Purple Lotus' Kratom-Laced Kava Drink: We Try It for Ourselves
"Kava is in the same family as black pepper; kratom comes from the same genus as coffee. They are not related!" Weber shouts.
Weber explains that kava has a "reverse tolerance": The more often you drink it, the less required to feel its effects. He speculates that kava bar owners spike their drinks with kratom to make it more addictive. "My opinion, and I'm not a doctor, is just what I've seen here at my bar," Weber explains, his tone suddenly serious. "From my understanding, kratom helps people get off of heroin, but apparently it stimulates someone the same as opium and is extremely addictive. It's disgusting. I've seen people strung out on [kratom]."
The most alarming thing, says Weber, is that people often don't realize they're ingesting kratom, and even if they do, they don't fully understand its side effects.
Avigodor Weber, owner of the Mystic Water Kava Bar in Hollywood.
Weber vividly remembers a young couple coming in to his bar. They asked if the drink had kratom in it. Weber was horrified.
"There are people who have come in and they've never had true kava," Weber says, honestly upset.
"They drink at Purple Lotus, and it's spiked with kratom. The lawsuit [against Purple Lotus Kava Bar] is deserved. They're all dickheads for not telling [patrons] what they're giving them."
Michael Siegel believes that couple Weber was referring to was him and his wife. A year and a half ago, Siegel remembers the owner of Mystic Water Kava bar explaining the effects of kratom and kava.
"I remember stopping by the bar in Hollywood; it looked like a jungle," Siegel says. "There was this guy who, after we asked if he had kratom, yelled that he didn't and then gave us a 45-minute dissertation about the pitfalls of kratom use and how only kava bars that want to get people hooked use kratom."
"It's sad, because kava is beautiful," Weber says, shaking his head.