Kratom use, abuse and addiction

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from the Mitragyna speciosa plant indigenous to South East Asia. It has long been available in Thailand, the Philippines, Myanmar, and New Guinea and is increasingly available worldwide through the Internet (Rosenbaum, Carreiro, & Babu, 2012; Sharma, Schifano, & Feinmann, 2011). Other names for the psychoactive derivative of the plant include biak, ketum, krathom, kakuam, ithang, or thom (Thailand), biak-biak or ketum (Malaysia), and mambog (Philippines) (EMCDDA, n.d.; DEA, 2013). The botanical classification of the plant from which Kratom is produced (M. speciosa) is in the coffee plant Rubiaceae family, the Mitragyna genus, and the speciosa species. There are four Mitragyna species (M. speciosa, Mitragyna hirsuta, Mitragyna diversifolia, and Mitragyna rotdifolia); however, M. speciosa is the plant that is primarily used to produce Kratom. The M. diversifolia, M. hirsuta, and M. rotdifolia species are also used but are reportedly less effective (Sukrong et al., 2007). M. speciosa is a leafy tree (3–15 m high) that grows wild in marshy areas in Asia and is most prolific in Thailand, Malaysia, Borneo, and New Guinea. Kratom is a psychoactive compound (drug) found in the leaves of M. speciosa. It can be consumed in fresh, dried (leaf or powder), or concentrated liquid extract form. The use of M. speciosa as a narcotic is not new; however, the extraction and refinement of the alkaloids from the plant into Kratom is relatively neoteric.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Neuropathology of Drug Addictions and Substance Misuse
EditorsVictor Preedy
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages8
StatePublished - 2016


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