30: Leaves of Change: A Personal Tale of Kratom, Health, and Family Redemption with Melody Woolf - Plants Saved My Life

Episode 30

full
Published on:

17th Nov 2023

30: Leaves of Change: A Personal Tale of Kratom, Health, and Family Redemption with Melody Woolf

30: Leaves of Change: A Personal Tale of Kratom, Health, and Family Redemption with Melody Woolf

Plants Saved My Life

In this episode, Raven sits down with Melody Woolf, a resilient individual who conquered fibromyalgia, spinal stenosis, and more, spending years bedridden and in chronic pain. Discover how kratom, discovered six years ago, became the key to her transformation. Melody went from relying on a wheelchair and walker to walking, biking, and embracing a vibrant family life.

Listen as Melody recounts her diagnosis of fibromyalgia and the life-changing impact of kratom. Now an active part of her adult children's lives, she even provided full-time childcare for her granddaughter in 2022, reclaiming lost family moments.

As a passionate kratom activist, Melody advocates for its benefits, supported by scientific backing from NIH, NIDA, US HHS, NEJM, Sloan Kettering, Yale, WHO, and the UN. Join us for a compelling journey of healing, family, and the power of kratom.

Further reading here:

Like the show? Follow & share!

Love the show? Show your support!

Join the conversation-Follow us on Instagram: @plantssavedmylife.pod





Plants Saved My Life is a weekly podcast blending education, scientific research, compassion, and storytelling. Featuring real stories from patients who have overcome chronic conditions with the help of plant medicine and specialized medical practitioners, therapists, shamans, and other neotraditional healers exploring non-pharmacological means of medical intervention. Join us weekly for fascinating conversations with people whose lives were saved by plants. Let's demystify and destigmatize entheogens, naturopathy, plant-based medicines, holistic therapies, psychedelics, and functional nutrition. Join us as we pay homage to the plants and fungi we owe our health and happiness.



Plants Saved My Life website

Copyright 2024 Entheo Wellness - Plants Saved My life

Music - Psychedelic Es by Ostenvegr under Creative Commons License

Transcript
Speaker:

Hey everyone, and welcome to another episode of Plants Saved My Life.

Speaker:

I'm your host, Raven, and today we'll be sitting down and discussing kratom,

Speaker:

the medicinal plant from Southeast Asia, with my guest, Melody Wolf.

Speaker:

Melody and I are going to dive into her personal odyssey with Kratom, discussing

Speaker:

how it helped her overcome chronic pain and reconnect with her family,

Speaker:

how she's now gone on to advocate and protect the legality of this plant.

Speaker:

We'll also be diving a little bit into the safety, the science, and also

Speaker:

the legal status of Kratom, so join me as we welcome Melody to the show.

Speaker:

But first, a quick disclaimer.

Speaker:

While I make every effort to broadcast correct information, I'm still learning.

Speaker:

I'm committed to thorough fact checking, but I realize that plant medicine is

Speaker:

a constantly evolving science and art.

Speaker:

Additionally, the views and opinions expressed on this show do not

Speaker:

represent the perspectives of any of the institutions I teach for or the

Speaker:

organizations I collaborate with.

Speaker:

However, this podcast does align with my broader mission to demystify and

Speaker:

destigmatize plant medicine everywhere.

Speaker:

These discussions are intended purely for educational and informative purposes.

Speaker:

Always consult with a qualified healthcare professional before making any decisions

Speaker:

related to your health, and no topics are meant to be taken as medical advice.

Speaker:

Perfect.

Speaker:

Thank you, Melody, for joining Plant Saved My Life today.

Speaker:

I know your story is one that's quintessential to the ethos here of

Speaker:

Plant Saved My Life and what we do.

Speaker:

So I would love for you to kind of share how you fell into Kratom

Speaker:

and how it came into your life.

Speaker:

I guess because of pain conditions, I was holding my husband's hand and like, why

Speaker:

does it hurt to hold my husband's hand?

Speaker:

And the pain is just getting multiplied and multiplied.

Speaker:

So eventually I went to the doctor.

Speaker:

And after going to several specialists, rheumatologists, they

Speaker:

said, not much we can do for you.

Speaker:

And so I was on the, put on the same roller coaster as

Speaker:

everybody else with opioids.

Speaker:

And I don't think it's anybody's fault really, but the opioids could

Speaker:

not keep up with my pain levels.

Speaker:

I got a crazy fast tolerance.

Speaker:

And thankfully I don't have that tolerance with Kratom.

Speaker:

Which is really good.

Speaker:

I was bedridden for several years using mobility aids.

Speaker:

My kids had to have fans on in their rooms at night, so they wouldn't

Speaker:

hear me crying in pain because they had to go to school in the morning.

Speaker:

So, I just frantically searched whenever I could, whenever I was

Speaker:

coherent enough with all the pain meds, and I stumbled across Kratom.

Speaker:

And I have been consuming it for nine years.

Speaker:

Wow, that's amazing to hear.

Speaker:

You look incredibly healthy.

Speaker:

I mean, I read your stories online.

Speaker:

It sounds like it's been helping you tremendously.

