Kratom Study: From Men To Mice

An ongoing study at the University of Mississippi is adding the voice of truth and reason to the din created by inaccurate media reports, hysterical lawmakers and misguided regulators: Kratom is safe and shows great promise in helping heroin, opiate and other drug users break the hold of their addiction.

Ole Miss School of Pharmacy faculty member Christopher McCurdy is working on several projects aimed at finding chemical compounds that may help addicts get back to a normal life and become functioning members of society.

“A lot of people who become addicted truly want to quit,” McCurdy said in a University of Mississippi news release. “They begin with recreational use and don’t think they will become addicted, but soon get to the point where they almost must take the drug to survive, because withdrawal is so intense.”

Enter Kratom, a beneficial botanical product which comes from the leaves of the Mitragyna speciosa tree native to Southeast Asia.

“Kratom has long been used for coughs, diarrhea, muscle aches and pain,” McCurdy said. “It is also used as a replacement for opium when opium isn’t available and has been used to wean people off that narcotic.”

In their study, McCurdy and his colleagues freeze-dried Kratom leaves and then used them to make a tea, which they gave to mice habituated to morphine. They also isolated the most abundant alkaloid in Kratom, Mitragynine, and tested it on mice as well.

Their results indicate Mitragynine is superior to methadone is managing withdrawal in test subjects and may provide an alternative to methadone in treating addicts.

“Mitragynine completely blocked all withdrawal symptoms and could provide a remarkable step-down-like treatment for people addicted to hardcore narcotics such as morphine, oxycodone or heroin,” he said.

Of course, there are already tens of thousands of Kratom users, Club13 for example, enjoying the benefits of the botanical health aid across the U.S. and the world, and fans of Kratom helped researchers design the University of Mississippi study.

Through an anonymous chat room, Kratom users were asked about their use of the product, including how much they used, how often and if they had any withdrawal symptoms.

“That information helped us determine dosages and frequencies for our animal studies,” McCurdy said.

Because of their expertise in Kratom, McCurdy has also been asked to study samples of Kratom used by people who ended up in emergency rooms. In each case, they either found the real reason for the emergency was another compound that had also been taken, not Kratom, or that the Kratom had been adulterated with substances like oxycodone.

Kratom users are advised to deal with reputable online vendors who sell lab-tested Kratom products. The University of Mississippi is ongoing. “We’re working to come up with an improved synthetic analog or a better formulation of the tea for testing in humans,” McCurdy said. Read more about Kratom and