Is Kratom Safe? Research, Legislation and Protocols

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Man in PPE gear scooping kratom powder to send to labs for kratom safety.

Kratom has been controversial ever since its emergence in the United States. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been a staunch opponent of the use of kratom. Between the FDA, lawmakers, and the general public, the question of “is kratom really safe?” continues to arise. In this blog, we lay down the ongoing discussions related to kratom’s safety, from scientific research, current laws, advocacy, and policies kratom companies put in place to ensure uncontaminated kratom. As a disclaimer, we’d like to state that this information is not intended as healthcare advice but instead to share and inform kratom enthusiasts about kratom and the concerns regarding its safety.

Is Kratom Safe? The Current Research on Kratom

Unlike the FDA’s claim, kratom is not an opioid by plant genetics and chemical structure, or by legal definition. Many people use kratom in place of coffee as it increases alertness, mental focus, and overall energy levels, without caffeine.

Watch the full UN presentation.

Kratom should not be confused with its single compounds such as Mitragynine. Mitragynine is an isolated compound with a defined chemical structure that is present in the kratom plant. 

More than $30 million are being spent on kratom research studies by the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA). Additionally, the U.S. Congress has issued Report Language in four consecutive annual budgets for further research studies on kratom.

Since 2018, there have been more than 100 new published research articles on kratom. Recently. A presentation on the new kratom studies was made at the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs Conference in Vienna on March 16, 2023.

Research findings suggest that kratom’s alkaloids do not bind with opioid receptors in the same way as traditional opioids do. A new study also found that mitragynine does not produce negative, opioid-like effects.

This ongoing research helps paint a more positive image of kratom and its benefits,  which could lead to fewer restrictions and legal issues, and more regulations so that kratom users can have access to safe, quality kratom products.

To understand more about kratom’s pharmacology and case reports, read all the latest insights from leading internationally recognized experts on kratom. 

Kratom is not legal everywhere in the United States of America. In some states, cities, and counties, it is scheduled as a controlled substance. Super Speciosa doesn’t ship to any address where kratom is illegal.

States where kratom is illegal: Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin. 

Cities and counties where kratom is currently illegal: Sarasota County, FL, Union County, MS, San Diego, CA, Jerseyville, IL, Oceanside, CA, and Ontario, OR.

Visit ProtectKratom.org to learn more about kratom legislation or check kratom’s current legal status near you. For the latest news on kratom legality and more, read our news section.

Kratom Regulations in the United States

BATON ROUGE, USA - the house of chambers in Louisiana State Capitol on July 13,2013 in Baton Rouge, USA. The New State Capitol was build in 1930 and is still in use by Louisianan politician. This is where lawmakers meet to determine kratom legislation in Louisiana.

Currently, kratom is not a federally controlled or scheduled substance. Since 2016, the FDA has recommended placing kratom’s active compounds, mitragynine, and 7-hydroxymitragynine, as Schedule I substances claiming kratom has psychoactive effects and potential for dependence. However, kratom is not psychoactive and the FDA has not been successful in these classification attempts.

Today, FDA continues to state three common objections:

  • Kratom is unsafe.
  • Kratom is highly addictive.
  • Kratom has no approved medical use. 

However, FDA’s position is similar to most other dietary ingredients, botanical supplements, or dietary supplements. Historically, the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DHEA) was passed in 1994 to limit the FDA’s overregulation of dietary supplements.

Also, note that leading public health officials, scientists, and lawmakers have disagreed with the FDA’s stance on kratom’s addiction and safety after reviewing the current evidence and data on kratom.

All three of the FDA’s recommendations for scheduling have been rejected by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS); and the Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD) for the U.N. Commission on Narcotic Drugs. For more information on why kratom has not yet been scheduled at a federal level, refer to Protect Kratom’s comprehensive overview.

Kratom Consumer Protection Act

The KCPA aims to prevent kratom bans by implementing kratom regulations that protect consumers and access to kratom. The KCPA also minimizes the sale and distribution of unregulated kratom products ensuring that only approved kratom is sold in the market. Some of the requirements include:

  • Proper labeling so that consumers know exactly what is in the product, as well as include the alkaloid content percentages so that they know the potency of their kratom.
  • Age restriction enforcement so it does not get into the hands of minors.
  • Proper testing standards to ensure the product is safe for consumption.

As of today, 11 states have passed similar versions of the KCPA: Utah, Texas. Georgia, Arizona, Florida, Nevada, Oregon, Colorado, Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Virginia.

