Erowid References Database
“A study of kratom eaters in Thailand”.
Bulletin on Narcotics. 1975 Jul-Sep 30;27(3):21-7.
Kratom is indigenous to Thailand. Market gardeners, peasants and laborers often become addicted to kratom leaf use. In certain respects kratom addiction resembles addiction to a drug with narcotic properties, except that long-term kratom addicts develop a dark skin, particularly on the cheeks. The age of onset is apparently later than in heroin addiction, and females are rare amongst those who use the substance. Because of the harmful effects which may result from the use of kratom leaf, the Government of Thailand passed a law (Kratom Act 2486) which came into force on 3 August 1943 and by virtue of which it is forbidden to plant the tree; and existing ones are to be cut down. Kratom, known botanically as Mytragyna speciosa Korth., is a large tropical tree cultivated in Thailand, especially in the central and southern regions; it is rarely found in the northern and north-eastern parts of the country. The kratom leaf has long been known to possess narcotic properties and the beginning of its use in Thailand cannot be dated. Kratom is also called Kakuam, Ithang and, in the south of the country, Thom. In Thai folk medicine the leaf is used for the treatment of diarrhoea and as a substitute in cases of opium addiction. Some villagers use it as an ingredient for cooking. Market gardeners, peasants and labourers become easily addicted to the use of the leaf; they reason that it helps them to overcome the burden of their hard work and meager existence. Several alkaloids have been derived from the plant such as mytragynine, speciofoline, rhynchophylline, and stipulatine. In the present study thirty male and female cases of kratom addiction were selected from the Nondhaburi province and from the suburbs of Bangkok for the purpose of an intensive study. The interview method was used with a questionnaire consisting of 30 items. In addition five cases of psychotic patients with a history of kratom addiction were studied at Srithunya Psychiatric Hospital in Nondhaburi. Findings from psychiatric and physical examinations as well as treatment results were evaluated
Quoting Jansen and Prast: The results of a study of 30 Thai kratom users were published by Suwanlert in 1975. The sample largely con sisted of older, married men who had been chronic users for over five years. In most instances, the leaves had been chewed three to 10 times a day, with stimulant effects commencing after five to 10 minutes. Key motivators were a desire to increase work output and tolerance of hot sunlight, with the drug also being said to calm the mind.
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