Author: Sunniva Bean
English Wikipedia user Ingenium [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)]
Kratom, an herbal supplement of the caffeine family used to ward off pain for chronic pain conditions, has received large grants for further research. While many consumers claim the supplement can be enormously impactful in treating symptoms ranging from anxiety and depression to fatigue and mood elevation, there’s also controversy over the safety of the drug by regulators and the media. Recently, The University of Florida College of Pharmacy was awarded two grants from the National Institute of Drug Abuse, the NIDA, that together provides the school with a total of almost $7 million dollars to investigate kratom’s alkaloid’s and ultimate effects.
Kratom is increasingly popular for a broader range of uses including for depression, mood improvement, recreational purposes, and in some medical contexts. Advocates claim it to be a more moderate alternative to stronger painkillers or even to alcohol, providing the slight buzz without the toxicity or health consequences. Sold as a dietary or herbal supplement, kratom is increasingly available in new ‘kratom bars’ that serve kratom teas rather than alcohol, or as a pill in some stores.
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