01

Facts

"Findings point toward the potential of this drug in pain research as well as the need for further research on the pharmacology of kratom’s constituents, their toxicity and potential value in the treatment of opioid use disorder."

Nora D. Volkow, M.D., director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), January 2020

Nora Volkow

What is kratom?

Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) is a plant used for hundreds of years in Asia that can boost energy, reduce anxiety and depression, or act as a natural painkiller. It has gained traction in the U.S. over the past 40+ years.

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Kratom can provide sedative or stimulant effects, depending on how much is taken.

  • At lower doses, it can increase focus like a cup of coffee, combat fatigue or help with anxiety and depression.
  • At higher doses, it’s a natural pain reliever, making it a safer alternative to opioids.
  • There are also early signs kratom might help with opioid withdrawal.
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Why do people use kratom?

Millions of Americans use kratom, mainly for its pain-relieving properties and as a safer alternative to opioids. In fact, surveys suggest that many use kratom to reduce opioid use and manage opioid withdrawal.

“We feel that this is a possible solution to the opioid epidemic, and it could come from nature.”

Christopher R. McCurdy, a kratom researcher, at NIH lecture in April 2022

How is kratom consumed?

Kratom is typically sold in the form of tea, powder, capsules, or in extracts. Historically, people would chew the leaves of the kratom tree.

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What are the active compounds in kratom?

Kratom is in the same family as coffee. The two most active compounds in the kratom plant are alkaloids known as mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine.

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  • Both compounds interact with opioid receptors in the brain to produce stimulant and pain-relieving effects.
  • However, current research demonstrates kratom’s alkaloids do not bind with opioid receptors in the same way that opioids do.
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“This rapidly advancing science is explaining how kratom works, and why its pain relieving and other benefits occur with relatively low levels of abuse, dependence, and harmful decreases in respiration compared to opioids.”

Frontiers in Pharmacology review of more than 100 studies on kratom, February 2022

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“Public health is better served by assuring continued access to kratom products by consumers and researchers.”
02

Science

What's the latest research?

In recent years federal agencies and health organizations, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), have funded more scientific research to fully understand the potential benefits of kratom — and its chemical compounds — as well as its dose-dependent risks.

This growing body of research is showing promising results for the positive impacts kratom could provide, including in areas such as opioid use disorder treatment.

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  • The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has committed tens of millions of dollars to researching potential medicinal and therapeutic uses of kratom, including providing non-addictive pain relief, treating opioid and alcohol use disorders, and reducing anxiety and depression.
  • Several other agencies are also conducting research, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
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What is the potential for abuse?

Scientific research on kratom is ongoing. Current data suggest a significantly lower potential for abuse compared with other powerful pain relievers.

In a survey, Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers concluded kratom has a lower rate of harm than prescription opioids for treating pain, anxiety, depression, and addiction.

“Given the current opioid crisis in the United States, there is an urgent need for therapeutics with unique and novel pharmacological mechanisms for opioid use disorders. Recent investigations into mitragynine, the major alkaloid found in Mitragyna speciosa (Kratom), have identified a novel approach to new therapeutic mechanisms that have not been previously explored.”

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What are the risks of kratom?

High doses of kratom can lead to side effects such as dizziness or nausea; however, most side effects appear to be mild.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), fatal overdoses from kratom use alone appear to be extremely rare. Reports suggest polysubstance use — the use of multiple drugs — involving kratom can lead to more severe adverse effects, such as death and liver problems.

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Is kratom addictive?

Reports of kratom addiction are low. Research suggests that some regular kratom users experience withdrawal symptoms, but these are short-term, manageable and rarely interfere with family, social and work activities. Plus, many kratom consumers say the plant actually helps them withdraw from addictive opioid drugs.

“There’s interest in the community to test other products that may serve as harm reduction, for example the use of kratom that is sold as tea and contains a drug molecule that … could be utilized also for decreasing withdrawal and depression.”

