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Mitragyna Speciosa, also known as Kratom, is a large tree in the Rubiaceae family native to Southeast Asia in the Indochina and Malesia floristic regions. It was first documented by Pieter Korthals, a Dutch colonial botanist. The leaf of the tree contains mirtragynine and was traditionally used for its ethnobotanical and medicinal properties. The leaves of kratom have been used by the indigenous people as a stimulant in low doses, a sedative in large doses, an anti-diarrheal and pain killer. It is said that Kratom affects the human brain similarly to an opiate although there is no conclusive clinical data proving how the alkaloids works in relation to the human brain.
As of 2013 the United States Drug Enforcement Administration stated, “There is no legitimate medical use for kratom”. Kratom has become popular as a recreational drug and has been promoted with claims that it can improve mood, relieve pain and help with opiate addiction.
The informal use of dates back to the early in 1940s in Thailand, when a shortage of opium led addicts to turn to kratom. Data on how often it is used are lacking as it is not detected by typical drug screening tests. Kratom metabolites can be detected by specialized mass spectrometry tests. Rates of kratom use appears to be increasing among those who have been self-managing chronic pain with opioids purchased without a prescription and are cycling (but not quitting) their use. As of 2011, there have been no formal trials to study the efficacy or safety of kratom to treat opioid addiction.
In cultures where the plant grows, it has been used in traditional medicine; the leaves are chewed to relieve musculoskeletal pain, increase energy, appetite, and sexual desire in ways similar to khat and coca, and the leaves or extracts from them are used to heal wounds, and as a local anesthetic, and extracts have been used to treat coughs, diarrhea . Kratom is often used by workers in laborious or monotonous professions to stave off exhaustion as well as a mood enhancer and/or painkiller.
Cannabidiol (CBD) (INN) is one of at least 113 active cannabinoids identified in cannabis. It is a major phytocannabinoid, accounting for up to 40% of the plant’s extract. CBD is considered to have a wide scope of potential medical applications – due to clinical reports showing the lack of side effects, particularly a lack of psychoactivity (as is typically associated with ∆9-THC), and non-interference with several psychomotor learning and psychological functions.
The dried seeds from this plant are used in traditional medicine throughout West Africa, particularly in Ghana as well as in the Ivory Coast and Nigeria. The seeds are crushed or powdered and taken orally, and are mainly used for the treatment of malaria and diarrhoea, and as a painkiller. An enterprising Ghanaian hospital started manufacturing standardised 250 mg capsules of the powdered P. nitida seed, and sold them around the country where they became widely accepted as a safe and effective pain relief product. This then led researchers to try to discover the active component of the seeds.
P. nitida seeds contain a mixture of alkaloids producing antipyretic and antiinflammatory effects along with analgesia. Several of these were shown to bind to opioid receptors in vitro, and two compounds, akuammidine and ψ-akuammigine, were found to be potent μ-opioid agonists, although not particularly selective. Surprisingly the main alkaloid from the seeds, akuammine, was found to be an opioid antagonist when tested in vitro and canceled out the effects of the active agonist components. This finding contradicts the belief by some pharmacological scientists that there are no naturally occurring opioid antagonists.
Given the confirmed activity of the whole seed extract in humans, this makes it likely that akuammine is in fact being metabolised once inside the body to form a metabolite acting as an opioid receptor agonist.
Akuammine is the main alkaloid found in the seeds, comprising 0.56% of the dried powder, indicating that the 250 mg “Picap Capsules” sold commercially should contain approximately 1.4 mg of akuammine, plus 0.085 mg akuammidine and 0.015 mg ψ-akuammigine. Akuammine is structurally related to both yohimbine and mitragynine, both of which are alkaloid plant products with uses in medicine.
Not approved by the FDA:
*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.
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