Chronic pain is a fact of life for many people throughout the US and the world. For some, chronic pain can be managed with lifestyle changes and over-the-counter pain medications like Tylenol. Others, however, have turned to stronger forms of medication to make their pain manageable.
The problem with prescription pain medication is that it is incredibly addictive, leaving people dependent upon it long after the source of their pain has gone. As a result, the opioid crisis is in full swing, leaving many people in worse shape than they were before.
Savvy pain-sufferers who wish to avoid prescription medication have turned to kratom to help improve their life and relieve their pain. Unfortunately, kratom is not without its own controversy. Is kratom going to be illegal as a result?
Read on to find out.
What Is Kratom?
If you’ve never heard of kratom, then you might be wondering what it is.
Kratom is technically a tree in the coffee plant family that grows in Southeast Asian countries like Thailand and Indonesia. The leaves are removed from the tree and processed so they can be used as a recreational drug. The leaves contain compounds that can have psychotropic effects, but that’s not the primary reason for its popularity.
It is most commonly sold as a green powder, but you can also find it as an extract or as a gum. Kratom can be found under a number of different names, including biak, Thom, and ketum.
What Are the Benefits of Kratom?
The primary benefit of kratom is that it acts as an effective painkiller and, in most places, it doesn’t require a prescription. It is not yet fully understood how kratom works to relieve pain, but doctors currently believe that some of the substances within kratom bind to the same parts of your nerve cells as opioid painkillers do, and they have a similar effect as a result.
People who take small doses of kratom may also find that it acts as a stimulant and boosts energy levels. Larger doses of kratom make you feel sleepy and as if you are in a dreamlike state.
Why Are Legislators Concerned About It?
The primary reason why legislators are concerned about kratom is the possibility that it is an addictive substance. People who use it for pain relief may find that they rely upon it. Ceasing use can result in increased pain levels, insomnia, upset stomach, and mood changes.
There are also some potential side effects to take note of. Users might feel nauseated or constipated when using kratom, but they might also note muscle tremors, dizziness, and hallucination, among other side effects.
How Is Kratom Classified in the US?
Is kratom illegal, federally?
At this point, it isn’t, but concern about kratom led the Drug Enforcement Agency to pursue a potential ban in 2016. Had they been successful, the DEA would have made kratom a Schedule I controlled substance. That ban was later scrapped until scientists could perform more research on kratom and its effects.
Currently, there are no federal controls on kratom, but it is also not FDA-approved. This means it is up to the consumer to ensure that the kratom they purchase is safe for consumption.
Is Kratom Going to Be Illegal?
At this point, there’s no way to know for sure whether kratom is going to be banned on a federal level. This does not preclude states and cities from enacting their own laws over kratom.
There are currently some states where kratom is illegal. These states include Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin. Cities and counties in states like California and Mississippi have enacted their own bans on kratom.
The best thing you can do to ensure you are in compliance with the law is to keep an eye out for pending legislation in areas where you live or travel.
Will Kratom Become a Regulated Substance?
This is a stronger possibility than an outright ban. When the DEA moved to ban kratom on a federal level, there were widespread protests, which is one of the big reasons why they halted the ban.
Some states have taken to regulation over bans. For example, Utah allows kratom, but vendors must test it for safety before selling it to consumers. South Dakota and Tennessee allow the sale of kratom, but only to people over the age of 21.
Regulating kratom over an outright ban is a more tempered approach to take, and it is one that consumers are more likely to be happy with.
Is Kratom Illegal in Other Countries?
Due to the concerns around kratom and its potential effects, many countries have banned kratom altogether. Some of these countries include Australia, Singapore, Sweden, Thailand, and Vietnam. Rather than banning kratom, New Zealand has enacted regulations to help protect citizens.
If you’re planning on traveling to another state or country with your kratom stash, then you’ll need to know a couple of things. First, you’ll want to know how to properly store your kratom for travel purposes. Second, you’ll want to do your research on every city you plan on visiting.
Failing to do your homework and traveling to a place where kratom is now illegal can land you in some serious hot water. If you can’t find any information about kratom’s status, it may be in your best interest to swap out your kratom for more traditional forms of pain relief such as over-the-counter pain relievers.
The Future of Kratom Is Up in the Air
Is kratom going to be illegal? Concerns over kratom have prompted many states and countries to outlaw kratom altogether, while others are simply choosing to regulate its sale and usage. If you’re considering using kratom to help you manage your chronic pain, be sure to check your locals before making your purchase.
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