The Food and Drug Administration has issued a public warning on the supplement kratom. Based on this definition, compounds in kratom are opioids, because they do act on opioid receptors, said Wes Hunter, director of pharmacy at UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Many patients are drawn to the drug to help ease pain, depression or kick and opioid addiction. "There are safe and effective, FDA-approved medical therapies available for the treatment of opioid addiction". The Public Health Assessment via Structural Evaluation (PHASE) methodology uses 3D computer technology to help simulate how the chemical constituents of a substance (such as the compounds and alkaloids found in kratom) are structured at a molecular level, how they may behave inside the body, and how they can potentially affect the brain.
Scott Gottlieb announced the results of new research suggesting that kratom compounds affect the body just like opioids do.
"There is no evidence to indicate that kratom is safe or effective for any medical use and claiming that kratom is benign because it's "just a plant" is shortsighted and unsafe", the FDA said in a statement. He said FDA now has data on 44 reported deaths associated with kratom, up from the 36 reported in a November advisory.
"Even though it's not a direct descendent of the opium plant, it still has direct effects on the opioid receptors", Hunter told Live Science.
Kratom, or Mitragyna speciosa, is a plant in the coffee family that's native to Southeast Asia.
The FDA is now saying that kratom contains opioid properties.
Hemby has found that kratom's principal chemicals do bond to opioid receptors and cause opioid-like effects such as pain relief and a euphoric rush from a release of the neurotransmitter dopamine. The plant is not now regulated, and the FDA is concerned about the plant's potential for abuse, addiction, and death.
In the FDA statement, Gottlieb said that "cases of mixing kratom, other opioids, and other types of medication is extremely troubling". The most commonly abused drugs are prescription pain relievers, heroin, and synthetic pain reliever fentanyl.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention clocked a tenfold increase in calls regarding kratom to poison control centers, from just 26 in 2010 to 263 in 2015. The said amount includes the costs of healthcare, lost productivity, addiction treatment, and crimes.
The DEA warned in 2016 that kratom has a high potential for abuse and has no now accepted medical use in treatment in the United States and announced plans to place the active chemicals of the plant - Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine - on the agency's Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act in December 2016. It is likely that the federal government will ban the substance.