Nora D. Volkow, M.D., director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), May 2022

Nora Volkow
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read the latest scientific analysis
03

Regulation

Is kratom a controlled substance?

Kratom is not classified as a scheduled substance under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). The federal government withdrew a proposal to schedule the substance in response to tens of thousands of public comments from kratom consumers and bipartisan members of Congress, including Sens. Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand and Ron Wyden.

Timeline of agency action on kratom

“There is a significant risk of immediate adverse public health consequences for potentially millions of users if kratom or its components are included in Schedule I.”

What are the benefits of kratom regulation?

With no standardized regulations in most states and at the federal level, kratom consumers currently have no protection from bad actors selling adulterated kratom products. Unregulated products can contain dangerous drugs or be mixed with other compounds and contaminants.

Legal regulation provides a safe supply of the substance that must meet strict government standards as well as important safeguards such as age restrictions and ID checks.

“We advocate for the FDA to regulate kratom, which would require testing for impurities and maintaining safe levels of the active chemicals. Otherwise, unregulated products run the risk of unsafe additives and dosing problems.”

Albert Garcia-Romeu, Ph.D., a kratom researcher and professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, February 2020

Albert Garcia-Romeu
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Why would banning kratom be harmful?

Banning kratom possession would criminalize consumers, seriously impede research, and endanger the lives of kratom consumers who rely on the product for pain relief or to help manage opioid withdrawal symptoms.

Furthermore, criminalizing kratom use and possession would turn what should be a public health issue into a criminal justice problem that disproportionately impacts low-income and minority groups and misuses police resources.

“Public health is better served by assuring continued access to kratom products by consumers and researchers.”

Frontiers in Pharmacology review of more than 100 studies on kratom, February 2022

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No states have banned kratom since HHS rescinded its recommendation to schedule it.
04

Legislation

What is the Kratom Consumer Protection Act?

The bill standardizes good practices of kratom production and labeling, bans adulteration, and limits artificially elevating the amount of mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine in the product. A federal bill is expected to be introduced this year.

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The National Black Caucus of State Legislators highlighted the Georgia KCPA as model legislation.

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How are states regulating kratom?

Numerous states have enacted their own regulations, and more than 12 legislatures are considering the Kratom Consumer Protection Act (KCPA) this year, including bills in three states that would reverse current bans.

State Action
  • Seven states passed KCPA: Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Utah.
  • Six states banned kratom: Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin. However, three of those states - Rhode Island, Vermont and Wisconsin - are currently considering legislation to overturn the ban.
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05

Where is kratom regulated?

Check out a state-by-state map showing the status of kratom regulation in the U.S

Check out a state-by-state chart showing kratom regulation in the U.S.

