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No, Spiller says. Scientists are still working to pin down the behavior of various kratom compounds. Some of kratom’s ingredients seem to weakly bind to a protein in the body and brain that is activated by opioids. But so far, it’s clear that kratom doesn’t act like an opioid, Spiller says.

In an analysis of kratom-linked health problems, Spiller and his colleagues found that the most common symptoms were racing hearts and irritability, not respiratory depression, drowsiness or coma, which are typical during

The recent CDC numbers of kratom-linked fatalities are small — 91 deaths out of 27,338 overdose deaths. Of those 91, seven tested positive for only kratom; the rest of the cases tested positive for at least one additional substance, making it hard to conclude exactly what drug — or combination of drugs — was to blame. Those numbers “are a little bit murky,” Grundmann says. Without knowing the concentrations of both kratom and the other drugs people took, it’s difficult to pin down the causes of deaths, he says.

Still, kratom wholesale sold online and in storefronts comes with risks. Because kratom is largely unregulated, products might also contain contaminants. Harmful levels of heavy metals and dangerous Salmonellabacteria have turned up in products.