Kratom, an herbal drug made of ground-up tree leaves, is "temporarily" joining other natural substances such as cannabis, psilocybin, and peyote on the schedule I list of the Controlled Substances Act. The active ingredients in kratom, the indole alkaloids mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, are both being added to the list for up to three years, after which they can be added permanently.
Prior to this move, the U.S. has already been seizing shipments of kratom:
In 2014, the FDA issued an import alert that allowed US Customs agents to detain kratom without a physical examination. "We have identified kratom as a botanical substance that could pose a risk to public health and have the potential for abuse," said Melinda Plaisier, the FDA's associate commissioner for regulatory affairs. According to the DEA, between February 2014 and July 2016, nearly 247,000 pounds of kratom were seized.
Advocates say that kratom is a natural treatment for opioid addiction, an application that the Drug Enforcement Agency dismisses. Meanwhile, the heroin/opioid epidemic continues with "unprecedented" events like the recent 174 heroin overdoses in just six days in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Check out the implosion of this kratom subreddit, which is attempting to get 100,000 signatures on the White House petition site:
APATHY WILL GET US NOWHERE. IF THERE WAS EVER A TIME FOR US TO BAND TOGETHER, ITS NOW. stand with me brothers and sisters. hope is not lost.
(Score: 5, Insightful) by bzipitidoo on Thursday September 01 2016, @01:35PM
I'd never heard of kratom until a few weeks ago. I have no idea how dangerous, useful, or both it may be. Whatever it is, I'm sure it is nowhere near the league of truly dangerous substances like weaponized anthrax spores, radioactive and toxic elements such as plutonium and polonium, and unstable and highly corrosive and explosive chemicals such as FOOF.
I do know that the DEA is not above running a propaganda campaign, trying to "grow their business" regardless of the public interest, same as the slimiest corporate members of the Prison Industrial Complex to which they are too closely connected. Alcohol Prohibition was big business, and when that ended, Harry Anslinger, the head of the predecessor to the DEA, successfully stoked and rode the smearing of marijuana into criminalizing it in the 1930s and making more work for them. Marijuana was driven underground for 80 years thanks to that. Took that long to unravel Anslinger's propaganda and widely disseminate the information that marijuana got a bad rap, and does have beneficial uses.
When the DEA issues a bald statement that kratom has "no legitimate medical use", they cross the line. Aren't they still the ones who define what constitutes "legitimate"? Considering their history, why are they still allowed to do that? It's all too easy to see that such a statement about kratom is self-fulfilling and self-serving.
(Score: 3, Insightful) by kurenai.tsubasa on Thursday September 01 2016, @02:20PM
I've heard it can alleviate symptoms of social anxiety and moderate depression. I haven't heard of it having effects anything like salvia, cannabis, shrooms, that Jimsonweed (avoid this one), nutmeg etc. Meant to try it but never got around to it. Too late now I guess!
The DEA needs to be eliminated. What doctors did they consult on this determination? What research did they use? What epidemiology data do they have? Zero, zilch, and nada I'm guessing. These are not the actions of a legitimate agency working in the public's interest.
I, for one, demand that the DEA outlaw nutmeg and in particular 6-allyl-4-methoxy-1,3-benzodioxole (see, I can pull scary chemical names off Wikipedia too!). It can lead to dehydration and delerium. It has a potential for abuse (really, some people swear by it, especially commie hipsters like artists!). It has no legitimate medical use. What hospital stocks nutmeg, even in the kitchen? See!
Nutmeg is a danger to society and public health and must be outlawed on schedule 1 immediately!
(Score: 2) by Nerdfest on Thursday September 01 2016, @03:21PM
I can completely understand not wanting people making unproven medical claims, but that aside, if there's no proven harm, how the hell can they do this?
(Score: 1) by Francis on Thursday September 01 2016, @05:06PM
Perhaps do some reading about what the US was like prior to establishing rules about medical claims. These are substances that have unknown qualities that shouldn't be permitted to gain a foothold without research backing their safety. Just look at alcohol, tobacco and marijuana. Those were permitted to be used long enough that enforcement became an issue.
People have become sufficiently habituated to them that they make up all sorts of lies and myths in order to gain legal access to them that aren't based in any sort of evidence. Now, chances are with marijuana that it'll be legalized without much problem in the future, but alcohol and tobacco result in a large number of fatalities every year and trying to put them back in the bottle has proven to be problematic as addicts refuse to give them up even though there's huge harm to people that aren't using them.