Speaker:

I'd love to kind of hear how it's been helping you as far

Speaker:

as overcoming your conditions.

Speaker:

My daughter and husband's child care shut down two weeks before

Speaker:

she went off maternity leave.

Speaker:

There was nothing open, nothing.

Speaker:

And so they were looking at having to pay 50, 000 for a nanny.

Speaker:

And so they called me up and said, Mom, could you move in with us for one year?

Speaker:

Just until the fall, until there are openings.

Speaker:

I was on that train so fast to go over there.

Speaker:

Oh yeah.

Speaker:

So, I took care of a newborn for one year.

Speaker:

And everything that goes along with that we took several trips to the zoo and in

Speaker:

the very same zoo where my kids pushed me around in a wheelchair, I pushed my

Speaker:

granddaughter around in her stroller for hours and then had to carry her through

Speaker:

exhibits that weren't stroller friendly.

Speaker:

So, yeah, I went from needing mobility aids to...

Speaker:

taking a baby to the zoo all day.

Speaker:

Wow that's incredible.

Speaker:

I mean, I hear those types of stories every now and then whenever a patient

Speaker:

is diagnosed with pretty severe pain conditions like fibromyalgia, arthritis,

Speaker:

sciatica like yourself, brain meniscus, and the rotator cuff tendinopathy.

Speaker:

I find that those conditions can oftentimes, even with the opioids, Put

Speaker:

things like caring your granddaughter just like out of your range of hope so

Speaker:

it's nice to know that They create them which I know I'm mispronouncing and I

Speaker:

know every time I hear it's pronounced differently It's pronounced differently

Speaker:

every time I hear it But with that said I find that it's nice to know

Speaker:

that's brought you your life back and be able to kind of provide That quality

Speaker:

of life back to the point of where you're a real loud and proud advocate

Speaker:

And the you know, my daughter and son in law would have figured it

Speaker:

out about the child care But they would have had to drain all of their

Speaker:

savings, had to put stuff on credit cards, and it would have been a mess.

Speaker:

So, oh, yeah, I feel sorry for those that have lost loved ones and they

Speaker:

believe that it's kratom, but You know, my family is important too,

Speaker:

and I just want to let other people see that consumers have families

Speaker:

that are being positively affected.

Speaker:

Yeah, that's honestly true.

Speaker:

Whenever you say that Kratom has helped save your life and plants have saved our

Speaker:

lives, we're not really also considering the fact that our families benefit

Speaker:

greatly from us not having to suffer as much, and that's huge as well and

Speaker:

part of health and wellness as a whole.

Speaker:

And I would love to hear kind of about the trial and error that you

Speaker:

had to undergo to find the right dose for you, finding the right source.

Speaker:

Okay

Speaker:

I started taking it about nine years ago.

Speaker:

So I was still where you were taking a chance by just ordering product

Speaker:

from somebody that you don't know.

Speaker:

And so I just did my research and tried to find out everything I could

Speaker:

about the vendor before I ordered.

Speaker:

And, you know, when they say start small and increase small,

Speaker:

that's basically what I had to do.

Speaker:

And as far as the strains, I don't notice any difference

Speaker:

between the green and red strains.

Speaker:

I don't notice any difference.

Speaker:

Yeah, that's definitely a good point.

Speaker:

I'm glad you brought that up because that's something I was going to ask about.

Speaker:

I mean, I come from the world of medicinal cannabis and something we

Speaker:

often see is that there's chemotypes of cannabis that will be, have high levels

Speaker:

of THC and other ones that will have low levels of THC and there's a million and

Speaker:

a half different cultivars out there.

Speaker:

And I see with kratom, you mostly just see like red, green, and white vein.

Speaker:

And I was going to ask what you've, if you've noticed anything different

Speaker:

in your in your use case, I know that some of them might have more

Speaker:

metrogynin than others and just kind of how you've kind of come across that.

Speaker:

I might notice a little bit of difference with the white strain, maybe

Speaker:

a little bit of energy, but that could also be the placebo effect because

Speaker:

I know I'm taking a white strain.

Speaker:

I, maybe there is some science to back it up that different strains, but Dr.

Speaker:

McCurdy, he's an expert on kratom.

Speaker:

He said right now that there's not anything scientifically

Speaker:

backing up different strains, although he's careful to say.

Speaker:

We might come across something that does show us different

Speaker:

strains behave differently, but so far we haven't come across it.

Speaker:

Yeah, exactly.

Speaker:

And I really like Dr.

Speaker:

McCurdy's work because he's the one of the few scientists out there that

Speaker:

as soon as he publishes something there's like consumers reading it and

Speaker:

there's a million scientists or you know they publish something and it's

Speaker:

going to be a couple years before it gets cited in another article.

Speaker:

So, because there's such a large advocacy group be it research

Speaker:

bodies, healthcare professionals, and patients all supporting Kratom.

Speaker:

I think that's really unique about the story of it is anytime the DEA

Speaker:

or the FDA have made attempts to make it illegal, advocacy groups with like

Speaker:

the research community and healthcare professionals have put a lot of

Speaker:

pressure on to not add Kratom to the Schedule 1 controlled substance list.

