Early in October, Ohio started making moves to ban Kratom, a natural supplement said to have opioid properties and some stimulant-like effects. As of right now, little is known of kratom’s worth or safety as a therapeutic agent, but in February of 2018, the United States’ Food and Drug Administration stated that there is no evidence that kratom is safe or effective for treating any condition.
Individual users, however, would say otherwise. Some people take the supplement for managing chronic pain, for treating opioid withdrawal symptoms, or—more recently—for recreational purposes. The onset of effects is said to begin within five to ten minutes of ingestion and it lasts for two to five hours. Common minor side effects include nausea, vomiting, and constipation, while more severe side effects include respiratory depression and addiction.
There is growing international concern about a possible threat to public health from kratom use. In some jurisdictions—such as Ohio—its sale and importation have been severely restricted. In August of 2016, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced its intention to place the active materials in the kratom plant into Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act as a warning. A year later, in 2017, the FDA cited serious concerns over the marketing and effects associated with the use of kratom. In April of 2018, the FDA issued the first mandatory recall in its history (over concerns of salmonella)
Most recently, the Ohio Board of Pharmacy voted to classify kratom as a Schedule I controlled substance—alongside heroin, LDS, and other dangerous drugs. The pharmacy board considers kratom a “psychoactive plant” that can cause hallucinations, psychosis, seizures, and death. However, there has been heavy push-back from the small but passionate community of kratom users. The substance has been used as a pain reliever and stimulant for centuries, and it is a common “cure” for pain, addiction, anxiety, and depression.
While the effects and implications of kratom and its ban are not fully known, do your research before ingesting this substance to ensure it is the product you want to use.