Posted on May 30, 2019, 1 p.m.
Kratom is a Southeast Asian tree that has been used in traditional medicine for pain relief among others. Use has spread to Europe and America and is showing promise in treatment for pain and opioid addiction. New research suggests that a metabolite of a kratom alkaloid may be behind the therapeutic effects, as published in ACS Central Science.
Kratom is currently legal in America but it has an uncertain regulatory future and is a gray market product. Physiological effects of kratom are being studied, prior reports attribute effects to mitragynine, the major active alkaloid in kratom, and its binding to an opioid receptor. However, another alkaloid 7-hydroxymitragynine present in leaves at a lower concentration also interacts with that receptor.
In this study scientists investigated pharmacological and metabolic mechanism behind its analgesic effects, most of which were shown to be from alkaloid 7-hydroxymitragynine through mice and cell studies; metabolism of mitragynine in mouse and human liver preparations was found to produce more 7-OH than naturally present in kratom.
According to the scientists their findings provide greater understanding to some of the contradictory reports, however more research is needed to determine whether results can be replicated in humans.
Materials provided by:
Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
This article is not intended to provide medical diagnosis, advice, treatment, or endorsement