A tree Grows in Asia
McCurdy To Discuss Kratom, Apr. 25
Dr. Christopher McCurdy, a medicinal chemist and behavioral pharmacologist at the University of Florida (UF), will give a virtual lecture, “Can a Controversial Tree Help End the Opioid Crisis?,” on Monday, Apr. 25 from 1 to 2 p.m. ET. The event is part of NCCIH’s Integrative Medicine Research Lecture Series.
Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa Korth) is a tree in the coffee family that is indigenous to Southeast Asia. Its leaves are the source of a Thai traditional drug, kratom, with unique pharmacologic actions—e.g., both stimulant actions and depressant ones. Kratom has been used traditionally in its region of origin as an opioid substitute and a treatment for addiction. Little was known scientifically, however, about this plant.
Recently, human case reports have increased in the literature from its use in the United States, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has listed kratom as a “drug and chemical of concern.”
McCurdy will discuss the traditional medicinal use of this botanical, examples of current pharmacologic studies and his team’s studies in rodent models. Kratom’s differing uses, availability and preparation around the world will also be explored. The potential of kratom and its major alkaloid, mitragynine, to treat opioid withdrawal is a key focus.
McCurdy is the Frank A. Duckworth eminent scholar chair in drug research and development and a professor of medical chemistry at UF, and the director of the UF Translational Drug Development Core. His research focuses on the design, synthesis and development of drugs to treat pain and drug abuse. McCurdy holds a Ph.D. in medicinal chemistry from the University of Georgia.
No registration is required for the lecture and all interested persons are welcome. The event will be streamed live and archived on NIH VideoCast and NCCIH Facebook.
More information is at https://bit.ly/CRMcCurdy.