There are plants all over the world that have healing benefits and other uses in recreational terms. Most of these plants have been used for centuries by shamans and others alike, using them for their natural powers. There’s something beautifully in sync about using a plant from the earth for treatment, especially if it works, as opposed to a chemical designed and created in a lab.
Unfortunately, many of these natural earth remedies are being shut down and regulated by the government authority, meaning it’s becoming more difficult to access and to use. The cannabis plant is another example of this. CBD is a recent product that has huge health benefits but had a struggle with the legalization. Kratom has been used in traditional medicine since the 19th century and is now being regulated by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) who are pushing for the complete ban of the plant.
There are, however, communities and associations like the AKA (American Kratom Association) that are doing everything within their power to prove that the plant is, in fact, safe and effective when used. One of the ways of protecting this natural herbal remedy is the Kratom Consumer Protection Act. But what is it and why do we need it?
What Is Kratom?
Firstly, it’s wise to explain what Kratom is as I’m sure there is a large percentage of people that have never heard of it before. Kratom, Latin name: Mitragyna Speciosa, is a tropical evergreen tree that stems from the coffee family. It grows naturally in Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar (formerly Burma), and some other South Asian countries.
The reason it’s popular and has been popular since the 19th century is that its leaves or extracts from the leaves are used as either a stimulant or a sedative. There are reports of it being used for other ailments such as chronic pain, digestive problems, and even as a withdrawal replacement for opium addiction. Sounds good so far, right?
There haven’t been many clinical trials into Mitragyna Speciosa which is most probably why the FDA wants to put in a pin in it until further studies have been conducted. It also hasn’t been approved for medical use. Having said that, it’s been used for hundreds of years and has many people that state they are an advocate for the plant.
If The FDA Are Pushing For A Ban, Is It Legal?
In the United States of America, Kratom is currently legal. That’s not to say it’s going to stay that way which is why there’s a consumer protection act in place. As it’s labeled as alternative medicine, you can buy it from places that sell them and other forms of supplements. Either that or there are plenty of places you can buy kratom online, it comes in many different forms and is easy to take. Just make sure you’ve done your research before ingesting too much. There have been a small number of cases where death has been attributed to an overdose of Kratom.
There are a few countries across the planet that have deemed the plant illegal, including Thailand, Australia, Malaysia, and many countries in Europe.
What Is The Kratom Consumer Protection Act?
In short, the Kratom Consumer Protection Act, also known as the KCPA, is a piece of legislation that allows consumers access to legal Kratom whilst mitigating the market and reducing the sale of unregulated, dangerous, harmful Kratom products. The intention of the act is to ensure only approved Kratom is sold and distributed amongst the market. It also aims to stop the complete ban on Kratom by protecting its users and disproving the myths, rumors, and misconceptions about the natural product.
The act concentrates on important information about the product, including its definition, the regulations on doses, and the prohibition of dangerous sales. It also moves for the requirement of Kratom vendors, creators and sellers to have specific, informative labels on all products containing Kratom. This was they can stay within the parameters of the FDA. Finally, it pushes for the department of agriculture and food to create and enforce standards within the growing and production of Kratom.
Why Is The KCPA Needed?
Most of the products on our shelves have regulations they need to pass before being allowed on the distribution line. Our food has them, from meat to vegetables. Our drinks have them. Recently in the UK, there has been a law passed that anyone under the age of 16 cannot have energy drinks that contain caffeine. Even our pets' food has regulations. They are there for a reason - our protection.
The KCPA is a force that’s trying to break down barriers and show that Kratom isn’t dangerous when grown, distributed, sold, and consumed correctly. Without the correct processes and forms of legislation, there would be a flooding of the market containing dangerous products that put the lives of the public at risk. Those that enjoy using Kratom either as a stimulant or for a medical reason want to know they are in the safe hands of the FDA and the KCPA. This is why the Kratom Consumer Protection Act is so important. If it gets banned there will be a rise in illegal Kratom that isn’t regulated, meaning it could contain anything. It’s better to save lives by offering someone a safe solution rather than banning it altogether and pretending like it’s nothing to do with you.
Are There Any Places With Regulation?
As we have already stated, there are quite a few countries where Kratom is illegal and we know that it’s legal within the United States. The good news is that some states have already passed regulation laws when working with the KCPA. The terms and conditions in each state may be slightly different, but the fact is the KCPA’s voice is being heard and regulations are being put in place to protect the growers, sellers, and consumers.
Utah, Georgia, and Arizona are all states that have passed the act, and Oregon is said to be following shortly.
So Why Do People Use Kratom?
