By Triumph Kratom | October 21, 2019
Mitragyna speciosa, or kratom as it is commonly referred to, is a natural product that has been the source of a lengthy debate across the globe. Originating in Thailand, kratom became a widely used natural botanical product for those seeking pain relief as well as help with other medical issues beginning in the middle of the 19th Century.
It spread throughout Southeast Asia, and caught on in the West with the start of the 21st Century. Kratom found an audience in the European Union and then became more known in the United States around 2010. As those in the States began to partake in the natural product, the federal government observed the proceedings with a skeptical eye. This concern was reinforced a few years later by a slew of incidents with kratom users experiencing high toxicity in their systems, and some fatalities nationwide. Instead of looking deeper into what substances were being sold under the name of kratom, a ban was the DEA's first thought.
The call to classify kratom as a banned substance was delayed in 2016 after an outcry from a coalition of kratom users, medical researchers and members of Congress who wanted more of a thorough analysis of its properties to gain a better idea of its benefits. This left local and state governments to determine their own path when it came to kratom and its usage among their residents.
For those living in Arkansas, the buzz about kratom began online, once individuals found out about it through various website. This led a few to purchase from these online stores to try it out. Word of mouth led to more residents becoming interested in what kratom had to offer, mainly because of those who felt it helped them find relief from their suffering and improvements in mood and emotional regulation. Some also became drawn to kratom because they felt it was a beneficial aid in helping them combat an addiction to prescription opioid medications.
The demand compelled stores across Arkansas to carry kratom for their customers who wanted it, often buying kratom from sources that were untested and unregulated. The rise in usage caught the eye of law enforcement officials in Arkansas as well as health officials who had been keeping abreast of incidents in other states involving the natural product.
Medical examiners claimed that kratom was involved in three fatalities in Arkansas in 2017, and the Food and Drug Administration issued a nationwide warning against its use earlier that year. A few businesses still sold kratom over the counter to interested parties, but this was a turning point in Arkansas kratom regulation.
The concern of state officials rose in 2015, after a rash of incidents nationwide coincided with the rise of kratom use in Arkansas. The events prodded Arkansas legislators to take steps towards legislation that would ban kratom. In October 2015, the initiative to go along with the federal recommendations and classify kratom as a Schedule I substance in Arkansas came to fruition.
Kratom was added to the list of controlled substances in February 2016 after a public comment period, making it illegal to purchase and possess. The listing specifically pointed to two components found in kratom that the Arkansas Department of Health officials agreed made it harmful for people to use.
For more information on kratom laws across the country, check out our Kratom Legality Map.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Adminstration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.