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For Kratom enthusiasts and suppliers, bans on Kratom are a concerning prospect. Misinformed and alarmist detractors are having a serious impact on Kratom policy in the United States and abroad. Kratom users and policymakers need to get educated about Kratom and fight against unnecessary and arbitrary bans.
What Is Kratom?
Kratom comes from the leaves of the Kratom tree, also known as Mitragyna speciosa. This tree is cultivated in Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Papua New Guinea.
Different Kratom strains may boost your well-being in varying ways. The strains are created through the drying process, resulting in red, green, and white vein Kratom varieties that many people incorporate into their daily wellness regimen.
Many Kratom enthusiasts love to mix their chosen Kratom strain into a hot tea with honey in the mornings, or into a smoothie for lunch. Kratom may promote peace, a sense of optimism, and motivation to help users seize the day.
Kratom is not an opiate, a drug, or a synthetic substance. With responsible use, it can be a welcome part of your daily routine and may help you navigate everyday stresses.
DEA Attempted Scheduling in 2016
In 2016, the DEA attempted to classify Kratom as a Schedule I controlled substance, putting it on the same level as heroin. Coincidentally, cannabis is also still classified as a Schedule I drug.
A Schedule I drug must first pass an eight-factor analysis test by the DEA. These factors include the potential for abuse, public health risks, and physical or psychological dependence. Dr. Jack Henningfield used this eight-factor analysis test on Kratom, and his results show that Kratom is no more addictive than a cup of coffee when used responsibly. This study indicates that the attempted scheduling of Kratom as a first-tier controlled substance is premature and uninformed.
The plan to unfairly schedule Kratom as a Schedule I drug led to outrage and petitions from the Kratom community, veterans, doctors, and law enforcement officials. The DEA withdrew its plans to classify Kratom in October 2016, but the FDA issued a declaration in 2019 that stated Kratom is not approved for medicinal use.
Part of the reason for this sudden crackdown was the medical claims touted by many Kratom vendors. While Kratom may provide a boost to your well-being, it is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Until the science catches up with what many Kratom users know, medical claims by Kratom vendors continue to put Kratom on the FDA’s radar.
Additionally, an August 2019 study acknowledged the controversy surrounding Kratom but warned that the classification of Kratom as a Schedule I drug would effectively halt the research on Kratom.
In 2018, the FDA’s statement about Kratom pointed to a computer modeling of the alkaloids found in Kratom. From these results, they found similarities in the opioid ligands, which partially bind with the mu-opioid receptors.
However, this does not mean that Kratom is an opioid. Many non-opioid supplements and substances bind with these same receptors, including chamomile, St. John’s Wort, hops, and guarana.
While computer modeling of these alkaloids is innovative, it does not give an accurate picture of how Kratom may impact users’ lives. It was this faulty reasoning that led Georgia State Representative Vernon Jones to address the FDA’s claims and refer to an IP Synergy Commentary on why Kratom should remain legal. Jones was appointed to the House Study Committee to examine the potential risks posed by Kratom.
Representative Jones is an outspoken advocate of Kratom, as a Kratom user himself. Jones has traveled to other states such as Louisiana which had a Kratom ban bill on their docket in May of 2019.
In the House Study Committee’s final report on the Risks Associated with Kratom, the Committee found significant issues with product labeling, lack of research of Kratom but potential benefits, and unrestricted access to Kratom. Their recommendations included age limits on purchasing Kratom, conducting additional research, penalties for violations of standards, clear and consistent labeling, and increasing federal oversight of the sale and production of Kratom.
Most notably, even after the Committee heard from a wealth of representatives from law enforcement officials, concerned citizens, advocacy groups, and the medical community, they did not suggest a Kratom ban. Instead, they want more regulation of Kratom to keep it safe for consumers.
Legality of Kratom as of 2020
Kratom is legal at the federal level and is enjoyed by millions of Americans every day, according to the American Kratom Association. Currently, Kratom is banned in Wisconsin, Rhode Island, Indiana, Alabama, Arkansas, and Vermont.
Certain jurisdictions and cities have also banned Kratom, including San Diego, California; Sarasota County, Florida; several areas of Mississippi; and Franklin City, New Hampshire. Other cities, like Denver, have bans on Kratom for sale for human consumption. Please note: these are always subject to change. You can check with the AKA for the most recent updates.
Around the world, Kratom is illegal in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Israel, Italy, Poland, Sweden, South Korea, and Russia. Additionally, many other EU and Southeast Asian countries prohibit the sale and/or possession of Kratom. In some of these countries, the status of Kratom remains questionable, as legislation is in limbo.
If you are traveling from one state or country to another with Kratom, check to see the legality status of Kratom in your destination before packing your bags.
Has Anyone Died from Kratom?
The only deaths the FDA has linked to Kratom involved combining other drugs with Kratom or using adulterated Kratom products. This means no one has died from responsible Kratom use, or Kratom purchased from reputable sellers.
The results indicate there needs to be more oversight on sellers of Kratom to ensure their products do not contain other dangerous compounds.
What Is the KCPA?
The Kratom Consumer Protection Act aims to eliminate the potential risks from disreputable sellers and regulate the production and sale of Kratom. Among the most important aspects of the KCPA, it establishes a clear definition of Kratom, requires registration of Kratom producers, and regular enforcement of the standards set up by the Department of Agriculture and Food.
There are penalties for violations, and all producers, manufacturers, and vendors of Kratom must clearly label their products according to specific requirements. Some states have already adopted the KCPA, which has helped to protect consumers and vendors from tainted or diluted Kratom.
The KCPA aligns with the House Study Committee’s final report on the risks associated with Kratom. More federal oversight will help keep Kratom safe and legal.
How Can I Help Fight a Kratom Ban in My State?
There are many states still in need of lobbyists for Kratom, and others that have pending Kratom legislation or bans. Write to your elected leaders at the local, state, and federal levels to show your support for keeping Kratom legal and safe. Share Dr. Henningfield’s comprehensive eight-factor analysis study of Kratom, and keep the conversation going.
In 2018, Kratom was mysteriously absent from the DEA’s National Drug Threat Assessment report, despite the flurry of legislation and activities in many states that year. The fight sits in the hands of the local and state leaders, which makes your voice as a voting American even more critical.
If you see a Kratom vendor making medical claims on social media, in a video, or anywhere else on their website, send them an email and notify them that these claims are against FDA regulations. Companies like these are hurting, rather than helping to keep Kratom legal.
The best way to battle misinformation about Kratom on the internet and by legislators is to get educated. If you have found Kratom to be an essential, beneficial part of your day, take action to safeguard your use of this important botanical choice. Start with the American Kratom Association, which posts essential up to date Kratom-related news, legislative updates, and advocacy information.
You can also find recent, accurate information on Kratom in Kats Botanicals’ Kratom Guidebook section of our website. Here, we detail all things Kratom, from information on strains to buying from reputable vendors to the best ways to consume Kratom for daily wellness needs. We link to reputable sources and scientific studies about Kratom, so you are empowered when you discuss and buy Kratom.
While a Kratom ban is a concern for many people, it doesn’t have to be a permanent solution. Thousands of Kratom advocates have signed petitions and contacted their representatives about the importance of keeping Kratom legal and safe.
Help fight these bans by contacting your legislators and educating yourself about the latest news in Kratom. By sharing your knowledge with others, you can help end the stigma and misinformation surrounding Kratom for good.
If you are interested in donating to the American Kratom Association, visit our donation page to learn more and donate today.