Friday, January 14, 2011

From Hydrogen Bonds to Bail Bonds, a Short Note on Prohibition.

Kratom is legal in the U.S. however it is illegal in many other places. Why? I am no expert on the prohibition of this plant, but I would assume that the prohibition is fueled by the same things that most prohibition is driven by-- Fear, bigotry, profit, control, or in some instances it can be a genuine necessity to maintain public safety. However if we take a look at history in most cases the true reasons for prohibition are not noble or very well executed.
                This is also where I need to get on my soap box for a moment about the other end of prohibition and that is the marketing and use of plants and alkaloids. The legal high industry and culture may be just as much to blame (as the politicians and lobbyists that play off the fear of an uninformed public about how this plant will kill all of the children of the world).Because they tend to market to children, the same tactic is used by alcohol and tobacco companies by the time you reach the age of legality you already have a favorite brand. So even though I am not an expert on this issues I would like to think I am informed and hope that this little blog will be informative as well.
 I am in no way promoting the frivolous use of or the prohibition of anything. Quite the contrary I am taking the position that everything has a time, place, and application. So let’s not abuse, destroy, or outlaw anything before we fully understand it. This is a great link if you are interested in the discussion on prohibition, it was created by individuals in law enforcement  that have seen the down side to just banning something because we don’t see how it fits into our culture or are too lazy to sit down and figure out how to make space for it.

Now back to kratom why would it be illegal? Should it be illegal? Is it dangerous? Oddly enough the same questions have been asked about coffee and it just so happens that Kratom and Coffee are related. What is it about alkaloids and the altered states they create that causes so much fear and fascination. My humble opinion is that they represent or perpetuate an attitude. So I think the real issue is what attitudes and states do we find dangerous or productive.

Monday, January 10, 2011

All the world is an alkaloid.

Plants and especially there alkaloids have been something that has fascinated me since I was about twelve years old. What is an alkaloid? Alkaloids are a group of naturally occurring chemical compounds which mostly contain basic nitrogen atoms.  are produced by a large variety of organisms, including bacteria, fungi, plants, and animals and are part of the group of natural products (also called secondary metabolites). Although many people do not know what alkaloids are most of us could not live without them, imagine a day without: nicotine, caffeine, Theobromine (cocoa), Dopamine, Serotonin. The list goes on and on. Each month we will be looking at ether a single alkaloid, an alkaloid rich plant, or maybe something that is not an alkaloid at all but has similar effects on both the body and or culture. THC would be a good example although it acts like an alkaloid it is technically an alcohol. When looking at something that is legal such as Theobromine I will include a log of my personal use recipes and experiences. When we come across the not so legal molecules like mescaline I will probably focus on traditional use and maybe go into aspects of prohibition, Which is often times fascinating especially when looking at some of the tryptamines like DMT which are schedule one narcotics and are also naturally occurring in the human body. This month I will be looking Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) which is a medicinal leaf harvested from a large tree in the Rubiaceae family native to Southeast Asia. It has a long history of use and is ileagel in some parts of the world. Kratom contains many alkaloids including mitragynine (once thought to be the primary active constituent), mitraphylline, and 7-hydroxymitragynine (which is currently the most likely candidate for the primary active chemical in the plant).[4] Although 7-hydroxymitragynine and mitragynine are structurally related to yohimbine and other tryptamines, their pharmacology is quite different, acting primarily as mu-opioid receptor agonists. Other active chemicals in kratom include raubasine (best known from Rauwolfia serpentina) and some yohimbe alkaloids such as corynantheidine. In this month exploration we will be looking at this plant as a whole and in its parts.