| April 14, 2020

Is Kratom Legal in the US? What You Need to Know

Marina Turea

Marina is passionate about all emerging technologies in the healthcare space and love to write about all of them. Marina is passionate about all emerging technologies in the healthcare space and love to write about all of them.

Kratom is a tropical tree that grows in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. Although the leaves of this plant have been used in traditional medicine for many years, kratom is viewed as an alternative to cannabis and cocaine. For this reason, and because no studies have proven these ties, the status of kratom’s legality is not always clear in the United States.

You see, kratom is still federally legal in America, but many states have banned the use of the plant. What’s more, some states are in the process of regulating the usage of kratom and there’s reason to suggest that federal laws will eventually take a lenient approach to it.

That is to say, many believe that opposition to kratom is either exaggerated or unwarranted. Also, kratom is linked with many health benefits and there is certainly reason to believe this substance can potentially benefit–rather than harm–the public.

But maybe you are still unclear whether kratom is legal or not?


DEA Proposals and the Legality of Kratom in the United States

The truth is, it’s still a gray area. In fact, the Drug Enforcement Administration has yet to make a firm decision on the matter. More specifically, some experts say that kratom can help battle the opioid epidemic in America, while others insist the psychoactive properties of kratom are not only dangerous to the public but also highly addictive for individuals.

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But in order to understand these issues, it helps to know more about kratom itself.

Many doctors believe that certain properties of kratom can impact nerve cells in the same way as opioid painkillers. However, decisive studies have yet to prove this connection or confirm that kratom can have a similar effect on the brain as these psychoactive drugs. On the other hand, research has outlined how and why kratom works, suggesting there may be some truth to claims that the plant can be the cause of side effects and even addiction.

With this in mind, kratom is now being used for recreational purposes and many states in America have already banned kratom-related products. Meanwhile, many countries around the world at least consider kratom a controlled substance, including Thailand, Australia and several countries in the European Union.

And why might the laws around kratom be so vague in the United States?

Well, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has already put forward a recommendation to ban kratom at a federal level. However, they have also dropped this recommendation in order for scientists to study kratom and provide more definitive results in terms of the potential dangers. This all seems to imply that the DEA really doesn’t know enough and is hedging its bets somewhat.

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With this in mind, we also need to consider how or why kratom might be used.


The Rise in Popularity and Potential Benefits of Kratom

It’s true; kratom has been used in traditional medicine since the 19th century, gradually leading to the leaves of kratom sometimes being chewed for energy, or more often being brewed in teapots. More recently, kratom leaves have been ground up into pills or crushed down in the same way that you might find with marijuana or tobacco.

When it comes to the effects, the dosage will determine the extent of stimulant it provides.

For some people, a low dose might provide a hit of energy, whereas a high dose can leave the user feeling sleepy. As for addiction, some regular users have said that withdrawal from kratom was the cause of pain, diarrhea or even sadness, but there is still no conclusive evidence in terms of either withdrawal or addiction. In case you might be asking yourself, Kratom Crazy is one of the best-known online stores where US customers can buy kratom in bulk today.

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And what about the potential benefits associated with kratom?


Safety and Potential Health Benefits of Kratom

According to the FDA, kratom is a menace but despite that, they add that more research is needed before making any conclusive statements. That sounds–again–confusing at best.

In recent years, the FDA has warned that kratom products might contain bacteria, even clamping down on companies selling kratom products as a means of treatment for opioid withdrawal.

Needless to say, it would be wrong to suggest that kratom is harmless or encourage the use of kratom-related products. But as with anything, it’s worth taking a step back and examining the origin and centuries of use behind this popular plant.

Kratom is a natural substance that comes from the coffee family. It has a long history of usage in Southeast Asia and is mostly used as a form of tea or herbal medicine. With this in mind, there is every reason to believe that kratom is more similar to coffee or tea than a psychoactive drug.

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What’s more, many users offer positive reports and claim that kratom can boost the mood, relieve pain and attend to other health conditions such as back pain, arthritis and PTSD.

Now, that’s not to encourage the use of kratom or suggest it’s harmless, but rather to support the need for more scientific evidence and research into the plant. In many ways, we might also compare this situation to the early days of CBD oil, when opposition was rife and yet became slowly debunked in the face of scientific evidence. By the way, Healthcare Weekly has covered CBD oil here, here, and here.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, kratom makes for a rather complicated topic–one that involves walking a thin line between right and wrong.

The truth is, scientific studies will decide the matter, and soon determine whether or not kratom should be widely accepted like many more substances that were initially frowned upon. For now, depending on where you find yourself, kratom may or may not be legal; only time will tell if federal officials in America will adopt a different view to the use of kratom.

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