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Biomed Res Int. 2015;2015:968786. doi: 10.1155/2015/968786. Epub 2015 Nov 10.

Following "the Roots" of Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa): The Evolution of an Enhancer from a Traditional Use to Increase Work and Productivity in Southeast Asia to a Recreational Psychoactive Drug in Western Countries.

Author information

1
Centre for Clinical & Health Research Services, School of Life and Medical Sciences, University of Hertfordshire, College Lane Campus, Hatfield, Herts AL10 9AB, UK ; Department of Neuroscience, Imaging and Clinical Sciences, Gabriele D'Annunzio University, Chieti, Italy.
2
Centre for Clinical & Health Research Services, School of Life and Medical Sciences, University of Hertfordshire, College Lane Campus, Hatfield, Herts AL10 9AB, UK.
3
Centre for Drug Research, Universiti Sains, Penang, Malaysia.
4
Institute of Psychology, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary.
5
London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Health and Social Care, London, UK ; Department of Psychiatry, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.
6
Centre for Clinical & Health Research Services, School of Life and Medical Sciences, University of Hertfordshire, College Lane Campus, Hatfield, Herts AL10 9AB, UK ; Department of Neurology and Psychiatry, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy.
7
School of Pharmacy and Ph.D. Program in Toxicology, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
8
Institute of Psychology, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary ; Faculty of Health Sciences, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary ; Nyírő Gyula Hospital, National Institute of Psychiatry and Addictions, Budapest, Hungary.
9
Institute of Psychology, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary ; Nyírő Gyula Hospital, National Institute of Psychiatry and Addictions, Budapest, Hungary.
10
Department of Neuroscience, Imaging and Clinical Sciences, Gabriele D'Annunzio University, Chieti, Italy.

Abstract

The use of substances to enhance human abilities is a constant and cross-cultural feature in the evolution of humanity. Although much has changed over time, the availability on the Internet, often supported by misleading marketing strategies, has made their use even more likely and risky. This paper will explore the case of Mitragyna speciosa Korth. (kratom), a tropical tree used traditionally to combat fatigue and improve work productivity among farm populations in Southeast Asia, which has recently become popular as novel psychoactive substance in Western countries. Specifically, it (i) reviews the state of the art on kratom pharmacology and identification; (ii) provides a comprehensive overview of kratom use cross-culturally; (iii) explores the subjective experiences of users; (iv) identifies potential risks and side-effects related to its consumption. Finally, it concludes that the use of kratom is not negligible, especially for self-medication, and more clinical, pharmacological, and socioanthropological studies as well as a better international collaboration are needed to tackle this marginally explored phenomenon.

PMID:
26640804
PMCID:
PMC4657101
DOI:
10.1155/2015/968786
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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