By Triumph Kratom | November 17, 2019
As far as natural products go, kratom might not be the first to cause an intense debate in American society, but it has certainly sparked one that is rife with both curiosity and controversy. Since it made its arrival in the United States a little over a decade ago, kratom has found an audience that chooses to consume it for the potential benefits it offers.
According to some recent reports, there are as many as fifteen million Americans who consume kratom regularly. Federal authorities have mixed opinions with the majority feeling it is ultimately harmful to the population. Kratom’s journey in the United States is a still-evolving one on the legal and medical front, one that bears watching.
On the legal front, the federal government cast an eye of concern as people across the country obtained kratom from different websites that had the natural product in stock. As it became more available in various outlets from convenience stores to specialty shops with a focus on wellness, authorities saw that there were some people that had suffered adverse effects. Prevailing opinion still suggests that the majority of these events were precipitated by the use of synthetic kratom and were related to using the product in combination with other chemicals.
These cases led them to try to install a ban nationwide on kratom in 2016 which was shelved due to blowback from advocacy groups and a bi-partisan group of members of Congress. From that point, state and local governments have had to figure out what to do about kratom and its use by their respective populations.
To date, as of November 2019, there have been six states (Vermont, Indiana, Alabama, Wisconsin, Arkansas and Rhode Island) that made the decision to ban kratom. In addition, there are a few cities and counties across the U.S. that have banned the sale of and consumption of kratom with San Diego County in California and Sarasota County in Florida being two of the most prominent municipalities to do so along with the city of Denver, Colorado.
These bans fall into two categories. The first category specifically imposes a ban on two of the major components in kratom – mitragynine and
7-hydroxymitragynine. The second category as seen in the case of Sarasota County grouped kratom with other substances referred to as “designer drugs” such as one commonly called “spice”.
However, there is a significant wave of rising support for legislation that is open-minded and seeks out a balance between those who want more restrictions on kratom usage and those who want accessibility to kratom for those who find benefits from use. One method that has grown in popularity to achieve this balance are recent bills that introduce guidelines for regulation that prohibit the sale of kratom to anyone under 18 years of age, and require clear labeling of any kratom and kratom related products that will be distributed and sold in stores. This has been an influence that has support on both sides of the political aisle in different states.
There are a few cases where there’s been conflicting legislation that has been introduced with regards to kratom. One of those is in New York, which is a unique situation due to the complex and diverse landscape of the state, especially in New York City. There have been three bills that were introduced in their state Senate. The first two kratom bills sought to prohibit the sale of kratom to those under 18, and the last NY bill aimed to ban kratom outright throughout the state. None of these gained enough traction to get past the hearing committee.
Another situation is developing in the state of Michigan, where there is a bill proposed to regulate kratoml with similarities to the four other states that have regulatory measures such as Arizona and their Kratom Consumer Protection Act.
The legal conversation concerning kratom is on par with what is taking place among those in the medical field. The Food and Drug Association (FDA), along with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the Centers for Disease Control have all labeled the botanical product “a drug of concern” in line with their aims of trying to make it illegal nationwide. This has been fueled by a lack of complete knowledge of the pharmacology of kratom in combination with reports
they’ve received from poison control centers and medical examiners nationwide. Many of these reports have linked the usage of some kratom products to individuals who have suffered severe side effects. The National Poison Data System, which compiles all of the information collected by the 55 poison control centers across the country, found that over 2,300 people that called claimed that they felt kratom was linked to their feeling ill or someone else’s illness.
A further breakdown showed that agitation and a rapid heartbeat were among the most commonly reported side effects, but more severe ones such as seizures and coma were mentioned. The CDC published a report last year that claimed that 91 people died as a result of using products that were sold as kratom in a period from 2016-2017, but that information has been challenged. There was also some research conducted that demonstrated the possibility of kratom having adverse effects on cells’ electrical activity within the human heart to the point where it could lead to an arrythmia known as Torsade De Pointes. This development sheds a little light into those cases where kratom was cited as a cause of death, but leaves out the essential information that most deaths included the use of other substances, both legal and illegal, alongside the use of kratom products.
Other medical issues that have arisen when it comes to kratom lie solely with the purity of kratom and related products that have been imported into the United States. In 2018 there was a mandatory recall of some brands of kratom when it was discovered that they were tainted with salmonella. Earlier in 2019, the FDA put out a report that claimed that some batches were shown to have traces of heavy metals above the legal limits for products that are consumed orally. This is the primary reason that Truimph Kratom uses regular batch testing on our kratom products to ensure for the purity and safety of our products.
There are those in the medical community who feel that there is more to be gained from the natural product continuing to be heavily studied. C. Michael White, the head of the Department of Pharmacy Practice at the University of Connecticut was the lead author of a new clinical assessment on kratom that was released last month. This report was put together to both improve on one released in 2017 and to address gaps in information while filling in for others.
Advocating for more research into the benefits of kratom and potential uses is the goal of many nationwide, and we continue stand by this call. Only by giving consumers accurate and reliable information about the products they choose can intelligent decisions be made about personal health and wellness.
Those in the medical community who lean towards a more beneficial view of kratom have gotten a boost due to some individuals who focused on learning more about the scientific elements of the natural product and the benefits claimed by those who use it. This approach has led one or two who were in opposition to kratom’s availability softening their stance, with an example being a report from the American Council On Science and Health that refuted some of the charges levied against the natural product.
Some who have researched kratom with the scientific knowledge in mind have actually begun to fight back against the misconceptions about it. One such authority can be found in a recent essay published by the International Journal of Drug Policy. In the essay, there are many points that are made such as the fact that medical analysts have yet to conduct trials on humans instead of gleaning information from isolated cells and animals in their research.
If there is anything to glean from these recent developments, it’s that kratom is a natural product that still holds many questions, possible benefits, and ongoing debates. The questions about kratom are valid, and should be entertained when it comes to wellness and corporate control in the United
States. We can only continue to educate and inform, and keep an eye on the ever changing news about kratom in the United States.
*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.