Speaker:

And I think that's really nice to have that effort to see.

Speaker:

Policy and regulations to be based on evidence based

Speaker:

medicine and actual research.

Speaker:

And then, in addition to that, getting our policymakers and our representatives

Speaker:

educated is such a huge step forward that I love to see advocacy groups take.

Speaker:

The immediate outpour of anecdotes that you see online of all the

Speaker:

patients indicating the profound benefits they've gained from

Speaker:

Kratom, it's just really powerful

Speaker:

stuff.

Speaker:

I'm really excited when Dr.

Speaker:

McCurdy publishes his next paper.

Speaker:

I was on a, in a community meeting with him and Dr.

Speaker:

Grundman, and he said they came up, I think it was with 350 samples, randomly

Speaker:

tested, that there were zero adulterants.

Speaker:

Wow.

Speaker:

He said the self-regulating is helping.

Speaker:

Good.

Speaker:

That's a, that's actually brings me to another question is you

Speaker:

mentioned researching the vendors before you choose, and I know around

Speaker:

here there's it exists mostly in kind of like the gray market area.

Speaker:

. You can find it at like vape shops and places like that, but you

Speaker:

don't really find it with any.

Speaker:

A lot of medicinal or reputable foresight behind it, so I was kind of curious as to

Speaker:

what you look for whenever you're looking for a vendor to make sure it's, like,

Speaker:

ethically sourced and it's a safe product.

Speaker:

It is good to know that his research indicated most of them

Speaker:

are free of adulterants, but what do you personally look for?

Speaker:

I look for it vendors that have like a code on the back of their

Speaker:

prod on their product that you can scan and go look up the testing.

Speaker:

Okay.

Speaker:

Yeah.

Speaker:

Okay.

Speaker:

Similar to like a CBD product.

Speaker:

That's good.

Speaker:

Yeah.

Speaker:

Because I have had mercury poisoning like about 20 years ago.

Speaker:

And so I have to be very careful that I don't have any heavy metals.

Speaker:

in my product.

Speaker:

So it's very important to me.

Speaker:

And, you know, check reviews and just make sure that they have that code on

Speaker:

the back of their product so you can see who tested it, when they tested it.

Speaker:

What it was tested for in the third party certification certificates are

Speaker:

also available with a really good vendor.

Speaker:

They'll show you

Speaker:

everything.

Speaker:

Yeah.

Speaker:

It's good to know that there's reputable vendors out there that way patients

Speaker:

can feel safe whenever they at least try a medicinal plant like this,

Speaker:

something a little bit more holistic.

Speaker:

And if you don't mind me asking Melody, I would love to know what

Speaker:

it is you do in the realm of Kratom.

Speaker:

I know that you're an advocate, but I'd love to know kind of more what your

Speaker:

day to day looks like in that realm.

Speaker:

My day to day looks like scanning every social media site putting in the social

Speaker:

media search bar, crotum, and maybe I'll put ordinance um, addictive um, ban,

Speaker:

coalition, anything that will help me find out anybody who's talking about it.

Speaker:

And I do that on Facebook a lot, and I found out about a ban that was...

Speaker:

That's going to be voted on September 12th, I believe, in Louisiana.

Speaker:

That's the local one.

Speaker:

And then I get that information immediately to Matt Caddow

Speaker:

and Ryan Burroughs from the American Karate Association.

Speaker:

And then I let them get their information to the council.

Speaker:

So I I hand it off to them and say, okay, here you go.

Speaker:

Then I hand it off to him.

Speaker:

I listen to Dr.

Speaker:

McCurdy's.

Speaker:

I listen to one interview every day from Dr.

Speaker:

McCurdy because I don't have a science background.

Speaker:

And so I need to hear things multiple times and usually

Speaker:

during everything I listen to it.

Speaker:

I have an ah, okay now I get it.

Speaker:

I understand that better now.

Speaker:

And I probably spend about five to 10 hours a day on social media researching

Speaker:

and listening to interviews and just trying to make connections, um, with

Speaker:

other alternative medical people and

Speaker:

so forth.

Speaker:

Well, that's amazing.

Speaker:

Thank you for doing that good work.

Speaker:

That's what I've noticed, especially with this plant, is there's a lot of work

Speaker:

being done on the backs of advocates, on the backs of really passionate

Speaker:

advocates, patient advocates, researchers, really standing at the forefront to

Speaker:

make sure that this doesn't get lumped in with every other drug, you know?

Speaker:

And I would love to know a little bit About how it was for you whenever

Speaker:

you first started taking it and how you were able, like, how long

Speaker:

did it take to actually feel the effects and as far as tapering off

Speaker:

of other pain management medications?

Speaker:

I'd love to know about that if you don't mind me asking.

Speaker:

Sure.

Speaker:

I can hardly know where to start.

Speaker:

I started Taking it probably just after I had filled my last

Speaker:

prescription of tramadol, I think.

Speaker:

And that's when the doctors were getting very stingy with painkillers and so

Speaker:

forth, and I, like I said, my kids had to have their fans on in their rooms

Speaker:

at night because I was crying in pain.

