[Transcript] – The Kratom User’s Guide: What Is Kratom, How Do You Use It & The Truth Behind This Controversial Natural Herb.

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Podcast from https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2017/08/kratom-101-what-is-kratom-how-do-you-use-it-the-truth-behind-this-controversial-natural-herb/

[00:00] Introduction/Rover

[02:38] Kettle & Fire

[05:25] Chris Bell

[08:58] How Chris Got Hooked On Opioids

[27:30] Different Kratom Strains

[31:21] Side Effects Of Kratom

[33:29] Quick Commercial Break/Organifi Red Juice

[34:47] Podchaser

[35:40] Continuation

[42:18] The Addictive Potential Of Kratom

[50:06] How Chris Takes Kratom

[54:10] Mixing Kratom With Other Recreational Drugs

[57:06] How Long It Takes For Kratom To Affect You

[1:09:42] End of Podcast

Ben:  Hey.  What's up?  It's Ben Greenfield, and there's an emergency.  That's right.  No, I'm not kidding.  Trump actually declared the opioid crisis a national emergency, like the deadliest drug crisis in American history.  Apparently 650,000 Americans are going to die as a result of opioid addictions.  And this happened like 14 hours ago.  So today's podcast is pretty timely because we talk about some pretty potent alternatives to opioids that frankly, in my opinion, are also good for things like killing back pain, euphoria, good sex, the list goes on and on.  One thing I should mention is that during this episode, my guest, Chris Bell, who's a way cool dude, he mentions this stuff called Urban Ice.  And after I recorded this interview, I reached out to the folks at Urban Ice, and they gave all of us this big fat discount on their stuff.  I will put that in the show notes over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/chrisbell.

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In this episode of The Ben Greenfield Fitness Show:

“To see somebody who is in their 30’s jump off the roof of their building and kill themselves with their beloved around, my gym and everything, it hurt.   And it made me sad because I know we could have fixed it.”  “When I take kratom, I just feel a little bit better.  Like it takes that edge off, like it takes away the pain, and then I just feel like peppy.  I feel like I'm up and I'm ready to go all the time.  And then when I don't take it, I don't have withdrawals, I don't have any weird side effects.”

Ben:  Hey, folks.  It's Ben Greenfield.  And I got to tell you, from relaxation in the evening especially, to quelling my appetite when I don't want to eat a boatload during the day, to killing pain I've been using this new herb that I discovered a few months ago called kratom.  And I discovered it when I hurt my back, I was at my buddy's house and he had a pack of this stuff called kratom on his kitchen counter.  And he told me I should try it, and I did because I wanted something other than just like an opioid-based pain killer to stop the discomfort and let me engage in normal day to day function with my back hurt, and I felt the effects within a few minutes.  Kind of like a cup of coffee.   But I also got this really pleasant euphoria, I got that drop an appetite that I mentioned, I got none of the side effects of a painkiller, I didn't get any of the psychosis of something like weed, and I felt really good.  And I started to research this stuff a little bit more heavily, and it turns out that there's a lot of advocates that say that this herb, kratom, that's spelled with a “K”, kratom, that offers relief from things like pain, and depression, and anxiety, and that it can be used as a tool to combat addiction to opioid medications.

On the other hand the Drug Enforcement Administration, the DEA, they're trying to ban it.  They say it's an imminent hazard to public safety.  That's a quote from their website.  So if you're wondering whether this stuff is safe, whether it's addictive, like how you use it, what are the different strains, what it can be used for, then you have tuned into the right show because I have Chris Bell on the show today.  Chris is not only an expert on all things kratom, but he has a great documentary called “Bigger, Stronger, Faster“, as well as a documentary called “Trophy Kids“, another one called “Prescription Thugs“, some really great shows actually.  And he's also occasionally on another podcast with his brothers, Mark Bell, he has another brother named Mike Bell.  They're all kind of big powerlifters, and, are you guys powerlifters or weightlifters?  Or do you classify yourself as a bodybuilder, Chris?

Chris:  I was a powerlifter.  I don't really classify myself as anything anymore.  I lift just for fun, but I don't fidder myself anything because I don't compete anymore.  Just so you know, my older brother, Mad Dog, unfortunately passed away after we did “Bigger, Stronger, Faster”.

Ben:  Is that Mike Bell?

Chris:  Yeah, Mike.  Mike passed away.   And it was due to drugs and alcohol.  And at the time, basically I thought like, “Well [censored], man.  My brother died from drugs and alcohol and I'm on prescription opiates.  I better get off of them right now.”  But instead of doing that, I just took more.  And I ended up in rehab myself after my brother passed away.  So we have quite a lot to cover here.

Ben:  I want to hear this story, man.  Because I've seen your video, I'm going to link to it in the show notes, I know you claim that kratom is the cure for the opioid epidemic, and I know you've got a pretty interesting history yourself that you just kind of hinted at, but I really want to hear a little bit more about it before we dive into that.  If any of you are listening in and you want links to Chris's documentaries like “Bigger, Stronger, Faster”, “Trophy Kids”, “Prescription Thugs”, and I believe, if I'm not mistaken, you're even working on a new documentary on kratom.  We can talk about it later, Chris.  Go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/chrisbell.  That's bengreenfieldfitness.com/chrisbell with two L's.  So Chris, fill me in, dude.  What exactly happened after your brother died?  How'd you get hooked on opioids?

Chris:  Well, I had a double hip replacement surgery at 33 years old.  I was a power lifter my whole life.  I was squatting over 600 pounds every week just training, squatted like 675 I think in a meet at, it was either 198 or 220, I don't remember what I was weighing back then.  But I was a pretty decent power lifter.  I had like probably like 475 bench, a 675 squat, and my deadlift was around 600 or something that.  I was killing it in the teenage division.  And then when I got a little bit older in the junior division and stuff, I still did good.  I never really got to compete as an adult, so I don't even know how that feels.

Ben:  How old are you.

Chris:  I'm 44 now, but I haven't competed in forever.  Last time I competed was like, I did compete in “Bigger, Stronger, Faster”.  But when I competed in “Bigger, Stronger, Faster”, I had just done it for fun and I was out of it for so long.  So I just went…

Ben:  You mean you competed for the documentary?

Chris:  Yeah.  I just went in and bench 500.  I was like, “If I do 500, people will think it's good.”

Ben:  Yeah, that's alright.  And by the way, to just interrupt your story a little bit, if any of you are listening in, I've watched Chris' documentaries and they actually, like I don't watch my documentaries, but they're actually really good.  Maybe 'cause I'm a former bodybuilder and I'm really into this whole fitness realm myself, but like “Bigger, Stronger, Faster” where you get to see a guy's biceps blow up.  If none have seen some of Chris' documentaries, you got to tune into 'em.  So anyways, you were lifting heavy, Chris?

Chris:  Yeah.  I was lifting heavy all the time and the reason I was lifting heavy was when I was younger, I had a lot of problems running.  I could never really run right and I just had all these issues, so my knees would always hurt.  So I went to the doctor and the doctor said, I was 16 years old, he said, “Well, we have to scope your knees.”  I've just had a lifelong battle with pain.  I've been in pain since I was a little kid.  I don't know what it is, it's arthritis.  I have osteoarthritis in my whole body, it's not rheumatoid arthritis, it's nothing else.  My body just aches.

Ben:  Really?  So it's not like an autoimmune issue?  It's actual osteoarthritis?

