In September of 2016, the DEA, or Drug Enforcement Administration wanted to ban Kratom in the United States, effective at the end of September. There was a lot of controversy about this at the time. The Drug Enforcement Administration stated that kratom was a hazard to public safety, and grouped it as a schedule 1 drug, along with heroin and marijuana. Later that month, the DEA revoked their statement, and announced that they would not be placing a ban on kratom. This can be a little confusing to hear about right now, and to completely understand what happened with the kratom ban, we need a little backstory.
First off, is why the DEA wanted to ban kratom in the first place. At first glance, the Drug Enforcement Administration saw kratom as similar to marijuana. This was, of course, as a gateway drug and as a substance that has a high potential for abuse, due to the properties it has. The DEA also didn’t see any potential for medical use, which was the main reason for the ban, which would affect the sale of kratom. This includes buying kratom online. All in all this intent to ban kratom was largely due to the lack of knowledge the DEA had. Shortly after announcing the ban, there was a rally outside of the white house, and more than 142,000 individuals signed a petition to prevent the ban.
For a long time, kratom has been used for medicinal purposes. It’s a tropical tree grown primarily in Southeast Asia, and it’s leaves have been used as pain relievers for centuries. Kratom can be used in a large variety of ways. This includes eating leaves raw, or being crushed into a power and brewed into a tea, or a capsule. In large doses, kratom acts as a sedative. This means that it shouldn’t be left alone around unsupervised children, but not that it should be banned from the United States.
Among the protestors, there were many scientists and medical researchers. They argued that kratom had a lot of potential in the medical field, and had many uses. For example, kratom affects the same part of the brain that morphine does; however, unlike morphine, kratom has little to no negative side effects, whereas morphine can be extremely dangerous. It also is far less likely, if at all possible, to cause a physical dependency on the substance. This is a huge step forward for kratom, and possibly for medicine as we know it. Having a strong sedative that has little to no side effects is one of the most promising discoveries we’ve had in a long time. Not to mention the lack of addictive tendencies it has. Due to kratom’s properties, but lack of addiction, it has also been successfully used to treat opioid addiction/withdrawal. Being able to take something that gives you the same effect, without repercussions, is possibly the most effective way we have to treat opioid addictions to date. Not only is it easier, but it’s safer as well. It will save the patient a lot of pain and mental trauma by basically eliminating the withdrawal period. Amazingly, throughout the whole process, the patient had at most a runny nose.
All in all, the kratom ban took place largely because of the lack of understanding that the Drug Enforcement Administration had, and was quickly revoked. Many scientists and advocates around the world are constantly discovering new ways to use kratom, and are currently exploring ways to treat new issues with it, such as anxiety and depression.