Kratom, a tropical plant from the coffee family that’s native to Southeast Asia, is making its way into Western culture. It’s available in capsules, tablets, extracts, and powders. But in its traditional form, kratom leaves are chewed or made into tea to experience the vigor and euphoria it provides.
People use kratom to treat anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions as well as boost their work performance and physical endurance. It’s also reported to relieve opioid pain and help users break their addiction to prescription drugs. But the drug has its risks. A study published in Pharmacotherapy in May of this year analyzed data from poison control centers that tracked calls regarding kratom. The researchers found more than 2,300 cases of adverse effects linked to kratom. The most common were agitation, followed by a rapid heartbeat and drowsiness. But serious symptoms like seizures and coma were also reported.
Fortunately, many of these effects can be minimized by taking kratom in the right dosage and by using it properly. The key is to find a reputable seller who tests their products for heavy metals, pesticides, and other contaminants.
If you notice that your teen has been using kratom and you’re concerned they’re developing an addiction, talk to them about the substance and offer other, healthier alternatives. If they’re unable to quit, they should seek evaluation by an addiction professional. And always remember, if you want to stay safe and healthy, it’s always best to drink water. kratom tea