Chris:  My body aches all the time, every joint.  Shoulders, elbows, knees, it's always achey.  So for me, after I had the hip replacement, I had a double hip replacement surgery at 35 years old.  And when I went to have that, I thought like, “Okay, I'm going to get out of this, I'm going to make this come back like Rocky Balboa, and I'm going to be back kicking ass.  I'll be squatting and deadlifting again.  Game over.”  So I get done with the surgery, and my right hip for two years feels like it's on fire.  And every time I tell the doctor or anybody that my hip feels like it's on fire, they immediately go to, “You're a drug addict.”  And I'm like, “Well, I wasn't a drug addict when I started this.  But I'm in a lot of [censored] pain here.”  When you get into this mix with opiates, it gets really in a slippery slope and a weird position even for the doctors.  Because I was in real pain, I was having real pain that they gave me, but they couldn't understand why I was having pain because they did the surgery.  They thought they fixed me, right?  So I just started buying drugs from everywhere.  I started buying it from my friends at the gym, or whatever, to supplement what the doctor would give me.  The doctor would give me a little bit, but I needed way more by then.  So I was just buying them you know on the black market, buying them from…

Ben:  Oh, yeah.  I actually did a whole podcast with this girl who wrote, I don't know if you read this book, it's called “Drug Dealer, MD” and it's about how, well it's about a lot of stuff when it comes to opioid epidemic.  One of the things she gets into is just like all of the 20 different tactics people use now to get their hands on more opioids, either by tricking their physician, or figuring out some other way to get like morphine, and tramadol, and Oxycodone, and fentanyl, and everything else.

Chris:  If people watch “Prescription Thugs”, they can see, I talked to a congressman and I said, “Well, why can you buy the stuff on Craigslist?  That doesn't make any sense.”  And then he's like, “You can't buy it on Craigslist.”  And I show him, like I pull up my iPad and I show him.  He's like, “That's just illegal.  They can't do that.”  And I was even showing the government, like, “Hey, look!  People sell these on Craigslist.”  It's such a blatant problem and nobody's really doing anything about it.  People are talking about it, you'll see it and hear it on the news, but nobody's doing anything about it.  And that's what's different about “A Leaf Of Faith”, my new movie about kratom, is how we're going to actually do something about it, which is going to be great.

Ben:  That's what it's going to be called, A Leaf Of Faith?

Chris:  Yes.

Ben:  I like it.  So you got on these opioids, you hunted down a whole bunch of different sources of them, and you were basically addicted to opioids?

Chris:  Yeah.  I was addicted to Norco at first, and then I went like Percocet, and then, basically with opioids, if people don't know about them, they vary in strength basically.  So there's a bunch of different ones and they are different strengths.  For whatever reason, people take different ones.  So you have Roxycodone, Oxycodone, hydrocodone, Opana, morphine, Dilaudid, Darvocet.  Like you name it, there's all different kinds, and they sort of go up the ladder until you get to like fentanyl.  And fentanyl is probably the strongest.  There's even one above that called carfentanil.  Carfentanil is like an elephant tranquilizer where supposedly if you get like one drop of it of you, you'll overdose.

Ben:  That sounds fun.  What's it called?  Carfentanil?  C-A-R-T?

Chris:  Yeah.  Carfentanil, or something like that.  It's like an elephant tranquilizer or something, and people have been getting into that because you only need like a little tiny bit of it, and then you mix that into like an opiate and it gives you just like a way bigger effect.  I don't know.  Supposedly it's really, really strong.  The issue is that these opiates are so strong that nobody can get off of them now.  So it's great, they're great for pain, you get on 'em and the pain goes away immediately.  But then people can't get off of them and you're just on this nightmare of a rollercoaster ride.

Ben:  Right.  You can't get off them, and you need more and more to get the same effects.

Chris:  Well the thing is people are like, “Well, who cares?  You need more and more, just by more more.”  And it's like, “Well, it doesn't really work that way.”  The doctors only give you a certain limit.  And giving you more and more is just unhealthy and going to kill you.  These drugs are very, very powerful.  They cause respiratory depression, which makes you die in your sleep.  Because what happens is you don't know how many pills are going to make you die from respiratory depression.  There's plenty of stories of a housewife that puts her kids to bed, and takes an oxycontin before she goes to sleep at night, and her kids wake up and find her dead.  And that's all she did was take one pill the first time.  That's happened before several, several times.

Ben:  And also, by the way, very similarly to like a diazepam, or a valium, or a xanax, which a lot of people use for not just pain but sleep, it shuts down the prefrontal cortex.  It makes you unaware of what's going on around you, which allows you to fall asleep, especially if you're stressed or your mind is racing, but it also completely f's your deep sleep cycles.  Meaning you never go into your deep restorative sleep cycles where your nervous system is supposed to repair, and recover, and you form memories.  So you sleep, but it's not real, true restorative sleep.

Chris:  And that's a crazy thing too is like it allows you, like you said, to get into a place where you don't know that you can't breathe.  And I've just seen way too many people die from opioids.  On Halloween, a really, really close friend of mine, was my massage therapist actually, committed suicide.  And it destroyed me.  To see somebody who's in their 30's jump off the roof of their building and kill themselves when their beloved around, like my gym and everything, it hurt.  And it made me sad because I know we could have fixed it.  I just know we could have fixed it.  And when I say I know we could have fixed it, I know what kratom does, I know that if people are away from these pills, they're away from these toxic drugs, that they will get better and they will be able to find other ways out of pain.  I know they will 'cause I've done it.  And I don't know many more people.  I mean obviously I don't know many more people that have a whole lot more issues than I do as far as pain goes.  Unless they're in hospital.  So I'm always banged up.  Like I always have something going on.  It's hard for me, like I can't run.  I can't run at all.  Like if you tell me to run across the street or you're going to get shot, I'll probably get shot.  I'm handicapped.

I think the problem with that is I've been doing this for so long and living in pain for so long, people look at me and like, “Ah, he's totally fine.”  And people don't think that.  I obviously have a limp and stuff like that.  People don't think it's as bad as it is.  So that's a problem for me.  Because people look at me and they're like, “Oh, you're fine.  What are you talking about?  You're not pain.”  I'm like, “Yeah, my knee hurts sitting here talking you right now.  My shoulder hurts.  My elbow hurts.”  So it's like I had to find something that could get me out of pain that wasn't going to kill me.  And so what happened was I started, I went on Dr. Drew's podcast, and he told me, he was like, “Hey, they've did done a study.  And the study says that if you take Advil and Tylenol in combination, that it works better than opioid painkillers for chronic pain.”  And I'm looking to get out of chronic pain, right?  So I was like, “Okay, let me try that.”  So for like maybe six weeks or something, I was…

Ben:  That’s what Dr. Drew said?  Take Advil and Tylenol?

Chris:  In a combination, yeah.  One to one.

Ben:  That's really good for your stomach.

Chris:  Well that's what I didn't know, right?  And he tells me that.  But he also didn't realize he's dealing with somebody who's used to taking 10 pills a day of whatever anyway.  So I started taking about, it was about 10 Advil and 10 Tylenol a day 'cause I would take two of each at a time.  So I was taking four pills at a time.  That was what would take away the pain.  When I would do one and one, it wasn't effective.  So I would do two and two, and I would do that a couple times a day.  I'm just rifling through these bottles of Advil and Tylenol.  And I get a call from my friend Justin House in England, and he used to be a bodybuilder in Gold's Gym in Venice around '95 era.  Big guy, 6'5″, he was pretty jacked, and I just remember him being this big jacked guy.  And then when I looked at his Facebook profile, I'm like, “Oh, he's not nearly as jacked as he used to be.  I wonder what happened to him.”  And he told me that he had a kidney transplant.  And he told me the reason why he contacted me again was like, “Hey, I saw you on,” I was also on Joe Rogan's show talking about it, and he's like, “You're on Joe Rogan talking about taking this Advil and Tylenol.  And I just want to let you know had to have a kidney transplant because of all the Advil I was taking.”