KCPA enacted

KCPA under consideration

Kratom ban currently in effect

No regulations or ban on kratom

State Status Notes
Alabama Restrictive Legislation Enacted Kratom is banned in Alabama: SB 226, passed in 2016, bans the sale and possession of kratom.
Alaska No Legislation or Regulation There was no action on any kratom bill in this Session.
Arizona Consumer Protection Legislation Enacted 2022 Legislative Session: Representative Kaufmann sponsored a strengthening amendment to the KCPA that was originally enacted in 2019. The amended KCPA passed the House on a vote of 38-10 and the Senate on a vote of 20-8. See House Bill 2550
Arkansas Restrictive Legislation Enacted Kratom is banned in Arkansas: The Department of Health issued a ban on kratom in 2015.
California Consumer Protection Legislation Under Consideration There was no action on any kratom bill in this Session.
Colorado Consumer Protection Legislation Enacted 2022 Legislative Session: Senator Ginal and Representative Sullivan sponsored the KCPA (SB22-120) and the bill passed the Senate on a vote of 32-2, and was amended and passed the House on a vote of 44-20, and is now subject to rulemaking recommendations by the Department of Revenue.
Connecticut No Legislation or Regulation 2022 Legislative Session: The KCPA (HB 6359) was referred for study by the House Health Committee Interim Committee.
Delaware No Legislation or Regulation There was no action on any kratom bill in this Session.
Florida Consumer Protection Legislation Under Consideration 2022 Legislative Session: Senator Gruten filed the KCPA (SB 1076) and was passed unanimously out of 2 committees, but the House Speaker deferred consideration of the KCPA. The KCPA will be refiled in the 2023 Session.
Georgia Consumer Protection Legislation Enacted The Georgia Legislature passed the KCPA in 2019. See HB 551
Hawaii Consumer Protection Legislation Under Consideration 2022 Legislative Session: Speaker Seiki and Senate President Korchi sponsored the KCPA (HB 2356 and SB 3307) but were not acted on prior to adjournmenet. The bills will be refiled in the 2023 Session.
Idaho Consumer Protection Legislation Under Consideration There was no action on any kratom bill in this Session.
Illinois Consumer Protection Legislation Under Consideration
Indiana Restrictive Legislation Enacted 2022 Legislative Session: Representative Marcus Evan and Senator Elgie Sims filed KCPA bills (HB 4186 and SB 3948) but were not acted on when the Legislative Session was shortened because of redistricting issues.
Iowa No Legislation or Regulation There was no action on any kratom bill in this Session.
Kansas Restrictive Legislation Enacted 2022 Legislative Session: The KCPA (HB2056) passed the House on a vote of 97-24, but failed to be acted on by the Senate prior to adjournment.
Kentucky Consumer Protection Legislation Under Consideration 2022 Legislative Session: Representative Calloway filed a kratom ban bill, but agreed to strike that bill and replace it with the KCPA (HB 142).
Louisiana Consumer Protection Legislation Under Consideration 2022 Legislative Session: Representative Thompson filed a kratom ban bill (HB 382) but the bill was never considered prior to adjournment.
Maine No Legislation or Regulation There was no action on any kratom bill in this Session.
Maryland Consumer Protection Legislation Under Consideration There was no action on any kratom bill in this Session.
Massachusetts No Legislation or Regulation There was no action on any kratom bill in this Session.
Michigan Consumer Protection Legislation Under Consideration 2022 Legislative Session: Represenative Stone sponsored the KCPA (HB 5477) and the bill passed the House on a vote of 8-19, and is awaiting Senate action.
Minnesota No Legislation or Regulation 2022 Legislative Session: Representatives Gomez and West sponsored the KCPA (HF 4815), but the bill was referred to Interim Study. The bill will be refiled in the 2023 Session.
Mississippi Restrictive Legislation Enacted 2022 Legislative Session: A kratom ban bill by Representative Yancey passed the House (HB681), but died in a Senate Committee. The KCPA sponsored by Sen. Tate (SB 2403) also died in Committee.
Missouri Consumer Protection Legislation Under Consideration 2022 Legislative Session: Representative Christofanelli and Senator Rehder sponsored the KCPA (HB 1667 and SB 774) and passed the Senate on a vote of 32-2 and the House on a vote of 106-31. The Governor vetoed the KCPA on July 1, 2022 in part on the claim by the FDA that kratom is federally illegal. The KCPA will be refiled in the 2023 Session
Montana No Legislation or Regulation There was no action on any kratom bill in this Session.
Nebraska No Legislation or Regulation There was no action on any kratom bill in this Session.
