If you have been around in the Kratom community for long enough, you’ve probably noticed that vendors don’t talk very specifically about Kratom’s effects. There’s a good reason for this.
As a Kratom consumer, you’re free to talk about Kratom effects in any way you want to; however, as a Kratom supplier, we need to stay compliant with the FDA with all content we publish on our website. One of the ways Kats Botanicals does this is by avoiding an in-depth discussion of Kratom’s potential effects.
If you’ve been curious as to why Kratom’s effects are barely touched upon, here is some background as to why we need to be careful.
The Kratom Effects We Can’t Talk About
The Federal Drug Administration is charged with keeping the public safe by regulating certain products. These include dietary supplements, food additives, vaccines, baby formula, tongue depressors, livestock and pet foods, and tobacco products. The FDA regulates and oversees these industries to make sure this varied list of products remains compliant with FDA standards.
Thousands of guides tell business owners and companies what to do and what not to do. One of the categories this regulation deals with is claims. The FDA oversees what a company or business can or cannot say to their customers about what their product does.
In specific relation to any non-regulated or non-approved supplement or botanical, the FDA stipulates that businesses who sell these items cannot imply or expressly state that they can cure or treat a disease or condition.
Kratom is not intended for use to treat, diagnose, prevent, mitigate, or cure any condition or ailment. If you enjoy the benefits of Kratom, use it to complement your daily health and wellness regimen, but it does not heal or cure you of any disease.
Additionally, Kratom and other botanicals cannot augment an existing FDA-approved therapy or drug.
What We Can Talk About
We try to describe Kratom and its effects with this “no claim” stipulation by the FDA in mind at all times. In terms of explaining how Kratom affects your body, we have to use broad, general terms.
Here’s an example. Most people know that eating a healthy diet leads to better health. This can be put, in the simplest terms, that a proper diet directly leads to good health. Due to the strictures of the FDA, this is too much of a claim.
A healthy diet may not always lead to good health; therefore, to put it simplistically, switching from potato chips to broccoli is not proven to cure anything. Saying or implying there is a direct correlation between the two is a claim, and people may think that broccoli can solve all their health ailments, when it may not.
In terms of Kratom, we can tell you that it may elevate your well-being, promote a sense of calm motivation, and help you seize your day. If you are looking to maintain a healthy wellness regimen, Kratom may help you cope with the hassles of everyday life and support post-workout recovery.
Kratom is a relatively new botanical in the Western world, even though it has been used in Southeast Asia for centuries. As Kratom became more popular, legislative bodies became concerned. One of the prominent agencies investigating Kratom was the FDA.
The FDA uses its emergency scheduling authority to place a ban on a legal substance reasonably often. However, the FDA’s decision in 2016 about Kratom caused a significant backlash in the Kratom community, invoking public outcry, protests, and petitions.
The FDA announced a decision to place a ban on Kratom in 2016 temporarily. If there is a perceived threat to public health, the Controlled Substances Act authorizes the FDA and the Department of Health and Human Services to place a substance into Schedule I. Schedule I includes substances such as heroin and methamphetamine.
When a previously legal substance like Kratom is placed into a Schedule I category, the FDA gathers more information for two years, with a one-year extension if need be. After this period, the agency makes a more permanent classification. Emergency-scheduling only occurs with a Schedule I drug.
During the information-gathering period, federal agents look at an Eight-Factor Test, which delves into the substance’s pharmacology, patterns of abuse (if there are any), and public health risks. For an emergency scheduling, the FDA looks closely at three of the eight factors – the substance’s history and current pattern of abuse, the scope, and significance of abuse, and any public health risk.
One of the main concerns that the FDA had for Kratom when it was researching the substance in 2016 was disreputable sellers on the internet and in vape shops and the range of variability found in Kratom. Without regulation and oversight, some of these vendors were selling tainted Kratom. The DEA corresponded with local law officials and pointed out that Kratom, as a substance, is banned from 15 countries and 6 states.
