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Kratom Consumer Protection Act

February 1, 2021
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WRITTEN BY Dr. Joshua Mueller

Kratom is a plant in the coffee family native to Southeast Asia, where its leaves have been traditionally ingested for their mild stimulant and pain-relieving properties. In the United States, kratom leaves are often ground and sold in pill or powder form, which users commonly report ingesting as a treatment for pain management and opioid withdrawal. In Missouri, the sale of kratom is legal and there are no state-level requirements for labeling, though St. Charles County restricts sales to those over age 18 and imposes labeling requirements for kratom products. HB 350, the Kratom Consumer Protection Act, would give regulatory power over kratom products to the state, rather than political subdivisions, and require that kratom products include the amount of mitragynine (the active ingredient in kratom) on the label. This bill would also set the purchase age for kratom products to 18 and restrict the sale of kratom products that contain substances other than kratom, including synthetic compounds.

Highlights

  • An estimated 4-5 million Americans have consumed kratom products at some point in their lives, mainly for their stimulant and pain relief properties, and also as a self-administered treatment for opioid withdrawal. However, due to a lack of clinical studies, the FDA has not approved kratom for any uses.
  • When ingested in large doses, kratom has been shown to induce symptoms such as agitation, elevated heart rate, and nausea.
  • Testing by the FDA has determined that some kratom products are adulterated with synthetic alkaloids, opioids, or other non-kratom substances and contaminated with infectious pathogens such as Salmonella.

Limitations

  • Large-scale clinical studies of the health-related effects of kratom are lacking. Due to the absence of research on this topic, the potential interactions between kratom and other medications or drugs are largely unknown.
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