As my blog readers know, the DEA announced that it was going to classify Kratom, a benign Asian herb that has been used for centuries to treat pain, anxiety, and the stresses of work, as a Schedule 1 drug, putting it in the same category as heroin, cocaine, meth and similar drugs. The change was supposed to take place on September 30, 2016.
As you may have guessed, the public issued forth an outcry. Kratom users banded together and to protest and take action against the DEA and hopefully prevent such from happening. To date, Bernie Sanders and 10 other bipartisan senators have sent the DEA a "Dear Colleague" letter, asking the DEA to delay it's decision to classify Kratom as a schedule 1 drug. Additionally, 51 members of Congress have sent letters to the DEA and to the White House to urge them to stop this ban as well. So far it seems to have worked. The ban that was supposed to go into effect on September 30, has yet to be enforced.
Although it is still currently legal to sell, buy, possess, and use Kratom, the battle is not over. More than likely the DEA is just taking a breather to give the impression that is considering public opinion. Do not be discouraged if the DEA continues with it's plan in months or even a few years into the future. We will still have to fight to ensure that the DEA does not do what it plans to with regards to Kratom.
The DEA has insisted that Kratom is dangerous and that people have died from taking it. In reality, not a single person has died from taking Kratom alone. All of the handful of deaths have been from persons who had multiple drugs in their system. Some of these cases involved people dying because they thought they were taking Kratom extract but were in fact taking Tramadol, a deceptive and dangerous trick made by certain unscrupulous sellers.
Kratom contains two main molecules that give it's pain-relieving and sedating qualities. These molecules work by interacting with the opiod receptors in the brain. Though Kratom works in the same way that an opiod does, it is in fact not an actual opiod, and as such, does not produce the same high and dependency that opiods can cause, assuming it is not abused. Any substance can be abused and it's been reported that users who take Kratom multiple times a day for extended periods of time may develop withdrawal symptoms similar to caffeine withdrawal. This should not come as a big surprise since Kratom is related to the coffee plant.
I urge all my readers to give the herb a try to see for themselves that this is not a dangerous plant. I've used Kratom off and on for pain relief and it works. When purchasing Kratom I opt for the standard powdered leaf, though extracts and powders that have been sprayed with extracts, are also available. A dose for me is just shy of half a teaspoon. I use a plastic spoon to dump the powder in my mouth and then quickly take a drink and swish it around in my mouth and swallow. This method is called "toss and wash", which is pretty much the easiest way to take Kratom. Other methods of use include making a tea, making a slurry with liquid and then drinking it, or taking it in liquid extract or capsule form. Kratom is not smoked. Those who have tried smoking Kratom have said it was horribly disgusting and it did not produce the pain relieving effects. It's possible that the heat of burning destroys the chemicals.
So what can you expect when taking Kratom? Well, I've taken it numerous times for pain. I have a shoulder injury from my teens that flares up every now and then and have intense back problems from time to time, not to mention migraines. Kratom works wonders for me. So I take a dose of Kratom, always on an empty stomach, and then about 2-4 minutes later I begin to feel relaxed. Within about 20-30 minutes the pain is gone and remains gone for maybe 2-4 hours. You do not get high with Kratom. It's not like marijuana. However, depending on the level of dose you can have different experiences. Smaller doses relax you, give you a bit of energy and help you focus. Large doses are sedating.
It's extremely important that we stop the DEA from classifying Kratom as a schedule 1 drug. Once a substance is classified as a Schedule 1 it is pretty much never going to be removed from such. Because Schedule 1 drugs keep the DEA in business and to lose one off the list means less money for them. I urge my readers to show support to keep this natural substance available to all who can benefit from it.