Wellness Beverages May Cause Addiction Relapse

Some wellness beverages may be dangerous to people with an addictive disease. This is because they contain kratom, a substance derived from the leaves of a tree in the coffee family, which stimulates opioid receptors in the brain. 

Kratom is a tropical evergreen tree native to Southeast Asia. The consumption of its leaves in low doses has stimulant effects, but in high doses, it can have sedative effects, which can lead to psychotic symptoms and psychological and physiological dependence.

The problem with this substance is that there is currently no regulation on how its effects should be warned on product labels. Therefore, many wellness products have no warning that the substance they contain is an opiate-like substance and that people with a sensitivity to opiates should stay away from them. 

Last month, a man sued the brand Botanic Tonics, alleging that as a recovering alcoholic, their wellness drink caused him to relapse after seven years of being sober. According to him, the company misrepresents its product as a “safe, sober, and healthy alternative to alcohol.”

Botanic Tonics uses these words for advertising their beverage: “We’ve created a feel-good wellness tonic, a healthy productivity enhancer, and alcohol alternative featuring kava and other ancient plants from the South Pacific and Southeast Asia where they’ve been used socially and in wellness for centuries. A new way to feel good and feel free. Enjoy.”

However, their ancient ingredient is actually kratom, a highly addictive substance that stimulates our brain’s opiate receptors. Although, at the moment, kratom is not overseen under the Controlled Substances Act, the FDA has not approved Kratom for any medical use, and DEA has listed it as a Drug and Chemical of Concern.

The medical community is alerting that people with an addictive disorder should stir clear of supplements or beverages containing kratom as its withdrawal symptoms could be just as bad as opioid withdrawal, such as alcohol or Vicodin. 

Although the intake of beverages containing kratom can contribute to a feeling of sociability, productivity, and calmness, this is not safe for everyone. The medical community is adamant that a warning should be provided not only on the product’s website but also on the product label itself, as these supplements are not safe for people recovering from addiction, given that it may put them at risk of a relapse. Warnings should explicitly state the product carries a potential risk of addiction and severe withdrawal symptoms. The same is true for many cannabis beverages containing kratom, although their advertising at present may be misleading.


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