On Monday, King 5 ran a lifestyles piece about a fun new drug that's hit the smoke shop market: Kratom.
Billing it as the next big thing to hit the over-the-counter market since bath salts took America's face off, King 5 had a stern message for parents: don't get caught looking like a square in front of you kids when you ask them what Kratom is.For those of you who missed the segment - we think it aired in that slot between sports and one last look at the weather - Kratom is a tree indigenous to Southeast Asia whose leaves are reported to give users stimulating and euphoric sensations when eaten. It's also considered addictive/illegal in Thailand yakity yakity.
But how much of this is all TV hype? We headed over to the friendly people at Pipe Place Smoke Shop (well, sort of friendly ... the clerk managed to tell me one of her competitors was an asshole in the, like, .5 minutes I was there) to find out.
My learned conclusion: this shit is gonna get banned.
I bought a tea bag made by Kratom Infusion, which instructs people steep the tea in hot water for 2 minutes for a "light" tea and up to 12 minutes for the full effect. My friendly clerk, who I must say earned some cred with her shit talking, told me I should be careful and stick to 2 minutes. I followed her instructions.
Sitting down to Gore Vidal's 1876 and sipping on the tasteless tea, the first effect I noticed was that my tongue was going numb. Then I noticed my neck was getting stiff. Then I felt like I wanted eat a face! Just kidding. Over the evening, a light euphoria definitely set in, to the point that I was happy I only let the stuff steep for 2 minutes. It certainly has psychotropic effects. It also gives you cotton mouth. And at this point my back is stiffening up, too.
Which is why I think it's only a matter of time before the government steps in and yanks this one from the shelves. The DEA already has a fact sheet on the stuff that is certainly biased against Kratom. Like a feature on that hidden lodge in the Cascades, King 5 may have killed the thing it just wanted to celebrate.
Oh well. Get it while you can. And if you snort it, let me know how that goes for you.