A Scientist Has Claimed That Kratom Powder In The USA Is Potentially Harmful Due To Having Higher 7-hydroxymitragynine Levels Than Raw Leaves; This Argument Is Completely Wrong According To Scientific Data, And Kratom Powder Is Undoubtedly Safe
An article was recently posted by Dr. Christopher R. McCurdy, who is one of the most-published Kratom researchers, and it discusses how Kratom powder in the United States is possibly more harmful than raw Kratom leaves, due to the fact that Kratom powder has higher 7-hydroxymitragynine levels than raw Kratom leaves.
Based on this Dr. McCurdy calls for extremely tight regulation in the Kratom market, saying that there should be a standardized Kratom product, similar to how prescription medicines come in a standardized product. Notably, if that ever happened it would actually be devastating for the Kratom community and the Kratom industry.
I have much respect for Dr. McCurdy. However, in this particular case Dr. McCurdy is completely wrong, since Kratom powder is undoubtedly safe based on all of the empirical and subjective data that is out there. Therefore, claiming that Kratom powder in the United States is uniquely dangerous, and that heavy government intervention is needed, is completely wrong. Also, the claim that a ‘standardized Kratom product’ is needed is outright wrong, since it would cause prices to skyrocket for Kratom users while simultaneously decimating product variety.
The following article breaks down this issue, and refutes Dr. McCurdy’s article point by point.
Most Of Kratom’s Effects Are Caused By The Body Converting Mitragynine Into 7-hydroxymitragynine
Dr. McCurdy has previously published a study which found that Kratom powder has 7-hydroxymitragynine concentrations 100%-500% higher than raw Kratom leaves, and this is due to an oxidative process that converts the Mitragynine in the leaves into 7-hydroxymitragynine.
Essentially, there is an abundance of Mitragynine in Kratom leaves but practically no 7-hydroxymitragynine, while Kratom powder oxidizes over time and has higher concentrations of 7-hydroxymitragynine.
In Dr. McCurdy’s latest article, he uses this data to prove that Kratom products in the USA are potentially more harmful and addictive than raw Kratom leaves, since 7-hydroxymitragynine has opioid properties an order of magnitude more powerful than Mitragynine.
However, what Dr. McCurdy failed to mention is that the human liver metabolizes Mitragynine into 7-hydroxymitragynine according to a scientific study, and this is actually responsible for most of Kratom’s effects.
Basically, even if someone takes raw Kratom leaves that contain only Mitragynine, the Mitragynine will be converted into 7-hydroxymitragynine in the body.
Therefore, raw Kratom leaves and Kratom Powder produce roughly the same effects, and have an equal safety profile, since most of the effects of Kratom are produced by Mitragynine being converted into 7-hydroxymitragynine.
There Is No Reason To Believe That 7-hydroxymitragynine Is Potentially Harmful
Beyond the fact that it is impossible to say that raw Kratom leaves which contain only Mitragynine are safer than Kratom Powder which contains significant amounts of both Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, since ultimately Mitragynine is converted into 7-hydroxymitragynine in the body anyways, there is also no reason to believe that 7-hydroxymitragynine is potentially harmful.
Indeed, Dr. McCurdy’s scientific studies which have proven the safety and efficacy of Mitragynine in raw Kratom leaves prove the safety and efficacy of 7-hydroxymitragynine as well, since ultimately almost all of Kratom’s effects are produced by Mitragynine metabolizing into 7-hydroxymitragynine.
Further, scientific studies have specifically proven that 7-hydroxymitragynine has the same characteristics which make Mitragynine safe, such as not producing respiratory depression which eliminates overdose risk, and lacking addiction potential.
Also, 15 million Americans use Kratom in the United States, and almost all of these Americans use Kratom powder. Simultaneously, there has never been a scientifically proven Kratom death in history, and therefore Kratom Powder must be incredibly safe despite having higher levels of 7-hydroxymitragynine than raw leaves.
Therefore, it is absurd for Dr. McCurdy to claim that Kratom powder is potentially harmful, when there has never been any documented deaths from Kratom powder, nor any scientifically proven cases of Kratom powder harming someone.
