Traditional Use of Mitragyna Speciosa

Mitragyna Speciosa, more commonly known as kratom, is a tropical evergreen tree in the coffee family (Rubiaceae) native to Southeast Asia.  As a large evergreen tree, mitragyna speciosa can grow upwards of 80 feet tall while producing lustrous leaves and budding flowers. The veins of the leaves are distinct and vary in color from a light yellow to deep green and brownish red.

People across Southeast Asia have been using mitragyna speciosa leaves for centuries to restore natural energy levels and alleviate occasional discomfort. Mitragyna speciosa has also been used as a local anesthetic, help with coughs, and with intestinal issues like diarrhea. People would chew on mitragyna speciosa leaves and spit out the leaves after a few moments allowing the juices to flow into their system.  Another popular way to enjoy kratom would be to brew some leaves in hot water to make a kratom herbal tea. This is particularly popular in the morning before strenuous labor and in the evening during a meal with friends and family.


Modern Use of Mitragyna Speciosa

Today, mitragyna speciosa products have made their way around the world where millions of people enjoy and rely on it. There are over 40 known alkaloids that makes up this amazing plant. Alkaloids are a class of basic, naturally occurring organic compounds that contain at least one nitrogen atom. Some of the most well researched alkaloids in mitragyna speciosa are mitragynine, paynantheine, speciogynine, and 7-hydroxymitragynine. These alkaloids are researched for their potential to restore natural energy levels, alleviate occasional pain, improve mood, and support a health response to stress.

Mitragyna speciosa is still enjoyed in the traditional way by brewing leaves with hot water to make a kratom tea. Mitragyna speciosa is also used as a powder, capsules, and pressed tablets. Mitragyna speciosa is being added to wide range of form factors and consumable products from drinks to food additives.

In 2016, the University of Florida conducted an anonymous survey of 8,049 kratom users and concluded that the majority of people used mitragyna speciosa to alleviate pain and relieve mood disorders like anxiety and depression. Some also used mitragyna speciosa to reduce withdrawal symptoms from opioid abuse.

In 2020, Johns Hopkins Medicine survey of 2,798 kratom users supported the findings from the University of Florida. Their findings concluded that 91% of people used mitragyna speciosa for pain relief, 67% to treat anxiety, 64% to treat depression, and 41% to treat opioid dependence.


Why People Use Mitragyna Speciosa

In 2016, the University of Florida conducted an anonymous survey of 8,049 kratom users. Their conclusion is kratom is primarily used by a middle-aged (31-50 years), middle-income ($35,000 and above) population for purposes of self-treating pain (68%) and emotional or mental conditions (66%). 

In 2020, Johns Hopkins Medicine survey of 2,798 kratom users supported the findings from the University of Florida. Their findings concluded that 91% of people used kratom for pain relief, 67% to treat anxiety, 64% to treat depression, and 41% to treat opioid dependence.


The Science of Mitragyna Speciosa

Mitragyna Speciosa naturally produces nitrogen-based chemicals called Alkaloids that can have pronounced physiological actions on humans.  Alkaloids are a class of basic, naturally occurring organic compounds that contain at least one nitrogen atom. While mitragyna speciosa produces over 40 known alkaloids, the most researched are mitragynine, 7-hydroxymitragynine, speciogynine, mitraphylline, and paynantheine. 

Mitragynine typically makes up the majority of the total alkaloid content in mitragyna speciosa.  Researchers study it for its potential analgesic (pain relief) effects and for its potential antitussive, antidiarrheal, adrenergic, and antimalarial effects. 

7-hydroxymitragynine makes up less than 2% of the total alkaloid content, but is a potentially powerful analgesic alkaloid.

Mitraphylline is researched as a vasodilator, muscle relaxer, immunostimulant, and antihypertensive.

Speciogynine and paynantheine alkaloids are  studied for their impact on serotonin receptors as well as potential smooth muscle relaxers.

Other researched alkaloids in mitragyna speciosa include: ajmalicine, epicatechin, speciociliatine, rhynochophyline, and isorhynchophylline. 

Mitragyna Speciosa Lab Testing

At Zonta Botanicals, we use well-established laboratory procedures to test our botanicals. We use solvent-extraction and purification techniques to analyze bulk plant alkaloids. We also partner with 3rd-party, independent testing laboratories and universities to provide confidence and transparency in our botanical analysis. Our partner labs specialize in mitragyna speciosa analysis and help us to identify adulterants, harmful microbiological pathogens, and heavy metals to ensure your mitragyna speciosa is safe. They also measure active ingredients to make sure our mitragyna speciosa is of the highest quality. These labs utilize high-performance liquid chromatograph and other state of the art lab equipment to analyze our botanicals. Testing done internally at Zonta Labs as well as through third-party, independent labs means we ensure the highest quality mitragyna speciosa.

