Kava and Kratom: Buyer Beware
A couple in Florida is suing a kava bar, claiming that the drinks they bought there got them addicted to kava and kratom. The Purple Lotus Kava Bar in West Palm Beach sells several drinks advertised as ‘kava with a little kick’ or ‘kava with a serious kick.’ Their website, which may not be up to date, doesn’t even mention using kratom. The couple is suing because they were not warned and want to be reimbursed for money spent on treatment to kick this addiction.
Kava and kratom are two substances that fall into a gray area. Both come from plants found in the South Pacific or Southeast Asia, where they have a long history of use. They are not controlled substances in most places, nor do they have legitimate medical uses.
Kava is made from the root of the plant and can be chewed, drunk in tea or taken in pill form. It has been used to reduce anxiety. Kratom comes from the leaves of its plant. At low doses it can be a stimulant, but higher doses have a sedative effect. Reports vary, as does the status of kratom. It is banned in some places, while at the same time is being studied for its potential use to wean people from opioid addiction.
The discussions about substances like kava and kratom range the same way that discussions on marijuana do, and opinions vary, depending on who has tried what. Some say the substances produce a small buzz and are no big deal. They may even reduce dependence on other drugs, like benzodiazepines or opioid painkillers. Others fear that the drugs are the next in line to be drugs of abuse, and the fact that they are legal makes it that much easier. The people suing the kava bar are good examples of that.
The message for kava and kratom may be the same as that for many emerging psychoactive substances (molly, synthetic marijuana, bath salts): You don’t know what you are getting and you don’t know how your body will react.
Are you concerned about addiction to emerging drugs of abuse? Recovery Connection can help. Call us at 866-812-8231 for help finding an addiction treatment center.