Nevada Consumer Protection Legislation Enacted The Board of Pharmacy proposed a ban on kratom despite the existence of the KCPA in Nevada. The Board of Pharmacy formally withdrew its scheduling recommendation and further action is planned in the 2023 Legislative Session to strengthen the KCPA. See AB303
New Hampshire Consumer Protection Legislation Under Consideration 2022 Legislative Session: The KCPA (HB 333) was referrred to Interim Study.
New Jersey Consumer Protection Legislation Under Consideration 2022 Legislative Session: Representative Carol Murphy filed the KCPA (A 4071) and is awaiting action. A ban bill filed by Representative Dancer (A 2642) has not been acted on. Rep. Dancer passed away in July 2022)
New Mexico No Legislation or Regulation There was no action on any kratom bill in this Session.
New York Consumer Protection Legislation Under Consideration 2022 Legislative Session: The KCPA (A 9034) was filed but no action was taken prior to adjournment. The bill will be refiled in the 2023 Session.
North Carolina Consumer Protection Legislation Under Consideration There was no action on any kratom bill in this Session.
North Dakota No Legislation or Regulation There was no action on any kratom bill in this Session.
Ohio Consumer Protection Legislation Under Consideration 2022 Legislative Session: Representative Lipps filed the KCPA (HB 236) and the bill passed the House on a vote of 82-10. The bill is awaiting Senate action.
Oklahoma Consumer Protection Legislation Enacted The Oklahoma Legislature passed the KCPA in 2021. See HB 2846
Oregon Consumer Protection Legislation Enacted The Oregon Legislature passed the KCPA in 2022. The KCPA (SB1005) passed the Senate 27-2, and the House 55-0. See HB4010
Pennsylvania Consumer Protection Legislation Under Consideration 2022 Legislative Session: Representative Pennycuick sponsored the KCPA (HB 2357) that was amended to impose an age limitation for purchase of kratom at 18 years and younger. The KCPA is now subject to action by the Senate.
Rhode Island No Legislation or Regulation 2022 Legislative Session: The KCPA (HB 7595) passed the House on a vote of 47-12. The Senate failed to take up the KCPA prior to adjournment.
South Carolina Consumer Protection Legislation Under Consideration There was no action on any kratom bill in this Session.
South Dakota No Legislation or Regulation There was no action on any kratom bill in this Session.
Tennessee Consumer Protection Legislation Under Consideration 2022 Legislative Session: Two bills banning kratom (SB 1390 and HB 1493) failed to pass. The KCPA was offered as a substitute for the House ban bill but was defeated in Committee.
Texas Consumer Protection Legislation Under Consideration 2021 Legislative Session (Texas only meets every other year), the KCPA was sponsored by Rep. Lozano (HB 1097) and passed the House on a vote of 118-11. The KCPA was unanimously voted out of the Senate Health Committee, but no action was taken by the Texas Senate on more than 120 consent calendar bills prior to adjournment.
Utah Consumer Protection Legislation Enacted The Utah Legislature passed the KCPA in 2019. See SB 58
Vermont Restrictive Legislation Enacted 2022 Legislative Session: Representative Cina filed the KCPA (H 310), but the bill was deferred to Interim Committee pending discussions with the Vermont Department of Health.
Virginia Consumer Protection Legislation Under Consideration 2022 Legislative Session: Representative Fowler filed the KCPA (HB 1307), but the bill was referred to Interim Committee for study.
Washington Consumer Protection Legislation Under Consideration 2022 Legislative Session: Senator Honeyford filed a kratom ban bill, but agreed to strike it and replace it with the KCPA (SB 5941).
West Virginia Consumer Protection Legislation Under Consideration 2022 Legislative Session: Senator Woodrum filed a kratom ban bill, but agreed to strike it and support a KCPA bill in the 2023 Session.
Wisconsin Restrictive Legislation Enacted 2022 Legislative Session: Representative Murphy and Senator Felzkowki sponsored the KCPA (AB 599 and SB 958). The bills were referred to the Wisconsin Controlled Substances Board for an assessment of whether kratom meets the definition under Wisconsin's Controlled Substances Act for scheduling.
Wyoming No Legislation or Regulation There was no action on any kratom bill in this Session.
District of Columbia Restrictive Legislation Enacted There was no action on any kratom bill in this Session.
Guam No Legislation or Regulation There was no action on any kratom bill in this Session.
Puerto Rico No Legislation or Regulation There was no action on any kratom bill in this Session.
Virgin Islands No Legislation or Regulation There was no action on any kratom bill in this Session.

For more information on the most recent legislative action, please contact us here.

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