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Kratom drug shop comes to Main Street

by Margaret Stewart - Copy Editor
Thu, Feb 7th 2019 01:00 pm

Dan Chianfoni opened the doors to The Kratom Shop on August 20, 2018 and introduced the Village of Brockport to natural herbal remedies. kratom, made from a tropical tree in Southeast Asia, has many medical benefits as a safe and legal alternative to traditionally prescribed pills.

According to Jackie Chianfoni, Dan’s wife, there are three different strands of the drug. Jackie said that the red strand can be utilized for pain management, relaxation and insomnia while the white strand can be used to help focus, increase energy and help with mental clarity. The green strand is a hybrid of the red and white which allows it to aid in both pain management as well as a lack of energy. Chianfoni says the general rule is “red for bed, white for flight and green for in-between.”

Some sources claim that the most common way the drug is consumed is orally, as a pill. However, in The Kratom Shop they promote keeping the product as close to its natural and pure state as possible and strongly suggest using the powder or the leaf form. 

Alexandra Weaver, a senior journalism student attending The College at Brockport, tried the red strand of kratom for anxiety in the fall of 2018 to see if she could experience its more sedative effects. 

“It [the powder] tastes like dirt,” she said. “If you can get past the taste then go for it but, otherwise, I’d take the pill.” 

Besides drinking the powder or swallowing a pill, the leaves of the plant can be rolled and smoked, not unlike marijuana, in order to achieve the same effects. The difference? Kratom is legal to use as most who seek it out do so for its medicinal qualities.

This is the second store that Dan has opened in the Rochester area. The first is located on Monroe Ave. in downtown Rochester. 

“We noticed that many of our customers came from the West: Albion, Batavia, even Buffalo," Dan said. “It’s why we decided to open a shop on the westside.”

While the store has mainly been welcomed in the community, Jackie explains that there has been a little bit of resistance. 

“Any time someone hears the word opioid, especially in this day and age, there is going to be a little pushback,” Jackie said. “It’s only natural.”

With the opioid crisis hitting so close to home in the City of Rochester, it is not hard to see why people are skeptical. However, while the drug affects the same receptors as opioids do, kratom is not made from the same plant, so the two do not share the same roots.

According to Dan, kratom is “linked to the habit-forming part of the coffee family,” and “is more in line with caffeine in terms of addiction.” In fact, if you’re looking for a “legal high” kratom isn’t the drug to choose. By taking too much or using too often, an addiction problem could be a potential issue, as is the case with most substances that get abused.

Jackie said that in their Monroe Ave. location, a lot of their customers come in to use kratom to help stop the symptoms of heroin withdrawal immediately.

In general, a 2-4 grams of kratom is considered a small dosage and is the recommended beginning dosage for stimulating effects rather than sedative ones. However, everyone can be affected differently by the same amounts.

“[We] don’t give exact dosages, as the effective dosage changes with each person,” Dan said.

The Kratom Shop sells sample packs that has samples of each of the strands so those interested can figure out which strand and the appropriate dosage for each particular body. 

“We have been advocating for seven or so years and we wanted to spread the word,” Dan said. “There are answers for lack of energy, chronic pain and mental health and they are natural without any side effects.”

That being said, it is important to note the Chianfonis are not doctors and kratom is something a person would need to look into on an individual basis. According to www.drugabuse.gov, “Behavioral therapies and medications have not specifically been tested for treatment of kratom addiction.” 

Simplified, while there have been many cases in which kratom has helped people who have been previously diagnosed with depression, anxiety or are experiencing high levels of stress, there hasn’t been enough professional research done on the substance to back this up.

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