The DEA has temporarily rescinded their ban on the plant-based drug Kratom, as a Schedule 1 controlled substance in lieu of a formal comment period offered to the public. Amid strong backlash and defiance from the public as well as certain members of congress the Drug Enforcement Agency has forestalled its plans to outlaw the two primary alkaloids comprising kratom – namely mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine. The original ban was planned to come into effect on October 1st, 2016 but will be postponed for further examination and comment from the public and congress.
Massive Public Outcry
The government has faced extreme resistance from a contingent of society that feels the plant has helped them overcome addiction to opiates and prescription opioids. A change.org petition resulted in nearly 145,000 signatures moving to lift the ban. The DEA’s inbox was flooded with messages of powerful firsthand testimony from people who attribute their recovery to the miracle benefit from nature found in the kratom plant. The government officials behind the kratom ban allege the plant was responsible for dozens of overdoses and hundreds more in emergency phone calls to the poison control center during the last several years. The consensus among the move to outlaw kratom is that it is no different that the deadly opiates like heroin and morphine.
Clinical trials have yet to take place examining the true nature of the mysterious plant. There is a flood of anecdotal evidence from users hailing it as a godsend responsible for their ability to kick hardcore drugs and prescription painkillers. There may be some evidence to bolster their claims backed by the scientific community in studies involving rats. Although kratom and other drugs like heroin and morphine both act on the same opioid receptors in the brain there seems to be a subtle distinction with kratom compared to its more lethal illegal counterparts. What makes kratom less addictive than these drugs is its affinity towards a neural pathway in the brain involving the G-protein as opposed to the beta-arrestin-2 protein that heroin utilizes. This relatively subtle mode of action with kratom results in the expression of far fewer adverse side-effects in its users.
Delaying the Inevitable?
The ultimate decision lies with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration under the aegis of the Department of Health and Human services. In the meantime proponents of Kratom need to continue to submit their comments for review to the Office of the Federal Register either electronically or via snail mail before the comment period comes to a close on December 1, 2016.
Personally I know of a few people who have benefited from the therapeutic properties of Kratom and believe that there needs to be more evidence brought forth by the government that demonstrates a clear and present danger from allowing kratom to be available on the open market. If it can somehow help to alleviate some of the withdrawal symptoms suffered by opioid addicts in detox than there must be some medicinal value that needs to be examined further. If you or anyone you know is suffering from an addiction to heroin or opioid prescription painkiller get help immediately. These drugs are too powerful to fight alone!