Pennsylvania is known for many things, from its lush forests and historic chocolate factories to its wealth of white-tailed deer and its hundreds of state game lands. The place has produced some of America’s most celebrated artists; everyone from Louisa May Alcott and John Updike to Reggie Jackson and W.C. Fields hailed from the Keystone State.
The city of Pittsburgh is a crowning jewel, boasting no fewer than three champion sports franchises—the Penguins, the Pirates and the Steelers, respectively—and a culinary tradition that’s enjoyed all across the nation.
The Klondike bar had its start here, as did the Big Mac, the Heinz ketchup company and Pittsburgh’s famous Primanti Brothers sandwich. Hell, you can even count Pittsburgh as the birthplace on the emoji since the smiley face emoticon was invented here in 1980 by Carnegie Melon University computer scientist Scott Fahlman.
The state motto perfectly encapsulates Steel City’s attitude—and, indeed, the entire state’s attitude—toward alternative remedies and recreational activities: “Virtue, liberty, and independence.”
So, how does this bode for those of us on the hunt for quality kratom products? As you’ll see, there are reasons to rejoice…and also reasons to be concerned.
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You may remember that in 2018 it was reported that two Pennsylvania residents had died after taking kratom. These unfortunate deaths captured the attention of state news outlets and spurred the national media on when they were already questioning the validity of the Ayurvedic herb.
At the time, a number of U.S. states were mulling the prospect of a kratom ban. Luckily, cooler heads prevailed and non-profit organizations like the AKA (American Kratom Association) were able to properly lobby for the continued legality of the Mitragyna speciosa tree and its alkaloids—mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine.
The cause of the aforementioned deaths was ruled to be acute mitragynine intoxication by the Chester County Coroner’s Office, a pronouncement that concerned local lawmakers. In 2019, the parents of a 25-year old man who overdosed on kratom urged legislators to outlaw the substance. These same parents filed a wrongful death suit against the California kratom vendor whose product led to their son’s demise (namely, SoCal Herbal Remedies).
Nevertheless, kratom has not been banned or otherwise restricted in the state of Pennsylvania. As of 2020, Mitragyna speciosa and its alkaloids remain totally legal to sell, possess and consume in Pittsburgh and other cities. It is also legal to grow kratom, although the Keystone State lacks the appropriate climate for such an undertaking.
Despite kratom’s current legal status in Pittsburgh, residents should be mindful of proposed statutes and changing laws. You don’t want to get caught carrying kratom if possession laws are amended. As anyone who lives in PA will tell you, state law enforcement take their jobs seriously. Just ask the kid who was busted for wearing his jeans six inches below his waist.
If you’re looking to buy kratom locally in Pittsburgh PA, you’ll have your pick of the litter. There are at least 15 shops offering a variety of kratom strains in Steel City. Products include kratom capsules, kratom extracts, liquid kratom shots and even kratom chewing gum.
Popular strains include Red Bali, Maeng Da and Green Hulu Kapuas. Many of these strains are offered in tinctures which may also include UEI (Ultra Enhanced Indo) or FST (Full Spectrum Kratom Tincture).
The following is a list of the five highest-rated kratom suppliers in the ‘Burgh:
It may surprise you to learn that the last shop on this list is also my personal fave. On my visits to PA, I’ve always found myself drifting back into this joint, if for no other reason than I dig the vibe and I love the staff.
Aside from a killer collection of exotic kratom strains, they’ve got an interior design that’s inviting and a sort of feng shui that really ties the whole place together. From their live events down to their impressive beans, this place is a real hoot n’ a holler, especially if you’re into a sociable brew.
Procuring M speciosa locally can seem like a great idea. It’s fast, it’s convenient and you’re right down the block if you have a complaint. Problem is, most smoke shops do not offer refunds. So, if the kratom you buy turns out to be stale or weak, you’re stuck with it and you’re out whatever you spent.
What’s worse, most smoke shop owners don’t know a whole helluva lot about the science of kratom or the origins of the same. Ask most smoke shop proprietors where their strains come from and they’ll scratch their heads and dodge the question. That’s because the majority of small business owners get their kratom from wholesale distributors who serve as middle men between kratom brands and retailers.
Since kratom has not been approved for medicinal use by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), it remains an unregulated substance. As such, distributors are under no legal obligation to properly label their packages. Consequently, users end up buying products that do not carry responsible warnings or directions.
More alarmingly, some smoke shop kratom brands even contain synthetic additives that can be hazardous to one’s health. And some have even been tainted with Salmonella and other forms of life-threatening bacteria.
By contrast, trusted online kratom sellers practice GMP compliance, regularly submitting their plant matter to third party laboratories where they are tested for purity or potential contamination. These sellers maintain online stores where they disclose lab results, offer money back guarantees, provide detailed descriptions of each strain’s history and guidelines on dosages, effects and more.
I always advise friends and family to avoid local shops and stick to ordering over the Internet. Although online transactions can seem like a risky prospect, this is not the case with legit kratom sites. The top dogs have security protocols in place to make checkout easy and safe.
Many vendors accept privacy-conscious payment methods like E-check, Bitcoin, Ether and so forth. Others accept COD (Cash on Demand) or personal checks. All of the best sellers deliver your order in a discreet mailer that bears no outward evidence of what you have purchased.
The following is a short list of the top 5 kratom vendors online:
I think you’ll agree that each of these brands are exceptional in their own way and share in common a genuine passion for the Ayurvedic herb. Keep an eye out for coupon codes, seasonal deals, sitewide discounts and more. They crop up more often than you might think.
As you can see, there are plenty of options to choose from in the greater Pittsburgh area. Just be sure to do a fair amount of research before buying, lest you get burned by a substandard brand. Be safe, be smart and be well.
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