Suspected Adulteration of Commercial Kratom Products with 7-Hydroxymitragynine

Abstract

Introduction

Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa), a plant native to Southeast Asia, has been used for centuries for its stimulant and opium-like effects. Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, exclusive to M. speciosa, are the alkaloids primary responsible for Kratom's biologic and psychoactive profile, and likely contribute to its problematic use. We purchased several commercially available Kratom analogs for analysis and through our results, present evidence of probable adulteration with the highly potent and addictive plant alkaloid, 7-hydroxymitragynine.

Methods

A simple and sensitive LC-MS/MS method was developed for simultaneous quantification of mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine in methanol extract of marketed Kratom supplements.

Results

We found multiple commercial Kratom products to have concentrations of 7-hydroxymitragynine that are substantially higher than those found in raw M. speciosa leaves.

Conclusions

We have found multiple packaged commercial Kratom products likely to contain artificially elevated concentrations of 7-hydroxymitragynine, the alkaloid responsible for M. speciosa's concerning mechanistic and side effect profile. This study describes a unique form of product adulteration, which stresses the importance of increased dietary supplement oversight of Kratom-containing supplements.

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Correspondence to Alicia G. Lydecker.

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Authors AL, AS, CM, and BA declare that they have no conflict of interest. Authors KB and EB provide medico-legal consultation and receive royalties from UpToDate. Author EB also participates in an NIH-funded research on drugs of abuse.

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This study was funded by the Center of Research Excellence in Natural Products Neuroscience (CORE-NPN), Grant Number P20GM104932, which is funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as one of its Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE).

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Lydecker, A.G., Sharma, A., McCurdy, C.R. et al. Suspected Adulteration of Commercial Kratom Products with 7-Hydroxymitragynine. J. Med. Toxicol. 12, 341–349 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13181-016-0588-y

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Keywords

  • Kratom
  • 7-Hydroxymitragynine
  • Mitragynine
  • Mitragyna speciosa
  • Drugs of abuse