Speaker:

So I was pretty desperate.

Speaker:

And I accidentally stumbled across it and read everything that I could.

Speaker:

And then I had some Facebook friends like kind of verify my

Speaker:

research because I wasn't sure I was understanding things correctly.

Speaker:

And then you have to navigate, but it says not for human consumption.

Speaker:

That's when they were doing that nine years ago, they were doing that a lot.

Speaker:

So you have to try and navigate that, like, is this really okay for me?

Speaker:

And I just started at a very small amount and just increased it.

Speaker:

I'd say it took about a half an hour for it to take effect.

Speaker:

Oh, wow.

Speaker:

I was like, oh my goodness, I cannot believe this is happening to me.

Speaker:

And I immediately dropped like 30 pounds because I was able to exercise again.

Speaker:

I started bike riding again and going on hikes and family vacations, because

Speaker:

think about it, for about a decade, we didn't have family vacations.

Speaker:

All of that money that was left over from like food and utilities and housing.

Speaker:

went for my health care.

Speaker:

There wasn't anything left over.

Speaker:

So, I was just very thankful to come across it.

Speaker:

And my family, they have one regret though.

Speaker:

They regret that we did not find it sooner.

Speaker:

All of my family is on board with it and they helped me advocate.

Speaker:

Not as much as I'd like them to, but they're all out of the house and

Speaker:

they have their own families now.

Speaker:

and so forth.

Speaker:

Yeah, that's amazing.

Speaker:

I really appreciate you sharing that with me.

Speaker:

I mean, one thing that I think about is we often hear Kratom talked about in regards

Speaker:

specifically to substance use disorders.

Speaker:

And I know personally a lot of, I know personally a handful of people who very

Speaker:

close to me have managed to be able to quit taking hardcore prescription

Speaker:

opioids with the help of Kratom.

Speaker:

However, there's also an enormous number of people like yourself

Speaker:

who have benefited significantly just to treat their chronic pain.

Speaker:

And that's really, our conversations my eyes.

Speaker:

So it's not Of course, substance abuse disorder is something that I think

Speaker:

about coming from my part of the world but chronic pain is something that

Speaker:

patients worldwide, there's still over, over 50 million patients worldwide

Speaker:

living with chronic pain, so it's important that anything we can do

Speaker:

to be able to drop that number down.

Speaker:

And I just wish that not every patient would wait until it's the last resort

Speaker:

until they are to that point of desperation to try and create them.

Speaker:

You know, I hope that conversations like this bring it to the forefront a little

Speaker:

bit so patients don't have to bring them, don't have to get to that point.

Speaker:

What I'm trying to work on is some type of a pin up campaign.

Speaker:

Social media, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, they allow you to pin a

Speaker:

post or LinkedIn you can pin more than one post to the top of your profile.

Speaker:

Thank you.

Speaker:

I want, when somebody looks up Kratom, if they see me comment, I want

Speaker:

something, I want a really good piece of science to be available for them

Speaker:

when they come look at my profile.

Speaker:

And I want, when somebody types Kratom into the research bar, into

Speaker:

the Facebook search bar, I want some of my stuff to come up too.

Speaker:

Just the clickbait is out there, and although some of the one off events for

Speaker:

Adverse Effects, we need to know about them, people see one negative thing

Speaker:

and that's where they are anchored to.

Speaker:

It's called anchoring bias.

Speaker:

The first thing that you find out about a previously unknown subject is what

Speaker:

you are going to tend to be anchored to, that your view will take on.

Speaker:

So I want them to see the science first, so we can get them anchored to some truth.

Speaker:

Yeah, that's a really good point.

Speaker:

If we can see the science first, then we can anchor down into some truth.

Speaker:

And especially whenever we do start talking about kind of the adverse

Speaker:

effects or some of the risks that could be involved, there's always that

Speaker:

worry regarding like the addiction potential or it could be habit forming.

Speaker:

And I think that overall, that narrative kind of plays in how our

Speaker:

society views addiction as a whole.

Speaker:

I mean, of course, many patients are attracted to kratom for

Speaker:

its propensity to help wean off other harmful medications, right?

Speaker:

But if one already has that disposition or family history leaning towards

Speaker:

substance abuse problems or chemical dependencies, I guess what I mean is

Speaker:

that anytime Kratom is talked about, the habit forming potential is always

Speaker:

discussed and warned, of course.

Speaker:

It's not being represented as a safer alternative for the opioids, if that's

Speaker:

what we're going to be anchoring in, is these potential risks already.

Speaker:

And it's difficult to say that the plant itself is prone to abuse,

Speaker:

because abuse is amalgamation of several compounding factors.

Speaker:

I mean, it's a complex pharmacology and psychology of addiction.

Speaker:

Not to mention society and stigma.

Speaker:

So if you don't mind me asking, I would kind of love to hear your

Speaker:

experience and your thoughts on the addiction potential of kratom.

Speaker:

I think everything is dependent.

Speaker:

For example, carbs Americans consume over a hundred carbs many

Speaker:

more than a hundred carbs a day.

