Kratom was officially discovered in the early 1800s by a dutch settler who stumbled across the plant which grows wild in the jungles of Southeast Asia. Natives of Thailand, where kratom has been used for thousands of years, were said to have chewed the leaves from the kratom tree to increase energy and endurance levels while on long treks throughout the jungle. Although traditionally the leaves were chewed raw and fresh picked from the kratom tree; today, they are typically dried and ground into fine powder or brewed into a tea. Kratom has been said to be as widely used in Thailand as coffee is in the United States. To the indigenous people where the plant grows naturally, its use is accepted as common place with no stigma or discriminatory connotation attached. It has been said, in fact, that during the 1800s, employers seeking help for laborious work actually preferred to hire workers who chewed kratom due to their increased energy levels and ability to maintain focus.
Kratom is unique in that its use can render both stimulating and relaxing effects. Resulting effects are dependent upon both the measurement used and the strain of kratom chosen. In smaller amounts, kratom use has been reported to increased energy; whereas, in larger amounts, kratom use has been reported to enhance relaxation. Overall, most kratom users do report a sense of well-being and an increased desire to work. Many of its proponents claim responsible kratom use can promote an increased ability to focus and remain alert and attentive while enhancing social confidence.
Kratom dosage can vary depending upon the type, quality, and freshness of the kratom; but, most varieties are effective at just two to four grams which is equivalent to one half and one full teaspoon respectively. Kratom extracts are effective at smaller amounts. Most quality extracts will yield results at just one half to one full gram which is equivalent to one eight of a teaspoon and one quarter of a teaspoon respectively.
As is true for all substances, kratom should be used in a moderate and responsible fashion. Kratom is a close relative to the coffee plant; and as such, if used in large quantities daily, it can have mildly habit forming effects. Some have reported these effects to be similar to that of caffeine addiciton with others citing caffeine withdrawal as worse. Reports are as varying as the individual. Kratom-Capsules.US advocates only the responsible use of kratom.
On August 3, 1943, the Thai government passed the Kratom Act 2486 making it illegal to plant the kratom tree and requiring that all existing trees be demolished. Despite the government’s efforts to control the use of the indigenous plant, nearly seventy percent of the adult male population in Thailand continues to use kratom as part of their daily regimen – a practice which from its beginnings to today has resulted in no reported cases of ill side effects or death from overdose. In a second attempt to institute government regulation upon the majority of the Thai population who regularly use kratom, the Thai government scheduled kratom as a category 5 (the least punitive category) substance in the Narcotic Act of 1979, grouping it with both cannabis and magic mushrooms.
Today, Thai officials consider attempts at restricting kratom use, which has been a part of Thai culture without negative consequence for hundreds of years, both unnecessary and faulty. A 2010 proposal from the Thai Office of Narcotics Control Board was released in an effort to both formally and publically decriminalize kratom throughout all of Thailand recognizing it as a traditional part of Thai heritage and culture. The proposal concluded by acknowledging years of widespread kratom use without negative social impact or consequence as well as an absence of negative health effects to the user, making the forced government regulation of the substance seem counterproductive. Among one of the most interesting revelations of the ONCB’s report was something that most students of kratom history have long suspected – that kratom was banned in Thailand not for health or public safety reasons but for economic reasons. In the decades preceding the 1943 Kratom Act, the government’s first attempt to control the plant, the Thai government was collecting substantial tax revenue from the abundantly lucrative opium trade. Due to an increase in opium costs and the discovery that kratom could effectively treat opiate withdrawal symptoms, many opium users turned to kratom as a means to rid themselves of the burden of opiate addiction. This sway in the market led to increased kratom use and decreased opium use, resulting in substantially lower tax revenues for the Thai government and officials who were benefiting from the opium trade. The following statement is from the ONCB report:
“In Thailand, kratom was first scheduled for control in 1943 under the Kratom Act. At the time, the government was levying taxes from users and shops involved in the opium trade. Because of the increasing opium costs, many users were switching to kratom to manage their withdrawal symptoms. However, the launch of the Greater East Asia War in 1942 and declining revenues from the opium trade pushed the Thai government into action to curb and suppress competition in the opium market by making kratom illegal.”
There is no federal regulation of kratom within the United States. It is currently legal in every state with the exception of Indiana and Tennessee. The Inidiana legislature passed HB1196 in 2012, within which kratom was not specifically mentioned; but, two of its main alkaloids, mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitraginine, were mentioned. The primary purpose of the bill was to combat synthetic drug use. Kratom being neither synthetic nor a drug made its inclusion in the bill a clear point for contention. Petitioners from Change.org have sought the removal of the kratom alkaloids from the list of banned substances by bringing its faulty classification to the attention of Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels. This approach successfully stopped the potential ban of kratom in Louisiana when a similar bill was proposed which also included alkaloids from the plant. A large group of kratom supporters came out against the ban and educated their legislative representatives through emails and petitions on the benefits of the kratom plant. The Louisiana legislature then elected to desist their efforts to ban the plant and merely made it a requirement that purchasers of kratom be at least 18 years of age.