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Mitragyna speciosa, also known as kratom, has the potential meet the need for pain medications that lack the addictiveness and overdose risk of classical opioid analgesics, such as morphine. This need is urgent because opioid addiction and overdose deaths have risen throughout diverse segments of U.S. society. Some opioid addicts have found relief in kratom preparations. The use of kratom as an analgesic has been validated by historical accounts and contemporary pharmacological research. Although kratom is a promising source of analgesic candidates, it is a euphoriant with potential for both abuse and addiction. However, kratom appears to be less addictive and to have milder withdrawal symptoms than opioid drugs. Thus, there is a need to balance the potential medical benefits and abuse of M. speciosa.
Halpenny, G. M. (2017). Mitragyna speciosa: Balancing Potential Medical Benefits and Abuse. ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters. American Chemical Society. https://doi.org/10.1021/acsmedchemlett.7b00298