According to researchers at the University of Florida and Harvard Medical School, kratom can help relieve pain and opioid withdrawal.
That's the conclusion the team reached after investigating the effects of lyophilized (freeze-dried) kratom tea (LKT) on mice in a study published last month. In their tests, mice became less sensitive to pain after consuming kratom tea. However, mice who lacked kratom-acting opioid receptors in their brains experienced less of a change in pain sensitivity or no change at all.
During the study, the researchers also found that the LKT only reduced the mice's breathing "briefly." Because kratom is an opioid-like drug, this is unusual: most opioids can drastically impair breathing to the point of death (respiratory depression). In addition, the mice who were given repeated kratom doses throughout the study didn't develop a physical dependence on the drug. These results suggest that kratom might be a safer pain-relieving drug compared to opioid alternatives.
The kratom tea was also successful at aiding morphine-dependent mice. To evaluate the plant's therapeutic potential in this area, the researchers administered the opioid overdose medication naxalone to morphine-dependent rats. Because naxalone blocks the effects of morphine, the morphine-addicted rats eventually began experiencing morphine withdrawal symptoms. However, after receiving kratom tea, their withdrawal symptoms subsided, indicating that kratom could have therapeutic potential for reducing opioid dependency and withdrawal symptoms.
As of this writing, the study is available to view on PubMed.