The American Kratom Association: Protecting Access to Safe Kratom

The American Kratom Association (AKA) is dedicated “to protecting the rights of all Americans to legally consume safe kratom to better manage their overall health and well-being.”

The American Kratom Association has 5 main goals:

  1. To support consumers and make their needs a priority. This means to continue advocating for the consumers’ right to safe, clean kratom.
  2. To educate all Americans about the benefits of kratom.
  3. To amplify the voices of kratom advocates and make sure government authorities hear their story.
  4. To increase global awareness of responsible use of the plant and push for legislation around the world.
  5. To protect natural resources and support sustainable growing and harvesting techniques, as well as advocate for reforestation efforts.

American Kratom Association Good Manufacturing Practices Program

AKA’s GMP Standards Program aims to ensure consumer safety by making all necessary information available when buying any kratom products.

American Kratom Association GMP Qualified Vendor Seal.

The GMP Standards Program requires every approved kratom vendor to have successfully demonstrated that their kratom products are safe, high-quality, and adequately labeled for consumers to make an informed purchasing decision.

Among other requirements, the program also requires participants to qualify suppliers and document standard operating procedures, as well as implement testing procedures to protect against microbes, mold, and other contaminants of public health concern.

Kratom vendors like Super Speciosa that qualify and maintain the high standards of this program are listed as an AKA Qualified Vendor and their products bear the “AKA GMP Qualified” seal on their packaging.

Kratom Advocacy

The AKA has lobbied for the KCPA to pass in several states and currently has lobbyists that work in every state to help pass this act. With the AKA assisting in the legislative process, this aids in educating state legislators who may be on the cusp of supporting a kratom ban while having little understanding of what kratom actually is. 

The AKA has also organized the American Kratom Protectors, a national grassroots organization that kratom enthusiasts can join to support kratom advocacy and share their positive kratom experiences with the local gov and public office holders.

Importance of Lab-Testing for Kratom Safety

Mitragyna speciosa korth (kratom) plant in the laboratory research

One of the major reasons for the FDA or DEA’s opposition to kratom is due to some ‘bad actors’ and malpractices in the kratom industry. The quality controls on the supply side are almost nonexistent and as a result, 15-20% of all kratom fails microbial testing standards.

From faulty sampling processes and false potency claims to testing only one contaminant such as salmonella and without full transparency are only a few red flags that kratom users should be on the lookout for when buying kratom.

Super Speciosa lab tests comprehensively for contaminants that can be found in kratom such as harmful bacteria like Salmonella and E. coli, high levels of coliforms, yeast and mold, or heavy metals such as Arsenic, Cadmium, Lead, and Mercury. 

Super Speciosa uses Cora Science, a third-party ISO 17025 accredited lab, for all testing including alkaloids, microbiology, and heavy metals. Our packaging facility is designed with heavily automated equipment and machinery to minimize human contact.

Effects of Kratom

The desired effects of kratom can be felt within 15 minutes of consumption and take about 45 minutes to completely kick in. Users have reported that kratom’s effects range from mood-lifting and increased energy levels, to relaxing and soothing, depending on different strains and serving sizes. 

Red vein kratom is generally known for its calming effects, whereas green vein kratom and white vein kratom are known for their stimulating benefits of kratom including an energy boost, mental clarity, improved wellness, and general well-being. These effects are a result of kratom’s unique alkaloids.

Safe Usage Guidelines for Kratom

Super Speciosa recommends all its kratom users consume no more than 2.4 grams of kratom powder per serving. This roughly equals 1 teaspoon and should not be taken more than twice in 24 hours. 5 kratom capsules and 8 tablets also equal one serving size.

You can also calculate the exact mitragynine percentage to adjust your serving size with each new batch varying in its alkaloid content. Beginners are recommended to start small.

Here are some tips to keep in mind to use kratom responsibly:

  1. Kratom may be habit-forming, so kratom consumers should be aware of this prior to using it.
  2. Kratom is not for everyone. Please consult with a doctor or a healthcare professional prior to using it.
  3. Kratom should not be used in combination with other prescription or non-prescription drugs. Interactions between kratom and prescription/non-prescription drugs are not well studied.
  4. The suggested serving size should be followed. Please pay attention to directions for use and adhere to any warning labels on the kratom product.

Potential Risks and Side Effects

Super Speciosa urges everyone to use kratom safely as it has not yet been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a dietary supplement. 

Heavy use of kratom may lead to side effects such as nausea, drowsiness, constipation, itchiness, headache, frequent urination, or weight loss. 

