The federal government cast an eye of concern as people across the country obtained kratom from different websites that had the natural product in stock. As it became more available in various outlets from convenience stores to specialty shops with a focus on wellness, authorities saw that there were some people that had suffered adverse effects. Prevailing opinion still suggests that the majority of these events were precipitated by the use of synthetic kratom and were related to using the product in combination with other chemicals.
These cases led them to try to install a ban nationwide on kratom in 2016 which was shelved due to blowback from advocacy groups and a bi-partisan group of members of Congress. From that point, state and local governments have had to figure out what to do about kratom and its use by their respective populations.
To date, as of November 2019, there have been six states (Vermont, Indiana, Alabama, Wisconsin, Arkansas and Rhode Island) that made the decision to ban kratom. In addition, there are a few cities and counties across the U.S. that have banned the sale of and consumption of kratom with San Diego County in California and Sarasota County in Florida being two of the most prominent municipalities to do so along with the city of Denver, Colorado.
These bans fall into two categories. The first category specifically imposes a ban on two of the major components in kratom – mitragynine and
7-hydroxymitragynine. The second category as seen in the case of Sarasota County grouped kratom with other substances referred to as “designer drugs” such as one commonly called “spice”.
However, there is a significant wave of rising support for legislation that is open-minded and seeks out a balance between those who want more restrictions on kratom usage and those who want accessibility to kratom for those who find benefits from use. One method that has grown in popularity to achieve this balance are recent bills that introduce guidelines for regulation that prohibit the sale of kratom to anyone under 18 years of age, and require clear labeling of any kratom and kratom related products that will be distributed and sold in stores. This has been an influence that has support on both sides of the political aisle in different states.
There are a few cases where there’s been conflicting legislation that has been introduced with regards to kratom. One of those is in New York, which is a unique situation due to the complex and diverse landscape of the state, especially in New York City. There have been three bills that were introduced in their state Senate. The first two kratom bills sought to prohibit the sale of kratom to those under 18, and the last NY bill aimed to ban kratom outright throughout the state. None of these gained enough traction to get past the hearing committee.
Another situation is developing in the state of Michigan, where there is a bill proposed to regulate kratoml with similarities to the four other states that have regulatory measures such as Arizona and their Kratom Consumer Protection Act.
The legal conversation concerning kratom is on par with what is taking place among those in the medical field. The Food and Drug Association (FDA), along with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the Centers for Disease Control have all labeled the botanical product “a drug of concern” in line with their aims of trying to make it illegal nationwide. This has been fueled by a lack of complete knowledge of the pharmacology of kratom in combination with reports
they’ve received from poison control centers and medical examiners nationwide. Many of these reports have linked the usage of some kratom products to individuals who have suffered severe side effects. The National Poison Data System, which compiles all of the information collected by the 55 poison control centers across the country, found that over 2,300 people that called claimed that they felt kratom was linked to their feeling ill or someone else’s illness.
A further breakdown showed that agitation and a rapid heartbeat were among the most commonly reported side effects, but more severe ones such as seizures and coma were mentioned. The CDC published a report last year that claimed that 91 people died as a result of using products that were sold as kratom in a period from 2016-2017, but that information has been challenged. There was also some research conducted that demonstrated the possibility of kratom having adverse effects on cells’ electrical activity within the human heart to the point where it could lead to an arrythmia known as Torsade De Pointes. This development sheds a little light into those cases where kratom was cited as a cause of death, but leaves out the essential information that most deaths included the use of other substances, both legal and illegal, alongside the use of kratom products.
Other medical issues that have arisen when it comes to kratom lie solely with the purity of kratom and related products that have been imported into the United States. In 2018 there was a mandatory recall of some brands of kratom when it was discovered that they were tainted with salmonella. Earlier in 2019, the FDA put out a report that claimed that some batches were shown to have traces of heavy metals above the legal limits for products that are consumed orally. This is the primary reason that Truimph Kratom uses regular batch testing on our kratom products to ensure for the purity and safety of our products.
There are those in the medical community who feel that there is more to be gained from the natural product continuing to be heavily studied. C. Michael White, the head of the Department of Pharmacy Practice at the University of Connecticut was the lead author of a new clinical assessment on kratom that was released last month. This report was put together to both improve on one released in 2017 and to address gaps in information while filling in for others.
Advocating for more research into the benefits of kratom and potential uses is the goal of many nationwide, and we continue stand by this call. Only by giving consumers accurate and reliable information about the products they choose can intelligent decisions be made about personal health and wellness.
