Petition by the National Kratom Coalition.
This petition is in response to the approved Senate Bill 282 that would list mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine as Schedule 1 controlled substances. Both compounds are found in a natural-growing plant commonly called kratom. A ban on kratom will have an immediate and detrimental impact on the health of thousands of Kansas citizens who have chosen kratom as an all-natural, safer alternative to the prescription drugs they would otherwise be forced to take for their medical conditions.
It is my belief that scheduling kratom will result in the deaths of many Kansans whose medical conditions are properly controlled by the use of kratom. Making kratom a Schedule 1 narcotic would force many of these people back onto prescription drugs that may not be effective for them. Many others will refuse to return to those drugs because of the side effects, addiction potential, and long-term health effects that come with their use. They will exchange those conditions for chronic pain, and many other terrible afflictions. Still others who have used kratom as an effective treatment for addiction to heroin, alcohol or prescription opioids will likely relapse and return to those drugs. The consequences of this will also spike the numbers of deaths related to suicide and overdose. That is an outcome that can be diverted, as kratom does not pose a significant threat to the health of the public.
Click HERE to sign!
A Look at the Science Community and the AKA Response to the FDA Announcement Calling Kratom an Opioid
The American Kratom Association (AKA) is speaking out on the heels of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) February 6, 2018 announcement that its latest research suggests that kratom (mitragyna speciosa) is, in fact, an opioid. But a group of scientists have issued a letter to Acting DEA Administrator Robert Patterson and Presidential advisor Kellyanne Conway, urging them to disregard the FDA’s latest batch of information.
The nine scientists wrote, in part, “We believe strongly that the current body of credible research on the actual effects of kratom demonstrates that it is not dangerously addictive, nor is it similar to ‘narcotics like opioids’ with respect to ‘addiction’ and ‘death,’ as stated by the FDA in its November 14th Kratom Advisory.
“Equally important, four surveys indicate that kratom is presently serving as a lifeline away from strong, often dangerous opioids for many of the several million Americans who use kratom. A ban on kratom that would be imposed by CSA Scheduling would put them at risk of relapse to opioid use with the potential consequence of overdose death.”
AKA Board Chairman Dave Herman also came down on the FDA and its PHASE Modeling System, stating that, “The FDA wants the DEA (U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration) to accept the ‘novel scientific analysis and computational model’ theory that if kratom ‘binds’ to the opioid receptor in the brain just as opioids do, then it logically must have the same respiratory suppressing effect on users as opioids do, ergo, kratom must be an opioid.”
He added, “The problem is that their conclusion is completely and utterly wrong!…It smells of desperation because they know they are losing the battle of real science, so they made up ‘novel’ new science.”
Researchers and the scientific community as a whole agree that kratom appears to impact the brain’s µ-opioid receptors or MORs. The FDA ran kratom through its proprietary PHASE modeling system in order to arrive at this conclusion. But opponents such as the AKA point out that µ-opioid receptors activation is not the only criteria for defining and identifying an opiate. One must also examine the substance’s effects, amongst other properties.
In fact, AKA Board Chairman Herman highlighted this fact in a very adept manner in his formal written response to the FDA’s announcement. Herman pointed out that there are other non-opioid substances—such as naloxone (sold under the brand name Narcan)—have the ability to bind to and activate the brain’s µ-opioid receptors. But critically, naloxone is not considered an opiate.
Approved by the FDA in 1971, naloxone is included on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) List of Essential Medicines and it is widely regarded as one of the safest and most effective medications in existence. Naloxone does have the ability to bind to MORs, but it lacks other key properties of an opiate, such as the tendency to induce respiratory suppression. It’s an opiate’s respiratory suppression properties that make this type of substance so potentially dangerous.
Naloxone is routinely used worldwide to treat patients who are suffering from acute opioid overdose. In fact, naloxone is credited with saving thousands upon thousands of overdose patients who would otherwise succumb to respiratory failure. High doses of opioid drugs can depress respiratory function to the point whereby the patient ceases to breathe, ultimately resulting in death. But naloxone reverses the opiate’s effects by acting upon the very same receptors in the brain.
