Before you speak, ask yourself, is it kind, is it necessary, is it true, does it improve on the silence? -Sathya Sai Baba

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Kratom and PAWS, a follow up post

Update: The original post referenced in this post can be found here. Please check it out.

So, not to get too inside baseball on things, but the post on this blog that has received the most hits in the past year is a post I wrote back in November about getting off kratom. Mostly from people looking up information on how to use kratom to get over their own issues with Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome. This suggests a couple of issues to me:
  1. People are doing a lot of drugs (duh)
  2. People are looking for information on what they assume is a slightly less dangerous substance to do some of the heavy lifting of recovery from arguably more dangerous substances (I'm guessing alcohol and opiates).
Now, anybody who knows me knows that people using plants (technically called ethnobotany) is a hobby of mine. I've done a lot of research, and at the risk of sounding like an idiot, I'd like to state something very clearly - kratom is a very temporary fix for opiate addiction maintenance. Please note that just because it's "natural" (e.g. less processed, closer to the original plant) doesn't mean that it's "safer." It can be just as addictive as anything processed.

Kratom is a very mild narcotic, and most people can do it with little to no problems. People have used it for hundreds of years to enrich their lives and make living on earth a little nicer. The plants are not the problem.

The problem is you.

By you, I mean the person that is looking for relief from the pain of withdrawal, which presupposes that you have already managed to addict yourself to something or other. If you are addictive, your relationship to plants with abuse potential is, let's say, problematic. Another good word is dangerous.

What all the convoluted logic above amounts to is this - if you're trying to get off opiates, be very careful doing kratom. It may temporarily relieve your depression and the physical symptoms of withdrawal, but ultimately it can flip on you, and you will be no better off than when you started. It is easy to develop tolerance to kratom, and there are new processing methods, including extractions and reinforced strains, that up the ante in a big way. It is less expensive, and the social stigma of stirring powder into juice or brewing a relatively inexpensive legal tea is a lot lower than trying to score pills or snorting heroin. I'm not saying it doesn't work. If you are only in mild trouble, you might be able to hang. I'm just saying that, instead of turning to another substance, you might want to address behavioral and chemical issues (i.e. your internal neurochemistry, depression, anxiety) that might be better taken care of by a doctor. If you're self medicating in this way, you risk addicting yourself to a different substance. 

This might leave you saying "Well, dammit, what am I supposed to do, here? I am in pain!" You need to do what keeps you from killing yourself. All I'm saying is that at some point, like with methadone, really you are just extending the amount of time that you will be kicking. It is a risk/benefit analysis. If you're here looking for advice, I don't have a lot to offer, except please, please talk to somebody who's smarter than me. Don't get your advice for getting off drugs from some random guy off the internet. Please take care of your self, and know that with help, you can get through this. Please don't try to do it by yourself.

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