Speaker:

Low carb is considered 20 carbs.

Speaker:

If you go from 100 carbs a day to 20 carbs overnight.

Speaker:

It's even called the keto flu.

Speaker:

You feel like you have the flu, and we need carbs.

Speaker:

They're good for us, but does that mean carbs are bad because when I

Speaker:

decreased my carbs, I had the keto flu?

Speaker:

No, it just means that my body is used to having a hundred carbs

Speaker:

a day and doesn't like it when I switched it down to 20 carbs a day,

Speaker:

and I think freedom gets demonized.

Speaker:

As far as somebody who has addictive personality, I would look at it,

Speaker:

are, is this person taking Kratom?

Speaker:

Are they paying their bills?

Speaker:

Are they maintaining positive relationships?

Speaker:

If so, I mean,

Speaker:

for people with addictive personalities, we could be switching one for another, but

Speaker:

aren't we all about harm reduction now?

Speaker:

Exactly.

Speaker:

Nora Volkow, when she was brought before Congress asking what are

Speaker:

you doing about the opioid crisis?

Speaker:

And she said, we're checking into Kratom, that's what we're doing about it.

Speaker:

And she asked for more money for research and the president has signed

Speaker:

things for more research for Kratom.

Speaker:

I'd say if it was as bad as the FDA would have us to believe,

Speaker:

then we would be having a lot more problems and people would not be

Speaker:

taking Kratom, paying their bills.

Speaker:

Maintaining friendships and family relationships.

Speaker:

I mean, I would say that Kratom restored our family because, like, my

Speaker:

kids, they had to fend for themselves.

Speaker:

So it really brought, you know, our family doing activities

Speaker:

together, family vacations.

Speaker:

If you have an addictive personality, I would...

Speaker:

Consider buying a gram scale.

Speaker:

I know it sounds so bad, but that's how I make sure that my

Speaker:

consumption doesn't get away from me.

Speaker:

So I don't have to eyeball it.

Speaker:

I measure it every single time I measure to make sure that

Speaker:

I am not increasing my dose.

Speaker:

Unwittingly.

Speaker:

Yeah, that's a really good point because I find that whenever we talk

Speaker:

about the safety, the risk potential, and then also harm reduction, it's,

Speaker:

you already talked about sourcing a little bit, but of course, the

Speaker:

actual preparation of it as well.

Speaker:

So yeah, making sure that you're measuring an accurate dose, that

Speaker:

you're not overdoing it, that you're not unintentionally increasing your

Speaker:

dose just kind of scaling up that way.

Speaker:

And to reiterate your point I saw that you had posted a study from the

Speaker:

National Institute of Health from just two years ago indicating that kratom

Speaker:

has a low potential for abuse and a low dependence liability and that there

Speaker:

is insufficient evidence of personal harm, adverse effects, or detriment

Speaker:

to public health to warrant control under the Controlled Substances Act.

Speaker:

And I think that's a Very good point of order because it is the National

Speaker:

Institute of Health, and they even go on to say that the appropriate regulation

Speaker:

for kratom under the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act would actually be the most

Speaker:

effective way to protect public health.

Speaker:

So, rather, regulating it similarly to a supplement as opposed to an actual,

Speaker:

like, You know, quote unquote drug.

Speaker:

I think that's really the route that it needs to take, so I'm glad that stories

Speaker:

like yours and other patients are really taking it upon themselves to be loud and

Speaker:

proud and make sure that the science and their anecdotal stories are out there.

Speaker:

There's

Speaker:

a lot more science coming, too.

Speaker:

I know that.

Speaker:

The University of Florida is involved heavily in research.

Speaker:

There's a lot more coming.

Speaker:

Especially on the...

Speaker:

Drug or substance interactions.

Speaker:

We need that.

Speaker:

Like, something as harmless as grapefruit juice could be dangerous for me

Speaker:

because of the medication that I take.

Speaker:

Are we seeing a ban for grapefruit juice just because there are a very

Speaker:

small amount of population that has an interaction with grapefruit juice?

Speaker:

You know, but we, I'm sure that there are interactions out there.

Speaker:

We just have to get what they are.

Speaker:

Absolutely.

Speaker:

Another thing I would like to see research into is like the biphasic dosage model

Speaker:

that Kratom has where on lower doses it's kind of it can be a mild pain relief

Speaker:

but also a little bit of a stimulant and then on big doses it could be like

Speaker:

a sedative or a hardcore muscle relaxer and I think that is very interesting to

Speaker:

me and I'd like to kind of see more about the mechanisms of action to play a role

Speaker:

into that and also the any other active metabolites that might be present in the

Speaker:

metrogynin speciosa plant besides just metrogynin, see how those might play

Speaker:

a role in a sort of entourage effect.

Speaker:

I think the research in that realm definitely needs to be conducted as

Speaker:

well, but of course if we, if it ever becomes illegal, Then that research

Speaker:

is going to be very hard to complete.

Speaker:

That's what I'm saying.

Speaker:

That's why it's important to always fight to keep it legal so we can maintain this

Speaker:

research and have these plant medicines available to the patients who need it.

