Named after the Southeast Asian tree it’s made from, kratom is still not widely understood by medical professionals. Kratom acts as both a stimulant and a sedative – although not an opioid, it acts in similar ways when ingested. Kratom is typically used in pill or extract form, although its leaves can be brewed into a tea or chewed.
Kratom’s also legal and widely available online and in California. For treatment professionals, it presents something of a puzzle. Kratom has been used by some treatment providers in treating opioid and alcohol addiction, but there is a lack of study on its effectiveness. There have been a number of overdoses involving kratom, but these cases involved other substances as well.
As for addiction, it’s not clear if kratom’s addictive or not. Kratom binds to the same opioid receptors in the body that opioid drugs do, so there may be a link between kratom abuse and addiction.