What Is Kratom?
Kratom can refer to both a tree that is called Mitragyna speciosa, which is grown in Southeast Asia, or it can refer to products derived from the leaves of the tree.1
Alternate names for kratom are thom, ketam, and biak.2 There are numerous compounds in kratom that can affect the body, but the 2 most widely studied are mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine.1 Kratom is currently legal in most of the United States. Though some states regulate it, kratom is not currently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for medical purposes.1,2
Kratom Dependence and Addiction
Addiction is formally diagnosed as a substance use disorder (SUD). At this time, there is no specific diagnosis of a substance use disorder involving kratom. However, there is growing concern among health professionals that kratom may be associated with certain SUD-related phenomena—such as kratom cravings and a kratom withdrawal syndrome—that resemble those of substance use disorders involving other addictive substances.1,3