Research on kratom has been limited over the past several years, much to the frustration of kratom advocates. Part of the problem stems from limited understanding about this ancient ethnobotanical, not just on the part of researchers but on the part of legislators and the general public. Thankfully, though, the tide appears to be turning. A growing number of comprehensive clinical studies are providing insights into the health and wellness potential of kratom, and some of these insights were recently shared in a National Institutes of Health (NIH) lecture delivered by Dr. Christopher R. McCurdy.
What Was Revealed in the Recent NIH Kratom Lecture?
Kratom has been used in Southeast Asia for centuries for religious, recreational, and medicinal purposes, but the Western world is only beginning to discover the full potential of the Mitragyna speciosa (kratom) leaf. Advocates have long attested to the benefits of kratom, but it has taken a long time from the research to catch up with these claims—and in many ways it’s still catching up. But the body of research is growing.
During the recent NIH kratom lecture, held on April 25th, Dr. McCurdy spoke for an hour about the potential clinical applications of kratom. The lecture was part of NCCIH’s Integrative Medicine Research Lecture Series, and it examined the role of alkaloids like mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine (the active compounds in kratom) for regulating certain functions in the body.
While conceding that more research on kratom is still needed, Dr. McCurdy demonstrated how kratom’s potential may be far greater than just providing a boost of energy or enhancing focus and productivity. As researchers continue to unlock the full benefits, we may someday be able to rely on kratom as a natural alternative to certain conventional treatments.
Refer to the NIH website for a complete summary of the lecture and its potential implications.
Why Is Research on Kratom Still So Limited?
As Dr. McCurdy notes in the lecture, we actually do have an impressive body of research on kratom—the problem is that most of this research was conducted on animals. What we need, in order to better understand the plant’s full effects, is more human research. There’s only so much we can learn from studies conducted on mice.
With that in mind, Dr. McCurdy’s insights are specifically focused on the existing human research, specifically a recent NCCIH-supported clinical pharmacokinetic kratom assessment that provided a framework for additional studies. The implications of this study are important. In the past, researchers have been hesitant to use human subjects due to uncertainty about the safety of kratom. This recent study found kratom to be well-tolerated among the test subjects, and it may therefore open the door to additional human research that provides us with a whole new level of insight.
The recent study not only attested to the general safety of kratom but also to the effectiveness of it. Though it’s only one small study, it’s likely to pave the way for additional research.
The Implications of New Research on Kratom
The recent NIH kratom lecture and accompanying research are important not just for our understanding of kratom’s benefits but also for kratom advocacy. They reveal that many of the arguments that states and even the DEA have used for restricting kratom are misguided.
States like Arkansas, Indiana, and Rhode Island have already banned kratom based on these misconceptions, and other states like Nevada recently attempted to ban kratom as well. It was through advocacy and education that the Nevada kratom ban was prevented, and that same type of education can help to prevent other kratom bans and possibly even overturn existing bans (we may be seeing this happen in Rhode Island as we speak). It all starts with understanding what the research actually reveals.
Organizations like the American Kratom Association (AKA) have worked tirelessly to provide educational resources and promote the availability of safe, high-quality kratom—and they do it at the grassroots level by rallying kratom supporters and ensuring that legislators and the public have access to helpful, current information. This new research on kratom can further serve to reinforce the potential benefits of this often-misunderstood plant.
As the benefits become more widely understood, we hope to see more states follow in the footsteps of Oregon, Arizona, and Colorado. These are just some of the states that have adopted the Kratom Consumer Protection Act, which not only protects kratom within the state but imposes a series of safety standards to ensure that kratom products meet a high standard of excellence. Kratom must be all-natural, free of adulterants, and sold only to adults. Kratom providers must also disclose the alkaloid content in their kratom products. There’s also an Ohio kratom bill making its way through the state legislature that seeks to do the same type of thing.
Advocating for natural, high-quality kratom is not only good for product safety but also allows for better, more reliable research. As Dr. McCurdy points out in his lecture, it has been difficult to develop a dependable body of research in the United States because so much of the kratom is modified and adulterated rather than being a pure-leaf product. At Kratora, we recognize this as a serious problem in the industry, and that’s why we go to great lengths to offer fresh, all-natural, organic kratom products.
The Future of Research on Kratom
Exciting things are happening for kratom research. We encourage you to watch Dr. McCurdy’s NIH kratom lecture, read the summary, and see for yourself what science is teaching us about this ancient botanical. We hope that this research paves the way for even more high-quality, double-blind studies that help us to better understand the effects and benefits of kratom not just for animal subjects but for human beings.
In the meantime, we also encourage you to review our comprehensive kratom blog for more information about kratom’s effects, its interactions, and the advocacy that’s being done nationwide to help improve the understanding, quality, and availability of kratom products. It’s an exciting time, and this new research on kratom is just the beginning.
Want to learn more about kratom quality and value? Start here:
Why Buying Cheap Kratom Can Be Dangerous