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KRATOM CULTURE PLANT POWERED CONSCIOUSNESS

SPRING 2019 | ISSUE 2

COULD DIET BE MAKING OUR PAIN WORSE? A BRIEF HISTORY OF KRATOM


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LETTER FROM THE EDITOR Dear Kratom Community,

The thing is, pain patients and those struggling to overcome addiction are

As we prepare for the publication of

largely two separate groups of people

the second issue of Kratom Culture

according to Cindy

Magazine, our community once again finds itself at war with dishonest media outlets who regurgitate the lies fed to

Steinberg, National Director of Policy and Advocacy for U.S. Pain Foundation.

them by CDC.

The same CDC that recently admitted, "oopsie, we screwed up counting pills. It's not actually prescriptions killing

Kratom has saved millions of lives. We must continue to fight as if our lives depend upon it - because they do!

people, it's Fentanyl, and that's

It can be emotionally draining and

because we cut everyone off - even

cause strain in our personal

legitimate pain patients." (See Josh

relationships and even our health. So

Bloom's article on the American Council

whatever you do, please remember to

of Science and Health titled, "The CDC

take care of you!

Quietly Admits It Screwed Up Counting Opioid Pills."

Heather Culpepper-Hawkins Publisher and Creative Director


"The Curse of Chronic Pain" Pain is no longer allowed, you see. I no longer have pursuit of happiness, life, and liberty. I writhe in my bed wide awake, praying to God my life to take. An addict goes to get his high, while I am left to suffer and die. This is all being done for my own good, as illegal drugs pour into my neighborhood. As the abuse from medical professionals rings in my head, I can't help but believe maybe they want me dead. If you think this can't happen to you, think again, you could very easily be in my shoes. By Christina Nunn February 19, 2019


AKA STATEMENT ON KRATOM CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT While it is unfortunate that the FDA is not protecting kratom consumers under their existing authorities in the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, the individual states are on their way to acting responsibly to protect kratom consumers. While it has been an enormous challenge from a financial standpoint for AKA, there are now lobbyists working in the following states to promote similar legislation: Utah Passed both Houses, enrolled for Governor’s signature Arizona Assigned to House Health Committee Rhode Island Assigned to House Health Committee Georgia Passed the House in a 164-1 vote Missouri Filed, in Rules Committee for Committee Assignment Idaho Filed, awaiting Committee assignment Michigan Filed in 2018 session, awaiting new filing in 2019 Oregon Legislative Counsel Kansas Legislative Counsel Nevada Filed, awaiting Committee assignment Wisconsin Bill being drafted We are committed to pass the Kratom Consumer Protection Act in as many states as possible, and we are extremely grateful to those who have made the financial sacrifice to allow for lobbyists to be deployed in these states.


KRATOM CULTURE

the botanical revolution is here


O Sacred, Wise, and Wisdom-giving Plant, Mother of Science, Now I feel thy Power Within me clear, not only to discern Things in their Causes, but to trace the ways Of highest Agents, deem'd however wise.

PARADISE LOST Milton


A BRIEF HISTORY OF KRATOM by William Poole

Mitragyna speciosa is native to Indonesia, The Sunda Isles, Thailand, Malaysia, Laos, and Vietnam. Thailand is where most of the information about natives using it comes from, though the cultural connection is rarely found in the northern/northeastern parts. Reportedly it grows abundantly in central and southern Thailand (at least it used to, eradication efforts by Thai authorities have reduced the Mitragyna speciosa population incredibly). Borneo is the world’s 3rd largest island. The island is split between the countries of Brunei, Malaysia, and Indonesia. The place Mount Kinabulu, and next to Mahakam River, is a specific place on the island mentioned in the kratom community where Indonesian kratom is grown and then exported all around the world. There are communities of Indonesian farmers on Borneo island that farm kratom for a living. The island of Bali was and is a major exporter of kratom, and people argue on whether or not kratom that is sent from there actually grows there or not. It appears that most of it comes from Borneo or elsewhere. When a package of kratom is labeled “Bali”, it’s probably more of an indicator of the type of leaf blend it is, and not where the kratom itself actually originated. It’s up for debate whether or not all the kratom we receive here in the US, was originally grown in Indonesia and many even claim most all comes from Borneo. The reason this is unconfirmed is because it is banned in Thailand and some of the other countries we see with the names of strains, so it is difficult to verify the origin of shipments. This applies to Vietnam and Malaysia as well, as it is banned in these places yet we receive strains like “Yellow Vietnam” and “Green Malay” here in the states. It’s possible that people are smuggling Thai, Malaysian, and Vietnam kratom to Indonesia and then sending it worldwide, but the Transnational Institute and Thailand’s media have investigated the kratom trade and can probably clear up some of the confusion.


