Kratom in USA
In a not so distant past, the word Kratom was
largely unknown to the citizens of United States. Their European counterparts
were much more aware of it. Since the commencement of 16th and 17th
centuries when large flotillas, which served the military purposes mainly but
almost always had botanical, biological, and other scientific researchers
onboard, visited and subsequently colonized the Southeast Asian regions. Those
merchants and colonizers brought back with them an amazing powder, extracted
from leaves of a certain tree, which was known to have positive affects on mind
and body of the consumers. But the focus remained on other more profitable
aspects of trade businesses dominated by the rich elite class.
Centuries later, in the middle of the 20th
century, when the Cold War was at its peak in a bi-polar world, the USA troops entered
Vietnam. The hot and humid, thick forests were all-together a different milieu
for the patriotic but worn-out soldiers, who were taking the brunt of gruesome
but effective guerrilla warfare. The painful, tragic sights, the horrible
experience of war, the bloodshed on both sides and the mass suffering left the
soldiers in utter state of shock and awe. Back home, the policymakers were
unable to chart a way out of the ever-deepening quagmire.
What else could the soldiers do? Far away
from the comfort of their homes and loved ones, they discovered a local remedy
of pain and anxiety which they faced on almost constant basis in the field,
living in inhumane and traumatic conditions. An almost legendary naturally
occurring extract of leaves from a local tree, with numerous stains, used by
local peoples since antiquities. It got popular among the rank and file almost
immediately. The benefits of its usage were many and results were outstanding.
Instant respite from the long, arduous marches, at times stretching over few
days. Respite from the stress resulting from experiencing the loss of a close
friend, who was having breakfast with you two hours back and now he is six feet
under. Respite from pain resulting from a bullet wound, which left the
fortunate soldier alive but unfortunately ruptured his thigh, leaving him
crying in pain. Such were its numerous benefits. The extract of those leaves
was called Kratom. It was like a gift from heavens, for the brave sons of soil
facing the music, thousands of miles away from their country. Fighting a war
which seemed like it had no end.
When the war was finally over, the soldiers came back, with memories of pain and anxiety and most of them suffering from PTSD. With a health-system struggling to keep up and veterans needing to get on with their lives, they resorted to taking help by using Kratom in USA. The popularity kept on growing, but the availability of Kratom in USA was not common. This is when the businesses started formally importing Kratom in the USA.
The Popularity Grows
This demand of Kratom in USA led to increased cultivation and harvesting of Kratom trees (scientifically named Mitragyna Speciose) in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. Now commercially available in large quantities, the demand of Elephant Kratom has grown manifold back home. With Kratom gaining acceptance rapidly, the variants, or stains as they are more appropriately called also became known to the masses. Maeng Da, Borneo, Asia, Indo, Viet, Malay, Hulu Kapuas and Bentuangie, the names of these Kratom stains were new but nevertheless became well-known over a period of only a few years. And there was a good reason to it. The leaves had medicinal properties of relieving stress, elevating mood, pain alleviation, solving sleep deprivation issues, thanks to a number of good compounds in its molecular structure. Why spend on a sleeping pill which had several contraindications when one can benefit from a natural remedy? The people had this question in mind while the popularity of Kratom in USA skyrocketed.
Like all famous love-stories are incomplete
without a villain, who shows up just about when everything seems to be going
fine, our love affair story of Kratom in USA also has not-so-bright chapters.
The influential clique, some of them having vested interests in the multi-billion-dollar
pharma industry started a campaign to restrict Kratom in USA or even illegal.
There was a deliberate and sinister attempt to spread misconceptions about the
use of Kratom. The right amounts and dosages of Kratom used for recreational or
for stress, anxiety and pain relief purposes are extremely safe. Despite the
fact that it is not only safe, but at times essential for a large number of
people to improve their quality of lives, the clique pushed hard for
restrictions and an eventual ban of Kratom in USA.
