KratomScience: Where are you from and what is your occupation?
Matthew Catlin: I’m from Bohemia on Long Island in New York. I have been a commercial heating and air conditioning mechanic for around 10 years.
KS: How long have you been consuming kratom?
MC: I have been using Kratom for almost 2 years.
KS: Why do you consume kratom?
MC: Kratom for me is a way to cope with the wear and tear that being a mechanic places on my body. Multiple disc herniations and knee surgeries take a toll over time and the pain relief and relaxation from kratom enables me to continue to work and provide for my family.
KS: You use kratom for the same basic reason it’s used traditionally in Southeast Asia – for physical labor. In those cultures opium addicts and drunks are looked down upon as lazy, while kratom tea drinkers are regarded as we regard coffee drinkers.
Yet the FDA wants us to think kratom is just like another opioid. Could you do your job as well if you had to take prescription opioids for pain?
MC: Without a doubt the answer to that question is that one would never be able to do my particular job under the influence of a traditional opioid. The sharpness of mind is as important as the physical strength in any labor job. Kratom allows for a level of focus that is not a hindrance but actually a benefit for the user. Our thoughts are quite backwards in my opinion on this topic as I have always equated taking kratom to taking coffee, as it is a tool to use for your goals. The socially acceptable coffee before work is only accepted because it’s something all of us in this country have grown up seeing on a regular basis.
KS: What are your preferred strains? How much do you take on an average day? What’s your favorite way of preparing kratom?
MC: I prefer the relaxing strains over the energizing ones. Typically reds like Borneo or Hulu, gold Bali and also the relaxation from green Malay is also very pleasant. I usually will take about 7-10 grams mixed into a fruit juice or a tea in winter months about 3-4 hours before I plan to go to sleep at night. For me the pain relief is fast and then the full relaxation kicks in just as I am ready for sleep.
KS: Do you have a different regimen for other seasons? Is winter tougher on your knees and back?
MC: Yes and yes. Winter tends to be tougher on my body physically. But that aside, the differences in method basically have to do with me being in extreme temperatures. It’s very difficult for me after being on a roof in 100 plus degree heat to come home and drink hot tea. So it just became easier for me to come home after a hot day and drink a glass of fruit juice with kratom stirred in it and in the winter to drink a hot cup of tea.
KS: Have you experienced any problems or side effects with kratom? Has it ever become severely addictive or turned into a bad habit?
MC: Being honest with myself, I never really have noticed any side effects. Mild GI problems when I first started perhaps and was still finding proper dose. As far as addictive I have gone days or even a week without kratom and have felt no symptoms of withdrawal either mental or physical.
KS: Are you involved in any activism around keeping kratom legal? Do you know of anything going on with kratom in your city or state?
MC: Social media is huge for this. I try with in reason to correct any and all false information spread about kratom that I find to the best of my ability. As far as state regulation, bills have never left the floor in NY as far as I know and have been sitting for quite sometime. I as well as a lot of kratom users would welcome common sense regulation such as age restrictions, but personally I have always found the government censoring substances to be a very slippery slope that must be entered into very lightly.
KS: We’re all concerned about the DEA putting kratom on schedule 1, but what is your concern about over-regulation of kratom?
MC: Schedule 1 is obviously very concerning. My personal thoughts on government intervention is always that it should be common sense and limited. Where I get worried about over regulation is when we make things difficult for vendors to sell an item and then prices go up. I believe in this product wholeheartedly and I want as many people to be able to get is as needed.
KS: What’s your opinion of how the media reports on kratom?
MC: That is a very sore subject for me as I feel that it goes from at times being mildly misleading all the way up to out and out lies. This is unfortunate because I have always been a person who aims to help others and I have shared my experiences with friends and family. Then to met with responses about overdose deaths and how it’s just like heroin is extremely frustrating. I have emailed and called producers, writers and editors to correct the inaccuracies to absolute silence. That’s why I think you are doing a great job here and all of us have a obligation to continue to tell our stories and correct all of the false information out there. Lies can only be met with truth and I do believe that science is on our side in that particular argument.