If you’ve been keeping up with alternative media outlets the past couple weeks, you probably know that the DEA just classified kratom, a tropical deciduous tree with leaves used for various medicinal purposes (1), a Schedule 1 substance.
This puts it in the same class as heroin (2). Vendors are already struggling to import it, and some have gone into hiding (2).
Kratom has been called a lifesaver for sufferers of mental or physical conditions made worse by pharmaceutical drugs.
Despite this (and despite the harms caused by opiates), the scandal-ridden DEA has set its sights on fighting yet another helpful natural substance proven to work better for the treatment of various conditions than its pharmaceutical counterparts.
An uprising began the moment the DEA announced the decision. Activists and kratom users everywhere are refusing to take it lying down and are working to correct the false image this classification paints of a misunderstood medicine.
Blurring the Line
By classifying it Schedule 1, the DEA is essentially telling us kratom is as bad as heroin. A little research reveals that not only is it nowhere near as bad as heroin or other opiates, but it can be used to treat opiate addiction.
Anything that alters the mind is a drug, and by making classifications like this, the DEA is seriously blurring the line between beneficial and harmful drugs while confusing the public and proliferating ignorance.
Nature produces countless mind-altering chemicals we’re supposed to use to heal the body and elevate the mind and soul.
In this day and age, people are becoming aware of the power of nature to heal many of the problems created by man. This unjustified action against one of many beneficial natural substances serves only to expose the fact that the DEA is out of touch with the rest of the world.
No Longer a Legitimate Authority
Cassius Kamarampi writes that we have no reason to consider the DEA’s authority legitimate in the wake of their recent scandals (2).
One scandal, which broke wide open in the media, involved agents holding sex parties with prostitutes in Columbia supplied by local cartels (2). This ultimately forced the head of the DEA, Michelle M. Leonhart, to step down (2).
It’s as if the agency wants to bring attention away from their misdeeds and onto the latest supposedly dangerous drug.
Perhaps they intend for the backlash to make people forget their scandals and continue to bicker about which drugs the government should or shouldn’t let the masses use. If this is the case, there’s one thing they didn’t consider: activists don’t forget.
You can’t expect independent thinkers to excuse the scandals of an agency that targets them with unfair laws. Ultimately, this classification will drive researchers and activists to expose more corruption within an agency that can no longer be taken seriously but is nonetheless dangerous to those who oppose it.
It’s Up to Us
The masses aren’t always quick to question the ulterior motives of government agencies they’ve been conditioned to believe exist for the greater good. This is one reason the backlash from the activist community is so strong: we know by this point that it’s up to us to make a change.
The struggle against an unjustified classification of a natural medicinal substance has to be particularly coherent, well organized and founded upon a strong sense of cohesion to make up for the apathy in society.
We won’t have much help and we may find ourselves in opposition to people who know no better than to believe what the government or DEA tells them, but it helps to know there are millions around the world who, like us, are fighting for the positive change we know we can have. We just have to strive for it together.
Kratom’s Medicinal Uses
Let’s take a look at some of kratom’s reported medicinal uses. The information below doesn’t paint a complete picture of what it can do, but the uses we’ll learn about are enough to convince anyone it shouldn’t be illegal or considered as dangerous as heroin.
According to Natural Blaze, kratom isn’t an opiate but functions similarly by attaching to activating opioid receptors in the brain – without the harsh side effects (2). Among other benefits, chewing on kratom leaves can alleviate chronic pain and anxiety as well as help in the struggle against addiction (2).
This is due to the leaves’ natural euphoric effects, which, again, come without the negative side effects of opiates (2).
According to, kratom’s benefits include lowering blood pressure; boosting metabolism; relieving pain; improving the immune system; increasing sexual energy; easing anxiety; preventing diabetes; eliminating stress; and inducing a healthier state of sleep (1).
Kratom (or Mitragyna speciose) is native to Southeast Asia where it’s used for its medicinal properties(1). It’s no stranger to being banned: it was banned in Thailand despite that it’s indigenous there and used regardless (1).
It’s described as a natural opium substitute with unique chemical compounds and nutrients found in its leaves (1).
It contains a wide range of alkaloids and other organic substances, and despite being banned it’s still widely used in Thailand; studies estimate that up to 70% of males in the country chew anywhere from 10-60 leaves daily (1).
As a less harmful substitute for opium, it exhibits no addictive qualities (1). This in itself makes kratom a great treatment for addiction and other physical or mental health problems (1), which is more than we can say about most of big pharma’s drugs.
Organic Facts provides an in-depth description of each of kratom’s medicinal properties, paraphrased below.
Kratom is best known for relieving pain in a way similar to opiates(1). This is due to the analgesic properties of the alkaloids and nutrients in its leaves, which impact the hormonal system and relieve pain quickly (1).
The alkaloids and nutrients increase the amount of serotonin and dopamine released into the body; this can either mask or alleviate pain (1). The alkaloids essentially dull the body’s pain receptors (1), and this opium-like quality is considered kratom’s “most important application” (1).