Taking kratom in combination with other substances is also potentially dangerous. If you are on medication, make sure to consult your healthcare provider for medical advice. Kratom is also not suitable for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Kratom supplements are not intended to help with opioid withdrawal symptoms or to manage opioid addiction or cravings in which case FDA-approved therapies for mental health or addiction treatment should be pursued. 

Where Can I Buy Safe Kratom?

Super Speciosa selection of White Thai kratom powder and kratom capsules. Learn the difference between kratom powder and kratom capsules in this blog.

The AKA lists all the GMP-qualified vendors on its website and kratom users should only buy from GMP-certified kratom vendors. 

Super Speciosa is happy to be one of the first qualified vendors to achieve the GMP standards set forth by the AKA. We’ve helped over 500,000 customers and have thousands of positive reviews. 

Super Speciosa also offers full transparency and adequate labeling for buyers to have complete confidence when buying kratom products. Our products come with an easily scannable QR code of third-party lab test results and also state the exact Mitragynine percentage, unaltered and uncompromised.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Kratom?

Kratom is a botanical and has seen a growing consumer market as an herbal supplement by natural wellness enthusiasts. Mitragyna speciosa, as it is known by the scientific community, is a tropical tree grown in the wild rainforests of Southeast Asia. The tree is mostly grown in Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia. The kratom plant is also known as ketum, biak-biak, thang, thom, and kakuam, among others. It is also closely related to the coffee plant.

Where is kratom from? How is kratom traditionally used?

In Southeast Asia, locals, particularly manual laborers, chewed fresh kratom leaves to increase productivity and fight fatigue. Fresh and dried leaves were also brewed to make tea in Malaysia and Thailand.

Unlike traditional chewed fresh kratom leaf, kratom available in the market is usually dried or aged in various ways that produce different alkaloid profiles and strains such as Maeng Da, Bali Kratom, Green Malay, Red Borneo, and White Thai.

What are the potential side effects of kratom?

Potential side effects of heavy use of kratom are nausea, vomiting, constipation, stomach upset, and either drowsiness/dizziness or irritability/agitation. 

Can kratom interact with other substances or medications?

Kratom’s effects can double or cancel out with other substances and is therefore recommended to consult your healthcare provider for medical guidance.

What are the legalities surrounding kratom use in my country/state?

States where kratom is illegal: Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin. 

Cities and counties where kratom is currently illegal: Sarasota County, FL, Union County, MS, San Diego, CA, Jerseyville, IL, Oceanside, CA, and Ontario, OR.

How can I ensure I’m buying high-quality kratom?

You can ensure you are buying high-quality kratom if the kratom vendor is well-reputed and GMP-certified, uses a credible third-party lab, is transparent with lab results, adequately labels its products, and is reviewed by verified customers. 

Can kratom lead to dependency?

Continuous use of kratom in the long term can risk developing a similar dependency as with caffeine, but regular tolerance breaks can minimize these risks of kratom addiction.

How do I know if I’m using kratom responsibly?

You can use kratom responsibly by following directions on the label, not exceeding recommended serving size and consulting your healthcare provider before taking kratom.

Where can I find reliable information about kratom?

You can learn more about kratom reliably on ProtectKratom.org, KratomAnswers.org, or Super Speciosa’s Kratom IQ.

What does GMP-approved mean?

GMP-approved means that the kratom vendor is a member of AKA’s Good Manufacturing Practices Standards program and has successfully demonstrated its kratom products are safe, high-quality, and adequately labeled for consumers to make an informed purchasing decision.

What is the American Kratom Association (AKA)?

The American Kratom Association (AKA) is dedicated “to protecting the rights of all Americans to legally consume safe kratom to better manage their overall health and well-being.”

Can I take kratom with medication?

If you are on medication, be cautious of drug interactions with kratom. Make sure to consult your healthcare provider for medical advice to avoid any adverse effects.

Can I take kratom with coffee?

Many kratom users take kratom as a replacement for coffee.

Can I mix kratom with alcohol?

No. Kratom should not be used in combination with alcohol and other substances.

Can I smoke kratom?

No. Smoking kratom could be potentially dangerous.

Can I take kratom if I’m pregnant or breastfeeding?

No. if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, it is strongly advised against the use of kratom in this population. 

Can I overdose on kratom?

The risk of kratom overdose is at least 1000x lower compared to opioid drugs, with no confirmed deaths attributed solely to kratom consumption according to the FDA and CDC. Kratom is not listed by CDC as a cause of any of the roughly 108,000 drug overdose deaths in 2021.

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