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Kratom: stimulating green tea or hard drug? Will there be restrictions on an addictive substance in our country in the near future?

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Kratom: stimulating green tea or hard drug? Will there be restrictions on an addictive substance in our country in the near future?

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tree called Mitragi special from the coffee family grows in the tropical forests of Southeast Asia, especially in Thailand, Indonesia and Cambodia. The dried leaves of this tropical tree are simply called “krat” in Thai.

In this part of Asia, dried or crushed leaves of the mentioned plant have long been used for a number of reasons – to relieve pain in the musculoskeletal system, to increase energy, for a stronger appetite, as a tural aphrodisiac. . In addition to traditiol medicine, kratom is also used in Southeast Asia to treat psychological problems such as anxiety, depression, and opioid withdrawal.

Lenka Matushkova
November 15, 2022 • 10:44 am

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Collectible in kratoms

The substance entered Europe, including the Czech Republic, several decades ago. She then gained significant social “popularity” in recent years and especially months – she began to appear frequently, including in the lyrics of the Czech rap scene.

In the Czech Republic, kratom is not approved as a food or dietary supplement. For this reason, the substance is considered only as a collector’s item through the prism of Czech law, which is also indicated on pouches of crushed leaves as a green powder. Getting the substance is not so difficult – in a convenience store, in a few clicks in any online store, in specialized machines called kratomats. Various options are available, varying in color (in addition to the aforementioned green, kratom is also available in red, yellow or white), origin, quality and effects.

Twenty-six-year-old Tomasz, a recent university graduate living near Brno, uses the substance regularly. He first tried Kratom about 4 years ago with friends at a party. “The effect of kratom is like a mixture of alcohol and coffee,” says Tomasz. “You get this nice, relaxed feeling, like you’ve had two or three beers. But at the same time, Kratom is so exciting that you don’t want to sleep at all. For example, when a person is tired, he drank and can work all evening. It’s not that I somehow coped and I had states that the whole world is spinning with me, or hallucitions. It just gives me energy,” he adds.

The main active components of kratom are indole alkaloids, mainly mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine. They are in smaller quantities (approximately from 1 to 5 grams) stimulate the body – improve concentration, increase efficiency and relieve fatigue. However, when the dose is increased above 5 grams, the stimulating effects are replaced by a calming effect – depression and euphoria occur. However, due to the mentioned effects, addiction to the substance can also occur – although, according to rcologists, it is easier than to other substances.

When will the regulation be?

In the Czech Republic, the kratom is still considered the aforementioned collectible and there are no regulations. France, Italy, Poland, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Sweden have introduced restrictions in the form of adding kratom to the list of addictive substances. Slovakia banned kratom in December 2021. This substance is available by prescription in Iceland, Norway, Denmark and Finland. Apart from the Czech Republic, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria or Spain have not yet decided to regulate.

For example, the Czech-Slovak Kratom Association (registered in 2021) offers the availability of the substance only to persons over the age of eighteen. Toxicologist Martin Cucharz, head of the forensic laboratory of biologically active substances at the Prague University of Chemistry and Technology and member of the early warning team at the Natiol Monitoring Center for Drug Addiction, focuses on the control of kratom content. .

At the end of October of this year, Minister of Health Vlastimil Valek said that there were three options for solving the situation with kratom: first, regulated sale, then the inclusion of the substance on the list of addictive substances, or a complete ban on the sale. . However, if the latter option is chosen, there are fears that a complete ban will only serve as an impetus for the creation of a large black market. Kratom has been available in our country for ten years, and the demand for it, probably, will not subside just like that.

In the Czech Republic, serious debate is expected regarding the specific form of regulation of kratom; should start in the coming months.

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Source: E15

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