If you’re an astute observer, you’ve no doubt noticed that kratom has started to pop up everywhere. You can find it at herbal retailers. Independent coffee shops have begun adding shots of kratom to their beverages. You can even find it right here at our Pittsburgh vape shop. At this point, you’ve probably seen kratom around so much that you’re starting to wonder if you’re missing out on something. Are you thinking about whether the decision to buy kratom in Pittsburgh might be right for you? Before you can make that decision, you need to know what kratom actually is – and that’s what we’re going to cover in this article. When you’re done reading, you’re going to know what kratom is and why some people are taking it. You’re also going to have a much better idea of whether kratom might be the right choice for you.

What Is Kratom?

Kratom is a plant – Mitragyna speciosa – botanically related to coffee. It’s native to Southeast Asia and grows in places such as Thailand and Malaysia. In the regions where it grows, kratom is commonly used in traditional medicine. Westerners never end their search for interesting herbs and supplements, though, and kratom has found its way here. While the traditional method of consuming kratom is by chewing the leaves, kratom has arrived on our shores in a convenient dried and powdered form.

What Are Kratom’s Uses?

At the time of writing, the FDA doesn’t recognize a medical purpose for kratom and doesn’t allow sellers or makers to advertise that it has any health benefits. In addition, there have been no true scientific studies in the United States of kratom’s benefits and drawbacks. However, the University of Florida received a $3.5 million grant in 2018 to undertake a study of kratom. With luck, we’ll know much more about the pros and cons of kratom within a few years. Until then, we have no choice but to rely on the wisdom of native populations and anecdotal evidence. We know that kratom contains various alkaloids that interact with the body’s opioid receptors, but the extent of those interactions has yet to be fully understood.

Kratom does seem to have opioid-like effects on the body, to the extent that indigenous populations have long chewed the leaves for relief when withdrawing from opiate drugs. In addition, kratom seems to have more pronounced effects on the body as you use more of it. At low doses, people find kratom somewhat stimulating like caffeine. Some people also find that kratom enhances the mood. At higher doses, people report that kratom exhibits opioid effects such as sedation and pain relief. In all, the most common reasons for kratom use include:

  • Management of opioid withdrawal symptoms
  • Relief of chronic pain
  • Treatment of intestinal problems
  • Enhancement of energy levels, mood, talkativeness and libido
  • Relief of depression and anxiety
  • Reduction of inflammation

How Do You Use Kratom?

The onset of kratom’s effects typically begins within minutes and can last up to five hours. When you take kratom in powdered form rather than as a pre-measured capsule, you should start with a very low dose and consider increasing the dose only after you’re certain that you’ve allowed sufficient time to gauge the herb’s effects on your body.

If you decide on a capsule form when you buy kratom in Pittsburgh, you’ll simply take the capsules – one at a time – as directed on the bottle. Don’t exceed the daily dosage specified on the label; remember that kratom’s effects do take several hours to fade.

If you buy kratom powder instead, it’s wise to have a digital scale handy. Start with a dose of just one gram until you have time to gauge kratom’s effect. People tend to find that kratom tastes powerfully bitter. You can mix the powder with a bit of water and drink it as a slurry, or you can place the powder on your tongue and wash it down with fruit juice or another beverage. Some people mix kratom with sweet, soft foods such as applesauce. You’ll appreciate the flavor of something sweet when you taste kratom’s bitterness.

Don’t drive or operate machinery after taking kratom. Until you gauge the herb’s effects, you should avoid any activity that could be potentially dangerous – such as turning on the oven – in case sudden drowsiness should set in. Remember that kratom can be stimulating in smaller doses and sedating in larger doses. You may therefore feel energized at first after taking kratom, only to feel tired when the herb’s full effects set in. Don’t allow the initial burst of energy to fool you into thinking that you can do something like going out for a drive.

Does Kratom Have Any Side Effects?

Although indigenous people and westerners alike have a long history of using kratom for a wide variety of purposes, there is no clinical evidence of kratom’s effectiveness for treating any condition. In particular, it is important to note that no clinical trials have been conducted on kratom as a treatment for opioid withdrawal. If you are withdrawing from an opiate drug, please seek medical help.

Some of the most commonly reported side effects of kratom include nausea, insomnia, irritability, diarrhea, anxiety and increased urination. Kratom users have reported that nausea, when it occurs, subsides quickly if you simply remain still. If you experience a severe side effect after using kratom, discontinue use and seek medical help.

As kratom acts upon the body’s opioid receptors, it can be habit forming just as opiate drugs are. If you use kratom daily, you will eventually develop a tolerance to it. If you discontinue using kratom after long-term daily use, you may experience withdrawal symptoms lasting up to a week. The most common symptoms of kratom withdrawal include nausea, insomnia and general irritability. To avoid tolerance and addiction, you should limit yourself to occasional kratom use rather than making it a daily habit.

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