Improving Immune System Health
The alkaloids also have a “major” combinative effect on the strength and resilience of the immune system (1), and research that’s still being checked suggests chewing on the leaves can prevent illness or reduce its severity (1).
If the DEA’s ban were lifted, research could continue unhindered and the truth could eventually reach a mainstream audience.
Improving Sexual Drive
Many see kratom as an aphrodisiac and fertility booster (1). The extra energy and blood flow received from the leaves can help increase fertility, re-energize a tired libido, and improve duration as well as conception rates (1).
Treating Anxiety & Mood Swings
The leaves are often chewed by sufferers of chronic stress, depression, anxiety and mood swings for their anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) properties (1). Chewing them can also regulate hormones in the body, providing relief from symptoms of chemical imbalance without the need for dangerous pharmaceutical drugs (1).
Helping Recover from Addiction
Kratom has been used to cure addiction to opiates and other harmful substances for thousands of years(1).
Opium addiction has been a major problem in countless cultures throughout history. Since chewing kratom leaves provides a similar sensation to opium without the comedown or other negative side effects, addicts trying to get clean consider it a “tolerable solution” that helps them cover and cope with symptoms of withdrawal (1).
Keeping the Heart Healthy
Studies connect chewing kratom leaves with a drop in blood pressure; the leaves’ chemical components reduce inflammation throughout the body when they impact its hormones (1). The affected areas include the arteries and blood vessels (1).
It can even prevent serious heart conditions such as stroke, heart attack or atherosclerosis by relieving tension in the cardiovascular system (1).
Treating or Preventing Diabetes
Kratom’s effect on blood sugar levels isn’t as well-known as its treatment for pain or addiction (1). Limited research suggests the leaves’ alkaloids regulate the amount of insulin and glucose in the blood, preventing the dangerous peaks and troughs often suffered by diabetics (1).
Because of this, kratom could potentially prevent diabetes or help those who already suffer with it to manage it (1).
Any mind-altering substance comes with its share of side effects, but like cannabis, kratom’s lack of serious or dangerous side effects is one of its most remarkable qualities. The effects listed below are only common for first or second time users, and they diminish as the body acclimates to regular use (1).
They include fatigue, nausea and constipation, as well as a “kratom hangover” that can come with headaches or nausea the morning after the first or second use (1). This pales in comparison to what opium addicts experience, and most would probably be glad to have a natural medicinal substance to help them through their recovery.
Nature Can’t Be Outlawed
The following is my opinion and may or may not reflect the ideals of those who are more involved in the fight against kratom’s criminalization.
Kratom’s recent classification can be likened in many ways to the Marihuana Tax Act of the 1930s. The medicinal benefits of cannabis were well-known during that time, as it was used for medicine throughout the United States.
The benefits of hemp were also well-known.
As it became apparent to billionaires with control over the media that they couldn’t make as much money from hemp as they could lumber, cotton and other less easily replaceable resources, they deemed cannabis the evil Mexican marihuana and outlawed it with the help of heavily publicized propaganda campaigns.
Kratom might not come with the array of industrial benefits provided by hemp (feel free to correct me if it does), but I’d imagine the government and DEA have a similar intention in outlawing it.
The Struggle for Freedom
As many have pointed out, this latest development is just another instance in the overall struggle between government agencies and the people they try to control through oppressive and intimidating laws.
It represents the struggle for freedom; in this case, the freedom to use nature the way it’s intended without fear of persecution. This includes the use of substances with medicinal uses big pharma can’t market.
The government’s efforts to stifle the use of these substances for the benefit of pharmaceutical companies (or other industries aligned against them) is futile. As Damian Marley put it, “people will always be who they want, and that’s what really makes the world go ‘round”.
Rather than fight it, the DEA should accept that the masses are slowly embracing natural approaches to treating, curing and preventing disease. They should also accept that the effort to suppress the use ofany natural substance with proven benefits for the mind or body is futile in the big picture.
The struggle between the DEA and sensible free thinkers is birthed from our resistance to their attempt to control or prevent the natural relationship between man and the psychoactive chemicals found in nature.
Humans have interacted with natural mind-altering substances for centuries, and despite how hard anygovernment agency tries to prevent this interaction, it will continue indefinitely because it exists for a reason.
The truth about kratom is already spreading as a result of the backlash from the DEA’s decision. If we can make people aware of its medicinal properties and inspire them to take action, we can reverse a decision made out of negligence for the lives that will be affected by it.
Criminalizing the innocent only creates crime where there was none, and at this pivotal point in mankind’s evolution, we should be past this kind of backward thinking.
- “Health Benefits of Kratom Leaves”, Organic Facts –
- Cassius Kamarampi, “Kratom Now Schedule 1: Cartel Sex Scandal Shamed DEA Suppresses Herb Imports”, Era of Wisdom, August 31, 2016