Mitragyna speciosa Reduces Pain and Discomfort

Pain has many facets such as physical pain, nerve pain, muscle tightness and even mental and emotional pain. It is very important to understand that mitragyna speciosa alone does not and will not cure, fix or permanently make pain go away. A regimen that may include exercise, clean diet, plenty of rest, a good social network of loved ones, and supplements is a holistic well-rounded approach to pain management. Mitragyna speciosa is a great addition to a comprehensive health plan. It can alleviate pain, restore natural energy levels and motivation so you can stay active, and support rest and recovery. Mitragyna speciosa allows you to get the other parts of a holistic health plan in motion.

In terms of pain management, the opioid receptors in your brain regulate pain. In particular, the Mu-opioid receptor agonists (actives) represent mainstays of pain management. However, synthetic opioids that target the Mu and other opioid receptors can have serious side effects including potentially lethal respiratory depression (stop breathing). One of the major alkaloids in mitragyna speciosa, mitragynine, is a partial agonists of the mu-opioid receptor and are competitive antagonists (blocker) at the kappa and delta opioid receptors. Mitragynine is also a G-protein-biased agonist so it does not recruit beta arrestins following receptor activation. That means there is less likelihood of tolerance buildup. Mitragyna speciosa has analgesic properties without the same levels of risk as opioids.†


Mitragyna Speciosa Reduces Stress and Promotes Focus

Traffic jams. Job woes. Visits from the in-laws. Life is full of stress, and more often than not, people feel it physically as well as mentally. While traditionally, mitragyna speciosa’s common uses have been for mitigation of physical pain, mitragyna speciosa’s overwhelming support on non-physical distress cannot be overlooked. Such non-physical distress can present itself in several different forms including anxiety, stress, inability to focus, and even depression. Our community time and again continues to express and affirm how mitragyna speciosa is helping many not only improve their physical pain but enhance their mood. The bio-active alkaloids within mitragyna speciosa contain properties that may lessen anxious feelings and, thereby, help manage stress and focus naturally.

Mitragyna speciosa naturally produces nitrogen-based chemicals called alkaloids that can have pronounced physiological actions on humans.  Mitragyna speciosa produces over 40 known alkaloids. Some of these alkaloids like mitragynine, mitraphylline, and ryhnchophylline, are researched for their ability to be vasodilators. Vasodilation is the widening of blood vessels allowing for better blood and oxygen flow. Better blood and oxygen flow can lead to better stress management and enhance focus as well.

Mitragyna Speciosa Promotes Better Sleep

Good sleep is just as important to health and wellness as regular exercise and a healthy diet. Don’t fall victim to sleep-retlated problems that affect roughly 50 to 70 million Americans of all ages and social classes. If you want to improve wellness and health, why not start by catching more zzz’s. Consider adding mitragyna speciosa to your evening routine and sleep better naturally.

Mitragyna speciosa produces over 40 known naturally occurring nitrogen-based chemicals called alkaloids. Each of these alkaloids have different physiological effects on the body. Zonta has identified and cultivated mitragyna speciosa varieties with lower energizing alkaloids and higher relaxation alkaloids. Mitragyna speciosa’s alkaloids like speciogynine, paynantheine, and mitraphylline are researched as smooth muscle relaxers which can promote relaxation, help with muscle tension, and support the response to anxiety to potentially improve sleep.†

Mitragyna Speciosa Restores Energy

One of our common customer inquiries is about energy levels and how to maintain your energy naturally all day. Unfortunately, low energy levels or lack of energy affect millions of people across all genders and social classes. Thanks to mitragyna speciosa, you will be able to turn any day from lackluster into a great one. Whether you’re searching for a ‘clean energy’ solution for your day, an all-natural pre-workout boost, or you simply want to avoid that mid afternoon slump, mitragyna speciosa is here to help. It’s important to remember that not all mitragyna speciosa is the same and in fact has different properties depending on its alkaloid composition. While some mitragyna speciosa may help slow your thoughts and help you relax, others can have stimulating effects. It may make you feel more energetic and motivated to do everyday tasks more easily. In fact, many people are starting to replace coffee with a cup of kratom tea.