Ben:  Right.  Even more so if you're an athlete because your gut permeability increases when you're exercising or when you're exercising in the heat, and Advil or ibuprofen becomes all the more toxic in that situation.  That's why Ironman triathletes popping ibuprofen or marathoners, anybody exercising outdoors, it's one of the worst things you can do for your liver and your kidneys.  I mean there's people across the finish line of those type of races in almost like a state of sepsis, like chronic toxicity just from ibuprofen.

Chris:  You're a former bodybuilder, right?  So you know Flex Wheeler, and Tom Price, and those guys?  So Flex Wheeler and Tom Prince, they both had issues from NSAIDs.  Flex had a genetic condition exacerbated by NSAIDs, and so did Tom Prince from what I hear.  Tom Prince told me that Flex has the same thing as him.  I didn't hear that directly from Flex, I'm sure that that's probably the case.  But from taking all these NSAIDs, these guys basically have had their kidneys shutdown.  And if you take too much Tylenol, your liver will shut down.  So you're kind of screwed as far as trying to find a painkiller that's on the market that's safe and effective.  So what happened right after that was I got a call from my friend Horseshu, who was in, he used to wrestle for WWE under the name Luther Reigns, and he called me up and he said, “Hey, bro.  You ever tried kratom?”  He was all fired up about it, and I was like, “I don't know.”  I said, “I actually I've tried it before when I was doing Prescription Thugs, during the filming of it.  Before I was actually sober, I decided to try kratom, but I tried it because I thought it got you high, and I didn't realize that it was supposed to kill pain, it was supposed to actually be effective for pain and all these other things.  So I took it and I actually tweeted about it.  I'm like, “Yeah, I tried kratom.  It didn't do shit.”

After that, I was like, I just forgot about it for a while until this incident, which was like about two years later with my buddy Horseshu who told me to try it, and I was up in Sacramento, and he had come to Sacramento to train at Super Training with me and my brother and stuff, and he had his friend with him who owns this kratom company, and the guy had a bunch of it with him.  And he's like, “Yeah, you guys should just try it.”  It just started out like that.  Like you guys should just try it.  Mark and I both tried it.  At first I tried it and I said, “I'm in a lot of pain right now.  Just give me like an hour and I'll let you know how I feel or whatever.”  So I took it, I went home, I waited like an hour, called those guys, we actually met up for lunch or whatever.  And by the time we met up for lunch, like an hour later, I was completely out of pain.  I was like sitting there going, “I can't believe this.  What is this stuff called again?  Where do you get it?  Where is it from?”  I just started getting like super inquisitive.  And I was as I learned more and more about it, I'm like, “Man, so many people in this country struggle with opiates.  So many people can't get off these pills.  If there was a pill that wasn't addictive that would be that would take you out of pain, that's a huge deal.”  But I didn't, I just didn't think it would ever happen.

So I found this thing, and when I found out it was an organic natural plant, then it just got me excited because I know that unless something is poison, pretty much anything that's natural is pretty good for us.  When we process things, and take things out, and put things in, and that's why I actually I’m all for using the whole profile of the kratom leaf.  I actually like using the raw leaf rather than using the extracts or anything where they try to make it stronger.  I just like using the plain kratom powder because I think that it offers all these other alkaloids that help limit it.  I think the nature of it helps it so you don't take too much, or you don't overdose, or blah, blah, blah, whatever.  And I think a lot of plants are like that, that balance themselves.

Ben:  Yeah.  You mean rather than taking the actual extract of the alkaloids that are, what I understand, are the pharmacologically active constituents of kratom, like the stuff that actually kills pain, that would bind to the opioid receptors, instead when you're talking about the leaf, you're not talking about like chewing on an actual leaf-shaped leaf.  You're talking about like the powder that you get from the different stores or websites that we'll talk about later?

Chris:  Sure.  Let me break it down a little bit.  The two alkaloids, alkaloids are simple.  Alkaloids are just active ingredients in the plant.  So alkaloids that are present in kratom that are responsible for all the health effects and anything else are mitragynine and then another one called 7-Hydroxymitragynine.  And those two compounds, a lot of times, people will pull them out of kratom, and then there's 40 something alkaloids in kratom.  So if there's over 40 alkaloids and they all do different little things, how do you know that the ones that you're taking out aren't the ones that regulate addiction or regulate whatever, can balance out the plant so that when you ingest it, it doesn't do something that you don't want.  But in saying that, they have actually, what they have done is they've been really doing some ground breaking science.  Dr. Christopher McCurdy out in the University of Florida, he just told me that they're able to now isolate and start testing the individual alkaloids to see what they do.  So I think now we're going to get more of that science out.  It just hasn't been out because there hasn't been a whole lot of money to research this stuff.  So people [0:24:59] ______ what the two active alkaloids were and just pulled those out, and that was easy.

Ben:  Chris, where do the leaves come from in the first place?

Chris:  They come from Thailand, and like Malaysia, Indonesia, all these places.  Southeast Asia is where it naturally grows.  And actually in most of Southeast Asia, well especially in Thailand, it's highly illegal.  And the reason that it's illegal isn't because it's dangerous.  Way back in the ‘40s, people stopped taking heroin because they started taking kratom.  People would be out in the fields working all day, it's not a super-wealthy countries, so a lot of the workers, day workers are stuck out there in the fields, and they would chew on kratom leaves, and that really shrunk the heroin business in Thailand and they didn't like that.  So they basically got rid of kratom.  And it's still illegal there.  And actually now, they're trying to turn it around because now they have a huge opiate problem.  So now we're trying to turn that around.

Ben:  Yeah.  The thing with kratom though, it's actually related to like the coffee fruit plant, isn't it?

Chris:  Yeah, it's in the coffee family.  It's basically, to me, I liken it to coffee.  I feel like when I take kratom, I just feel a little bit better.  Like it takes that edge off, like it takes away the pain, and then I just feel peppy.  I feel like I'm up and ready to go all the time.  And then when I don't take it, I don't have, in my experience, I don't have withdrawals, I don't have any weird side effects.  I know that they exist and I'm not going to deny that side effects exist.  I don't like when people do that, when they're like, “No, nothing.”  I'll tell you, I do get a dry mouth when I take it.  So that's a side effect.  So people are like, “Ah, big deal.”  And it's like, “Well, no.  It's a side effect.”  So I think everything should be mentioned.  I get a dry mouth.  There's a couple times where I'll take it and I just feel like I talk too much.  Maybe now.  But sometimes like that, or whatever, but that's about as detrimental…

Ben:  Well there's different strains of kratom.  And what I've noticed is, originally when my back was hurt and I was at my friend's house, he gave me this strain.  It's like white strain.  So there's like white, and red, and green.  And from what I understand, green's kind of like a hybrid, like a mix between the white and the red.  But white would be more like coffee, more like an energy drink, more like a stimulant along with the pain killing.  Whereas the red is more like a sleepy or a nighttime type of strain.  It depends quite a bit on the actual color or the strain, right?

Chris:  You know what?  For pain relief, it doesn't really matter.  My friend, Kelly Dunn, he owns a company called Urban Ice Organics.  And Urban Ice, they make several strains.  And they have like blends of different strains as well.  He basically tells me like, “I've owned this company for like 10 years and I don't really know,” it's not that he doesn't know the difference on paper, he can't feel the difference himself.  So he's like, “This is supposed to be good for this, but I don't really feel that.  This is supposed to be good…”

Ben:  See, I can definitely feel the difference.  Like if I take the white, like I can take that in the morning if I'm in pain, or if I want that euphoric high and I want something as an alternative to a cup of coffee, or occasionally I'll mix it with coffee.  But then in the evening, or I even keep a little packet next to my bedside for if I wake up during the night and I really got to like shut down racing thoughts and get back to sleep, I'll use the red strain.