Those in the medical community who lean towards a more beneficial view of kratom have gotten a boost due to some individuals who focused on learning more about the scientific elements of the natural product and the benefits claimed by those who use it. This approach has led one or two who were in opposition to kratom’s availability softening their stance, with an example being a report from the American Council On Science and Health that refuted some of the charges levied against the natural product.
Some who have researched kratom with the scientific knowledge in mind have actually begun to fight back against the misconceptions about it. One such authority can be found in a recent essay published by the International Journal of Drug Policy. In the essay, there are many points that are made such as the fact that medical analysts have yet to conduct trials on humans instead of gleaning information from isolated cells and animals in their research.
If there is anything to glean from these recent developments, it’s that kratom is a natural product that still holds many questions, possible benefits, and ongoing debates. The questions about kratom are valid, and should be entertained when it comes to wellness and corporate control in the United
States. We can only continue to educate and inform, and keep an eye on the ever changing news about kratom in the United States.
Is Kratom legal? Is Kratom illegal? It’s hard to keep up with all the laws regarding this product, so we have created a page where you can access the most up to date information about Kratom products and legality. From Maeng Da to Bali, we take a closer look at Kratom laws in your state and across the country. [us_map]
There are a number of individuals in the United States who seek out forms of medical care and healing outside of the traditional practices. According to data collected by the Centers for Disease Control in the National Health Institute Survey, it was found that 36% of patients in the United States use some form of complementary and alternative medicine.
Upon closer examination, the survey found that 19% of those polled admitted using natural products consistently for self-managing personal wellness. One of those natural products that has risen to gain some national attention is the herb known as kratom, for sale most commonly in the form of powder or kratom capsules.
Known by its scientific name of mitragyna speciosa, kratom is a tropical tree from Southeast Asia that was consumed as part of traditional medicine there going back to the middle of the 19th century. The leaves were chewed as a way to increase appetite and provide musculoskeletal pain relief. Another application was in extract form where a sweetener was added to relieve intestinal discomfort and coughs.
In 1943, it was deemed illegal to plant kratom trees by the Thai government and in 1979 was classified under the Narcotics Act B.E. 2522 as a Category V drug in the same vein as marijuana. But last year, the Thai government relented and legalized kratom for medicinal use after three failed attempts in 2004, 2009 ad 2013.
Kratom has gained attention in the United States particularly through its use as an herbal supplement, with the first noticeable signs of it in the country around 2010. Individuals began to buy kratom online, at times under different names such as ithang and baik, and in different varieties such as maeng da kratom and others.
The Drug Enforcement Administration began to monitor kratom use over the course of a five-year period period, working closely with the Food and Drug Administration. During this period, the CDC took note of numerous reports of kratom-related poisonings and deaths. As kratom powder became more available, safety became a legitimate concern.
The monitoring prompted the DEA to announce their intent on August 30, 2016 to place those kratom materials that were in use under Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act in the interest of preventing a hazard to public safety. This announcement meant that they were not obliged to consider public comment regarding the decision of whether kratom is safe or not. A bipartisan letter from the Senate pleaded with the DEA to reconsider kratom legality, which was coupled with the outcry from those individuals who were using kratom to combat their ills including those attempting to kick opioid addiction.
There still is some opposition to kratom’s appeal growing on a nationwide basis. As of late 2018, the FDA warned consumers to not use kratom and any products that contain it, citing a need for more time to evaluate it. At the same time they issued a statement urging that consumers dispose of whatever kratom products that they have.
Further studies on kratom were conducted by various institutions in 2017 going forward that showed possible benefits of kratom in providing relief to those addicted to opioids, but without the harmful side effects that can occur with opioid abuse such as respiratory depression, which is a leading cause of death in those who abuse pharmaceutical pain killers.
There are those scientists who feel that more studies are needed, and have been encouraged by the National Institute on Drug Abuse to do more research into kratom’s possibie benefits with other health conditions such as chronic pain for example. While this research is ongoing, the DEA ruling stands.
Currently, cities and states are wrangling with the issue kratom laws and regulation, with six states (Vermont, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Indiana and Alabama) declaring it illegal. But other states are dealing with feedback on the use of kratom, with legislative bills being presented for review and approval by council.
It remains to be seen how the national landscape will continue to evolve, but you can learn more about your kratom laws in your state by using the map at the top of the page, or by finding your state’s kratom laws below.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Adminstration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.