Police confiscated ground kratom during an investigation into drug use. Kratom is a leaf from a tree found in Southeast Asia. Naturally occurring chemicals in the leaves are a controlled substance in …
LAFAYETTE — Police found a package of ground, dull colored plants with hues of gray, yellow and a hint of green during an investigation early Thursday.
It was kratom.
If you’ve never heard of kratom, you’re not alone.
“It’s very new to us in this area,” Lafayette police Lt. Matt Gard said. “It’s not become too common yet, but it’s starting to pop up.”
Kratom is an illegal controlled substance in Indiana. It is created from the leaves of a tree found in Southeast Asia, Gard said.
What makes kratom illegal is its naturally occurring compound in its leaves. It’s a controlled substance, Gard explained. In other parts of the country, kratom is legal, he noted.
“It’s been labeled by the FDA as an opioid,” Gard said of a decision handed down last year.
The active ingredient in kratom is mitragynine, which affects the body much like opioids such as codeine and morphine, according to WebMD.com.
“People use kratom for opiate withdrawal, cough, depression, anxiety, and many others, but there is no scientific evidence to support these uses,” according to WebMD.com.
“They can chew it; they can smoke it; they can eat it,.” Gard said.
“If they take it in low doses,” he said, “it can actually be a stimulant. But in higher doses, it can act like an opiate and be a depressant.”
The package of kratom photographed by the Journal & Courier appeared to be ground into a floury texture, and Gard said this form typically is put into capsules to be swallowed by users and might appear like capsules of herbal supplements.
In Thursday’s investigation, police also found THC cartridges for vaping devices, like the ones used as a smoking alternative to cigarettes.
That’s not uncommon these days, Gard said, and while marijuana use might be legal in some states, it is not here.
“In other states, it’s legal,” Gard said of THC vaping. “You can purchase it legally.
“You can’t bring it across state lines.”
THC vaping cartridges is the same as smoking marijuana because it has the active ingredient of pot.
But information printed in a pamphlet published by Publishers Group West, LLC, indicates that THC contents found in vaping cartridges are higher than the THC found in marijuana cigarettes.
In some cases, people might create their own THC vaping material, Gard said. They often use marijuana oil or wax, which is put into the cartridge and heated up in the vaping device, Gard said.
If parents or friends want to know if someone is vaping THC, look at the device, Gard said.
Using THC wax in their vapor, it is easily spotted by a brownish, waxy residue left inside the vaper. It looks like ear wax, Gard said.
Reach Ron Wilkins at 765-420-5231 or at email@example.com. Follow on Twitter: @RonWilkins2.
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