The DEA Is Placing Kratom And Mitragynine On Schedule I
The kratom plant, Mitragyna speciosa, produces medicinally important alkaloids that are increasingly known to be of potential medical benefit, but with questionable abuse potential. Photo credit: Shutterstock
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency has filed a notice of intent (PDF) to place the southeast Asian plant called kratom to the most restrictive classification of the Controlled Substances Act. The plant, Mitragyna speciosa, and its two primary constituents, mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, will be temporarily placed onto Schedule I on September 30, according to a filing by the DEA at 8:45 am Eastern time today. The full announcement is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register tomorrow, August 31.
Various forms of kratom and teas made from the plant’s leaves are sold in cafes and on the internet. Their primary effect is to provide a short-lived peaceful and calm feeling that is described as pleasant. Consistent with this effect being opioid-like, anecdotal reports indicate that some users have used kratom to successfully recover from physical and psychological dependence on prescription opioids and heroin. Comments on my last report on kratom have also indicated the successful use of teas made from the plant in managing chronic pain without the side effects and addictive potential of prescription opioids like oxycodone, hydrocodone and morphine.
In the last two months, published research has pointed to why kratom might be a useful and safer alternative to prescription opioids. The main component of the herb, the alkaloid mitragynine, and its metabolite and oxidation product, 7-hydroxymitragynine, produce an effect on the mu subtype of opioid receptors away from many of the mechanisms that cause many opioid side effects. These alkaloids are now shown to be so-called G-protein biased ligands at the mu opioid receptor. This effect minimizes the engagement of an intracellular protein called beta-arrestin that among other effects, causes a reduction in opioid receptors on the surface of cells, leading to the tolerance and dose escalation commonly seen with prescription opioids.
The CDC has reported in July that kratom can be abused and that poison control centers have received over 660 calls between 2010 and 2015 regarding kratom intoxication. This report has been criticized as being relatively inconsequential given the small number of cases when compared with other legal and illegal intoxicants. In some cases listed as kratom intoxication, other illicit drugs were taken by the individuals.
The North Carolina state legislature recently decided not to restrict and criminalize use and sale of kratom–limiting it only to buyers over age 18–because of personal testimonials to the benefits of kratom teas. With the federal intent to place the herb and its bioactive constituents on Schedule I, the DEA is ignoring the increasing scientific literature on a potential beneficial medical use of the plant. Schedule I classification, used for drugs with no known medical use and high abuse potential, will certainly make subsequent research on the plant more difficult.
I will be placing what will be, for me, a very large order of kratom online to stock up just in case the DEA keeps kratom on schedule I indefinitely. I figure 250g will last me quite a long, long while as I only really use it once or twice monthly anyway. It's a nice occasional thing and I'd like to know that I can enjoy it for a little while longer.
Edited by niemandgeist, 30 August 2016 - 11:59 AM.