“The ‘novel scientific analysis and computational model’ would be stumped to explain why naloxone is not dangerous but kratom is because both substances bind to the opioid receptors in the brain,” Herman explained, adding, “Kratom does bind to the opioid receptors in the brain, but it does not suppress a user’s respiratory system any more than naloxone does. That is why there are no deaths that can be classified as ‘caused’ by use of kratom….But the FDA claims that the new data produced by their ‘whiz-bang’ new computer model ‘provides even stronger evidence of kratom compounds’ opioid properties.’”
In fact, Herman points out that kratom “…does not suppress a user’s respiratory system any more than naloxone does. That is why there are no deaths that can be classified as ‘caused’ by use of kratom.”
The FDA went on to cite a total of 44 deaths that were allegedly “associated with the use of kratom.” But In the AKA’s formal response to the FDA’s announcement, Herman wrote, “…the FDA admitted that ‘many of the cases reported could not be fully assessed because of the limited information provided.’ The FDA is not claiming that there are 44 deaths caused by kratom use. They are claiming that 44 people died from a range of causes—including just being completely unexplainable (sic)—while also using kratom. Those people who died likely also drank water, a soda, or used hair shampoo in the shower that day.” Yet none of those other substances were formally “associated” with the deaths.
Notably, the FDA has never successfully banned a substance because it supposedly held the power to be dangerous when mixed with another substance. But that’s precisely what kratom proponents say is happening here.
Herman explained, “The FDA properly gives guidance on the contraindications of using drugs and other substances concurrently. But it does not ban one substance because it might create a death if used concurrently with another substance…the FDA makes the huge leap to conclude that kratom is not ‘just a plant—it’s an opioid.’
He called upon the FDA to keep the American public’s best interests in mind, urging the agency to rely upon solid, scientific research and not hype, conjecture, or computer-generated “trick plays.” Herman also urged the DEA to ignore what he categorized as the FDA’s latest attempt to get kratom scheduled as a controlled substance.
Kratom captured the attention of the FDA back in 2009, when it made headlines in Sweden where a total of nine people died in connection with a mix of drugs called Krypton. Krypton contained kratom and what was found to be a toxic dose of o-desmethyltramadol. O-desmethyltramadol is the active metabolite found in tramadol, a commonly-prescribed pain medication. In fact, the o-desmethyltramadol dosage was officially cited as the cause of death in those cases.
“The FDA is well aware of the true cause of death—based on [research performed by] highly credentialed scientists—was from that active metabolite of tramadol,” Herman added.
Notably, the DEA had previously considered an emergency scheduling that would have placed kratom’s key alkaloids—mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitagynine—in the same category as highly dangerous drugs such as heroin and cocaine. While that emergency Schedule 1 status did not ultimately proceed, the future of kratom remains uncertain in the U.S. A number of U.S. states have already banned kratom, including Wisconsin, Indiana, Vermont, Rhode Island, Washington D.C., Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas and a handful of additional counties in states such as Florida and Illinois.
But the proposed emergency scheduling did have one positive impact: it prompted thousands of Americans to come forward and share their personal anecdotes to depict precisely how kratom has improved their quality of life. The American Kratom Association is a non-profit organization that is committed to sharing these stories on their website, AmericanKratom.org.
Kratom continues to come under fire, most recently with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issuing a kratom “advisory.” With such an uncertain future, it’s now more important than ever before for kratom enthusiasts to speak out in support of mitragyna speciosa!
The American Kratom Association (AKA) has drafted an open letter to acting U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Director Robert W. Patterson, urging the agency to conduct its own 8-factor analysis of kratom and its properties. The study would “test the credibility of the scheduling recommendation submitted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.”
Why is the AKA Promoting an Independent 8-Factor Kratom Study?
Kratom proponents argue that an objective scientific study will make it clear that kratom is a safe botanical; one that holds great potential for use as a treatment for a wide variety of ailments and conditions. Enthusiasts often point out that this botanical that has been used for generations by native Southeast Asian cultures to treat everything from insomnia and anxiety, to pain, lethargy, and depression. This stands in sharp contrast to the FDA’s claims that suggest kratom is a “gateway drug ” or substitute for opioids.
“In its enactment of the Controlled Substances Act, Congress has wisely required the DEA to do its own independent review on scheduling recommendations submitted by the FDA to provide a second opinion on important substance scheduling issues. That second opinion is desperately needed in the evaluation of kratom because the science directly refutes the FDA claims,” the AKA’s open letter states.
