Kratom researcher outlines key points in studying its effects
- Posted on: 2021-07-12
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In a lengthy interview in KratomScience.com, Dr. Abhisheak Sharma explores the ways in which studies into the effects of kratom can have outcomes that are misleading or can be misconstrued. The article is long and could be difficult to understand without careful reading. KratomWorld’s executive summary highlights these key points:
Dr. Sharma is a pharmacokineticist. This field is concerned with how a substance is created or grown, processed, transported, ingested, and its interactions within and throughout the human body until the time it is completely eliminated, or if it remains in the body in some form.
Dr. Sharma works at the University of Florida with Dr. Chris McCurdy, another noted kratom researcher in the U.S.
He has also studied with kratom scientist Dr. Bonnie Avery at the University of Mississippi.
In the interview, Dr. Sharma outlined the need to be neither pro-kratom nor anti-kratom, but to look only at the science.
Reports of negative consequences with kratom in the U.S. show blood concentrations of 70 to 190 times what would normally be seen in kratom usage. Said Dr. Sharma: “With everything, even if we drink too much water, it’s going to cause a problem.”
In other reports of negative effects in the U.S., other drugs were present. “In most of the kratom-related deaths,” Dr. Sharma said, “fentanyl was also a cause of death.”
Studies on mice have shown problems, he said. “How do we calculate the mouse equivalent dose from the human dose?” He asked. “You would have to eat kilos to achieve that high (of a) concentration.”
He explained how kratom seems to help those struggling with opioid dependence. “Mitragynine (the active ingredient in kratom) is a partial opioid agonist. You give any amount of mitragynine, the maximum effect you can achieve is 40% of any full opioid agonist like Demerol or morphine. So you will never reach that full high effect.”
Additionally, said Dr. Sharma: “The mitragynine itself is a combination of four drugs given for receptor binding and receptor occupancy, which you need to treat opioid withdrawal. And that is the reward that this molecule has. It’s like you’ve mixed four drugs in a treatment therapy to treat opioid dependence and you can get the same thing with one mitragynine molecule.
The effects of mitragynine, similar to other substances, depend on how you take it. Dr. Sharma outlined 4 possible ways. They are mitragynine only in pill or capsules, only available for a clinical trial; kratom extract capsules from the marketplace which contain the full range of the substances in the kratom plant; boiling kratom in water and drinking the juice, or tea, as it is typically consumed in Malaysia; and intravenous (IV) injection for research studies. Because oral bioavailablity is proving to be high, and because oral ingestion is shown to create metabolites such as 7-hydroxymitragynine, Dr. Sharma says that IV intake does not prove to be more potent. Nor does the ingestion of pure mitragynine-only capsules. The two most commonly used methods - kratom extract and tea - seem to be the most effective in delivering benefits.
Many prior toxicity studies have shown incorrectly high levels of mitragynine, Sharma contends. More precise chromatography would show that four molecules, mitragynine, speciogynine, speciocliatine, and mitraciliatine are present. But since they are very close in structure to mitragynine, they have often been mislabeled.
Dr. Sharma recommended standardization of kratom products to control for pesticide use, toxic metals, added substances including cannabinoids, and other contaminants. He pointed to U.S.-based controlled farming as a favorable option, similar to the approach taken by the tobacco industry.
The full article is here: