Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) is a pain-relieving leaf that acts as a stimulant or a sedative (depending on the dose) and is native to Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar, and Papua New Guinea. It’s been used for centuries in other countries to ease pain, boost work performance, and wean people from opiate addiction. However, the DEA is singularly focused on the fact that it has become a popular home remedy and recreational intoxicant. And so, regardless of its benefits, at the end of the month, Kratom will be illegal- and categorized as a Schedule I drug– throughout the United States. This week the DEA announced the ban was necessary “to avoid an imminent hazard to public safety”.
From the article:
“Kratom is abused for its ability to produce opioid-like effects,” the DEA says. “Kratom is misused to self-treat chronic pain and opioid withdrawal symptoms, with users reporting its effects to be comparable to prescription opioids.”
They went on to say:
“Kratom has a history of being used as an opium substitute in Southeast Asia,” it says. “Especially concerning, reports note users have turned to kratom as a replacement for other opioids, such as heroin.”
I understand wanting people not to take drugs but effectively the DEA is cutting their nose to spite their face; if a heroin addict switches to a less dangerous drug, to help him taper off his drug use and ultimately stop completely- that’s a good thing, not abuse. There’s no wisdom in thinking otherwise. UNLESS, you are thinking with your Big Pharma pocket book.
So, because the DEA assumes there is no rational, acceptable reason for using the plant, it doesn’t need to gather much evidence about how dangerous they say it is- they have absolutely no incentive. And that’s unfortunate because the evidence actually shows that kratom is less hazardous than drugs that are legally used for similar purposes.
From the Forbes article:
“Serious toxicity is rare and usually involves relatively high doses (more than 15 g) or coingestants,” says a 2014 article in the journal Pharmacotherapy by clinical pharmacologist Megan Rech and four of her colleagues at the Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Illinois. “Fatalities typically involve coingestants…. Withdrawal has been described as less intense but more protracted than with prescription opioids.”
Pascal Tanguay, a program officer for an international health promotion organization, in Thailand, shares the real truth about the little green plant, “There’s never been a single death associated with kratom. People have been chewing this for thousands of years with no cases of overdose, psychosis, murder, violent crime. Never in all of recorded history.”
Sadly it appears that if you are a kratom user your only option is to stock up and hide your use. We are going to continue to see the DEA, CDC, etc. prohibit our personal use of alternative medicine as it grabs onto a bigger piece of the Big Pharma pie.