At MitWellness website, a dimly lit bar in Lantana, Florida, patrons sip from jumbo plastic cups of a nonalcoholic drink that has become the most popular at the venue. This drink is a kratom tea that many people swear by to ease pain and anxiety, or for motivation at work.
It contains Mitragyna speciosa, a plant that’s gaining popularity among American consumers, despite the Food and Drug Administration’s warning that it stimulates the same brain receptors as opioids and could be addictive. But unlike other pharmaceutical drugs, kratom isn’t regulated by the FDA and is instead classified as a dietary supplement. So the public can’t be sure about the quality of kratom powders, capsules and concentrates flooding the market.
Kratom Shots vs. Other Forms: Which Is Right for You
The exact mechanism of kratom’s effects isn’t fully understood, but scientists think that it binds to certain receptors in the brain to create stimulating and sedating chemicals. The FDA warns that some kratom products may contain dangerous amounts of the chemical 7-hydroxymitragynine, which can cause seizures and a deadly respiratory depression.
But the euphoria and energy from kratom isn’t for everyone. The stimulant can also produce unpleasant side effects, such as nausea, stomach cramps and fatigue. Some users also experience giddiness, loss of coordination and tremors. And the leaf’s bitter taste can be overwhelming for some. This is why experts suggest mixing kratom with other beverages to mitigate these unpleasant side effects. Coffee is an ideal pairing for kratom because its acidity balances the powder’s natural bitterness and its fuller-bodied body adds weight to the drink, which can help with drowsiness. Orange juice is another favorite. The citrusy flavor and high levels of vitamin C help mask kratom’s bitterness.