm.
Kratom also tends to change effects depending on the dosage. Low doses produce more calming effects, while higher doses produce stimulating effects. Make sure you measure out the proper dose to achieve the kind of effects you’re looking for.
Empower Your Mind
While the studies surrounding the benefits of kratom for mental health might still be scant, there’s a lot of anecdotal evidence supporting these claims. And because of the low risk associated with the herb, it may be a smart alternative for individuals seeking relief from mental health problems and conditions. Just make sure you’re using the right strain at the right dose to target your symptoms and experience all-natural wellness from one of the world’s most powerful plants.