Inspirational personality John Maxwell once said, “A pretender is narrowly focused only on outcomes that are in his or her best interest…Players are mission-conscious; pretenders are position-conscious. Players will give up a position to achieve a mission. Pretenders will give up a mission to achieve a position.”
Kratom Underground clearly gave up the mission, but they didn’t achieve a position…at least not for long. They were an odd operation from the start, posting awkward, cringe-worthy quips to social media and going by more than one name at a time.
Anyone familiar with their Twitter Feed knows that they referred to their kratom site as the Kratom Cave, aka Kratom Underground. The hokum worked for them…for a finite amount of time.
Launched in 2014, Kratom Underground’s first Tweet was in January. Inept even at managing their social media brand, they didn’t post again until March 5th of that year when they threw up a less than appealing kratom meme with the text “Koala in a kratom tree? No way!”
To say that this was lame would be a gross understatement. It just didn’t land and neither did their brand. At least not on a grand scale. They only garnered one review on Yelp with a user local to their Round Rock, TX location writing, “Went in today with my husband Brian and Rachel was super nice and friendly. Check them out!”
A message of this nature is suspiciously personal and, as any longtime kratom enthusiast will tell you, it’s not uncommon for a shady kratom vendor to set up fake accounts to post about their own companies. Recently, I saw a struggling pizzeria start-up post relentlessly to a local Facebook group, only for group members to out them for their phony antics. Within months, their storefront was empty.
So, is this what happened to Kratom Underground? Let’s see.
Established in 2014, Kratom Underground got off to a slow start in terms of creating brand recognition. Once they got their Twitter account off the ground, they did what one would hope any new kratom vendor would do. They began offering a kratom coupon code for just about every purpose, whether it was to attract first-time customers or to promote special deals for the holidays.
They also started a content contest where the winner won prizes and ran other giveaways, such as the time that they gave away free kratom to those who signed up. Like many other kratom vendors online, Kratom Underground operated an affiliate program through which bloggers could post links to their pages and get paid for referrals, but apparently, this failed to connect.
By September of 2014, they had gotten desperate. Their 10% coupon code was bumped up to 20% off. Around this time, their company picked up steam and found favor with many online kratom consumers, but it was too little, too late.
They had attracted the attention of the FDA and US Customs who began seizing their inbound shipments. With inventory becoming so scarce, their business suffered as they had to regularly post about their kratom strains being out of stock.
By March of 2015, their social media presence was non-existent. In 2016, they disclosed the severity of their situation in a response to a Reddit post, telling their customers that the FDA was seizing nearly every one of their shipments.
They were quick to add that those shipments were then released after being inspected, these seizures were causing a detrimental standstill on their part. As a result, they were ending up with sub-par kratom powder which lead to disappointment on the part of their customers. In all likelihood, this must have done little for company morale and probably cost them return business.
The last time they were mentioned in an online post was 2 years and 3 months ago when a Platinum Boarder on I Love Kratom wrote, “Kratom Underground Closing. I haven’t ordered from there for about a year and a half, but it sucks for people that do. I just hope this thing [the FDA’s seizure of kratom shipments] isn’t going to spiral into every vendor being closed down due to these stupid regulations on a very helpful leaf.”
This sentiment is reflective of the entire situation facing the kratom community. Kratom Underground may not be around any more, but their name still means something. It’s symbolic of the struggle that we’re all dealing with now that the FDA has set their sights on the Mitragyna speciosa plant and its active alkaloids.
Ever since the FDA falsely claimed that kratom contained “opioid properties” when, in fact, it’s an herbal supplement from the coffee family of plants, kratom vendors have had to cope with all manner of scrutiny and stigmatization.
It didn’t help matters when a recent salmonella outbreak was linked to numerous kratom shipments, forcing kratom vendors to discontinue their kratom powders.
In the past, the FDA has attempted to ban kratom, but vocal outcry convinced the DEA to postpone said ban so that they could open the conversation up to the public. The result? Tens of thousands of public comments attesting to kratom’s value as a natural analgesic and anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) supplement.
A study by the American Kratom Association and the American Coalition of Free Citizens found that, of the 23,232 comments received, 99.1 percent of those comments espoused kratom’s legality.
For many individuals, kratom’s potency equates to practicality. As on Army veteran put it, “Why would they want me taking 10 [pain] pills a day when I have something already that makes me feel better than those pills and in my eyes is a lot healthier.”
Therein lies part of the problem; lots of people are of the mind that the FDA is in bed with Big Pharma and, as such, has a vested interest in outlawing kratom. In their eyes, kratom clearly threatens the financial integrity of the companies pushing addictive painkillers like Oxycontin and Vicodin.
Not everyone agrees with this kind of speculation. A commentator for Science Translational Medicine disagreed with the computational model used by the FDA to classify kratom as an opioid-like substance, but he parted with kratom advocates when it came to the notion of regulation being based on protecting big pharma.
“There’s a lot of commentary running around to the effect that ‘You can’t patent a plan, man, so the big drug companies are coming down on kratom,’” he writes. “The overlap of recreational drug use with expertise in patent law is small, though.”
Regardless of patent law or computational data, one fact remains irrefutable—Kratom has helped innumerable people afflicted with chronic conditions. It’s brutally ironic that the FDA should seek to categorize the so-called “miracle herb” as a Schedule I drug and label it an opiate considering the sheer volume of addicts who have successfully used it to treat their opioid withdrawal symptoms.
One recovering heroin addict took to Reddit to tell of how kratom saved his life, saying, “I was on a drug opiate forum trying to discover how people quit, when I stumbled upon a marvelous topic about Kratom. It was a topic of how a plant could help with people’s pain, helped them focus, and withdrawals from opiates.
“At first I was skeptical on Kratom and was afraid I would become addicted to it…I began my research on where I could buy Kratom and wanted to see what the fuss was all about.”
Here’s where Kratom Underground comes into the picture.
The user writes, “I stumbled upon KratomUnderground on which many people had good reviews on their product. I have been ordering Red Bali from their website…About 3 days into trying Kratom, I was able to eat without throwing up, but still had the urge to throw up due to withdrawals.
“I manage to have a piece of bread and ate an orange and was motivated to spend time outdoors. I was finally able to get out of the house to walk my dog to the park and spend time doing errands, instead of having my mind on my next high.
“I am now using Kratom 2-3 grams for 3 days of the week and take a break for the rest of the week. Speed up to date I do Kratom about 3-4 days of the week and have been off heroin for almost 7 months!!! I feel fantastic, I can go for a jog and enjoy life.”
This person’s story is just one of hundreds that are easily accessible on the Internet. But it perfectly illustrates the inherent value of the Mitragyna speciosa plant. Luckily, we’re not the only ones aware of this. Groups like the aforementioned American Kratom Association are doing their part to endorse kratom and keep it legal.
With any luck, their efforts will prevent the top kratom vendors from being shut down or raided. In the meantime, get your kratom while the getting’s good. Keep calm and kratom on.
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