What does FDA’s latest push for WHO mean for Kratom?

Kratom´s future in line

The US FDA’s constant long-lasted efforts (and equal failures) to ban Kratom in the USA has culminated in the last effort involving WHO to schedule kratom internationally despite so many people getting help from kratom in pain management in the US alone.

Kratom – Medicine or menace?

FDA’s efforts to schedule kratom or its alkaloids as an illegal substance have failed one after another. This has not been making that many headlines in Europe, due to what happens in the US domestic are markets not directly affecting Europe. However this time, the US FDA’s next push is actually a real concern for the European users as well.

We all know how government organizations like to tightly control everything under their jurisdiction and in most cases this actually good and keeping us safe. Then again, when this power is turned against the citizens, it can be as harmful. In 2020, nearly 70,000 people were killed in the US by prescription opioids according to an article in Politico. At the same time, there are no records of any deaths solely associated with kratom use.

Kratom amidst the opioid battle

The US battle with opioids is significantly larger than what the situation is in Europe, but it doesn’t mean opioids would not be a problem in the old continent either. According to many forums and online sources, people use largely use kratom as a painkiller alternative. The key here actually is that kratom is a natural alternative for main management. Kratom being a natural product and the ability to source it directly from nature means that there is no need for big pharmaceutical companies or big factories to manufacture it. This also means there are no big profits to be made out of it and many sources are actually convinced, that the big pressure for FDA to schedule kratom comes for the pharmaceutical companies because they are missing out on profiting on the people who turn to natural alternatives.

So this time the US FDA has turned its eyes on WHO in an effort to schedule kratom and now the WHO’s drug dependence committee will conduct a “pre-review” of kratom next week from the writing of this post. What will happen after that is still unknown, but whatever the decision is, it will take at least a year or two for anything to happen in this space. After all, cannabis is also a WHO-scheduled substance, but many countries and US states have made it legal regardless.

The Politico has published a great article on the matter for more information:

POLITICO strives to be a dominant source for news on politics and policy

The main points of the article are:

  • WHO has indicated they are going to look at kratom as a potential add on their banned substance list
  • Possible scheduling or ban would leave millions of people worldwide potentially without an effective pain management substitute
  • Scheduling Kratom would thwart the nascent scientific research on kratom and it’s alkaloids
  • The US FDA has used questionable tactics and mis-information before trying to ban Kratom in the US
  • Majority of the Kratom use in the US is not recreational, but therapeutic

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