Natural Opioid Alternatives for Pain Management

Everyone experiences pain at some point. Some pain is minor and transient. The pain goes away when whatever caused the pain, heals up. It could be a cut, or a bad bump, or a pulled tooth. But the pain is real. Most pain you experience is minor and does not require pain medication that requires a prescription, but some pain does. One of the most widely prescribed pain medications is an opioid. These pain pills are synthesized versions of the chemicals in the opium poppy that gives it its pain-relief reputation. People have been using these derivatives for centuries for pain relief. In the Victorian Era, people called opioids laudanum. They were a combination of opium alkaloids. There really were no opioid alternatives at that point in time.

Kratom Saved My Life From Pain Pills – John Schaefer

Though aspirin had been around for thousands of years, the problem with aspirin was that it caused severe stomach problems and nausea. Until the late 1800s, which is when the buffering agent cam about, people could not use aspirin on a regular basis. But aspirin can’t handle the severe pain that opioids can relieve. Plus, the acid leaves long-term issues with many users, and it is unsafe for people of specific ages to consume.

One difference between the Victorian Era and now is that opioids were non-injectable liquids. This is because there were no hypodermics. They would sip it or put it in another liquid. But make no mistake about it, opioid addiction was as real and prevalent then as it is now. Fortunately, herbal knowledge has come a long way since then and there are now alternatives to opioids so you don’t have to become a statistic of the opioid epidemic.

What Natural Pain Killers Exist?

People around the world have been using herbs as medicine for centuries. The Ancient Greeks wrote several books on the subject. Some of the people accused of witchcraft were simply herbalists who understood the medicinal properties of the plants that grew around them. One type of medicine many people consistently need is one for pain relief, whether it is chronic or immediate. Though opium was well known throughout the ages, the downside of the drug was also well known. That included the hallucinogenic dreams as well as its propensity for opioid addiction. Obviously, an alternative was needed, and it was found.

Close up image of a kratom leaf.
Kratom Can Help As a Natural Pain Killer (Image Source: Wikimedia)

Kratom is a plant that grows mainly in Southeast Asia. It comes from a rather large tree that can grow as tall as 20 ft. Apparently, it is difficult to grow in areas other than its natural environment. As an added deterrent to growing it yourself, several varieties can be used to relieve pain. Each variety has pros and cons. With Kratom, the pros and cons of the strains used for pain relief are based on four characteristics; pain relief, relaxation, mood, and energy. There are about six strains that are renowned for their herbal pain relief abilities but your choice typically rests with the other characteristics and how they fit into your lifestyle.

What Are the Best Strains for Herbal Pain Relief?

There are six strains that fall into the category of the best Kratom for pain relief. They are Indo, Bali, Maeng Da, Borneo, Thai, and Malay. In the above paragraph, there were four characteristics within each variety. These characteristics stem from the vein color. Each color correlates with different effects and how the kratom would make you feel.

Maeng da kratom
What Are The Best Strains For Pain Relief? (Image Source: KratomCollection)

Typically, the Kratom strain with a red vein has more sedative effects. This is not the strain you want to use if you are not in a situation where you could nap if necessary. Red vein Kratom would be your choice if you were taking it before going to sleep at night.

The Kratom strain with a white vein color can make you quite energetic. Though it does relieve pain its pain relief does not last as long as does the green or red strain. The white veined strain is excellent if you want to mix it with another strain to make a custom pain reliever that suits your needs.

Lastly, there is a green-veined Kratom. Green Kratom does not produce the long-lasting sedative effects that you get with red-veined Kratom. Nor does it make you over-energetic. Green vein Kratom gives you a long-lasting pain reliever that does not affect your ability to remain alert.

How Do Opioid Alternatives Work?

Kratom is an excellent non-opioid analgesic. However, many people ask, is there science behind this claim? The answer to that is yes. Research shows that Kratom has two compounds that use the same receptors used by opiates like morphine and oxycodone. These receptors are what offer pain relief to people that take the drugs.

When a chemical utilizes receptors they follow a pathway through the brain that causes the drug to be effective for its intended use. The difference between Kratom and commercial opioids is that are structurally different. That difference in structure is what makes Kratom safer than traditional opioids.

Kratom tree
What Makes Kratom Safer Than Traditional Opioids? (Image Source: Wikimedia)

One thing that makes them safer is that Kratom does not activate the path that causes a detrimental effect to breathing. Traditional opioids suppress breathing and this is what makes opioids so dangerous. Not being able to breathe is what causes death in most opioid overdoses. The good news is that this does not affect Kratom’s ability to relieve pain. This has caused researchers to conduct more research to better understand how Kratom works, its adverse reactions, and the best delivery method as well as dosages. In addition, they will allow chemists to create a synthesized version of the active compounds so that it can be more widely used and actually become a prescribed medication.

This research has led to the development of a chemical compound that not only provides pain relief but does not produce the unwanted side effects of opioids such as increased tolerance, addiction, physical dependence, and pain suppression. The National Institute of Health has found Kratom to be potentially useful and is funding much of the research.