There are over 40 naturally-occurring alkaloids in mitragyna speciosa. Some of these alkaloids, like mitragynine and ryhnchophylline, are researched for their ability to be vasodilators. Vasodilation is the widening of blood vessels to allow better blood and oxygen flow. And in fact, this is what gives people the ‘clean energy’ boost. Better flow can translate to better energy so you can start the day off right and keep it going. If you want to naturally alleviate fatigue and naturally support elevated energy levels, give kratom a try.†

Mitragyna Speciosa Legality

Mitragyna speciosa is federally legal in the United States.

At the state level, there are bans on mitragyna speciosa in Wisconsin, Indiana, Arkansas, Alabama, Vermont, and Rhode Island. This means 44 out of 50 states have kept mitragyna speciosa legal.

There are a couple cities and counties that also have bans including San Diego, Oceanside, and Sarasota County Florida.

The Controlled Substance Act (CSA) requires an 8-Factor Analysis when determining the scheduling of a substance. Below is Pinney Associates’ review of kratom using the CSA 8-Factors Analysis:

In the USA, there is significant effort to pass the Kratom Consumer Protection Act (KCPA). The KCPA makes kratom legal as long as it follows common sense regulations and rules. States that have passed the KCPA include Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Oklahoma, and Georgia.

Throughout the world, mitragyna speciosa is mostly legal except for the following countries: Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Moldova, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United Kingdom. 

Kratom Legality is everchanging:

The American Kratom Association (AKA) is a consumer based advocacy group focused on the legalization of kratom and the education of kratom.

The World Health Organization’s Perspective on Kratom

Mitragyna Speciosa Safe or Addictive

To determine if mitragyna speciosa is safe to use, we look to existing data on toxicity. We also look at parallels and comparisons to determine reasonable safety. At some point absolutely everything (even good’ole H2O) becomes too much and can be toxic.

There are a handful of research papers that reference mitragynine or mitragyna speciosa alkaloid extracts which were used to determine LD50 toxicity in animals. Lethal dose (LD50) is the amount of an ingested substance that kills 50 percent of a test sample. It is expressed in mg/kg, or milligrams of substance per kilogram of body weight. In other words, how much (milligrams) of a substance does it take to potentially kill you per weight (kilogram). The higher the LD50 number, the safer the substance as it takes more of it to be harmful.

A comparative safety risk assessment study for alkaloid extract of mitragyna speciosa, estimated acute toxicity at 477 mg/kg for mitragynine. For comparison, caffeine is 140 mg/KG and aspirin is 200 mg/KG. It takes more than twice as much mitragynine to be dangerous versus aspirin and 3-4 times more mitragynine than caffeine.  For a person weighing about 150 lbs, the toxic amount is over 2,000 gram a day of kratom leaf. A typical person uses 2.5 to 20 grams a day…no where near a dangerous amount.

Along with mitragyna speciosa’s main use of alleviating symptoms of pain, it is also known to have other effects. This depends on the alkaloid distribution in a particular mitragyna speciosa variety. People can experience an increase in energy, focus, reduction in inflammation, muscle relaxation, or tension release.  While there are many positive benefits with mitragyna speciosa, there are some reports of minor and temporary negative side effects.  According to an anonymous survey conducted by the College of Pharmacy, Department of Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Florida of 8,049 current kratom consumers, only 51 or less than 1% (.65%) of the 8,049 respondents reported any negative side effects. The side effects were temporary nausea, constipation, and drowsiness or dizziness.  The side effects did not last and subsided within the first 30-60 minutes.  No one reported any lasting negative impact from kratom use.

To answer the question if mitragyna speciosa is addictive, we look at its origin. Mitragyna speciosa is different in its origin, chemistry and biological effects than opioids.  Mitragyna speciosa does not show toxicity and does not cause respiratory depression issues like opioids. When you use mitragyna speciosa in the common, raw, natural plant form, it does not produce hyper pleasurable euphoric effects with dopamine that can lead to abuse and addiction.

There is also a lack of tolerance buildup with mitragyna speciosa as the main alkaloids in kratom do not recruit beta arrestins. Beta arrestins block opioid receptors which makes the receptors harder to activate. To continue to get the same, consistent benefits of a drug that does recruit beta arrestins (opioids), the user has to continue to increase their dose which is more commonly called “tolerance buildup.” Mitragyna speciosa does not have this issue.