Bottom line here is that we don't allow pharmaceutical companies to release untested products, so why should we allow the importation of substances with unknown effects on the human body? Even industrial chemicals have stricter regulation than you're suggesting.
(Score: 2) by Nerdfest on Thursday September 01 2016, @07:26PM
Once again, I'm not talking about medical claims. Cannabis never should have been added to schedule one in the first place. These are not 'products', these are plants.
(Score: 2) by takyon on Thursday September 01 2016, @08:06PM
If you want to grow Schedule I plants and fungi including cannabis, shrooms, peyote, (and soon) kratom in your own home, it is illegal. Forget importation or snake oil salesmen. You are not allowed to grow what you want, even if you have no intention of consuming or distributing it.
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(Score: 2) by takyon on Thursday September 01 2016, @10:01PM
You want to prohibit people from selling it as a therapeutic drug? Use the FDA to do that but allow recreational sales. You want to do peer-reviewed research on this substance and other substances? Don't put it on Schedule I.
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(Score: 2, Interesting) by kurenai.tsubasa on Thursday September 01 2016, @10:42PM
I don't know how to prove to you that you're objectively wrong about cannabis. However, I was being half serious in my other comment calling for the DEA to be investigated for not scheduling alcohol and nicotine. As far as kratom here, I have no idea honestly. I can't point to any personal experience or any actual data to make an argument one way or another whether it's harmful or beneficial. I've merely been trained by the propaganda machine that's filled your head with cargo cult science and lies to automatically assume the opposite of what the DEA is claiming is true.
What we saw during alcohol prohibition was that prohibition itself made alcohol consumption trendy and more popular. I don't know that I exactly have proof that's at work with cannabis, nor do I expect it to exactly go that way because of how different cannabis is from alcohol. I can provide proof now that cannabis legalization does reduce opioid addiction.
I understand you disapprove of religious types. You're taking a lot of your knowledge about cannabis on faith, and the more research pops up, the more you sound like a flat-Earther.
In fact, if your goal really is harm reduction, I have a link for you. I'm sure you consider anything NORML publishes potheads trying to get their addictions legalized, but please at least read this opinion about Portugal's successful drug policy [norml.org]. I hope you'll at least consider that, as biased as the source I'm linking may be, there are objective numbers there that we simply cannot deny.
Prohibition, unfortunately, like abstinence or fat shaming or what have you, is dynamite on paper, but it just simply doesn't work in the real world—if your goal is harm reduction.
(Score: 3, Insightful) by kurenai.tsubasa on Thursday September 01 2016, @05:09PM
Same way they do everything else it seems: Because. They. Can.
Doing some reading, the DEA seems to have linked deaths to the use of this one. As always, they'll give us the raw numbers to sound scary (deaths! [3 of them] hundreds needing medical care! [over a 5 year period]) but that's not epidemiology data.
The evidence is beyond underwhelming. The only thing I've heard related to illegal, natural medicines that was more underwhelming was about the (two) deaths caused by cannabis edibles (and alcohol) in Colorado.
As always, we're left to wonder about the legitimacy of the DEA when they still haven't put ethyl alcohol, tobacco, nutmeg, or datura (Jimsonweed) on schedule I and have refused to move cannabis to schedule II in light of evidence of legitimate medicinal uses. Preaching to the choir, but the DEA should be investigated for their failure to respond to the overwhelming evidence about at least ethyl alcohol and tobacco. I expect corruption charges against high ranking officials. Heads need to roll over the DEA's failure to act on alcohol and tobacco.
I'd also like a pony.
(I'm assuming if the 9th and 10th amendments don't fucking matter then the 21st amendment shouldn't fucking matter either. Ethyl alcohol used to have medicinal uses, but we have safer and more effective alternatives these days such as local anesthesia, etc.)
(Score: 2) by sjames on Thursday September 01 2016, @10:24PM
Tobacco and ethanol do not belong on the list either. Both may be abused and there are certainly some people who should never touch ethanol, but both have long been used as part of the natural pharmacopoeia.
It was recently discovered that nicotine is one of the very few substances that can treat the negative symptoms of schizophrenia (it was the only one at the time of 'discovery'). Tobacco macerated and applied topically to a sprain works wonders.
The DEA needs to just go away, period. The FDA needs to be broken apart and re-built from scratch, preferably as a purely advisory organization.