THE BATTLE TO BAN KRATOM & WHY THE DEA HAS GOT IT ALL WRONG
WHAT IS KRATOM DEA BAN?
For those who have had blinders on for the last several months, the kratom community is in a state of panic with several vendors removing kratom from their product pages online. The fear and uproar is the direct consequence of the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration)'s efforts to ban the Mitragyna speciosa (kratom) in the US.
Founded by Richard Nixon (who else?), the DEA is a Federal agency dedicated to coming down hard on substances that they just don't understand and kratom is chief among those that have baffled them the most.
It all started last year when, on the thirtieth of August, the DEA Public Affairs arm issued a press release announcing the DEA's intent to place Kratom's active alkaloids into Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act to, in their words, “avoid an imminent hazard to public safety.”
The press release goes on to cite the addictive potential of Kratom due to its opiate-like effects which is a pretty myopic view on their part when one considers that Kratom is an all natural alternative to heavier drugs like Methadone when it comes to treating opiate withdrawal.
Perhaps more shocking is a passage in the press release which states that Kratom has been seized by law enforcement in various forms. This would seem like illegal search and seizure to anyone with a remedial knowledge of the legal system and a fundamental understanding of Kratom's legality across the United States.
As it turns out, the reason they began seizing kratom was because the FDA (Food & Drug Administration) issued an alert back in 2014, urging the DEA to confiscate any shipments containing kratom alkaloids.
By 2016, the U.S. Marshals had seized $400,000 worth of kratom supplements while over 55,000 kilos of kratom had been encountered by law enforcement across the country. The question remains...why?
IS KRATOM LEGAL?
As we have covered in the past, kratom is legal in the vast majority of US states. Kratom is currently legal in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, (most of) Florida (save for one county), Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming.
Kratom is currently banned in Alabama, Arkansas, Sarasota County (in Florida with legislation pending to ban it statewide), Indiana, Tennessee, Vermont and Wisconsin.
There is extensive evidence to suggest that kratom is facing the ban because of lack of legitimate information. Even among the public at large, there appears to be a lot of misunderstanding when it comes to Kratom. For instance, one of the top Google search terms is, “Is Kratom a balt salt?”
Such questions wouldn't even be asked if people were educated about Kratom, either by doctors or mainstream news outlets. Unfortunately, doctors are in the pockets of Big Pharma, the last people who want people suffering from chronic pain turning to an herbal tonic when they can make money off them by selling them on dangerous prescription pain killers.
But whether they want you to know the truth or not, the truth is out there and history speaks for itself. Kratom has been in use for thousands of years as a folk medicine across the globe. While Kratom didn't really become well-known in the Western world until the early-2000s, it has been shown to have undeniable health benefits in its native land.
WILL KRATOM BE BANNED?
Numerous journalists, medical experts and advocacy groups have come out in defense of kratom, stating that kratom's potential for good would be jeopardized by the DEA ban. They are speaking, of course, about the value of Kratom's key alkaloids, Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine as herbal analgesics and a potential treatment for heroin addicts and opioid abusers looking for relief from opiate withdrawal symptoms.
These alkaloids are agonists of the MOR opioid receptor which is antagonized by the opioid receptor antagonist naloxone. Not only does Kratom have the potential to relieve withdrawal pain and mimic the effects of opiates in large doses but it can also serve as an organic energy enhancer in smaller doses.
Nevertheless, the FDA and DEA have been making efforts to heavily regulate Kratom in the last couple of years. For a time, back in October of 2016, the DEA was reconsidering the ban, even going so far as to seek public comment about Kratom to guage whether people think Kratom is of medicinal value.
After making the announcement in early 2017 that they would welcome public input, they received 23,232 comments within six weeks with 99 % of people opposing the kratom ban.
Some nonprofit groups like the American Kratom Association, a group that was partially responsible for aggregating the public comments mentioned above, are making concerted efforts to keep Kratom legal.
At americankratom.org, there are resources for learning more about the science behind Kratom, success stories from people who suffered from serious pain-related disorders who found Kratom significantly helped them, and a regularly updated page covering Kratom's legal status across the globe.
AKA also have a Take Action page with alerts for several states whose legal status is in jeopardy. They even took part in a petition to get the US President to stop the war on kratom with 26,000 people signing the petition.
Of the aforementioned success stories, there are innumerable accounts of people afflicted with everything from depression to Fibromyalgia getting serious relief from taking Kratom. By virtue of this fact, it is hard to imagine why anyone would want it banned.
So is kratom banned in 2017? No. Will it be banned at some point down the road? Hopefully not, but for now, we can rest easy and relax with some top shelf kratom powder or kratom capsules and take comfort knowing that the noot nation is out there, figting on the front lines in the War on Herbs.
If you want to advocate for your right to possess and use Kratom, you can do your part by getting involved in the community and familiarizing yourself with American Kratom Association. To support them in their efforts, you can become a “nation builder” by visiting their donation page here.