Speaker:

And another thing that I've kind of see whenever people are kind of what I would

Speaker:

call fear mongering whenever it comes to kratom is the death surrounding kratom.

Speaker:

So I noticed that these are kind of a hot topic because they're always brought

Speaker:

up anytime they're always brought up.

Speaker:

And if you really dig into the research underlying the deaths,

Speaker:

it seems a lot of them might not even be pertaining to kratom.

Speaker:

Many people who died using kratom seem to be also had toxic levels

Speaker:

of tramadol in their system.

Speaker:

It very much reminds me of early stage COVID whenever patients

Speaker:

would, someone would die of a car accident, but they had COVID.

Speaker:

So they would say it was a COVID related death.

Speaker:

That's kind of what it reminds me of.

Speaker:

I when my brother was eight years old, he was killed by a drunk driver, and I

Speaker:

don't ever remember my parents blaming alcohol, not even mentioning it privately.

Speaker:

They blamed the person.

Speaker:

I don't even remember them mentioning it casually.

Speaker:

Casually about blaming alcohol and not the person.

Speaker:

There are just so many things that you could, that could be

Speaker:

involved, like an enlarged heart.

Speaker:

I think it's irresponsible to say it was just kratom.

Speaker:

Yeah, and a recent study that was published by Frontier Pharmacology

Speaker:

found that kratom consumption did not implicate a plant's role in the toxicity.

Speaker:

In addition, because kratom is a partial agonist, The study found that

Speaker:

kratom alone does not contribute to significant respiratory depression

Speaker:

in preclinical animal studies.

Speaker:

So making poisoning when kratom alone is used is a highly questionable

Speaker:

cause of death as per this study.

Speaker:

And I think that's a very important thing to underline because people

Speaker:

who die from kratom typically have used it in combination with other

Speaker:

substances or they have underlying health conditions like you mentioned.

Speaker:

I'm not quite sure what's going to happen with the lawsuits.

Speaker:

Yeah, I would love to know what you think the next couple years kind

Speaker:

of look like for Kratom as a whole.

Speaker:

I

Speaker:

think that we're going to get a federal KCPA, but it won't be

Speaker:

next year, but the following year.

Speaker:

Because only 5 percent of bills make it out of committee.

Speaker:

Though I don't think it's going to happen right away, but I

Speaker:

think it's going to happen.

Speaker:

And then there's just going to have to be like a long pamphlet for

Speaker:

every Kratom product probably, or maybe somebody will have to post.

Speaker:

The, any warning labels up in their store or else they can't sell it.

Speaker:

But something's going to have to be done with the warning labels and so forth.

Speaker:

Yeah, so I would imagine if it does hit if that bill does hit the

Speaker:

federal level, then we would have to see some form of like regulation

Speaker:

regarding like the warning labels, testing protocols, standardization.

Speaker:

And I would also be curious to know kind of what the import and export

Speaker:

would look like with that as well.

Speaker:

I know that a lot of it would come from overseas, but there is still

Speaker:

some that's growing over here as well.

Speaker:

Yeah,

Speaker:

I think it's all going to have to come from overseas.

Speaker:

I'm not sure that they have, um, that they have a kratom tree yet that produces the

Speaker:

same alkaloids as we get from Indonesia, because I understand that they have

Speaker:

kratom trees, but the alkaloid structure isn't the same or the cannabis structure.

Speaker:

Yeah.

Speaker:

different amounts in the leaf aren't the same.

Speaker:

So I think we're going to have to do it all from overseas and I think

Speaker:

that we're going to have to sue the FDA to do it because of their import

Speaker:

alert.

Speaker:

Yeah, that's exactly what I think.

Speaker:

Yeah, that's because that's part of the whole conversation as well is that

Speaker:

Kratom's prime, I mean it's all imported because Most, if not all, kratom comes

Speaker:

from a very small area in Indonesia and Malaysia and Thailand, and with those,

Speaker:

it's like you said, the kratom plants there, they produce the alkaloid levels

Speaker:

that are actually of the Medicinal variety and of that, of the quantity that we need.

Speaker:

And it's largely in part due to their soil.

Speaker:

So we're going to have to rely on them.

Speaker:

And

Speaker:

it also has to do with the season it was harvested in the rainfall, the

Speaker:

drying process, it, I think they're probably going to have to make it be a

Speaker:

lot standardized because now even freeze drying create them, you know, overseas.

Speaker:

And Dr.

Speaker:

McCurdy, I just heard him talk about that.

Speaker:

He does not know if it affects the alkaloid content or not, but

Speaker:

they're freeze drying it in Thailand and then shipping it over here.

Speaker:

Very interesting.

Speaker:

I that's, I'm gonna, I'm gonna be curious to see how that plays out because our

Speaker:

American government can't really impose GMP facilities over there, you know?

Speaker:

, I, I know that a lot of the farmers, they do have stainless steel equipment

Speaker:

now, and, excuse me, the American Crime Association has helped them.

Speaker:

With their standards and Mac just got back from Indonesia a week or two ago, and he

Speaker:

said it was a lot better Oh, yeah, I mean

Speaker:

if they're on cannabis facilities say anything about what their

Speaker:

creative facilities look like They're definitely coming state of the art.

