Scientists: Kratom Extract “A Blessing and a Curse”

In a letter to the journal Addiction, kratom scientists including Oliver Grundmann, Christopher McCurdy, Abhisheak Sharma, Kirsten Smith, and Marc Swogger emphasized that kratom leaf, sold in crushed or dried for in the West and used for at least hundreds of years in Southeast Asia, is different from kratom alkaloid extract products, manufactured recently and sold in powder or liquid shots.

History has shown us that developing enriched natural-product elixirs or purified active agents, as with cocaine from the coca shrub and morphine from the opium poppy, can be both a blessing and a curse: a blessing in that some of these concentrates can be medically useful to improve quality of life for patients suffering from a variety of disorders and a curse of increased risk. Concentrated kratom extracts are analogous to these previous historical examples. They may provide benefit to some, but they may result in unpredictable adverse effects and other potential harms resulting from dependence and drug–drug interactions.

Kratom leaf is much less potent than extracts, with alkaloid content usually making up about 1% of leaf material. It’s generally considered less risky, especially for new consumers, to use plain leaf extracts, as long as has been lab tested for contaminents like heavy metals. Untested kratom leaf material may contain lead common in Indonesian soil, where the United States get 95% of the kratom it imports.

The scientists also recommended…

that kratom in its native form as the unadulterated fresh or dried leaf material remains available to consumers with proper oversight and regulation, including clear labeling describing the amount of mitragynine per dose, recommended maximum daily doses, potential for drug interactions and implementation of proper good manufacturing practices (GMP), similar to other dietary supplements.


Grundmann, O., Garcia-Romeu, A., McCurdy, C. R., Sharma, A., Smith, K. E., Swogger, M. T., & Weiss, S. T. (2023). Not all kratom is equal: The important distinction between native leaf and extract products. Addiction (Abingdon, England), 10.1111/add.16366. Advance online publication.

5 thoughts on “Scientists: Kratom Extract “A Blessing and a Curse””

  1. Extracts have helped me save money in the long run, but it is necessary to approach with caution. It is much more potent than regular leaf

  2. I certainly wouldn’t have made it through Certain parts of my journey with tea
    During the pandemic I could not get medical care and I had to well one herniated.. The one completely blown disk… I was looking at 8 months before treatment.. I couldn’t even walk through my house… 3 months after my injury..
    And they helped me through about about almost a year.. Where I had no alternative.
    I actually ODed on purpose because I want getting relief from leaf alone..
    Well after some community members heard about this that we are very close.. I had somebody say why didn’t you fucking ask us for help?.. My pride gets in the way sometimes..
    I don’t like asking for help.. But after this particular person was pissed off at me for about 10 minutes he said okay well.. We’re going to get you through this.. If it wasn’t for that very very special person.. I promise you I wouldn’t be here.. If it wasn’t for extract I certainly would not be here.. I’ve now got my injections and I’m cutting back on extract.. To me taking extract takes away from the normal benefits of tea. You don’t get quite as much mood boost and energy from it.. But you do get much better analgesic effect with extract..or at least with my experience..I THINK THEY ARE ABSOLUTELY Necessary.
    Especially because a lot of the leaf we are getting nowadays comes from Plantation it is missing mass of amounts of alks Comparatively to deep forest … And they are harvesting every frigging month.. Those leaves need to sit on the tree a minimum of 2 months preferably 3,4… I think the lower quality of the leaf but it’s a better quality in certain ways..
    But to get relief with some of the new leaf it’s been Kind of challenging..
    I thank the accent god KRATOS for extract 😆

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