The Legality Surrounding Kratom in 2020

Is kratom legal?

Kratom is becoming a popular medicinal product across the world. It has been around for thousands of years and it has evolved and grown the way it is being used. Many believe that it could have had its origins in Indonesia or Malaysia. There are some historical pieces of information about workers and peasants using kratom leaves raw and chewing the juices while they were working hard on the fields. From those early days, kratom has certainly traveled quite a distance. It is now not only restricted to the southeast Asian countries as far as use is concerned. It is now being used in many western countries and there are thousands of people in the USA who are using different strains, types, and variants of kratom. The USA is a big market because almost 36% of Americans use some supplements and complementary medicines for their overall health and well being. Hence, the usage of kratom is also growing quite fast amongst Americans. However, there are some questions with regard to the legality of this plant-based supplement. Hence it would be better to have a closer look at it and understand as to what the ground reality is.

Some Basics About Kratom

Kratom is known by its scientific name mitragyna speciosa. It is a tropical tree belonging to Southeast Asia and it has been in use since the early part of the 19th century. Apart from giving more energy to peasants and farmworkers, it was also used for increasing appetite and also getting relief from musculoskeletal pain relief. The extracts were also used with an added sweetener and could help in relieving intestinal coughs and discomforts.

As far as the USA is concerned, kratom started getting popular as some people tried it out as an herbal supplement. The first instances of the use of kratom in this country may have been noticed in 2010. Kratom was purchased online and it was brought under different names such as Baik and Ithang. They were also used in different variants such as Maeng Da Kratom and others.

Issues About Kratom Legality

Let us now spend some time regarding the kratom legality issues as far as the USA is concerned. DEA or The Drug Enforcement Administration started to work closely with the FDA or Food & Drug Administration. They started to monitor the use over a five year period. During this period of monitoring, the CDC used and made note of various reports of deaths and poisonings that were supposedly attributed to kratom powder. Hence, it was quite obvious that safety became a very big concern. The monitoring led to DEA making some important announcements about Kratom. This was done on August 30, 2016. The announcement led to the placement of kratom under Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. This was done with the main objective of the supplement becoming a hazard to public safety. This announcement basically means that the DEA was not obliged to take into account public comment to find out whether it is safe or unsafe. However, this was followed by a bipartisan letter from the Senate. They requested DEA to reconsider the legality of kratom. This was mainly because there were protests from many individuals who were using kratom for the purpose of relief from various illnesses and also for fighting opioid addiction.


Opposition Still Remains

However, there is still quite a bit of opposition to kratom and even in 2018, FDA sent out a warning to customers to stop using kratom and also not use any products that contain it. They said that more time is needed to evaluate the product especially from the safety attributes and side effects attributes. They also asked customers to dispose of whatever stock of kratom that they may be having with them.

Is It Illegal To Ingest?

When we talk about kratom legality we need to find out whether it is illegal to ingest kratom. More studies on kratom were conducted by various other institutions in 2017. These studies also talk about the possible positive sides and benefits that kratom could offer to its users. It was found to be effective in persons who were addicted to opioids and the good thing was that it did not have the harmful side effects that many people suffer from because of opioid abuse. These included side effects such as respiratory depression. There is no doubt that depressed respiratory function is one of the main causes of death amongst people who are known to misuse pharmaceutical drugs and pain killers.

On the other hand, there are scientists who are of the opinion that more studies are needed. The National Institute on Drug Abuse is on the job of doing more research to find out about the possible benefits and also side effects. Till such time the research findings are out the DEA ruling will continue to be in force.

Main Legal Issues And Legal Standing

As we read this article, many states and cities are engaged in wrangling as far as the kratom laws and regulations are concerned. Six states, Wisconsin, Rhode Island, Vermont, Alabama, Indiana, and Arkansas have declared kratom illegal. Other states are busy dealing with the feedback on kratom, both positive and negative. The respective legislative bills are being readied for review and for approval by the council.

Things are still fluid and a lot of changes are taking place at a rapid pace. It is quite obvious that the national landscape will continue to keep changing. However, as an end-user, it would be better for you to learn more about kratom as it exists in your state before using it. There are many resources available that can help you from a legal standpoint. You have to be sure that you are on the right side of the law and do not get into any legal problems using kratom till such time a nation-wide law is drawn up taking the concerns of both the users and those who have suffered side effects from it.


It would be pertinent to mention here that kratom legality in the USA is still at an evolving stage and there are many miles to travel before there is clear information about it. Till such time, it would be better to stay away from the use of kratom in those states where there is a clear ban on its storage, consumption, and distribution.