Late last month, the FDA ordered the seizure of a massive amount of a Asian botanical believed to have opioid-like effects. The botanical, kratom, is claimed by online vendors to have opioid-like analgesic effects, as well as psychoactive properties. U.S. Marshalls, acting under direction of the FDA, seized 500 cartons of kratom bottles, weighing 25,000 pounds and worth an estimated $5 million. Kratom is a common name for Mitragyna speciosa, a naturally growing botanical found in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. It is promoted on numerous web sites and has a wide following on Twitter, but is not approved in the United States for any medical use. According to the FDA, consumption of kratom can lead to a number of the same health problems found with the abuse of opioids, including respiratory depression, nervousness, agitation, aggression, sleeplessness, hallucinations, delusions, loss of libido, tremors, skin hyperpigmentation, nausea, vomiting, constipation and severe withdrawal signs and symptoms.
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