Mar 16

The FDA Trying to Crack Down on Kratom


There is a South Asian tree known as Kratom. The Kratom leaves (aka Biak-biak, Ketum, Kahuam, Ithang, or Thom) contain mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine opioids. They end up sedating the brain, enhancing pleasure, and decreasing pain. Processed leaves have a reputation for relieving pain and enhancing sexual pleasure. Small amounts are associated with increased energy and alertness, the opposite of sedation occurring with larger amounts. This bitter botanical basically alters mood and lifts the spirits. Although illegal in a number of countries, in the U.S. it is a legal herb available over the internet, typically coming as a gum or extract. More info: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/kratom and http://www.phytoextractum.com/buy-kratom-extract-online

Kratom to Manage Addiction.
A number of drugs are successful in the management of opioid and alcohol misuse and disorders. <http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/treatment-approaches-drug-addiction> Recently people have attempted to self-treat these problems by chewing or making tea with Kratom in order to control their drug withdrawal and cravings associated with their opioid or alcohol abuse. Unfortunately, Kratom has not demonstrated safety or effectiveness in managing addiction response or recovery from that abuse, and it comes with a roster of negative health problems, e.g, appetite alteration, constipation, dependence, increased urination, itching, mouth dryness, psychoses, sensitivity to sunburn, sweating, etc. Although Kratom in isolation may not be fatal, its compounds with other drugs in internet formulations may have induced user deaths.

Withdrawal Complications.
Getting off the Kratom herb has its own set of problems, e.g. aggression, crankiness, emotional changes, hostility, insomnia, jerkiness, muscle aches, and even runny nose. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration considers Kratom a sufficient enough problem to add it to its list of “Drugs and Chemicals of Concern.” <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23212430> Anecdotal evidence and case study data have shown that self-medication with Kratom components and other medications may result in death. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21219704>

Interdiction Attempts on Both State and National Levels.
Solons are aware of Kratom effects on citizens, and one prominent southern state has initiated formal study by its Attorney General. <http://www.wptv.com/news/region-c-palm-beach-county/west-palm-beach/state-lawmakers-to-study-kratom-effects-appoints-attorney-general-to-lead-the-way> On a national level, the Federal Drug Administration has decided that Kratom has no support as a legal dietary supplement (advisory to diet ingredient industry in 2013) and has begun confiscation more recently via the U.S. Marshals Service. <http://www.naturalproductsinsider.com/articles/2016/01/product-seizure-shows-fda-serious-about-kratom.aspx> However, Kratom supporters remain unconvinced concerning the efficacy and legality of FDA actions. <http://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/regulation/months-after-issuing-import-ban-fda-still-working-to-get-kratom-off-market>

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