It's extremely important for people to protect the genetics of Mitragyna speciosa. The fact that Indonesia is the only country in the world that is legally exporting kratom leaves, should make people nervous. It is banned by all surrounding countries, areas where the species has been native to for as long as anyone can guess. At this point, our supply here in the US is relying on Indonesia to continue to benefit economically off of this tree, and to not follow suit of it’s neighboring nations. This plant has saved countless lives and it is now our responsibility to make sure the genetics are available for future generations. Let’s hope that large scale farmers in the US will soon attempt to create domestically grown sources of kratom. It’s not surprising we haven’t seen this happen yet, with all the controversy in the media not many investors will want to take that risk, not knowing what laws are on the horizon. But with the more legal victories we have, the closer we will come to that day where your package of kratom could be labeled “Grown in America”.


"The plants have enough spirit to transform our limited vision. Rosemary Gladstar


ARE OUR FOOD CHOICES MAKING OUR PAIN WORSE? EVIDENCE SUGGESTS WE CAN MINIMIZE PAIN THROUGH DIET

What's hiding in your food? Sugar can be hidden in food. Anything that ends in "ose" is sugar. For example, lactose, fructose, sucrose, and corn syrup are some common ones to look out for on labels. Also, just because something is labeled "gluten free" does NOT mean it's healthy. Food companies simply replace gluten with ingredients such as potato starch, brown rice syrup and others. These can still be problematic for many of us.


"Research examining the connection between nutrition and pain at the molecular level focuses mainly on polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), which are plentiful in the diet and serve important roles in the immune and other biological systems in people. Some PUFAs can promote or lessen inflammation. Omega-3 PUFAs, found in fish and nuts, for example, are antiinflammatory, whereas omega-6 PUFAs, found in processed and fried foods, can tip the body’s balance toward inflammation, a process known to worsen chronic pain," writes Stephani Sutherland for Relief: Pain Research News.

The biggest ingredients to watch out for that might be worsen pain are sugar, dairy and grains. It has been suggested that the Keto or Paleo diets are effective at reducing pain, but more research needs to be done. However, that doesn't mean you can't make changes and see if they work for you. After all, we all respond differently to food. "It may be hard to resist desserts, pastries, chocolate bars, sodas, even fruit juices. However, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition warns that processed sugars trigger the release of inflammatory messengers called cytokines. Sugar goes by many names so look out for any word ending in “ose,” e.g. fructose or sucrose on ingredient labels," writes Matt Atherton.


c i n a g r ON A BUDGET O

Think eating healthy is out of your budget? Follow these tips starting today!

1. Grow your own. 2. Eat less meat. 3. Reduce waste. 4. Buy in bulk. 5. Buy seasonal. 6.Cook from scratch. 7. Know the 'Clean fifteen' 8. Join a local co-op


PAIN AND DIET The health benefits of whole food When I first learned about the Paleo Diet, I thought, there's no way I can follow this! It's too restrictive. But then, I kept getting sicker and sicker with longer bouts of being unable to get out of bed. I kept hearing stories of people who had either gone totally Keto, or turned to Paleo or the Whole 30 lifestyle with great success. There's no doubt that this change has been extremely difficult, as it means cooking all my meals at home, which is time & energy consuming. But, being sick is much, much worse. In the long run, it's cheaper to eat at home and to pick foods that aren't going to cause me to flare. Foods that cause me flares are grains, dairy and sugar. Your response may be different.

"Consuming a diet high in sugar and high-fructose corn syrup drives inflammation that can lead to disease. It may also counteract the antiinflammatory effect of omega-3 fatty acids," according to Healthline

One way to cut back on your grocery bill is to learn to grow vegetables such as tomatoes- you can even grow them indoors with

Pay the farmer now, or pay the pharmacy later. Old proverb.

very little space in your windowsill!