The AKA and countless kratom enthusiasts are calling for this independent analysis due to what they believe is a woefully inaccurate representation by the FDA. For instance, the FDA suggested that kratom has “narcotic opioid-like” potential for abuse. It was also stated that the substance is primarily used to “get high.” But heaps of scientific evidence and thousands of personal anecdotes suggest that kratom is, in fact, a rather poor opioid substitute—particularly for anyone who is seeking a high. This is just one contradiction that has thousands of kratom consumers concerned.
Notably, the DEA has already been supplied with an independent 8-factor kratom analysis performed by Jack Henningfield, Ph.D. Henningfield is regarded as one of the nation’s leading experts on issues surrounding substance abuse, addiction and substance safety.
The AKA is also encouraging the DEA Director to consider four additional studies that “clearly demonstrate the harm that will be done by any scheduling order on kratom.”
As many recall, the DEA previously sought an “emergency” scheduling for kratom which would have placed the plant in the same category as heroin and cocaine. This led to tremendous outcry amongst kratom enthusiasts, who came out in droves to sign petitions, write letters and—most importantly—share their personal experiences with kratom. Thousands came forward to detail how kratom had positively impacted their lives. Ultimately, the emergency scheduling was halted.
How Can You Help Keep Kratom Legal?
But kratom’s legal status still remains uncertain. Several states have already banned kratom, including Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, and Wisconsin. What’s more, the FDA is actively detaining many kratom shipments to the U.S., which is clearly a concern for those who favor and support the sale of kratom.
For this reason, we encourage you to take a few minutes to sign and share the American Kratom Association’s open letter to DEA Director Robert W. Patterson.
You can also make a difference by writing to local and federal lawmakers. Share your positive experiences with kratom and how it has transformed your life. Also, encourage legislators to support an additional scientific investigation into kratom and its effects. Many believe that this hard scientific evidence is the key to maintaining kratom’s legal status.
A native plant to southeast Asia, kratom (Mitragyna Speciosa) can be found growing wildly across Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Borneo. It has been harvested for centuries for it’s its, mood elevation, calming and stimulating properties. Kratom is still a natural solution many seek out today, as a component in their holistic health toolbox.
The Background of Kratom
Kratom has been used for thousands of years by local villagers for therapeutic reasons, but it didn’t gain attention outside of southeast Asia until the early 1880s when it was discovered and documented by botanist, Pieter Willem Korthals. Traditionally, kratom has been used by Thai peasants, laborers, and farmers. It’s illegal in two of its native regions, Thailand and Malaysia. There are many kratom users worldwide who voice strong opinions over ending the criminalization of kratom, and ending the corrupt political ties to its illegalization that favored the booming opium trade of the past century. Today, Kratom is legal in most U.S. states.
The Kratom Plant and Its Varieties
Kratom, a part of the Rubiaceae coffee tree family, comes in four primary species that originate in different regions in southeast Asia, and provide varying effects:
- Bali—Gives a more relaxing effect at higher doses, and can be stimulating when taken in low doses.
- Thai—The longest lasting and strongest of the varieties. It’s said to be calming.
- Malaysia—Almost identical to Balinese kratom. You may hear the term “ketum” used to describe kratom from Malaysia.
- Maeng Da—Maeng Da kratom translates to “pimp grade” kratom and originates from Thailand. It’s the strongest kratom strain available and is used for its energizing effects.
Kratom strains are further categorized by “vein:”
- Red Vein—Longer lasting, and more relaxing and less stimulating than other strains
- Green Vein—Energizing and uplifting
- White Vein—Energizing and euphoric
Choosing the Best Kratom from a Quality Supplier
The key to choosing the best kratom supplier is finding a quality source that chooses their kratom from the finest sources grown organically in its native region. Look for a supplier that carries multiple strains to offer you all of the mood-boosting, energizing, and calming effects you need to feel your best.
*Disclaimer: All products on the website are not for human consumption, and are for aromatherapy and research purposes only.
“Kratom is native to the tropical climates of Southeast Asia. Check out our interactive map above to learn more about this region and the amazing kratom that grows there!”