Beyond mitragynine: Composition survey and stability assessment of kratom tea ordered via food delivery platforms in Bangkok, Thailand

Authors

  • Yuta Tokuda Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand and King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital, Thai Red Cross Society, Bangkok, Thailand
  • Apinya Tubtimrattan Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand and King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital, Thai Red Cross Society, Bangkok, Thailand
  • Nat Tansrisawad Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand and King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital, Thai Red Cross Society, Bangkok, Thailand
  • Kornvalee Meesilpavikkai Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand
  • Parath Thirati Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand and King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital, Thai Red Cross Society, Bangkok, Thailand

Keywords:

Drug of abuse, kratom, kratom tea, mitragyna speciose, mitragynine

Abstract

Background: Kratom is a tree native to Southeast Asia. Kratom leaves have long been used medicinally and recreationally because of their stimulative and opioid-like effects attributed to high endogenous levels of mitragynine and related alkaloids. Kratom is widely consumed as tea and is now publicly sold, including on food delivery platforms, after recent decriminalization given the sale of kratom products is still considered illegal by other laws.

Objectives: To assess the formulas of kratom teas sold on Thai food delivery platforms, their consistency ,and the stability of the refrigerated teas.

Methods: Kratom alkaloids, mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, and additive contents of kratom teas purchased from three online food delivery applications at three different times were analyzed by chromatographic analyses. The stability of both alkaloids was evaluated in teas stored at 4°C for 4 weeks.

Results: In addition to kratom alkaloids, kratom teas contained other drugs and narcotics, particularly antihistamines, ketamine, and stimulants. The contents tended to be inconsistent both in and between lots, even from the same vendor. The mitragynine/7-hydroxymitragynine ratio was lower in tea samples than in raw kratom leaves and may have seasonal variations. Both alkaloids were stable in kratom teas despite fermentation.

Conclusion: Kratom teas contain other compounds in addition to alkaloids. The formulas were inconsistent even in products purchased from the same seller. The alkaloids in kratom teas were stable at 4°C for 4 weeks. Analyses of kratom teas from the same vendor, but not the products consumed by the patient or the deceased, may not provide sufficient data to the attending physician or pathologist. Thus, law enforcement agencies and online food delivery platforms must strictly control the sale of kratom products that contain other drugs and narcotics.

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Published

2024-05-02

How to Cite

1.
Tokuda Y, Tubtimrattan A, Tansrisawad N, Meesilpavikkai K, Thirati P. Beyond mitragynine: Composition survey and stability assessment of kratom tea ordered via food delivery platforms in Bangkok, Thailand. Chula Med J [Internet]. 2024 May 2 [cited 2024 May 19];68(2). Available from: https://he05.tci-thaijo.org/index.php/CMJ/article/view/1477

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