Speaker:

Like you said stainless steel everything GMP certifications.

Speaker:

It's definitely becoming a Real industry so to

Speaker:

speak and they're no longer drying it outside

Speaker:

Seriously, that's nice That's

Speaker:

so good.

Speaker:

I think, you know, a decade ago, I'm sure that some of the products were sketchy.

Speaker:

Yeah, that's another thing to kind of keep in mind, is like, I guess

Speaker:

whenever you started trying it nine years ago, there had to be a lot more

Speaker:

precautions taken because there's a lot more unknowns, and like you said, a

Speaker:

lot more of the products are probably a little less than questionable so being

Speaker:

able to go now and see that the self regulation is really working, that there

Speaker:

are reputable brands of Kratom that you can go and get a consistent dose from

Speaker:

and you know what you're getting, and I think that kind of stuff is, That

Speaker:

builds the medical legitimacy that we need to have for patients to be able

Speaker:

to have that trust in their medicine.

Speaker:

I think that, like you said, if a patient's, if you're going to a

Speaker:

source that might be a little bit questionable and you're not sure

Speaker:

about the product, that's going to affect your overall healing process.

Speaker:

So, I really appreciate this conversation, Melody, and I'm so glad that Kratom

Speaker:

has given you your life back and kind of helped provide your life back for

Speaker:

your family as well and I would love to know kind of what you're working

Speaker:

on next and how listeners can help get involved on the advocacy side.

Speaker:

It's

Speaker:

that pin up campaign we were talking about.

Speaker:

I want everyone to have a piece of the science, or their testimony, pinned to the

Speaker:

top of every social media that they have.

Speaker:

And I think every social media does have that feature in some shape or form.

Speaker:

Do you ever find pushback on social media?

Speaker:

Just curious, because I I've hashtagged Kratom a few times and got blackmarked.

Speaker:

Yeah,

Speaker:

I received pushback from a councilwoman in Louisiana.

Speaker:

Oh, wow.

Speaker:

Did you hear about it?

Speaker:

What happened?

Speaker:

No, I did not see that.

Speaker:

Okay, I saw on her Facebook page that she had the agenda posted and that

Speaker:

somewhere in the agenda kratom was mentioned so it came up in my newsfeed.

Speaker:

Everything kratom comes up in my newsfeed.

Speaker:

So I went and looked at it and I posted the link to the UN presentation.

Speaker:

I posted my testimony and then I invited her to join us in a Facebook

Speaker:

Messenger Louisiana chat group so she could talk to her constituents and

Speaker:

that wasn't taken well and so I'm not sure if other people called her but

Speaker:

she said that people were calling her at all hours of the day and night but

Speaker:

even before that it didn't happen.

Speaker:

Immediately after I posted the science, she blocked me.

Speaker:

Oh my

Speaker:

gosh.

Speaker:

And then told us to take our fight to D.

Speaker:

C.

Speaker:

Another advocate said, we're going to do exactly that.

Speaker:

And then she was blocked.

Speaker:

I've been blocked quite a few times for posting strictly the science.

Speaker:

It happens a lot.

Speaker:

It happens a lot.

Speaker:

That's really

Speaker:

disheartening, but I'm glad to know that it doesn't slow you down at all.

Speaker:

Oh,

Speaker:

It does make me feel bad sometimes.

Speaker:

I'm, you know, nobody likes to have that happen, especially

Speaker:

for putting the science.

Speaker:

Yeah, exactly.

Speaker:

And it's just really disheartening because it's something that

Speaker:

has tremendously helped you.

Speaker:

And like you said it's not even your opinion.

Speaker:

It's the science, the hard, raw science and our policy leaders and

Speaker:

our congressional bodies shouldn't be so close minded to just the

Speaker:

science.

Speaker:

I know.

Speaker:

It's one thing if it's somebody, just another social media person,

Speaker:

but it was on her government page.

Speaker:

And so usually, I don't know if it's ever written down, usually it's an

Speaker:

understanding that you don't block people from your government page,

Speaker:

because you can always mute them to where they can't make comments, but

Speaker:

you don't block them from your page.

Speaker:

Yeah.

Speaker:

Yeah.

Speaker:

Seriously.

Speaker:

I've been blocked by the Cleveland Clinic.

Speaker:

They put their thing out, like it was like 2019, I posted all the science, blocked.

Speaker:

Why do you think that is?

Speaker:

Because like with the Cleveland Clinic or the Mayo Clinic or a lot of these

Speaker:

health bodies, you research create them on their own websites, and it seems to be

Speaker:

kind of the same sort of fear mongering.

Speaker:

And I wonder why that is.

Speaker:

I mean, of course, there's the overall like, well, there's

Speaker:

not enough research, right?

Speaker:

But we're trying very heavily to get the research out there.

Speaker:

And the research is steadily pumping out there.

Speaker:

So.

Speaker:

Yup.

Speaker:

I think that just seems like a lazy blanket statement, not to be rude, but...

