Kratom to be banned? Update...
So the British Parliament is currently mulling over the Psychoactive Substances Bill, which we reckon will probably become law in 2016. Its effect will be to ban all substances that are held to have a psychoactive effect, other than those on a (rather short) list of exceptions.
The reason for taking this approach is lawmakers' frustration at the cat-and-mouse game that the powers that be have had with "legal highs" chemists, whereby every time one substance is banned someone comes up with another substance whose chemical composition is only slightly different. This way the new product will escape the ban whilst having a very similar effect on the user. Following the panic over mephedrone a few years ago, and tabloid hysteria ever since, the UK government has been determined to find a way of banning all "legal highs" - even those yet to be invented - without having to name them all.
There's no doubt that a lot of these products are seriously nasty. Some "bath salts", "plant food", synthetic cannabinoids, etc, are causing a lot of anguish and the desire to ban them is understandable. So the government wants to throw such a big net over these substances that this time they'll catch them all.
Unfortunately there is no distinction drawn between a white powder created by a dodgy Chinese backstreet chemist and a naturally-occurring herbal remedy that has been well-known in parts of the world for thousands of years with minimal ill effects known. This is the danger that kratom faces: mitragyna speciosa could be like the dolphin caught in the net as it trawled for tuna.
SO: kratom fans in Britain and elsewhere, we need your help! This is what we can do:
First, please sign the petition to keep kratom legal and add a brief entry in the testimonies column if you can.
Second, we have lawyers working to establish that kratom fits the criteria of "traditional herbal medicinal products" as defined in the Human Medicines Regulations 2012, and will thus be included in the list of exceptions. Does anyone have any evidence to support the contention that kratom fits all the criteria? In particular, we need to show that kratom has been sold and used in the European Union for at least fifteen years. We would love to see some references to kratom use within the EU going back to the year 2000 - can anyone help? There's a "contact us" form at the bottom of this page, and all information received will be passed on to the right people who can help defend our use of our beloved kratom.
Thanks everyone :)
We have had a few requests from our blog readers for photographs of kratom, not as a finished product (as available on vendors' websites) but as plants, in their natural habitat. Natural Chemistry have provided us with a few pictures of trees from which they have harvested their product, to get us started. Anyone else got any kratom pictures they would like to share? Click on a thumbnail to open the gallery.
How Much Kratom To Take?
We've been asked several times lately how much kratom is the "right amount" to take. Of course there's no easy answer to this, as everyone is different, but here are some thoughts:
Regular kratom users often find that they build a tolerance, so that after a while they need to take more than they did when they were new to the herb. Therefore, those who have not taken kratom before, or who stick to very occasional use, are likely to find that a smaller amount does the trick. Additionally, kratom has a cross-tolerance effect with opioids, so if you have a history of taking strong opioids (as painkillers, for example, or recreationally) that might well increase your required dosage amount.
So we're going to concentrate here on those who do not have an exceptional tolerance, but do enjoy kratom regularly or even daily. Keep this in mind if it's your first time, because if you don't get any effects you can always dip into the packet a second time - whereas if you feel that you had too much, you can't take it away.
About a quarter of a teaspoon of good quality powder (perhaps 2g) is the smallest amount that you are likely to notice. We'd recommend you start there, but it is more likely you will find your kratom "sweet spot" somewhere between rather higher than that. If you have access to sufficiently accurate scales, it is well worth weighing your dose at least once rather than relying on a spoon, so that you can get an accurate idea of how much you are consuming.
An expression often heard amongst kratom aficionados is "less is more", meaning that you may well be surprised to find that a couple of grams is just as powerful - or maybe even more powerful - in terms of effect as a much larger dose of, say, eight grams. Certainly kratom is not a herb whose effects necessarily increase proportionately to the dose, and it does have a well-documented "ceiling". Should you steadily increase your dose, at some point you will almost certainly find that the kratom you take has almost no effect other than perhaps to make you feel slightly queasy - for many people this will happen around 10 grams. It is partly this feature that makes kratom so safe, because it is impossible to abuse a substance that refuses to reward those who do.
