Everything You Need to Know About Kratom
Last Updated on
Is it a miracle remedy? An addictive opiate? None of the above? With the growing popularity and access in the US market, Kratom has found itself at the center of debate in a country caught in the throes of an opiate epidemic.
Read on to have your pressing questions answered concerning what Kratom is, whether or not it is legal, pros and cons, and more.
What is Kratom?
Kratom is an herbal supplement in the coffee family. Though it binds to opiate receptors in the brain, it is not an opiate. Instead, proponents argue, it interacts with these receptors in a way more akin to coffee, chocolate, and exercise than the opiates making national headlines.
Native to Southeast Asia, Kratom has been growing in popularity in the United States in recent years. Proponents claim it provides increased energy and relief from chronic pain, depression, anxiety, and more—without the dangerous side effects, euphoric high, or addictive qualities that make opiates so dangerous. Kratom can be taken as a powder, steeped in tea, or put into capsules.
Is Kratom legal in the US?
Kratom is currently legal in 44 states. The remaining six (Indiana, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Vermont, Arkansas, and Alabama) classify it as a controlled substance. On a national level, legal access to Kratom is currently being debated and decided.
The legal fight began when dietary supplement companies applied for “Old Dietary Ingredient” status, which would allow suppliers to sell Kratom without restrictions. In response, the FDA, which has been historically opposed to natural or alternative remedies, urged the DEA to issue an emergency scheduling alert. The Telegraph notes that this alert is “an action taken when dangerous drugs have hit the streets, deaths have occurred, and the public’s safety is at risk.”
The DEA’s failure to substantiate the claim that Kratom was indeed endangering public safety or causing deaths led to public outcry. Once the US Congress applied pressure, the DEA was forced to withdraw the alert and open a temporary public comment period. They received over 10,000 comments before the comment period ended in December of 2016.
The DEA also requested an expedited scientific and medical review from the FDA. The results of that review and an ultimate decision could take months, especially with a new administration in the US. The American Kratom Association is leading the fight to keep Kratom legal and accessible to Americans as the nation waits on the FDA and DEA to move closer to a decision.
What are the advantages of Kratom?
Proponents of Kratom argue that the supplement is a safer alternative to opioids that can be used to treat chronic pain, drug addiction, and more.
For example, Edward W. Boyer, MD, PHD, a professor of emergency medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School told WebMD of a case where a man successfully treated his opioid withdrawal with Kratom.
He explained, “Most people with opioid withdrawal have abdominal pain, diarrhea, dysphoria. This guy really only had a runny nose, and that is pretty remarkable. I’m not willing to say [Kratom] is great for everyone. I’m just ready to say that is pretty interesting, and it should probably be studied more in a controlled way.”
What are the dangers of Kratom?
Opponents warn that users should be hesitant to view this as a miracle cure. The DEA reports that Kratom is addictive, with painful and dangerous withdrawal symptoms. Several southeastern Asian countries have outlawed it due to these concerns.
Proponents disagree, arguing that any cases of negative side effects or addiction are due to coexisting conditions or drug abuse—not Kratom use alone. Further research is needed before we can know for sure.
In fact, the real danger may be in the lack of knowledge and regulation. There is no official drug label based on scientific studies that can make the user aware of the risks or how it may interact with other drugs.
Is Kratom a safe alternative to opiates?
Until further studies are completed, it is difficult to know if Kratom is a safe alternative to opiates. Proponents say yes. Opponents say no. If you or a loved one is addicted to opiates, know that is never safe to self-medicate or wean oneself off of opiates by switching to Kratom. Opiate withdrawal without medical supervision is often painful and dangerous.
Instead, contact us today to learn how you can break free of your addiction with as much safety and comfort as possible.
We are here to help. Call 866-491-8009 today.