Chris:  I'll tell you the truth of what I think.  I think you're being marketed to so that you buy it…

Ben:  Really?

Chris:  Yes.  So that you buy a bunch of different kratom.  But whatever works for you, right?  ‘Cause I take…

Ben:  Well what's worked for me is like there's one called White Maengda, like M-A-E-N-G-D-A, and that gives me a huge boost of energy.  But then for red, there's one called Borneo.  And I assume they're named these names, you probably know more than me, they come from different areas of the world.  But Red Borneo just like knocks me out.

Chris:  You know what maengda means?

Ben:  No.

Chris:  It means “pimp grade”.

Ben:  Pimp grade?

Chris:  Yeah.  That's all it means.  So that's just like a slang name for it.  So it's really interesting plant because of the way it came up.  Like it didn't come up like a normal supplement, or didn't come up like, they sell it in smoke shops.  So it has this kind of stigma against it that maybe it's like a synthetic drug.  It's gotten lumped in with all these synthetic drugs like K2, and Spice, and all these different drugs that people have been taking and dying from, or getting sick from, and they sell 'em at these smoke shops, and it's completely unregulated.  So going into a smoke shop to buy something to kill pain is not my idea of something that I would normally do.  But I have, now that I found kratom, I'm like, “I don't care where I get it.  I just want to get it,” However, I think that's a stigma that needs to be overcome.

Ben:  So you don't really think there's any difference between like a white strain, and a red strain, and a green strain as far as like whether it makes you sleepy or awake?

Chris:  I think you might have a slight difference in the balance of alkaloids.  I just don't know if it makes that much of a difference.  I would say I personally haven't felt it.

Ben:  I have to disagree.  I actually have felt a huge difference between white, like white will keep me up at night if I take it.  I'll be up 'til like 1 or 2 AM.  And then red, it's like an indica strain of marijuana.  I'm just out.

Chris:  I'd have to see the science on it.  I just haven't seen any science that says that it's actually.  Like everybody that talks about it, well actually, I'll find out for you in August 'cause I'm going to see Dr. McCurdy again, and Dr. McCurdy's like the world expert on this and he could actually tell me what's what.  But all I read on the internet is from bros.  So you don't know, like everything's out there, they haven't done enough studies to know exactly what's in each thing.  So when they do, then we'll have a lot more information to work with.

Ben:  So we know it's an effective analgesic, we know it induces some euphoria, for me it induces almost like this feel good kind of effect without the psychosis or the paranoia of something like marijuana.  But tell me about any like risks or side effects that you're aware of from this stuff.  ‘Cause you mention you don't like it if people hide that stuff under the bush.  So what have you found out you?

Chris:  You don't have the killer.  And the killer that has killed, it kills 20,000 people a year, opiates, the real killer is the respiratory depression.  And kratom does not present itself with any sort of respiratory depression, so there's no deaths from kratom.  Ever.  There's not one death in history from kratom.  There's 15 claimed deaths from kratom, but they're all polypharmacy where the people are on like eight drugs and there's no way to prove that.  You're on 10 things and then like throw a kratom in there, it's just sort of like the whole steroid thing.  Chris Benoit died from steroids.  It's like the guy was on tons of shit and was mentally ill.  So that's something I think that needs to be brought up is like there haven't been any deaths from it.

Some people might get nauseous, like I'll tell you I've taken extracts, and this is why I just said about the extracts, there's like a couple different brands out there that sell like these extracts in like gas stations and stuff, I'm fine with that, but sometimes when I take those, you can get sick from 'em.  I think you get sick.  I have gotten sick from 'em, I should say.  I've vomited from it.  So that's being honest.  I've vomited, I'd say like there's been three incidents where I vomited from kratom, but it was in the beginning of me taking it and it was because, you know how [0:32:43] ______ always like hacking himself, I mean we're all doing the same thing all the time.  So I just look at it like that, I was trying to figure out what would be a really good dose for me, and I just went to the extreme.  I just took too much stuff.  And much of the wrong stuff.  Like with the extract, I had this 50X extract, and my friend's like just drink like a quarter of that.  Of course I drink the whole thing.  And I got sick.  It's like my friend told me, “Drink a quarter of it,” I drank the whole thing and I got sick, but I wanted to push the limits and I wanted to see what it would do.  Now by doing that, I think that it's a good experiment.  Nothing really bad happened to me.

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Ben:  Hey, I want to interrupt today's show to tell you about the best tasting green superfood blend on the planet.  The company that makes it, they just develop this new stuff called Red Juice.  It's just like Green Juice, except it's, you guessed it, blue.  No, I'm just kidding.  It's red.  So this red juice, what they do is, it's not juice, it's a powder.  It's a powder.  Not a juice.  So you can take it in your carry on bag when you're going through the airport.  They take acai, beet, pomegranate, cranberry, raspberry, blueberry, strawberry, all extracts, sweet medicinal extracts from red pigmented plants, which are great for things like blood, and metabolism, and skin health.  That's what I tell my kids. Red things are good for your blood.  And then they add cordyceps, Siberian ginseng, Reishi mushroom, and Rhodiola to this stuff.  It's amazing.  It's Red Juice Powder.  This stuff really lights up a fire in your brain.  Great for pre-workout as well.  It's like Viagra for your whole body.  So you get a 20% discount.  You just go to Organifi.com and use the discount code there to get 20% off.

Oh, yeah.  One other thing.  You want to help make this podcast even bigger and better?  Well in the advance of the oh! so exciting Podcast Movement 2017, it's this huge podcasting conference, this company called Podchaser is holding a contest to list the top podcasts and we got nominated.  We got nominated.  So for a bit of karma, good karma, go here, go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/podchaser.  Just like it sounds, bengreenfieldfitness.com/podchaser.  If they ask you for a code, your code is “Patreon”, P-A-T-R-E-O-N.  That's your secret sauce code.  And then you rate the episode.  Or rate the show.  Easy.  bengreenfieldfitness.com/podchaser, and then you use the code Patreon.  So go leave us a review.

[Music Plays]

Ben:  Yeah, I looked into it pretty extensively before, after the first time I took it for the low back pain 'cause I was desperate.  After I liked it so much, afterwards I started researching it, and I especially looked into hepatotoxicity, 'cause that's one of the main things I'm concerned about is the effects of any of these alkaloids on the liver.  And for example like kava, which I've used extensively, especially when I'm in Hawaii, like I know that's got some pretty intense hepatotoxicity if you if you use it chronically or in large amounts. I looked into kava, kava, and then kratom, and then there's another one called khat, K-H-A-T, those are all like herbal medications.  They call the three K's.  And when I looked into kratom, it's actually far less toxic on the liver than these other two.  And any of the studies that have been done, or the case studies that have shown it to cause issues with the liver, people who are taking huge acute overdoses or chronically consuming it like over, and over, and over again for a very long period of time at high doses.  So…

Chris:  I could tell you, like they've done studies in rats, Dr. McCurdy down in Florida, he's done studies in rats, and he said, “We gave rats basically $5,000 worth of creatine a day.”  Like comparable to a human, it would be like you'd have to take five grand a day and 10 pounds of it to take what they administered to the rat.  And it's like nobody's going to be able to take 10 pounds of anything.  And nobody's going to be able to spend $5,000.  And the rat, even at that level, the rats didn't die.  So…

Ben:  I've found I'm able to take less, and this is something I originally discovered with collagen, any collagen, any gelatin, any bone broth source, you vastly increased the absorbability when you mix it with ascorbic acid or vitamin C.  Even if that's just like the squeeze of a lemon or whatever.  So what I'll do is if I'm not just chewing on the kratom powder, which I'll do.  I'll just like take a teaspoon, and dump it into my mouth, and let it sit in my cheeks and chew it.  But the other thing…

Chris:  How do you do that?

Ben:  What's that?