This question could be posed to anyone using a product that could potentially affect their being. Ask a coffee drinker why they have their double espresso in the morning and the answer will most likely be: To wake me up. The same question can be asked to a person sitting in a bar in the evening: Why are you drinking a beer? The answer will most probably be: To relax after a hard day’s work. Are there health implications of both coffee and beer? Yeah, there are but people ignore them because the government has deemed them safe enough for human consumption with regulations in place, more so with alcohol than coffee.
When it comes to Kratom, there aren’t a huge number of people that know the ins and outs of it so most likely don’t know what it’s used for.
In small doses, Kratom is seen to be a stimulant. Those that use it in this manner generally report having more energy, more alertness and tend to be far more sociable. At higher doses, however, Kratom is often known as a sedative, often giving the user euphoric effects. It can also dull your emotions and sensations.
Those using it for medicinal purposes, good news. The active ingredients in Kratom are known as alkaloids mitragynine and 7-hydroxy mitragynine. There have been studies and therefore evidence that shows these alkaloids can have pain-relieving tendencies, along with anti-inflammatory and even muscle-relaxing effects.
How Does It Work?
As Kratom can have both stimulant and sedative results, it’s important to know how it works. The active ingredients mentioned earlier, alkaloids mitragynine and 7-hydroxy mitragynine, interact with opioid receptors in your brain. This produces pleasure, decreased pain, and sedation. It does also interact with other receptor systems within your brain, which is why there are some other effects of taking it in smaller doses, such as energy, sociability, and alertness.
It’s been used in Southeast Asia for hundreds of years and in Thailand, the consumption typically involves chewing on the plant’s raw leaves. Another method is to take the leaves and dry them out, then crushing them into a powder. This powder is brewed with hot water to create a tea. This tea is becoming popular in the US meaning many are now using it as an alternative. It’s almost like there should be some regulations in place.
Are There Any Side Effects?
Taking anything that interacts with the receptors in your brain will come with the chance of side effects. A few include calmness, euphoria, nausea, itching, sweating, dry mouth, constipation, and loss of appetite. However, because of the lack of studies into the genuine side effects of Kratom as a pure substance, we are still unsure as to how many of these side effects come directly from Kratom and what comes from other substances mixed in.
The risk appears to be much higher when taken in concentrated extracts that have a much higher potency. These are also mixed with other psychoactive substances or drugs. People also tend to take it when under the influence of alcohol.
Because it’s not regulated by the FDA there is a much higher chance of these substances being mixed into a Kratom product. If there were regulations then the chance of people overdosing or having a reaction to another product in the extract would be far lower. We would understand the product in a better way which could end up in fewer deaths, fewer addictions, and a better lifestyle for those taking it as a medicine.
Can You Become Addicted?
Kratom is known as something similar to opiates so in reality, yes, there is a chance you could become addicted. It comes with a risk of dependence, withdrawal and your tolerance will increase the more the substance is used. This means more Kratom will need to be ingested for the same feeling.
The DEA has weighed in on the use of Kratom and has stated that Kratom abuse can and will lead to addiction. It can result in psychotic symptoms that include confusion, delusion, and even hallucinations. That being said, not everyone experiences addiction, in the same way, some people are more prone than others so it’s important to know some of the signs.
The main signs will always be tolerance, dependence, and withdrawal. If you can’t stop using a product then there is some heavy evidence that you might be addicted. Others include a change of friends, loss of care about things such as a job, schooling, social activities, or even just changes in mood. If you are or know someone that’s struggling with this then get help sooner rather than later.
Is It A Controversial Product?
The only reason Kratom could be classed as a controversial drug is that it hasn’t had many in-depth studies. This means it hasn’t officially been recommended for medical use. The reason clinical studies are so important for the development of new drugs is that it helps to identify anything harmful that may occur when ingested. They also help recognize the doses needed.
Kratom contains almost as many alkaloids as hallucinogenic mushrooms and opium, which means it has the potential for a strong effect. The reason for this is that alkaloids have a strong effect on the human body, most of which are positive but some are cause for concern.
Yet another reason as to why there need to be further tests done and regulations put in place. The KCPA can only do so much without the support of the FDA. Once they are on board, then it will be much easier to ensure that the Kratom is properly monitored and safe for humans to consume. Whether that be in a medicinal way or a stimulant way.
The point of regulation is often confused with making money from the government’s side. In some cases this can be true, for example, tobacco products - the majority of the cost for a consumer is in taxation. When talking about Kratom it’s mainly about the safety of those using it. It’s been medicine for hundreds of years so it needs to be kept that way, the way in which we know it’s effective. Mixing it with other substances will cause damage to everyone involved. These are the reasons we need the Kratom Consumer Protection Act.