Home Culture DEA to Federally Prohibit ‘Opiate-Like’ Kratom

DEA to Federally Prohibit ‘Opiate-Like’ Kratom

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The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) put out a warning this week that they are adding mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine to their strictly forbidden list of substances. These alkaloids are usually found in the kratom plant, native to Southeast Asia.

Since 2014, fifteen people have died from the opioid-like effects of the plant and up to 12 million doses of the drug have been confiscated or rejected entry into the United States. That’s prompted the DEA to file an intent to temporarily schedule the active materials in the plant, which are mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine. The active ingredients from the tropical tree has been found in various forms such as; powder, plant, capsules, tablets, liquids, gum/resin, and drug patch.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) found that kratom abuse leads to agitation, irritability, tachycardia, nausea, drowsiness, and hypertension. Abusing the plant can lead to hepatotoxicity, psychosis, seizure, weight loss, insomnia, tachycardia, vomiting, poor concentration, hallucinations, and even death.

The DEA has been concerned with kratom for several years now. It’s indigenous to Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar, and other areas of Southeast Asia but it’s becoming more of an issue in the United States as law enforcement have seized more kratom in the first half of 2016 than any previous year. To put that into perspective, from 2014 to 2016, about 55,000 kilograms have either been caught trying to enter the United States. According to DEA officials, the scheduling is a necessary step to avoid an imminent hazard to public safety.

“…kratom has a high potential for abuse, has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and has a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision. These three factors constitute a Schedule I controlled substance according to the Controlled Substances Act passed by Congress in 1970,” reads the DEA letter of intent.

Much like other plants with immeasurable effects on the human body, the DEA plans to federally prohibit kratom “because the identity, purity levels, and quantity of these substances are uncertain and inconsistent, they pose significant adverse health risks to users.”


    • Actually no it doesn’t. It’s poorly written. Just take for example how they name-dropped Dr. Boyer but don’t mention that Dr. Boyer learned from his studies that it can be highly addicted. Hmm.. That’s sort of convenient that they just left that part out. That little essay actually doesn’t prove much. Which is a shame because you’d think an organization named “botanical education” would at least get it right.

  1. The Banning of Kratom will hurt the work that has gone into making Marijuana legal on a federal level. After September 30 the next item removed from the DEA’s list of schedule 1 drugs will be Kratom not marijuana. This is just a buffer being put into place by the DEA who sees that Marijuana is about to become legal on a federal level and many DEA jobs would be lost.

  2. Pretty pathetic one sided article. Put down the bong and do 10 minutes of research. The millions of people who’s lives are being ‘saved’ by this plant are posting their stories all over the internet. And you post the press released bias article from the dea.

  3. Good afternoon Chloe, just wanted to address a few issues with your write-up. All 15 deaths reported, the users had coingestants in their system at time of death that would kill them alone. Kratom, or the alkaloids present in Kratom have not counted for 1 death on its own. In a 2014 article in the journal Pharmacotherapy by clinical pharmacologist Megan Rech and four of her colleagues at the Loyola University Medical Center in May wood, IL. “Fatalities typically involve coingestants… withdraw has been described as less intense but more protracted than with prescription opioids.
    Pascal Tanguay officer for PSI ,an international health promotion organization in Thailand, was empathetic in a a 2013 interview with MinnPost. “There’s never been a single death associated with Kratom,” Tanguay said. “People have been chewing this for thousands of years with no cases of overdose, psychosis, violent crime. Never in all recorded history.” Alcohol kills 88,000 per year, prescription opiates and heroin kill 28,000 per year.Marijuana and Kratom, 0 deaths per year.
    The cited 660 calls to poison control centers over a 5 year period are .004% of their total calls. 6,800 calls to poison control centers this year so far to children ingesting laundry pods. Pretty good numbers seeing that the DEA says that millions of doses per year are imported, legally, into the country.
    No medicinal value, like marijuana has no medicinal value. Medical marijuana anyone? Go to #iamkratom it #kratomsaveslives to see testimonials.
    Please don’t spread the DEA ‘s lies and misinformation about Kratom, please do a little research.
    I am 40 years old, suffer from chronic pain issues for 10 years, been prescribed heavy pain meds for 7 of those years. I quit the opiates, control my pain with Kratom, and my quality of life has been exponentially better. We aren’t a bunch of junkies looking to get high. For the most part we are chronic pain patients, anxiety and depression sufferers, and recovering opiate users. It works on such a broad spectrum of things for so many thousands of people, and we should have the right to safely medicate. Thank you so much for your time, and have a wonderful day.

  4. Please read the comments that others have made an correct this article. By publishing this nonsense you are helping the DEA demonize another medically active plant that helps people and HAS NOT BEEN RESPONSIBLE FOR A SINGLE RECORDED DEATH. This is what they did with cannabis in the 1930s and we are still dealing with the repercussions of that to this day. This is the sort of irresponsible journalism that might cause a boycott from members of the cannabis community.

  5. I would have expected more from a site titled marijuana times- this author is pretty misinformed, and misleading her readership. Clearly not a moment of actual research, just copy ‘n paste from the federal register apparently. Almost as if this were a mouthpiece for the DEA themselves…..

  6. This article is useless. Even without the DEA misinformation, the article contributes nothing insightful or of scientific significance and doesn’t make any commentary on these presumed claims, subjective or otherwise. So what we are left with is an article that offers nothing to the political dialogue and merely exists as a shallow “so how about this shit?”