Chris:  I said how do you do that?  It tastes awful.

Ben:  It doesn't taste that bad.

Chris:  Really?

Ben:  Could be worse.  But you can put it in a tea.  Like just with some hot water, or like a night time tea or a morning coffee if you're doing like a white strain, and you add vitamin C in it, and I find I got to take about half as much when I put a bunch of vitamin C, like break open vitamin C capsules or use like a squeeze of lemon because the vitamin C enhances the absorbability of the alkaloids in the kratom.  So you can actually add vitamin C, and it seems to enhance the effects even more.  Which I guess would allow you to get away with using a little bit less.  What about the…

Chris:  Those are called potentiators.

Ben:  Yeah, potentiators.  Some websites, I use a website called Coastline right now to order my kratom, and one of the versions they sell is ultra-enhanced.  It's like a super-duper concentrated form of kratom.  Have you ever tried this?

Chris:  No, I haven't tried that.  But the biggest problem with the internet and kratom is all the shit's unregulated.  That's the biggest problem.  I would say it's at least over 90% of the kratom companies out there don't test their products.  So I would never order from there.  I'm never going to order a product that's not been, that says “Not for human consumption”.  I'm not going to do it.  So that's a big problem with kratom.  That's another stigma that we have to get over.  So that's why I don't order any of it from weird sites on the internet 'cause I don't know what I'm getting.  So if I know, then maybe I'll try it.

Ben:  This one I'm not too concerned about it.  It's like a family business from these folks down in North Carolina who I trust pretty well.  I did quite a bit of research on before I ordered…

Chris:  When you buy it, does it say “Not for human consumption”?

Ben:  No, it doesn't.  You can go check out the website.  It's just Coastline Kratom.  I'll put a link in the show notes if people want to check it out, but…

Chris:  Here's what's happening.  Here's the big issue.  In order to have a supplement on the market, it had to be on the market before 1994. Basically it would get grandfathered in.  Now kratom has been on the market since like 1984, but nobody knew about it.  In America, in the US, nobody knew about it.  So it never got grandfathered in under the [0:39:53] ______ Act in 1994.  And then following that subsequently, like now going backwards, you can't retroactively put that law into effect I guess.  I don't know.  But basically what people are asking for now and what the DEA's asking for, and the FDA is asking for, and people want is for these companies to just test their product for simple things like mold, and bacteria, and E. coli, and all that.  So like you're saying, “I'm not worried about it.  It's a small family business.”  I'd be more worried about it 'cause it's a small family business.  Because who knows what conditions they're keeping their kratom in, all that stuff like that.  That stuff not bothers me.  That stuff worries me about the supplement industry in general.  There's people out there making money, and I'm ingesting stuff in my system, and they're not going through the proper process.  That pisses me off.  I don't use those products, that's all I would say about it.

Ben:  Where do you get your kratom?

Chris:  I use the one, Urban Ice.  naturalorganix.com is their website.  But every single batch that they put out, they test it.  So I like that.  I like knowing like, “Oh, okay.”  The FDA doesn't require you to test things and see if it works, they require you to test if to see if it's safe.  When we dove in and we started asking people to start putting their research out there, people started lying about it.  And then also a big thing that happened was we have a lot of, we have a lot of research and we know for a fact that we've had kratom come in, we've seen other companies' kratom come in, and the company reject it, and that kratom go right back out and be sold somewhere else.  So you know that that's going on.  You know that people are testing their shit, and then when somebody does test it and finds out that it's bad and doesn't accept it, it still get sold somewhere else.  That's why this thing just needs to be monitored.

Ben:  Yeah.  What about the metals, or herbicides, pesticides, stuff like that?  Are there organic sources of kratom?

Chris:  Yeah.  Actually, I'm not sure how they necessarily treat the plants, but Urban Ice is organic.

Ben:  Okay.  So that one's called Urban Ice.  That's the one you like?

Chris:  Yeah.

Ben:  Okay, cool.  I'll find that and link to it in the show for those of you listening in.  The next thing I wanted to ask you was as far as, we talk about side effects and the potential for liver toxicity, but what about addictive potential?  What are your thoughts on that?

Chris:  That's a big source of debate.  A lot of people will debate that up and down.  I would say that it's habit forming.  Personally, I'd say it could be habit forming.  Like you want, but you don't need it.  But other people might say it's addictive, they might say you get withdrawals.  But the withdrawals, like we have to look at outcomes.  You can't just look at like, “Oh, this guy took this and he got addicted.”  Well like you drank coffee and you got addicted, okay?  Who cares?  Like it doesn't really affect your life.  You eat sugar, you got addicted.  Like big deal.  It's going to all kill somebody down the road, but right now is that addiction really affecting their life or is it making their life better?  With kratom, I just think the good always outweighs the bad.  I think even if I was addicted to it, the thing is getting off of it isn't hard.  Like if I get off of kratom and don't take it and I feel like a little lethargic, that's not really a big deal to me.  Trying to get off opiates, when I got off Suboxone, on I was shaking and quivering the entire night, I was dripping sweat, I was vomiting, diarrhea.  That's not comfortable.  I felt like I was going to die.  And with kratom, it's just not anywhere near that.  I think there's a lot of people out there that like to scare us, and like to scare us and to think that we're doing scary things when we're sometimes not.  There's a lot of money in opiates and in prescription drugs.  There's a lot of reasons that keep this stuff off the shelves.

Ben:  I've never had an issue with feeling as though I need to take it like I do with the world's most addictive drug on the face of the planet, the most used drug on the face of the planet, coffee.  Like I got to have coffee every day if I'm really using coffee frequently.  Like I just can't do as well without caffeine in my system.  I haven't personally noticed the same thing with kratom.  Like I'd quit taking it for weeks and weeks, come back, take some, and be just fine, and never feel as though I need to take it.  So for me it's not habit forming.  But I've dug through the research and haven't found much research showing whether or not it's truly addictive.  The only I found is those high acute doses or extreme chronic use could produce some hepatotoxicity, but that's about it.

Chris:  I have a really good friend, and he was an addict.  Basically like we were talking about it and he says that he thinks he takes too much of it.  So we have to look at those things because like I went to rehab, and when I was in rehab, there were people in rehab for weed.  And you're like, “Come on, dude.  What are you doing here?  For weed?  Really?”  But people have a problem with things.  It doesn't matter really what it is, right?  He just happens to say like, “Look, I take like 20, 30 kratom pills a day.  I'm like packing 'em down.  I think I'm taking too much.”  And I said, “Well, are you addicted?”  He's like, “I don't know.  I just like taking 'em.”  ‘Cause he's not sure, right?  So we've never actually, like me and my film crew have never really actually encountered any kratom addicts on camera.  We've interviewed a ton of people for this documentary I'm doing and we haven't really come across too many people that are addicted to it.  There might be people that say like, “I got really sick,” or, “I had bad withdrawals,” or whatever, but we also don't know if the kratom that they had was adulterated.  Because I should say that in the 15 deaths, nine of them came from Sweden.  And in Sweden, they had a company that was putting fentanyl in the kratom, and that killed nine people.  So it was adulterated.  Now a lot of times if you test the stuff at the gas stations, their alkaloids are all over the place.  So they don't know what's in it.

Ben:  Dude, the gas stations are, like the dick pills that you see on the front counter of gas stations, those things are super dangerous to play with.  Along with the energy drinks.  Like some of those truckers, what those guys are taking, they're doped to the gills off of this stuff that's just like OTC sitting right there next to the cash register low enough for my nine year old boys to grab at the gas stations.

Chris:  I heard that.  I heard that the boner pills are from rhino horn, and that's why one of them's called like “Rhino 9” or whatever.  I heard that they were killing rhinoceroses to make boner pills.

