The US moving to ban Kratom?
In a very backwards move, Florida is mulling over the idea of banning the sale and use of Kratom.
According to recent reports, law makers in the state of Florida are moving to make kratom an illegal substance – a Schedule I substance in fact, defining it as having no medicinal value and a great potential for abuse.
WHAT IS KRATOM?
Kratom is a tree belonging to the same family of plants as coffee. It is grown in South East Asia, and is cultivated for its medicinal pain relieving and uplifting herbal effects – often being used as part of a herbal hot drink.
WHAT IS ALL THE HYSTERIA ABOUT?
Although kratom has been used for thousands of years without any serious side effects or deaths ever being directly linked to it, for some reason (probably due to media misrepresentation), both the DEA and FDA have been keeping a very close eye on it; and whilst it is not illegal, the FDA have no problems handing selling bans when they find shops stocking it.
Now, whilst these two government agencies are certainly concerned about kratom, it remains completely legal in the US, and certainly doesn’t explain the hysteria. Well, we have the media to thank for that! There have been a few recent incidences that have all come together to create a (seemingly) strong enough case to try and get kratom outlawed.
The first case is the account of a grieving mother. Last August, Ian Mautner, a 20 year old man suffering depression, killed himself by jumping off a bridge. According to his mother, Ian was addicted to Kratom, which was the cause of his death - even though he was on a cocktail of prescribed anti-depressants. Whilst we understand a mother’s desire to find reasoning, and something to blame for the death of her son, it is wrong to blame something because you don’t understand it. We are sorry for her loss, but it is highly unlikely kratom was the cause.
This brings us onto the second point. The DEA believes Kratom is addictive, with media latching on saying it is as addictive as heroin, and is the new street drugs all the kids are taking. When you are spouting nonsense like this, of course there is going to be hysteria! The truth has been explored by the UN, and according to their reports, kratom has the potential to create a psychological dependence (not physical addiction) in a very small percentage of long-term users – often those who have been using daily for over 10 years. Even then, the addictive potential is considered by the UN to be less than caffeine in coffee.
THE MAIN REASON BEHIND THE PROPOSED BAN
The one major point that law makers, such as State rep. Kristin Jacobs, seem to be using as their main argument in the proposed ban is that kratom is similar to heroin. This is extremely misguided, and one of the reasons kratom often becomes the centre of controversy. Although kratom and heroin interact with the same parts of the body, they do so in very different ways. The opiates in heroin bind to receptors, fusing with them, and altering the very way they work – making more opiates a requirement for normal functioning. On the other hand, kratom contains alkaloids. Theses do not fuse to the receptors, meaning there is no long-term damage, addiction or effects.
There is also the fact that kratom acts as an endorphin, causing similar pain relieving and relaxing effects as opiates (but certainly not the same). This causes people to assume they are one and the same without actually understanding the major, and very important differences.
KRATOM HELPS PEOPLE
The sad thing about all of this is that the people who will really be effected by a ban are those who rely on kratom to relieve their suffering. To try and ban a substance that helps thousands of people live normally, simply because of fear mongering and misrepresentation is not only wrong, but reprehensible. You have seen what happens when you try to ban a plant. Sort it out Florida!