Tea n Stuff: Kratom Legality in Australia & Beyond

December 02, 2019 Articles, Kratom Alkaloids, Kratom Legality, Kratom Products, Kratom Research, Kratom Reviews, Kratom Tea, Kratom Vendors, News, Reviews

Tea n Stuff was a popular online store for tea and coffee including kratom and other natural herbs. But for the people of Queensland 4510, Australia, it was also a much-celebrated tea house and cafe with a whole lotta foot traffic.

As Australia’s premier kratom and kava bar, they were a one-of-a-kind establishment, serving a very select clientele who were eager to get their hands on something that was still rare and exotic in the Land Down Under.

Alas, their in-person tea bar is now permanently closed and their online shop doesn’t appear to be open for business either. This did not come as a surprise to me, mainly because I have kept myself abreast of changes to kratom legality around the globe.

The legal status of kratom in Australia has long been a murky subject. Back in 2005, the Australian government imposed a ban on kratom use. The Mitragyna speciosa plant and its innate alkaloids—Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, respectively—were classified as narcotic in nature and amended to the country’s list of controlled substances.

Those caught under the influence of kratom or with kratom in their system ran the risk of being imprisoned. Under the law, it is considered verboten to possess, sell or otherwise distribute kratom in all its forms, whether as tea, kratom capsule, kratom extract or kratom shot.

When I recently attempted to visit teanstuff.com.au, I received an error message which read, “This site can’t be reached. Teanstuff.com.au’s server IP address could not be found.” I am not surprised given the current legislative ruling on this Ayurvedic herb.

However, it begs the question, “How did Tea n Stuff get away with offering kratom powder at their shop or via their e-commerce website in the first place?”

This is because Mitragyna speciosa remains legal in much the rest of the world, particularly in regions of its native Southeast Asia and here in the United States. Since the FDA (Food & Drug Administration) has refused to approve kratom for medicinal use or codify it as a natural supplement, it remains an unregulated compound here in America.

As such, it is relatively easy for vendors to import large quantities of kratom powder overseas. In the case of businesses like Tea n Stuff, their kratom inventory was likely purchased from a wholesaler and imported into Queensland right under the noses of unsuspecting customs officials.

It is improbable that a drug-sniffing dog would be trained to recognize the presence of kratom, after all. If they were then, perhaps, such instants of importation would be preventable since the Mitragyna speciosa powder bears a striking aroma that is nearly as strong as substances like marijuana and heroin.

The difference, of course, is that kratom is nothing like other controlled substances. Whereas heroin is a synthetic opiate and marijuana is a psychoactive drug, kratom is a mild herb that is extracted from the leaves of an evergreen tree belonging to the coffee family of plants.

Nevertheless, Big Pharma have worked in tandem with the worldwide media to demonize the plant, drawing attention to a select number of kratom-related hospitalizations and deaths. These incidents are invariably associated with preexisting conditions and contraindications since those who have fallen ill are often on a variety of other medications at the time that their illnesses occur.

All of this begs a question, one that many in the industry do not want to ponder…

IS KRATOM SAFE?

The short answer is Yes, but there are many mitigating factors one need consider before arriving at an appropriate response to that question. For starters, the safety of this and other substances depends largely on its level of purity.

The very best kratom vendors manufacture their kratom powder in GMP compliant facilities with proper clean rooms. They also submit each batch of Mitragyna speciosa leaf to a third party laboratory where it can be tested for heavy metals and other contaminants.

Users should always buy bulk kratom powder and kratom capsules from reputable brands who disclose lab results and guarantee freshness and purity. If an e-commerce site can honestly say that their product is 100% natural and contains no adulterants then they are likely the best option for safe kratom.

That is not to say that all kratom is safe for all people. Legit kratom brands provide proper labeling on each batch of product. Look for warning labels that clarify who should or shouldn’t be purchasing kratom. For example, “Not intended for those who are pregnant or lactating.”

Kratom is not safe for your baby, it’s not safe for children and it’s not intended for human or animal consumption. By and large, kratom is sold as a research chemical or herbal incense. Here in the US, the FDA has issued a warning, urging the public against using kratom.

Despite this warning, many Americans swear by kratom’s efficacy in a number of areas. There are legions of kratom proponents who have used kratom for its purported benefits. Those who do so do it at their own risk.

Ongoing studies suggest potential risk of liver failure and death when kratom is taken in large quantities over an extended period of time. This is why many seasoned users suggest “cycling” dosages by refraining from use for several days in between doses.

There is a variety of potential adverse effects that one may experience from taking products containing Mitragyna speciosa.

KRATOM SIDE EFFECTS

  • Stomach upset
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Agitation
  • Dilated pupils
  • Constipation
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Need to urinate
  • Dry mouth
  • Tongue numbness
  • Skin discoloration
  • Heart palpitations
  • Anxiety
  • Delusions
  • Trouble breathing
  • Confusion
  • Blurred vision
  • Hallucinations
  • Hypertension
  • Thyroid problems
  • Brain swelling
  • Liver damage
  • Seizure
  • Death

The Center for Disease Control has reported 152 unintentional overdose deaths associated with kratom use from 2016 to December of 2017. These cases accounted for 0.56% of the 27,338 overdose deaths in the United States.

As an article in the Huffington Post clearly pointed out, the FDA’s remarks about these incidents included a number of events in which kratom played an uncertain role, such as a case involving a teenager who committed suicide by hanging himself and another case where an overdose victim tested positive for no less than nine disparate substances.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

It is unclear whether a lack of transparency or government involvement played a role in Tea n Stuff’s failure, but one thing is clear: Kratom vendors need to step up their game when it comes to preserving the future of this Ayurvedic herb.

In order to protect the integrity of Mitragyna speciosa we must take measures to be more transparent in all of our endeavors. Kratom brands should always provide detailed information on their labeling and comply with domestic and international laws.

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