Ben:  Yeah.  Who knows.

Chris:  Crazy, crazy situation over there.

Ben:  Yeah.  But I also, I looked into some kratom extracts, and yeah, some of them have like designer drugs added to them.  Some of them have like Tramadol and other synthetic opioid drug added to them…

Chris:  And that's what we want to stay away from.  We want to be sure that what we're taking isn't adulterated.  And that's like the real reason for regulation, it's like to make sure that what we're putting in our bodies is safe.

Ben:  Yeah.  Tell me about legality.  Like not only legality in the US, I know the DEA was trying to classify it, but also legality when it comes to like WADA or USADA sanctioned sports, athletes, people like that.  Who can use this legally?  How can it be shipped legally?  Like where's it at, the world of kratom right now?

Chris:  I don't know if it's, as far as I know, it hasn't been on the banned substance lists.  It may be, but I'm not sure.  I never even looked into that.  I did ask Jeff Novitsky who's the UFC, a drug guy, that takes care of all the UFC drug issues.  He's also the guy that busted Lance Armstrong, so he knows a lot about this stuff.  And he said, “No, kratom's perfectly legal in the UFC.  Like you could totally use it if you wanted to.”

Ben:  Actually I can tell you, I actually, off the top of my head, I don't know about NCAA, but I do know it's not currently on WADA's list.  Which means I assume it's not on USADA's list as being prohibited in sport.  I would imagine if the DEA classifies it, and I want to hear where they're at with that with that from you in a moment here, then it might appear on those lists of course.  But where's it at right now with the DEA?

Chris:  Well the DEA backed off.  So what happened was they issued a ban.  They wanted to ban it.  First they issued an import alert saying like, “Customs, if you see the stuff getting imported, let us know.  We want to know about it, we want to track it,” that kind of stuff.  And then like about a year after that, they basically said we're going to ban it, and we're going to ban it on this date, and we don't want public comment.  So when they said they didn't want public comment, then everybody sort of went nuts, and they had like a march on Washington, and a petition, and all that.  And I went to that march, and we signed the petition, and got a bunch of people to sign the petition, and all of that.  And what that did is that got the DEA to say, “Well, look we've never had some sort of rush of this many people calling and getting pissed off.  What we're going to do is we're going to open this up to comments.  And if you guys can get like 10,000 comments, like we'll consider 'em all, and then will go from there.”  So they we're really aiming to get 10,000 comments.

But what was great is that they were about at 7,000, and the day before they were going to like stop doing that or whatever, like close the comment period, maybe it was a week before they're going to close the comment period, I went on Joe Rogan's podcast.  And it went from 7,000 to 23,000.  So with a little help from Joe, we kicked some ass.  And he took it on the show.  So when he took it, I think just a lot of people were like, “Oh, let me try it!”  And I think that that's important, having people that are influencers like you, and Joe, and people in the media that are talking about this in a positive light rather than always just shining a negative light on something whenever something's bad.

Ben:  Yeah.  I want to ask you a little bit more about dosage and just like practicality of kratom.  ‘Cause like I mentioned, I a lot of times just dump the powder into my mouth or I mix it in tea with a little bit of vitamin C, or lemon juice, or lime juice.  Are you primarily using it as like a capsule, or a tea, or are you doing like the powder?

Chris:  I don't like the taste of it just personally.  Some people are fine with it.  Like you said that you're fine with it.

Ben:  It tastes like dirt.  For anybody's who's done kava, for example, it's kind of similar to that.  Like it's this dirty, earthy kind of tastes.

Chris:  Yeah, very earthy.  Yeah, that's all.  What I do is I take capsules.  And in the morning, I usually take anywhere from six to eight capsules.  They're probably your standard sized capsules.  And that might sound like a lot, but like you said, it's not toxic to your liver, and blah, blah, blah.  So the reason that I take that much is because that's where I've found that it kills pain for me.  Now you’re saying with the vitamin C, I actually didn't know that.  So that's great.  I know about potentiators for drugs, trust me.  But I didn't know about it for kratom.  So I want to try that because maybe I can actually cut down the amount of pills.  Like the less stuff that you can take in general, the better.  Maybe adding a little vitamin C might allow me to take out half of the dosage or whatever.  But I find a great dosage with like six capsules, it completely takes away the pain, but I take it in the morning and I take it before, I'll go do cardio in the morning or whatever, I'll take it before that.  That gets me up and going…

Ben:  Like a white strain especially, it actually works really well for workouts.

Chris:  Yeah.  In the morning, I just do cardio.  So like my whole thing is like I'm just trying to get back to normal and feel good.  So I walk in the morning.  And during that walk is always like work.  It's like I'm working.  I'm like thinking about ideas, I'm writing stuff on my phone, I'm researching stuff on the internet, listening to podcasts, like do all that stuff every morning, boom, boom, boom, get it done.  And by the time an hour's gone by, I've done cardio and I've gotten that over with.  So like a big part of this for me was coming out of rehab a 260 pounds, looking like a big fat meatball with a head.  I was like, “Man, that's not me.  That's not who I am.  I used to be in shape.  I used to train hard.  This isn't me.”  So I basically went on a ketogenic diet and I got that works.  This morning, I weighed 183.  I’m 260.  Those are steps that I've taken with kratom.  And the reason I say that, the reason I bring it up is because I started doing the diet because all of a sudden my mind could focus on what I needed to do.  I don't get thrown off by things.  Like it really helps me focus.  So when I focus on my diet, or I focus on my training, or I focus on my work, I've written like three scripts since I've been on kratom.  So like I'm going nuts in my career, and a lot of it has to do with kratom.  I just think it's a great plant, you know?

Ben:  Yeah.  The other one that blends quite well with, and I just wrote an article for Men's Health Magazine about this, is this stuff called copaiba oil, C-O-P-A-I-B-A, and it's an essential oil that gets distilled from the sap of this tree in South America.  And it's considered to be very similar to, what did you call it, when something magnifies the effects of another substance?

Chris:  Potentiator.

Ben:  Yeah, potentiator.  Very similar to a potentiator.  But basically, anything it's mixed with, whether it's marijuana, or Reishi mushroom extract is another one that's good with kratom, you put very, very small amounts of this copaiba essential oil in with like a tea, or an edible, or a tincture, and it vastly improves absorbability and deliverability.  And that one's interesting 'cause it's got a lot of pain relief properties.  So it's a really good analgesic when you apply it topically, or when you use like very small amounts orally.  So that's another one I've found to be pretty useful for mixing with something like kratom.  What about some of these recreational drugs that, not that any of our listeners are doing a lot of tobacco, or cannabis, or alcohol, but just if they happen to be.  Does that help with the use of kratom, like say for example in evening if you have kratom with a cocktail for example, or should you completely avoid like using sedatives or other types of compounds along with kratom?

Chris:  I haven't, like for example I haven't mixed it with much of anything.  I would think that using kratom and marijuana would be fine.  I don't see it like, I haven't had any issues, put it that way, with like mixing it with anything.

Ben:  Okay.  Got it.  So as far as stacking it, you'd say there's really not a lot of…

Chris:  I like kratom and caffeine.  We're actually developing a supplement, now a kratom supplement that'll have a lot of interesting things in it.

Ben:  Dude, you got to keep me posted on that.  ‘Cause I actually have done that.  I'll just make my normal morning cup of coffee and put about a teaspoon of like a white strain of kratom in there, and it brings coffee to another level.  Plus if you're in pain, if you're sore, if you have like a back injury like I had when I started doing it, it allows you to function all day long without the pain kind of being at the back your mind.