As the public attention grew further, the
scrutiny got rigid and this led to tightening of the regulations. The advocates
of safe and communal usage of Kratom in USA for the US population, either for
recreational or quality of life improvement purposes, came forward and pushed
for protection of rights. One such act was American Kratom Association’s Kratom
Consumer Protection Act. The battle is ongoing.
Properties of Kratom Leaves
The chemical properties of these leaves come
from the mineral-rich soil of Southeast Asian regions which are high in
concentrations of nutrition thanks to geologic upheavals and volcanic eruptions
since hundreds of thousands of years. The Kratom trees, quite similar to coffee
trees, have their roots nourished by these mineral rich soils and only when they
are mature enough, they grow required Kratom leaves which differ subtly from
each other because of versions in local climate, soil content, and humidity
levels. These little variations have resulted in numerous types of stains as
discussed earlier in the blog. Different stains have different combinations of
compounds which have their own unique medicinal effects. Consumers of Kratom in
USA are quite aware of these variations now and each enthusiast has his or her
own particular liking of a certain stain. These combinations of properties and
taste come from various alkaline compounds within those Kratom leaves. Two of
the principal active components are Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine
compounds, attributed for numerous medicinal and recreational benefits.
To add the to the excitement, besides the presence
of these alkaline chemical compounds, the variations in taste, effects and
benefits are also influenced by the stages of maturity of leaves which are
harvested by the local farmers. The thin veins in the leaf of Kratom tree are
in the beginning of maturity cycle almost of a clear White color. Then
transforming into dark Green and ultimately shining in a hot Red color. These
colors are clear indications of the maturity cycle of the leaves, affecting its
taste and associated benefits as well as helping to name a certain stain along
with its origin. This gives it its full name such as “Red Veined Borneo Kratom”
or “Green Borneo Kratom”.
What is the Future of This Love Story?
In the safe hands of passionate enthusiasts,
both importers and consumers, the advocates of the use of this naturally
occurring herbal extract are many. Hence one can conclude that the future is in
safe hands, at least for now. However, with the demand of Kratom in USA
increasing further day by day, there looms a challenge, which is two-fold.
First challenge is from the clique which is
vary of the increased popularity of Kratom because of substantial threat to
established monopoly of the pharmaceutical industry, exploiting the population
through regulations and depriving them of pure medicinal and recreational
benefits of Kratom.
Second challenge is from the Kratom sellers
themselves. Yes, sadly this is true. The increase in awareness and consumption
of Kratom in USA has resulted in countless brands and companies which are
oriented towards profit maximization, not caring about the quality and standard
of the products they are dealing in. Moreover, sadly enough, they exploit the
local farmers and harvesters of the Southeast Asian communities and make them
work in inhumane conditions for meagre wages. The impact on the environment
itself is substantial too. With farming practices, more oriented towards high
yields but no long-term planning for sustainable growth of Kratom trees until
they are mature enough to be harvested, are uncalled for. It is thus, the
responsibility of the Kratom consumers themselves to make sure that they are
not a part of this vicious cycle, by only buying from those brands which follow
ethical and fair-trade practices, while importing Kratom in USA for commercial
Love Story with a Happy Ending?
The Kratom community is strong and closely
knit, but the over commercialization and profit maximization are new threats to
the future of this beautiful gift of nature to humankind. The local indigenous
people of Southeast Asia benefited for thousands of years from it, by
harvesting the trees which they valued and treated them like their prized
possessions. They took care of their environment too while benefiting from it
at the same time.
It is now our obligation to carry on with our
love affair by protecting the forests in which Kratom is grown, by helping the
local communities which are involved in growing and harvesting. It has become the
only source of income for their livelihoods. Their future depends on those
trees. Just like the future of those trees depend on those forests. Which are
affected by even the slightest change in climate or deforestation. Let us all
be responsible and give Kratom in USA the love and respect it deserves. Let us
all be on the right side of this love story!