Kratom, obtained from a tropical tree mainly found in South Asia, is known as a recreational drug and has been used for centuries to sharpen the focus, relieve chronic discomfort and having opium-like effects, to rid from the symptoms of opium withdrawal.
It is interesting to note that despite having opium-like effects, it is not as addictive. Yet the herb has been banned by the drug approval agencies several times for being considered a dependable drug thus may result in abuse and addiction.
Behind such decisions lies a severe lack of proper research as Kratom may appeal to our opioid-binding receptors and thus have dose-dependent effects, yet the key elements present in opium are not found in Mitragyna speciosa, which is another name for Kratom.
To prevent its abuse, instead of banning the herb-drug approval agencies and food authorities such as FDA, should make it legal so that more research can be done to make its use safer.
However, we have presented below a detailed analysis of why such a miraculous drug as Kratom is prone to the threats and actions of being classified as a controlled substance or schedule I drug. We will start with describing to you what actually are the controlled substances so sit tight!
What Are Controlled Substances? Is Kratom One?
According to the U.S government’s Department Of Justice (DOJ), substances are placed in the category of controlled substances when upon clinical trials over a period of time, they are proved to have a high potential for abuse and can cause a certain level of dependency in the users.
Thus, it’s important that clinical trials are scheduled under the CSA of any drug to determine its potential for abuse. For example, we are aware of the potential harm and high dependency rate of heroin, its active ingredients and withdrawal symptoms, and terrors of its addiction primarily because of the clinical trials done by the government.
Kratom is not considered a controlled substance because it has never been put to government-funded clinical trials. Therefore, the government cannot point out any effects, benefits and harms specific to the herb.
It is also important to note that not all drugs put in the category of controlled substances are “harmful” or “bad”. Thus if Kratom even falls within the more accessible categories of controlled substances like Schedule IV or V, scientists will be able to experiment with it without facing any permit issues. However, it may result in limited access to the herb for the masses.
Is Kratom A Drug Or A Dietary Supplement?
The question then arises and is extremely important to be addressed is what then Kratom is if not a controlled substance? Should it be classified as a drug? Or categorized simply as a dietary supplement?
According to the definition by FDA i.e., U.S Food and Drug Administration, a drug is something that can be used for the diagnosis, cure or prevention of any medical condition or disease.
According to this definition, Kratom cannot even be classified as a drug since not enough clinical trials are done to put it in the category of a drug. And one may need more evidence to put the herb in that category.
Yet Kratom can be safely classified as a dietary supplement since in an alert in 2016, FDA itself stated that “Kratom is a botanical [compound] that qualifies as a dietary supplement under…the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act.”
But at the same time, it is important to note that there are chances that the decision was made because the government does not properly understand Kratom yet.
However, if proper research is done with government funding and approval, it will be found that Kratom is much more than just a dietary supplement.
There are important questions that should be addressed regarding this wonderful herb such as if Kratom can be used to treat a certain medical condition or illness, or if it has side effects and to what extent and much more.
Legal Status of Kratom Now
For its reluctance to do proper research on Kratom, the government has several times tried to ban the herb altogether. However, they fail to do so each time because of the heavy backlash they faced from the public.
People even wrote thousands of letters to the DEA opposing the ban, due to which they halted their decision for the times. It nevertheless succeeded in making access to the plant harder.
Even though Kratom is not yet banned in the whole U.S, it is banned by some of the states and counties. The states include Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Rhode Island and Vermont while the counties are Franklin County, New Hampshire, San Diego County, California, Sarasota County and Florida.
The Future Of The Herb
Without being backed up by proper and in-depth scientific research, it is extremely hard to predict the future of a drug, especially if it is a misunderstood one like Kratom.
However, it can be said that those states and counties that banned such a substance like Kratom, have closed the doors of further research and better use of the drug upon themselves and it is apparent that they do not pay any heed to the future of the scientific community.
Kratom is a drug that if put to proper use, is bound to bring an incredible transformation to the lives of people. Thus continuing research about such a compound is vital for the improvement in health and wellness of the public all over the world.
As banning a substance without proper research is as harmful as allowing one without doing so, Kratom should be given its proper place in the world of drugs and medicines since there is no data supporting an outright ban