Chris:  We have something very interesting, 'cause I don't make any money off of kratom.  Like right now, I don't make a dime off of kratom.  But putting out this movie and trying to help a lot of people, I think it makes a lot of sense and it's smart to try to develop something for when the film comes out, and people are going to want it.  So I think that it's smart to develop something that I would use that I like, and then just say, “Well, this is my product,” or whatever.  I don't think there's any shame in that.  I think it's smart because this is a product that can help millions and millions of people and I want to be involved in it.  I want to carry the torch.  I don't want to just be the guy who's like, “Oh, yeah.  I use kratom,” and like stand on the sidelines.

I think the more involved you get, the more you push things, the more it can really help people.  When I say this is the cure for the opiate epidemic, the reason I say that is because even during this podcast people are [0:55:56] ______ from opiates.  It is such a huge problem that all we got to do is get, all these people need, all I needed when I went to rehab was a little bit of love and to get away from the drug that was killing me.  And at the time, it was actually alcohol.  Like when I went back to rehab, it was mainly for alcohol.  But I'd also relapsed on pills, but I wasn't quite addicted to the pills yet.  So I got out of the pills early enough and to not be totally killed by it 'cause I had quit the pills years before.  It's just I kept relapsing.  Everytime I went to quit, I relapsed.  Everytime I went to quit, I relapse.  Now this is really interesting, I found kratom after being sober for a year, and now I'm sober three years and I haven't relapsed.  That's interesting to me.  Like if I relapsed, I'd say, “Well, kratom doesn't work obviously.”  But I had never thought of doing an opiate.  I'm so against it that my pet peeve now is like every time somebody mentions it, or I hear something about it, it just makes me sick.

Ben:  How long does it take to hit your system and how long does effects last from like a single dose?

Chris: Well, that's interesting.  In a liquid form, it can hit your system in like five minutes.  And that might be another case to make, some sort of liquid form that's not necessarily like just extract.  So it can hit you in like five minutes.  Actually, they just did a study over in, it was Christopher McCurdy who's a doctor who's like a world expert in this, was speaking over in England and he was talking about it compared to Narcan or Noloxone, which is the nasal spray that they give you if you overdose.  Kratom, in the formulations that they've made in their lab, kratom will work just as fast, if faster than Narcan.  So that's pretty outstanding 'cause we've never seen a substance with this kind of profile, we've never seen a substance that can do something like this.  So when you're looking at, like that's just the basis for the drug.  That's not even a drug.  What I'm talking about is these scientists want to take kratom and make it into a botanical drug.

So they want to, first of all, figure out what all the alkaloids do, and then figure out which ones should stay and which ones should go.  Because some of them cause just side effects, like some of them do nothing but cause wet dog shakes, which means like when you get out of the water, you shake like a dog.  Or actually, no it's not when you get out of water.  It's just out of nowhere, these rats will start shaking like a dog, and that's called wet dog shakes, and that can come on from kratom.  Now people don't get that.  Like I don't shake myself up like a dog like one when I, in rats, in high doses, they've experienced that.  So they were able to isolate that specific alkaloid 'cause they saw the problem, and then they were able to isolate it, and take that out, and then fix that problem.

Ben:  Yeah.  The one thing I noticed, and this was not for me, this was one of my buddies, is he got nauseous when he took it.  And maybe he took too much, but he had a lot of stomach aches, dizziness, little bit of those wobbles.  So I've never had any experience like that, but I've got pretty high tolerance to a lot of these things.  For example, the little packet of the red strain that I keep, the Red Borneo that I keep next to my bed stand at night, Like if I wake up at 2 or 3 AM, I'll take about a teaspoon or so of that, and typically it hits me, I kind of get like this euphoria, almost like an indica strain of marijuana within about 20 minutes or so.  And that'll last me 'til I wake up the next morning.  I just kind of let it sit in my mouth.

Chris:  I would say capsules are a little bit faster and I would definitely say like, I mean powder is always going to be, like all a capsule is is gelatine with powder in it.  So the powder is going to be faster 'cause you're not waiting for that gel cap to dissolve.  But I feel like if you, for me I just take things early enough.  Like I wake up and I just take it.  It's like by the time I actually get ready to go, I'm ready to go.  So even if it takes me like, “Okay, I got to,” you wake up in the morning and there's a couple things you got to do before you actually leave the house.  You got to like maybe take a shower, or maybe brush your teeth, you gotta do something.  So before I even do that, I'll just take the kratom.  And then by the time I do whatever I need to do to get out of here and go to the gym or wherever I'm going, I'm good to go.  So I feel like it kicking in doesn't really, it's not, “Aw, man.  It takes forever to kick in,” nothing like that.  I've been pretty cool with it.

Ben:  Tell me about this documentary, dude.  Like why are you making it and what was the reasoning behind it?

Chris:  I'm making this documentary because my friend, Kelly, he came to Sacramento and met with me after that first time I took it, and I said to him like, “How can we get more people to know about this?  Like what can we do?”  And he's like, “Well, I thought you were the guy for that.”  And I'm like well, I am but like it' be kind of weird to make a documentary about this.  Like it's too weird of a thing.  Like nobody will watch it was what I was thinking.  Like at first, 'cause I was like, it's just weird.  It's like how are we going to make this?  And then because I didn't know that it actually could help people with opiates.  It was more when like I started researching it after like a couple weeks, when I'm like, “Oh my god.  Really?  Like holy [censored].”  And it started just opening up.  It started opening up right in front of my eyes.  Like what was I thinking?  Like everybody will watch this.  We're just way ahead of the curve.  You know what I mean?  It's like the kratom thing is so far ahead of the curve that people don't see it coming.  Most people have never heard of it.  And that was my biggest problem is like when they say, “What are you making a movie about,” and I say steroids, people go, “Oh my god.  I know this guy,” or Barry Bonds, or Lance Armstrong.  When I say I'm making a movie about prescription drugs, people are like, “Oh my god, I got a can't believe Prince died!”  When I say I'm making about kratom, they're like, “What [censored].”  So nobody knows what it is…

Ben:  Some random dude in Thailand, who’s you got to talk to.

Chris:  Exactly.  And so like nobody knows what is.  So I just made that a challenge in the film.  Like in the film, it's like, “Okay, well nobody doesn't know what it is.  So we have to do a really good job of breaking it down, and describing it to people, and how they're going to feel, and like all that stuff.”  But what I really want to focus on is the fact that I think, like I said, most people are talking about stuff and they're not doing it.  So what I really focus on in the movie is like how big, how vast this epidemic is that we have, how much money is involved in that epidemic, and how much money is involved in stopping that epidemic.  Now there's a lot of money, there's billions of dollars in getting people off of pills as well.  So it's really fascinating to me because in the documentary, we want to showcase all that so that you can get people on board to know how important it is that they look into other stuff like this.

And then the big thing that we're trying to do with the documentary to move things forward, like I said, you want to actually have a call to action.  We want to have people be able to help.  We're going to raise money for kratom research, and we're going to use the film to do that, we're going to use podcasts to do that, like you guys and everybody else who get all these affiliates, and partners, and people that we talk to, this like great community of fitness that we have, get everybody together and say, “Let's beat this thing.  And the way that we beat it down is we put a bunch of money into kratom research and things like that.  Let's attack this.  And I really believe with the right people behind it and the right forces behind it that we can raise a really good amount of money and also develop some stuff through that research that will actually help people.

Ben:  Yeah.  Word.  Is there's a link for it right now, man?

Chris:  For the movie?

Ben:  Mhmm.

Chris:  No.  There's no information on it right now.

Ben:  Well, when it does come out, send it over to me and I'll tweet it out.

Chris:  Absolutely, yeah.  We started an Instagram handle, like A Leaf Of Faith Instagram handle…

Ben:  A Leaf Of Faith?