So if you're looking for ideas on how much kratom to take, remember to keep your quantities small. You can always increase later, but bear in mind that you probably won't want to increase all that much, and even amongst longterm daily users, most keep to single figures in terms of grams per sitting. A quick informal poll amongst ourselves (we're all longterm, very regular or daily users) revealed that we all have a sweet spot between four and six grams.
Best Kratom Blends
Since we added the table (further up the page) discussing the effects of different strains of kratom, we've had a few emails suggesting that we talk about what happens when you blend different kratom types together. It seems that although a lot of people who are new to kratom take one strain at a time (indeed may well only keep one strain in the house), by the time people become real kratom connoisseurs, more than likely they're mixing their kratom together a bit.
Now let's see... a bit of Thai for the energy, and a bit of Green Malay to help bring out kratom's mood-lifting qualities... and then just a sprinkle of Red Vein Sumatra, to make the whole experience last a bit longer.
So if you've got your own preferred blends, or any hints and tips about what kratom strains should go into the mix, let us know and we'll be sure to include your ideas. Thanks!
Keep kratom legal!
Way back before I had ever heard of kratom, I found myself surfing Youtube for information about a psychedelic plant I'd heard of called salvia divinorum. Great things were being said about salvia, and I wanted to find out what the effects were.
When I entered salvia divinorum as a search term on Youtube, I found myself surfing through video after video of moronic teenagers laughing at their mates who were taking a hit on a bong full of salvia and then tripping in what looked to be a very uncomfortable way. It may be that salvia has many great qualities, but those videos made its users look moronic at best, and downright bloody dangerous at worst. I decided to give it a miss.
The next thing I heard about salvia divinorum was in the news. Lawmakers across the world were expressing their shock that this plant was legal, and in the process of getting it banned. When they were speaking about why it should be banned, those ridiculous and irresponsible Youtube videos kept cropping up in conversation.
So how does this relate to kratom? Well, the risk is that the same thing could happen again, but this time it's lovers of kratom who are potentially in the firing line.
One problem is irresponsible vendors who are desperate to sell their product by making it out to be a life-changing product. This unfortunately sometimes seems to involve exaggerating its effects, and making it out to be something to get high or stoned on. What rubbish! Kratom is a wonderful herb; it can pep you up, it can relax you, it can work wonders against chronic pain and it can help you detox from hard drugs. Amongst us, we have experience of all those things. Kratom is a very special product - so why make it out to be something it's not?
Even worse are the owners of American "detox clinics" who are touting for business by trying to portray kratom use as something which necessitates the use of their (very expensive) services. These people are nothing but sharks.
Kratom must not be portrayed as some kind of powerful drug. It must be marketed responsibly and never to minors. Let's spread the word about this benign herb and keep kratom legal.
How to take kratom
A lot of first-time kratom users have trouble finding information on how to use kratom. This is because kratom isn't approved for human consumption - not that there's any evidence that it's harmful in any way (quite the reverse) - but it does mean that kratom vendors can't give explicit instructions on how to take kratom. The problem is made worse by people who discuss their kratom use on the internet and use deliberately misleading terms to describe their kratom ingestion in order to conceal the fact that human consumption is exactly what is happening to their kratom!
There are three main ways to take kratom. One is to make it into a tea. Basically, you'll need to take your kratom (about 10g, say), and boil it up with water until it has infused really well. The resulting mixture is pretty gross, but a spoonful of sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice help somewhat.
Then there's the method known as "toss and wash". It involves putting your kratom on a teaspoon and carefully placing it on your tongue. A big glug of drink and voila! It's gone.
Actually, it's not that easy: get your technique slightly wrong, and you'll have kratom powder everywhere - tickling your throat, up your nose and - if that all results in a massive sneeze - all over the place! Nevertheless, a lot of seasoned kratom aficionados will tell you that toss and wash is their preferred method of taking kratom, and that it becomes easier with practice.
So I'm going to give you the benefit of all our disasters, and pass on the method which works best for all of us: yogurt. Take a couple of spoonfuls of yogurt, mix your kratom with enough of it to make a vaguely palatable paste, and scoff it. Job done!