When the FDA decided to invoke emergency scheduling for Kratom, the public backlash was quick and forceful. The American Kratom Association and the Botanical Education Alliance are two advocacy groups that immediately went on high alert. There was a demonstration outside the White House and a petition with over 100,000 signatures in opposition to the ban. Doctors, lawyers, legislators, law enforcement officials, and other prominent figures added their names to the petition.
The main message from the opposition was that the DEA and FDA were misrepresenting the dangers of Kratom, and that, as a botanical, Kratom is incredibly useful for some consumers.
Testimonials from esteemed professionals began popping up on websites. Eventually, two U.S. representatives sent a joint letter to the heads of the DEA and FDA, noting that the agencies’ decision to ban this internationally recognized herbal addition was hasty. Additionally, Dear Colleague letters were sent out as a call-to-action by two members of Congress – Frank A. LoBiondo and Mark Pocan.
In October of 2016, a month-and-a-half after the initial emergency scheduling to place a ban on Kratom, the FDA overturned this decision, an action almost unheard of for this federal agency.
The agency also set a deadline for December of 2016 to collect additional commentaries from the public about Kratom. By this deadline, Kratom proponents submitted 23,000 comments in support of the herbal substance.
Legislation that Affects Kratom Today
As of today, the FDA has not made a permanent decision or declaration regarding Kratom. If the FDA tries to ban Kratom again, they will undoubtedly face the same scathing backlash; they did the first time around.
The Kratom Consumer Protection Act is legislation that would provide anyone who enjoys Kratom the right to buy it legally. The KPCA helps regulate this botanical, weeding out the sham sellers and unsafe products.
Currently, Kratom is legal in 44 states in the United States and banned in 6. The states that have active bans on Kratom are Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin. It is also banned in several counties or cities in states such as Mississippi, California, and Ohio.
Out of these 6 states, 3 may soon overturn the ban (Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin). Alabama is dealing with the misclassification of the alkaloids found in Kratom – mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine – as synthetic substances.
Check the AKA’s website for the most up-to-date information if you’re a Kratom consumer and want to learn the legality of Kratom in your state.
What This Means for Kratom Lovers
Essentially, what all this means to the people who use Kratom regularly is that it may be difficult to separate truth from fiction.
The FDA and DEA prohibit companies who deal with Kratom from making claims about Kratom. When writing about the different strains, Kratom sellers cannot mention any diseases or medical ailments in conjunction with Kratom.
What this means for the consumer is that they must be proactive in choosing a Kratom seller who is reputable and trustworthy. There are some easy clues as to whether the company you’re looking at is above-board – third-party testing, public access to lab results, secure connections with growers and processors, and excellent customer service.
Kratom companies who send their products to outside laboratories for testing are dedicated to the purity and quality of their products. At an outside lab, scientists test the product for alkaloid levels, compare their results with the products’ labeling, and ensure the product does not contain anything detrimental like heavy metals, pathogens, or bacteria. These lab results should be available to you, as the consumer, upon request.
If a company doesn’t seem to have a strong rapport with the people who grow, harvest, and process the Kratom in Southeast Asia, that might be a sign of more significant internal issues.
The growers and processors of Kratom in places like Indonesia, Borneo, and Malaysia understand there’s an ideal time to harvest the Kratom leaves to produce a superior product in quality and potency.
Similarly, processors who have worked with Kratom trees for years understand the processing of the leaves. Each strain is produced by a certain amount of exposure to UV light.
Additionally, Kratom leaves picked off the ground instead of the branch, or stored without being adequately dried first, can grow mold and bacteria, which is highly unhealthy for human consumption.
If you’re curious about Kratom’s legal status and why companies need to be vague when describing any effects of Kratom, you’re not alone. The relationship between the DEA, FDA, and Kratom has resulted in a nebulous situation.
Hopefully, as these federal agencies learn more about this incredible tree, they will begin to understand its many benefits and approve Kratom for more wellness uses. In the meantime, be diligent in your research of Kratom and Kratom vendors. Turn to Kats Botanicals for any questions you may have about how Kratom can benefit your lifestyle.