Chris:  Check out, but like, we're wrapping the movie now.  I have about two months left of finishing it up, and so we're just going nuts like just trying to get it done.  And so right now during that process is like when we'll start putting out more social media and stuff like that.  But we're trying to just get the movie done first and figure out where to go with it and what to do with it.  My goal would be, I think that this movie's really, really important actually, I started out, like I said, not sure if I should make this movie, and then having that turning to be like, “This is by far the most important thing I'll ever put out there.”

Ben:  Yeah.  Well I found your Instagram account, Leaf Of Faith, you've got 386 followers.  So I'm going to put a link on the show notes here for those who are listening in.  Follow this.  We might be able to get a few more people on your follow list.

Chris:  We'll be able to pump that up by like next week.  That's just something that we put up and I haven't really put any effort into it.

Ben:  Well, your documentaries rock.  I like them.  So I'm sure this one will be good.  And for those you're listening in, if you want to get kratom, if you want to check out any of the link that Chris and I talked about, I'll hunt down a link to this Urban Ice that Chris uses.

Chris:  That's Natural Organix, with an “X”…

Ben:  Cool.  I'll hunt that down and this Leaf Of Faith Instagram page.  Like I mentioned, you guys, I did a podcast of this gal wrote the “Drug Dealer, MD” book on opiate addictions and I'll link to that podcast in the show notes too, as well as everything else that Chris and I talked about to go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/chrisbell.

Chris:  There's some good YouTube videos on kratom too.  There's a couple guys on YouTube like Drew Turner, he's a great guy, he's a vet, he just got a lot of pain issues and stuff like that, and he talks about kratom a lot.  If you just go on YouTube, you'll find a lot of people making videos about it, and how to take it, and what to do, and their experiences.  I say use all that.  Watch everybody.  It's like be careful who you trust, but like you make your own judgment after watching somebody if you're going to listen to them or not.

Ben:  Yeah.  Word.  Since I've been using kratom, I've been wanting to do a podcast on it and get somebody like you on the show to actually talk about it, and what it is, and how to use it.  So I think this is going to be really useful for folks.  And again, like if you're listening, Chris and I aren't doctors.  Proceed at your own risk.  Like Chris mentioned, a lot of this stuff, depending on where you get it, it can be laced with other opioids, it can have other stuff in it, and you want to proceed with caution.

Chris:  I have something to say, serious about that.  We aren't doctors.  We're not doctors, but the people that we trust, the people that we put our trust into, they caused this epidemic.  Now it's up to us to fix it.  So that's what I'm saying.  I don't trust doctors anyway.  You know I mean?  Like, “Oh, we're not doctors.”  I'm like, “I don't trust them anyway.  They're the ones that caused this.”  So you have to be careful with who we trust on anything.

Ben:  It's a good point, man.  It's a good point.

Chris:  Become your own doctor.  You have to do your own research, and that's why you're always digging in to stuff.  Because you got to find your own stuff.

Ben:  Yeah.  Word.  Well folks, again, I'm going to put the links over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/chrisbell.  I'll also link to some of Chris' other extremely entertaining documentaries if you want to watch any of them, like “Bigger, Stronger, Faster”, “Trophy Kids”, or “Prescription Thugs”.  They're actually pretty cool shows, especially if you're into fitness.  And Chris, in the meantime, thanks for coming on the show and sharing all this stuff with us, man.

Chris:  No problem, buddy.  Anytime, man.  I'd love to come back on when we put the movie out.  I'll have a little bit more about, I'll be able to talk about more.  There's so much fun, like cool, interesting stuff that have happened during this trip, but we'll talk about it when people see it.  It'll be much more fun that way.

Ben:  Sweet, sweet.  And also, as the movie's coming out and you get a web page up for it, just shoot me an e-mail.  And then for everybody listening in, I'll put a link to it or a preview on the facebook.com/bgfitness page, or follow me at twitter.com/bengreenfield and I'll push it out there.

Chris:  If you want to get Mark on the podcast too, let me know.  We'll hook that up.

Ben:  Mark Bell?

Chris:  Yeah.

Ben:  And you guys do the Mark, is it called the Mark Bell Powercast?

Chris:  Yeah.  Mark Bell's Powercast.

Ben:  Yeah.  Cool.

Chris:  He has also products, the Slingshot products and all that good stuff.

Ben:  Yeah.  Well if you're listening into this show right now and you'd be interested in me having Mark Bell on the Powercast and you're a fan of his, head over the comment section at bengreenfieldfitness.com/chrisbell.  Let me know, and let me know what you'd want me to ask him, and I can look into having him on the show as well.  Alright, cool.  Well Chris, thanks, man.  And for those of you listening in, I'm Ben Greenfield along with filmmaker and kratom expert, Chris Bell signing out from bengreenfieldfitness.com.  Have a healthy week.



From relaxation, to quelling appetite, to killing pain, I've recently been using an herb called “Kratom” (ever since I injured my back several months ago and I needed something other than an opioid based painkiller to stop the discomfort and allow me to sleep and engage in my normal day-to-day function).

When I first used Kratom, I felt the effects within minutes – and also experienced a pleasant euphoria, and even a drop in appetite, with none of the side effects of a painkiller and none of the psychosis of something like marijuana.

Advocates say the herb kratom offers relief from pain, depression, and anxiety. Scientists say it may hold the key to treating chronic pain and may even be a tool to combat addiction to opioid medications. But the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is now trying to ban this potent herb, citing an “imminent hazard to public safety.”

So is kratom safe?


How do you use it?

What are the different strains?

What else can kratom be used for?

In today's podcast with Chris Bell, you'll discover the answers to all these questions and much more. This is a must listen, in my opinion, especially since President Trump just declared the opioid crisis in America a “national emergency”.

Chris “Boar” Bell is an American director, producer and writer, known for his documentaries Bigger, Stronger, Fasterand Trophy Kids and Prescription Thugs. He is the brother of Mark Bell and Mike Bell, both of whom were featured in Bigger, Stronger, Faster. In 1997, Bell obtained his Bachelor of Arts in Film Production from the University of Southern California. He currently resides in California, where founded his film production company Bigger Stronger Faster Inc, which is devoted to producing educational documentaries, films, and TV shows…

…Chris also happens to be an expert in all things kratom, and even claims in this video that kratom is “the cure for the opioid epidemic”.

During our discussion, you'll discover:

-How Chris went from being in intense pain 24-7 to nearly destroying his stomach with ibuprofen and advil to being completely addicted to opioid based painkillers…[8:55]

-How Chris originally discovered kratom…[20:50]

-What kratom is and where it comes from…[23:45 & 25:00]

-How you feel when you take kratom…[26:05]

-The difference between the different kratom strains, like red, white and green…[27:25]

-Whether kratom is safe on the organs…[31:15]

-Where Ben and Chris get their kratom…[38:20 & 40:45]

-Whether kratom is addictive or habit-forming…[42:15]

-If kratom is banned by WADA or USADA…[47:10]

-Whether kratom can be combined with anything to enhance its effects…[50:50, 52:50 & 54:00]

-How long kratom takes to “hit your system” and how long it lasts…[59:25]

-The new kratom documentary Chris is working on…[60:30]

-And much more…

Resources from this episode:

-My podcast on “Drug Dealer, MD”

Leaf Of Faith Instagram

Show Sponsors:

-Rover – The nation's largest network of 5-star pet-sitters. Go to Rover.com/ben and use promo code “BEN” to get $25 off.

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-Organifi – Go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/organifi Discount code BEN for 20% off your order!

-Podchaser – Want to help me make this podcast even bigger? For the next week or so, you can visit the site and leave ratings and reviews for episodes you want to see commemorated. To keep it simple — 1. Head to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/podchaser  2. Log into Podchaser. New user? If so, enter “Patreon” to get FREE access. 3. Rate and review your favorite episodes! Don’t forget to log in and vote. Thanks in advance for your support!








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