Dr. McCurdy Cites Classic Big Pharma Misinformation To Justify The Claim That Kratom Powder In The USA Is Potentially Dangerous
Notably, Dr. McCurdy’s article is based on the premise that there have never been any reports of Kratom harming people in Southeast Asia, whereas in the United States there have been reports of Kratom being dangerous and addictive. Based on this, Dr. McCurdy claims that the raw Kratom leaves traditionally used in Southeast Asia must be safer than the Kratom powder in the United States.
However, there is zero proof that Kratom has ever harmed anyone in the USA, and the only proof that Dr. McCurdy cites in his argument is classic Big Pharma fueled misinformation, such as that Kratom in the USA has caused some deaths, even though any ‘Kratom related deaths’ have been proven to be due to polydrug abuse and not due to Kratom.
Also, Dr. McCurdy cites a Big Pharma backed research paper which claims that Kratom ‘addicts’ need to be treated with the highly dangerous synthetic opioid buprenorphine, which is an absurd and monstrous practice perpetrated by Big Pharma in order to turn Kratom users into opioid addicts and to tarnish Kratom’s reputation.
Zooming out, it is quite curious that Dr. McCurdy would fail to mention that Big Pharma misinformation entirely explains why there are reports of Kratom harming people in the USA, since Big Pharma is behind the reports, news articles, and studies which claim that Kratom is harmful.
In any case, since there is nothing besides Big Pharma misinformation to ‘prove’ that Kratom in the USA is potentially more harmful than traditional raw Kratom leaves, the premise and logic of Dr. McCurdy’s article falls apart.
To What End Did Dr. McCurdy Post His Article, Since It Is Certainly Damaging To Kratom’s Reputation?
The one thing that really baffles me is that Dr. McCurdy posted this article in the first place, since it can easily be used as fuel by Big Pharma to claim that Kratom in the USA is dangerous, especially considering Dr. McCurdy’s high stature in the scientific community.
Indeed, one mainstream news outlet already used Dr. McCurdy’s article to attack Kratom, and they literally copy and pasted the entire article, aside from changing the title to ‘Why kratom sold in the U.S. is uniquely dangerous‘. It is likely that other news outlets, Big Pharma, and the FDA will also use Dr. McCurdy’s article to attack Kratom.
Is There A Conspiracy Afoot To Launch A ‘Standardized Kratom Product’, And Ban All Other Kratom Products?
The one logical explanation I can think of is that Dr. McCurdy is possibly part of an effort to produce a pharmaceutical version of Kratom. Indeed, Dr. McCurdy’s article ends with this statement “The unreliable measurements of kratom products sold in the U.S. create uncertainty. Until there is a standardized product, preferably one that is prepared in the traditional way, our society must weigh the risks against the putative benefits. The risk of kratom addiction appears to be low, but there are people who are are treated for kratom addiction. It is our hypothesis that addiction to kratom is due to the inferior quality and amount of the product ingested. Science is leading the way to these answers, and the fate of kratom is in the balance.”
Essentially, it seems the whole point of Dr. McCurdy’s article is to launch an initiative to produce a ‘standardized Kratom product’, and ban all other Kratom products, which would be an undoubtedly lucrative venture for whoever is behind it, since it would centralize the entire Kratom market into the hands of whoever has the rights to this ‘standardized Kratom product’.
On the other hand, this would be devastating to the Kratom community, since prices for this ‘standardized Kratom product’ would likely be sky high due to a lack of competition in the marketplace, and all of the variety would be gone from the Kratom market as well.
Further, things could easily go wrong if a serious attempt is made to create a ‘standardized Kratom product’, while simultaneously claiming that all other Kratom products are potentially harmful, since such an initiative could end up causing Kratom to get outright banned.
That being said, there is of course no definitive proof that such a conspiracy is occurring, and I could be wrong. Indeed, Dr. McCurdy may just be posting his thoughts and nothing else.
However, the initiative to launch a ‘standardized Kratom product’ while banning all other types of Kratom is certainly something that Kratom advocates should be wary about, and if it ever begins to happen Kratom advocates should fight against it.
This issue will be discussed further in an upcoming article on The Kratom Herald.