KRATOM CULTURE | SPRING 2019

Whole foods are plant foods that are unprocessed and unrefined, or processed and refined as little as possible, before being consumed. There is some confusion over the usage of the term surrounding the inclusion of certain foods, in particular animal foods. The modern usage of the term whole foods diet is now widely synonymous with "whole foods plant-based diet." The term "whole foods" appeared in The Farmer back in 1946. It was defined as "mature produce of field, orchard, or garden without subtraction, addition, or alteration grown from seed without chemical dressing, in fertile soil manured solely with animal and vegetable wastes, and composts therefrom, and ground, raw rock and without chemical manures, sprays, or insecticides," having intent to connect suppliers and the growing public demand for such food.  Wikipedia entry for whole food


KRATOM CULTURE | SPRING 2019

“One way to be sure you beat the rising cost of food production is to not just shop for local produce at places such as your local Farmer’s Market, but to grow your own produce at home. You can even do this with smaller spaces if you’re a homeowner. If you don’t have the space to garden at home, be sure you buy in bulk. This is a great way to save money. The cost per ounce drops dramatically when you shop this way. If you do have the space at home, Wagley offers some tips on what to grow.  “If you own your property and plan to live there for some time, then fruit trees and shrubs are the easiest way to start growing some of your own food at home. It can take a couple of years after planting before you start getting fruit, but fruit trees need relatively little care compared to a vegetable garden and provide a pretty reliable harvest most every year. Some of the easiest to grow in the south are blueberry, fig, cold-hardy citrus like satsuma and kumquat, pear, and plum." “If you do choose to start a vegetable garden, the best time to begin is late summer for a fall and winter garden. The cooler months are wonderful in the garden, as you can grow a range of winter veggies—kale, carrots, collards, beets, lettuce, broccoli, and lots more—with very little care. The cool weather and gentle winter conditions mean few if any pests are around and little irrigation is necessary, whereas the spring and summer garden is tough because the heat causes soils to dry-out quickly and pests like insects and fungus are very active. If you’re new to gardening I never recommend starting in spring.”


KRATOM CULTURE | SPRING 2019

Meet the New AKA Forum by Marisa Michaels

With the kratom community facing increasing scrutiny in the media and the relentless attacks by the FDA, Facebook has become very kratom unfriendly. Several long-standing Facebook kratom support groups have been permanently deleted, and others have been disabled pending Facebook review that often never comes. Most recently, the American Kratom Association’s closed discussion group was deleted, and several years of community testimonials and interaction were lost. It was a crushing blow to everyone who called the page home, and it put a damper on what information can be shared and talked about on other AKA affiliated pages. With kratom gaining in popularity, there was a clear need for a safe space for kratom consumers to go for information. The only answer was to bring the conversation off Facebook. The American Kratom Association created a forum to continue the kratom conversation that is not bound by the restrictions of Facebook Community Standards. The AKA forum allows for a more relaxed place for discussion and to share information about AKA Calls to Action, legislative actions, and press releases. The forum also features a category just for vendors to discuss issues that are important to them. “We just can’t help the members of our community the way we would like on Facebook,” one moderator for the forum shared. “The rules have gotten so strict, and we are always worrying about what will get us shut down. It makes us really gun-shy about approving posts and allowing certain topics to even be posted. That just isn’t fair to people who need information. We are hoping our forum meets that need as more and more people are losing the groups they once relied on for information.”


KRATOM CULTURE | SPRING 2019

There are many other active forums dedicated to kratom, but this is the only forum that is directly affiliated with the American Kratom Association, and their hope is that it will be a valuable resource for the kratom community. Members have access to the list of AKA GMP-qualified vendors, and vendors can find information about becoming part of the AKA GMP Standards Program. The forum is also intended to be a landing pad for anyone looking to advocate for kratom. Calls to Action are listed on the forum as soon as they are announced, as well as legislative alerts and outcomes. If a state or locality isn’t listed under a Call to Action, that doesn’t mean that the AKA isn’t actively working in certain areas. According to AKA Board member Angela Ross, “The AKA has a team of lobbyists that work with federal, state, and local officials to first determine if any action needs to be taken, and then what type of action would be most beneficial for each situation as it occurs. Only then, after we have gathered all the facts, will we issue a Call to Action.” When asked about the role of the forum in the fight for legality, Ross’ pride is evident. “We hope that what we have created is unique and will be of great value to all members of the kratom community. The beauty is that we own it, we control it, and we can do what we want with it without fear of thirdparty rules or pesky algorithms. The growing troubles with Facebook came at the perfect time because it really provided the catalyst for deciding what we wanted, and didn’t want, in our forum and then to make it happen.” The forum can be found at https://akachat.discussion.community/ or through the AKA website at www.americankratom.org


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