Speaker:

Yeah, it's like something is dangerous because it's not regulated.

Speaker:

So you ban it so you can't regulate

Speaker:

it.

Speaker:

Exactly, yeah, and then as we know from any industry,

Speaker:

banning it only makes it worse.

Speaker:

It ties it up with the black market, ties it up with the illicit market, and,

Speaker:

you know, gun running and other crimes.

Speaker:

It's just not, it doesn't, Kratom doesn't belong there.

Speaker:

No, it doesn't.

Speaker:

It's been lots of hype.

Speaker:

And it's just the FDA policymakers now.

Speaker:

It's not their scientists.

Speaker:

Dr.

Speaker:

McCurdy is on one of the narcotic boards with the FDA.

Speaker:

He's on an FDA committee.

Speaker:

Dr.

Speaker:

Henningfield is considered a special government employee with the FDA.

Speaker:

These pro kratom, and so it's not their policymakers that are against it.

Speaker:

I mean, it's just their policymakers that are against it.

Speaker:

The scientists aren't.

Speaker:

I see.

Speaker:

So, I mean, at that point I would have to wonder if it has to do

Speaker:

more with some economic side.

Speaker:

Yeah over half of their operating budget comes from the new drug application.

Speaker:

Well,

Speaker:

there we go.

Speaker:

I think it was, they came up with that many years ago because drugs

Speaker:

weren't getting approved fast enough.

Speaker:

They said, well, let's have the people that profit kick in

Speaker:

some of the regulatory money.

Speaker:

And I think at that point when it started, it was just 8%, and now it's

Speaker:

over 50, and I think that's because it's probably more over 60 right now.

Speaker:

So that's probably all the money.

Speaker:

Yeah, so that speaks volumes then as to why they might not be on board.

Speaker:

Awesome.

Speaker:

Well, thank you so much once again, Melody, for being able to chat today

Speaker:

and sharing your story with how Kratom has helped save your life.

Speaker:

With that, I look forward to seeing your social media campaign and anyone

Speaker:

who's listening, please go share that.

Speaker:

Comment on that if Kratom has helped you.

Speaker:

And of course, stay up with the research and don't be afraid to reach out.

Speaker:

Thank you very much.

Speaker:

Okay, everyone.

Speaker:

That's all we have for today.

Speaker:

That was Melody Wolf, and you can read more about her story by connecting

Speaker:

with her on Facebook or LinkedIn, and you can also learn more about kratom

Speaker:

and get involved yourself by visiting American kratom association.org.

Speaker:

If you or a loved one has been benefited by creative.

Speaker:

Please visit ProtectKratom.

Speaker:

org to submit your story and help keep this plant legal.

Speaker:

All those links are going to be located below in the show notes.

Speaker:

Otherwise, thank you very much for tuning in to another

Speaker:

episode of Plant Saved My Life.

Speaker:

I'm your host, Raven, and as always, if you enjoyed this conversation, I

Speaker:

encourage you to share it with someone else who you know would enjoy it.

Speaker:

I'd also be eternally grateful if you were to take a second and

Speaker:

give the show a 5 star rating on your favorite podcast platform.

Speaker:

Also, we do have a Patreon full of exclusive interviews, behind the scenes

Speaker:

content, blog posts, and general rambling, so I invite enthusiastic listeners

Speaker:

who want to support the show and take a peek behind the veil at patreon.

Speaker:

com slash plantsavedmylife.

Speaker:

Thank you again for listening.

Speaker:

For questions, comments, and community, please feel free to

Speaker:

connect with us over on our official Instagram at plantsavemylife.

Speaker:

com.

Speaker:

Until next time everyone, peace, love, and

Speaker:

plants.

Show artwork for Plants Saved My Life

About the Podcast

Plants Saved My Life
Uncover the healing potential of plant medicine with the "Plants Saved My Life" podcast. Join us weekly for real stories from patients who have overcome chronic conditions with the help of plant-based treatments and insights from specialized medical practitioners, therapists, shamans, and other experts in non-pharmacological forms of healing.

Learn about the latest advancements in patient-focused, holistic medicine and the potential of plant medicine in healing various disorders. Discover the benefits of entheogens, naturopathy, psychedelics, and functional nutrition.

Get a glimpse into the regulatory landscape of plant medicine in America and the end of the War on Drugs. Hear about the therapeutic benefits of psychedelic mushrooms, ayahuasca, iboga, medical marijuana/cannabis, kratom, and other non-traditional methods of healing.

Join host Raven Ariola, a scientific advisor, consultant, and educator in the medical cannabis space and founder of Entheo Wellness, for inspiring conversations and an exploration of the plants and fungi we owe our health and happiness to. "Plants Saved My Life" - demystifying and destigmatizing alternative forms of healing
Support This Show

About your host

Profile picture for Raven Ariola

Raven Ariola

Passionate about plants. Raven is a medical cannabis scientist, consultant, and educator based in Pittsburgh, PA. Through his experience in the plant medicine industry, Raven has learned that real patient stories can often get lost in the static. A dedicated lifelong learner, he aims to bridge educational gaps and inspire compassion while providing these voices a platform.