Controversy surrounds Kratom, not only in the US but the world over. Granted, it is legal across many American states but its use still sparks hot debates in the region.
The plant-based product, derived from the leaves of the Mitragyna Speciosa is said to be a nature’s miracle.
Devotees claim that the opioid-like compounds in Kratom can offer anxiety and pain relief, and help curb opium withdrawal.
However, health organizations in the US stand on the opposite side of the table. They warn that Kratom is only addictive and deadly in the long run.
Even with the strong opposition, the number of Kratom consumers keeps going up. According to the American Kratom Association (AKA), an estimated five million Americans consume Kratom on the regular.
It is this very rise in popularity that sparked the interest of the feds who have since made stamped their authority on the use of Kratom.
The 2014 FDA ban
The FDA, in 2015 banned the import of Kratom through US borders. The DEA reinforced this idea further when it grouped Kratom in the same category as marijuana and heroin back in 2016.
However, it took a step back when the public and congress members protested against the move.
Just recently, the FDA went public with the report that Kratom is linked to at least 47 deaths. Their attempt at demonizing the drug wasn’t too successful as the National Institute on Drug Abuse insisted that the deaths weren’t directly associated with Kratom use.
The health body claims that the people died either as a result of unadulterated products or taking Kratom alongside other deadly drugs. In 2017, the Department of Health and Human Services suggested a ban as well saying the risks of using Kratom are numerous.
Kratom has now been banned in over 12 states including Alabama, Indiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, Sarasota, San Diego, CA, and Wisconsin. In DC, for instance, you face 180 days behind bars or $1,000 fine or both if you are caught in possession of Kratom or any other Schedule 1 substance.
The federal government hasn’t technically banned the sale of Kratom among states but the aforementioned states have deemed a local ban necessary.
The Potential Benefits of Kratom
Kratom is sold in the US as a dietary supplement that can be purchased on various vendors such as Kratom Crazy store (and other locations) or in specific supplement stores across the country.
Some sell it as an alternative medication that goes by different names including Thom, Kakuam, Ketum, Ithang, and Biak.
In the past, Southeast Asia natives would chew Kratom leaves or brew them to be infused into their tea.
They believed nature’s miracle would help them combat fatigue and enhance their productivity. The drug contains psychostimulants that can temporarily affect concentration, mental alertness, and physical energy.
Kratom has also been used for millennia as a natural treatment of muscle pain, cough, and diarrhea.
In the present day, people use Kratom for the same effects. It is also utilized to treat dependence on other harmful drugs such as heroin and morphine.
So Why Is Kratom That Controversial, Anyway?
After all the benefits offered by Kratom, one would wonder why many people are against it.
This comes from the fact that Kratom abuse can cause a whole set of negative outcomes.
Ideally, low doses of it (1-5 grams) will only deliver its psycho-stimulant properties. This is what most people are usually after. It may increase energy, alertness, and social skills.
Moderate doses (5-15g) may deliver pain-relief properties. Some users will report feelings of pleasure, decreased pain, and sedation.
However, higher doses 9 (over 15g) have deadly effects including passing out, high blood pressure, and death. Then there’s the risk of being addicted to Kratom. Being addicted means you will have to go through the withdrawal symptoms from time to time.
These can range from mild effects such as nausea, diarrhea, and dry mouth to serious effects such as depression, PTSD, and anxiety.
According to many Kratom proponents, the DEA and FDA don’t have their facts right.
This is especially after the conflicting information about the cause of the deaths reported by the FDA. This only proves that there’s no tangible evidence that the plant-based drug is in any way deadly.
However, the authorities also claim that most of the Kratom supplements being sold contain deadly impurities. The FDA claims that Kratom products could be laced with harmful opioids such as Hydrocodone.
Opioids, as we know it, can slow down your respiratory system and cause death when taken in high doses.
There it is a great controversy surrounding Kratom. The short of it is that the plant-based drug may have potential medicinal benefits if taken in the right moderations.
However, the authorities are focused on the fact that it could be a cause of death among many American citizens.
As a reason, they have banned its import with more states putting out local bans for Kratom sale.
After the ban, many have criticized the FDA’ report claiming it is baseless. This group of American citizens insists that the FDA and scientific evidence don’t read from the same script.
What’s more, they say that the ban will only bar more research into something that could be useful in the future.