In this video/lecture, Dr. Chris McCurdy leads us in a lecture entitled “Kratom 101: History, Chemistry & Pharmacology.”
This lecture took place on October 6th, 2022 at Rowan College of Science and Mathematics. This visit from Dr. McCurdy was made possible by generous support from the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation. The Dreyfus Foundation was founded in 1946 by Camille Dreyfus to honor his recently passed brother, Henry. Both were influential chemists in the early-to-mid-1900s, with thousands of patents and a massively successful industrial organization centered on the synthesis of synthetic and semisynthetic materials.
The purpose of the Foundation is to advance the science of chemistry, chemical engineering, and related sciences as a means of improving human relations and circumstances throughout the world, and they do this by supporting researchers at many stages of their careers. This Lectureship was awarded to discuss chemistry research relevant to addressing the opioid epidemic.
The entire lecture can be viewed here:
Who is Dr. McCurdy?
Christopher R. McCurdy, Ph.D., FAAPS, is a broadly trained medicinal chemist, behavioral pharmacologist and pharmacist whose research focuses on the design, synthesis and development of drugs to treat pain and drug abuse.
For over 20 years, much of his research has focused on opioid, Neuropeptide FF and sigma receptor ligand/probe design, synthesis, pharmacological evaluation and development. He has been successful in discovering unique and selective tools for sigma receptors, NPFF receptors and opioid receptors. He is an internationally recognized expert on Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa), that is under investigation for opioid withdrawal syndrome. A significant portion of his career has been dedicated to the development of novel sigma receptor ligands, in collaboration with a variety of interdisciplinary groups, to generate and optimize selective ligands which could serve as critical experimental tools, and more recently, as potential medication development leads to attenuate the effects of cocaine, methamphetamine and pain.
Most notably, he has developed a PET/MR imaging diagnostic agent for visualizing the origins of chronic, neuropathic pain by interacting with sigma receptors at the site of nerve damage.
Kratom History and Use
Whereas 10 years ago if the average individual heard the name “Kratom”, they would have no idea what that was. However, nowadays it’s skyrocketed in popularity. One of the reasons is government involvement, meaning if the government is “taking an interest, it must be something good”.
Dr. McCurdy’s lecture covers the following topics: brief history of kratom and its birthplace. Its traditional use as a tea beverage for pain, energy (stimulation) and opioid withdrawal help in its countries of origin. Thereafter he covers some of the science behind this plant and its vast healing properties.
Along with sharing the science behind kratom with us the listeners, he also delves into the work he and his colleagues have been doing with the regulatory agencies to debunk the gross misinformation that riddles kratom. Their efforts lie is describing and introducing the traditional use of this powerful healing (as a therapeutic tool) plant AND explaining the science that makes this plant a healing miracle plant WHEN USED CORRECTLY and when NOT Adulterated. That could potentially replace many dangerous substances in the market.
Finally Dr. McCurdy describes that because of the work his team and he are doing, they have been able to make progress and expand kratom’s legality. Regulations such as the Kratom Consumer Protection Act are making headway to assure kratom sales are safe and regulated. And finally, the great success when a massive regulatory organization the World Health Organization decided NOT to pursue further investigation of kratom.
And of course, not to be missed the interesting research that the team is doing on the individual kratom alkaloids such as debunking a long-ago myth that Mitragynine is THE only highest alkaloid in all kratom plants. In reality, only three plant varieties were used and the paper was written years ahead of all this valuable research.