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DEA Kratom Ban on Hold For Now as Supplement Investigation Continues

Image: DEA Kratom Ban on Hold For Now as Supplement Investigation Continues

Capsules of the herbal supplement Kratom are seen on May 10, 2016 in Miami, Florida. The herbal supplement is a psychoactive drug derived from the leaves of the kratom plant. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 13 Oct 2016 05:27 PM

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is walking back its attempts to ban kratom, an herbal supplement that has similar effects to some opioid substances but is used by many people for its beneficial effects.

Kratom is an herb that comes from the leaves of the Mitragyna speciose tree native to Southeast Asia. The tree has some relation to coffee trees and kratom acts as a mild stimulant at low doses.

The concern for the DEA is that two kratom alkaloids, mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, have been shown to activate opioid receptors in the brain and have some pain relieving qualities, according to The Huffington Post.

The herb has been used for thousands of years in Asian traditional medicine and has recently been gaining popularity in the Western Hemisphere as a treatment for anxiety, depression, and opioid addiction, as well as an analgesic.

A comment period has been opened for the herb, and the FDA will also submit findings for consideration as the DEA decides how to proceed. After Dec. 1, the DEA will make a determination to either leave kratom alone or ban it temporarily or permanently.

The DEA has never before decided to reverse the process of banning a drug, even temporarily, but advocates for kratom and for drug policy reform have aggressively pursued the reversal.

Although advocates claim the drug is safe, Narcanon notes kratom has many side effects similar to opioid drugs, and that some users have ended up in the emergency room with everything from severe vomiting to hallucinations and psychotic episodes.

A group of 50 lawmakers and a White House petition have helped to delay the DEA from banning kratom immediately, but time will tell whether the reversal will be permanent.

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The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is walking back its attempts to ban kratom, an herbal supplement that has similar effects to some opioid substances but is used by many people for its beneficial effects.
DEA, kratom, ban, supplement
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2016-27-13
Thursday, 13 Oct 2016 05:27 PM
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