Mitragyna speciosa popularly known as kratom is a tropical tree found in Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Its leaves have been used for years to provide recreational and medicinal benefits to users.
Currently, many researchers believe that the active compounds of kratom work by stimulating nerve cells the same way opioid drugs like morphine act. On the other hand, some policymakers suggest this natural herb can cause adverse effects, but there is minimal research supporting such claims, which is why kratom legality is still a gray area.
Kratom and The FDA
The Food and Drug Administration has tried to prohibit the use of bulk kratom for years. However, many consumers have opposed the move, citing that its elimination will lead to more deaths. This is because kratom is a safe substitute for pharmaceutical drugs with opioid effects, which causes drug abuse disorders after prolonged use.
In fact, many Americans use kratom products instead of conventional medicines such as OxyContin to relieve pain. It has led to a tremendous increase in sales in recent years since most people have no access to expensive opioids when going through an overdose crisis. Users can consume it in powder form, brew it to make tea, or take kratom capsules.
According to a 2019 study, overdoses between 2016 and 2017 show that kratom was incriminated in not more than 1% of deaths. Potent drugs like fentanyl that cause adverse effects on the user’s health led to most cases. So, it is not yet clear if kratom played a part in these deaths or any at all.
Regardless of the many pleasurable and therapeutic benefits kratom has to offer. The FDA wants to ban it since it has been the only strategy the agency uses on recreational drugs for over 100 years. On the contrary, policymakers should not be guided by the few effects kratom has, instead they should assess if the banning will do more damage than good.
Kratom and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
It is usual for DEA to put a ‘legal’ drug under a temporary ban depending on safety and abuse concerns on the consumers. The organization tried this move with kratom products, but the verdict met a massive public resistance that led the agency to reconsider its decision.
In 2016, the Drug enforcement administration agency decided to classify kratom herb as a schedule 1 drug. The decision attracted public attention, including the American Kratom Association (AKA), which led to various petitions and public demonstrations. They argued that the product effectively manages pain and can be used as an alternative to opiate drugs. This prompted the agency to withdraw the emergency ruling and further seek public opinion on kratom products.
Currently, the agency has written no final report, which means the future destination of kratom is still unknown.
Kratom Legality in The United States
The laws governing kratom consumption in the United states are a bit complicated since they have state legal systems and federal law structures. To be specific, possession and the use of kratom herb is federally legal, which means some states prohibit its use while others allow people to consume it.
Most individuals in the United States follow federal guidelines that control the use of kratom. However, kratom product is strictly prohibited in the following states:
- Rhode Island
On the other hand, some places allow the use and possession of kratom. They include Arizona, Delaware, Alaska, Colorado, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Kansas, etc.
Additionally, it is essential to note that certain cities prohibit the use of kratom even though the state allows its use. For example, California legalized its consumption except in San Diego. The same applies to Denver city in Colorado.
International Legal Status of Kratom
Outside the United States, some countries allow kratom use in its various consumption methods. This means you can take it in powder form, capsule, add it to your beverage or use its extracts. Countries like Thailand, Denmark, Finland, Japan, Latvia, Malaysia, Poland, Sweden, Vietnam, Singapore, among others, prohibit the use of kratom products. Other places like Australia, New Zealand, and other European countries allow its use but within certain restrictions.
Moreover, in places like Italy, Ireland, and the United Kingdom, the guidelines might differ from one city to another. Also, note the legality status of kratom in some countries such as China is not yet known.
Many reports show kratom provides amazing benefits to its users, especially for people with conditions such as chronic pain, stress, depression, and anxiety. With proper research and case studies, scientists continue to prove kratom’s potential to manage health conditions without causing further adverse effects. This may prompt the states and countries that have banned the use of kratom to change their policies.
For now, if your state has banned or regulated the use of kratom, show your support to the herb community by spreading reliable information about this natural herb. Maybe you might see changes that favor kratom users in the near future.