Back in 2016 the DEA was about to declare Kratom a Schedule I illegal drug, with Schedule I being any drug that is highly abusable and has no recognized therapeutic value. Fortunately the DEA did not make Kratom illegal, but that incident inspired a group of scientists to determine whether Kratom really was an abusable drug, via the scientific study ‘Abuse liability of mitragynine assessed with a self-administration procedure in rats‘.
Incredibly, it was empirically determined that Kratom has no more abuse potential than salt water, and that Kratom has a high therapeutic potential, as will be explained in this article.
In order to conduct this experiment, the scientists trained a group of rats with Methamphetamine. Essentially, the scientists dosed the rats with Methamphetamine until the point that the rats would chronically hit a lever which dispensed Methamphetamine. Simultaneously, the scientists also dosed the rats with saline (salt water), and eventually the rats would hit the dispensing lever much more when they were be given Methamphetamine as opposed to the salt water.
Basically, the rats were trained to self-dispense addictive drugs, and the rate at which the rats hit the dispensing lever can be used to determine the addictiveness of a drug.
Various experiments were then conducted where the rats were given Heroin, Methamphetamine, and Mitragynine (Kratom’s primary alkaloid). It was found that Heroin and Methamphetamine caused a major increase in the rate at which the rats hit the dispensing lever, confirming that Heroin and Methamphetamine are indeed very addictive.
However, there was no increase in the rate at which the rats hit the dispensing lever when Mitragynine was administered. Literally, it was found that the rate at which the rats hit the lever was the same for Mitragynine as it was for salt water.
Literally, this means that in this experiment Kratom was found to be no more addictive than salt water.
Based on this, the scientists conclude that Kratom has a limited abuse liability, i.e. little to no addiction potential.
Another incredible result which was found is that pre-dosing with Kratom lowers the rate at which the rats hit the Heroin lever. This is firm proof that Kratom has the potential to lessen addiction to synthetic opioids and opiates, which is a well-known fact among the Kratom community.
In-fact, the scientists found that with a high enough dose of Kratom, that the rats showed only very little Heroin addiction.
The scientists conclude the study by saying that it is clear that Kratom has strong therapeutic potential for treating synthetic opioid and opiate addiction, and that Kratom has practically zero abuse potential. Based on this, the scientists say that Kratom should be researched further and potentially developed into a treatment for opioid addiction.
In conclusion, this study sought to determine if Kratom met the criteria of a Schedule I drug, which is a drug that has high abuse potential and no recognized therapeutic potential, and ultimately the study found the opposite, that Kratom has almost no abuse potential and a high therapeutic potential.