Kratom Survey: Dr. Grundmann’s Ongoing Work

Kratom Research 2021

To give some context to the kratom tea survey, we put together this recap of Dr. Oliver Grundmann‘s and Hamilton Morris‘s discussion regarding Dr. Grundmann’s ongoing work and current kratom survey. When possible, citations have been provided for the discussed topics.

Dr. Oliver Grundmann

Dr. Oliver Grundmann is one of the most cited kratom researchers in the world. His work regarding kratom ranges from the largest population study of kratom consumers ever conducted, all the way to detailing its neuropharmacology. He has spoken at several American Kratom Association hosted advocacy events, and continues to correct sensationalism with science.

He currently serves as the Director and faculty advisor for the online Master of Science and graduate certificate programs in Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Clinical Toxicology at the College of Pharmacy of the University of Florida.

Hamilton Morris

Hamilton Morris is a renowned science and culture journalist. He directed, wrote, and hosted three seasons of the hit television series “Hamilton’s Pharmacopeia,” and his written work has appeared in Harper’s Magazine and Vice Magazine, among others. He researches drug development and pharmacology at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia with long-time colleague Dr. Jason Wallach.

In 2017 he released his widely acclaimed documentary Kratom: The Forbidden Leaf as part of season 2 of his television series.  He has returned to the subject of kratom through his role as Scientific Advisor to Top Tree Herbs.

Recapping the Survey

In this clip from our larger discussion on all things kratom, Dr. Grundmann details some of his ongoing work that is not related to the kratom tea survey. 

As a way to transition, Dr. Grundmann quickly summarizes some of the nuances of the survey.  Straightaway, he mentions that he reached out to Top Tree to conduct this study due to the standardized serving size of the tea bags.

Concurrently, the tea bags also recommend a standardized process for brewing. This granular information is important, and groundbreaking, since there has not been a human trial on kratom approved in the United States in living memory.

(There are rumors of non-digitized kratom human trials available in dusty corners of university libraries on archaic microfiche, of which we’ve not been able to confirm nor deny.)

Knowing precisely how much, and how frequently, people are taking kratom is crucial for characterizing its effects scientifically.Soren mentioned some of the flavors that are available in the Top Tree tea shop, although he did let slip some R&D flavors that are not yet available. Whoops!

(Hint: Vanilla is delicious, although we’re still working out some kinks before making it available.)

Kratom Tea Research Collaboration

Returning to the point of why Dr. Grundmann partnered with Top Tree Herbs to release the survey, we are the kratom tea bag company. Some other kratom products are available in tea bags, but they still use micronized powder. This results in a grainy, sludge filled slurry which still results in the consumption of kratom leaf powder. Importantly, we only use premium crushed leaf kratom, resulting in a tea infusion which bypasses having to swallow any nasty leaf particles.

A Large Variety of Alkaloids

As part of the survey, Dr. Grundmann and a commercial lab partner, Sante Labs, will be analyzing kratom teas. Significantly, they will be prepared using the same batch of kratom that is in the survey related tea bags.. This analysis will investigate the alkaloidal content of 7 different kratom alkaloids, making it one of the most comprehensive alkaloidal analyses on kratom. (Read this recent paper by Kamble et al to learn more about kratom’s various alkaloids.)

Ongoing Work and Covid Related Struggles

One of the kratom alkaloids that Dr. Grundmann is investigating in his other projects is Rhynchophylline, an NMDA-agonist. His research uses C. elegans worms as a model organism. However, this work is momentarily put on hold as they are struggling to find a supply of morphine to use as a positive control.

Finally, as Soren said in the video, if you’re interested in the work that Dr. Grundmann is doing, you can set an alert on Google scholar for his work.

Survey Info

This discussion, ultimately, is to promote Dr. Grundmann’s incredibly important population survey of kratom tea drinkers. The data from this survey will be able to further our scientific understanding of this leaf, and its consumption via the traditional preparation.

These are the crucial, final innings in the story of kratom. At the moment, it has drawn the ire of federal regulatory agencies, for whatever reason. Nobody can protect kratom by themselves. Thus, we need rigorous, scientific analysis of kratom, including it’s potential for both good and bad. However, given the politics surrounding kratom, the ability for scientists to experiment with it is limited. 

You Can Help!

To get around this, we need a grassroots commitment to discovering the truth regarding this leaf. As such, surveys are one of our best options.

The current survey that Dr. Grundmann is conducting is one of the most rigorous and controlled population surveys on kratom every conducted. For the results to have any weight, it is up to you to participate.

In short, we fail to collect the adequate data to make any meaningful conclusions, then the enemies of kratom will be able to continue to propagate their ill informed claims. In the grand scheme of things, we know surprisingly little about kratom. 

Sadly, that means that both the claims made by advocates and prohibitionists are founded on thin evidence. To collect a meaningful amount of data from this survey would allow for a more scientific discussion to be had.  Truly, all those committed to honesty above speculation will want for this survey to be widely responded to.

How To Help

If you would like to participate in this historical research project, you can purchase a bag of our crushed leaf kratom tea bags. From there, it’s as simple, and pleasurable, as drinking tea! 

After you’ve drunk some of the tea, simply scan the QR code on the bag and fill out the anonymous survey.  Or, you can go directly to the survey via

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Soren Shade
Soren Shade is the Founder and CEO of Top Tree Herbs. He was the producer for Hamilton’s Pharmacopeia, and continues to produce the Hamilton Morris Podcast. He writes with a holistic look at natural and synthetic pharmacology, traditions-of-use, and a love for freedom of consciousness. You can find Soren rock climbing or advocating for sensible drug reform and anti-prohibition.

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