Kratom, which is imported from Southeast Asia, particularly Indonesia, has grown in popularity in Florida and other states. Many people prefer kratom to other substances like drugs and narcotics since it is all-natural.
For hundreds of years, impoverished and working-class people in Southeast Asia have utilized kratom to help them work on farms and do manual labor. The native Indonesians will take one leaf from the korth tree, roll or fold it into a smaller size, then put it in their mouths, chew for a few moments, then spit it out.
Users can quickly feel the results of this procedure. The user’s overall health, metabolism, and whether or not they have a history of opiate misuse also determine the effects. With kratom, the risk, damage, and harm are minimal.
How People in Florida Know Kratom
Kratom was once restricted to places where it naturally flourished, such as Indonesia, before the Internet. However, because of the increasing use of social media and the Internet, knowing about and accessing such substances has never been easier. This is also what happened in Florida.
As a safer alternative to medications like opioids, kratom has the potential to enhance people’s lives. It is regarded as a low-cost, natural drug with dual properties. The people in Florida use kratom as a stimulant to boost productivity and energy, as well as an analgesic for pain relief.
Because kratom is still relatively new in Florida and other US states, this article focuses on the social environment of kratom users, especially their motives for taking it, and how they manage the semi-legality of kratom.
The Semi Legality of Kratom in Florida and other US States
Many people in the US and Florida found an interest in kratom because it has the potential as a safer opiate substitute. This attention, however, piqued the curiosity of the media, which frequently portrays it as a legal medication with major consequences and negative side effects.
The general population in Florida knows very little about kratom. On the other hand, the media frequently focuses on its negative effects. Hence a lot of misunderstanding and negative connotations associated with the herb. Prior to the federal government’s concerns about kratom, the general public and the media had little interest in the substance.
Kratom is also largely unregulated in Florida and at the federal level in the United States. Only a few states, including Indiana, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Alabama, Vermont, and Rhode Island, moved to outlaw the herb.
This implies that most states do not require a license or prescription to cultivate, possess, buy, or distribute the plant. However, when kratom is offered as a supplement, it must follow supplement legislation in the United States.
The Consequences for Not Regulating Kratom
Because kratom is not regulated on a national basis, little information about the plant is available. That’s why the plant has acquired a terrible reputation. No one really knows how much kratom the people in the US, especially Florida, consume.
Another consequence is that a wide range of kratom-related goods are readily available for purchase on the Internet. Their substance, however, is not always clear. Raw leaves, pills, tablets, powder, and concentrated extracts are among the many types of kratom available.
Kratom use is about to rise in the future years, according to estimates of innovative psychoactive drug trends. Therefore, to effectively establish social regulations around the substance, we need to understand the social milieu of kratom users. Kratom itself has shown to be useful in the treatment of drug addiction.
The Motives of Banning Kratom in Thailand
The FDA once said that there was no reason for legalizing kratom when its countries of origin, such as Thailand and Malaysia, banned it. Therefore, we should take a look for a moment why the Thai government banned kratom and the domino effect of the ban.
The first regulation of kratom in Thailand was in 1943, when the government passed the Kratom Act. The government was collecting taxes from opium users and dealers at the time. Hence the rising cost of opium. Former opium users have turned to kratom to ease their withdrawal symptoms.
The opium trade’s diminishing income had an impact on Thailand’s government. People began utilizing kratom as opium taxes were raised. This resulted in a noticeable drop in government revenue.
Therefore, they banned kratom as a substitute for opium and declared it an illegal narcotic. They categorized kratom in Category V of a five-category classification of narcotics in the Narcotics Act of 1979. It was in the same category as cannabis, opium, and hallucinogenic mushrooms.
As the consequence, buying, selling, importing, growing, owning, or harvesting kratom became prohibited. Existing kratom trees in Thailand also had to be cut.
The Domino Effects of Criminalizing Kratom in Thailand
The banning of kratom has sparked conflict between law enforcement and communities in Southern Thailand.
A burgeoning black market has formed as a result of prohibition measures and criminalization of kratom. Due to the high demand for kratom leaves in the three southernmost provinces, leaves from Thailand and Malaysia northernmost are being trafficked over national boundaries.
The people in those provinces have continued to consume kratom despite the ban. When the Thai central government knew about this, they targeted the provinces to control the situation and enforce the law, which resulted in a political strife between provincial and central government.
The Kratom Situation in Florida
Kratom users in Florida were between the ages of 35 and 50, according to an online poll. They had an average annual income of $35,000, and 68 percent of them said they used it to relieve discomfort. The online poll also collected thorough information on the motivations of people in Florida for using kratom, as well as its duration and effects.
One thing that consumers had in common was that they used kratom to avoid the symptoms of opiate withdrawal. This is because kratom works on the brain’s opioid receptors, giving it opioid-like properties. Kratom users in Florida use the herb to alleviate chronic pain and mental problems like sadness and anxiety.
This is very much reasonable because we know that people will find ways to cope with their pain. We also know that if those people frequently administer opioids, it can lead to greater harm. Therefore, providing them with another option, such as kratom, can be advantageous. The danger and side effects of opioids are so much that people in Florida would rather gamble on an uncontrolled product like kratom to get through their daily lives.
Users’ Motives for Taking Kratom in Florida
Another anonymous poll studied the reasons why people in Florida use kratom. It found out that relief of pain or withdrawal symptoms, anxiety, depression, PTSD, sleeplessness, cutting down or quitting prescription pain treatment, and finally cutting down or quitting illicit or illegal drugs were among the reasons for kratom use in Florida.
In a more detailed explanation, many people in Florida use kratom to treat diseases that require self-medication with opioids. They use it to reduce or eliminate their use of prescription opioids and/or heroin, as well as to relieve withdrawal symptoms. Thus, kratom could be a good and much cheaper alternative to opioids for people who are suffering from pain.
The results of this online survey are in line with kratom’s pharmacology and toxicity. It’s also worth noting that major side effects from kratom are uncommon. Also, there haven’t been any scientifically reliable examples of kratom-related overdose deaths.
Why More and More People in Florida are Moving away from Prescription Drugs to Kratom?
Prescription drugs, which are notoriously addictive, constitute a big part of the US medicine. More medications and pharmaceuticals may not be the best way to treat chronic pain and addiction. Many people have gone down that road and ended up hooked to opioids and looking for other options.
On the other hand, kratom usage and dependence are said to have less of an impact on social, family, and vocational functioning than traditional opioids. More importantly, unlike in Thailand, the case of recreational use of kratom in the US, including Florida, is very rare.
The FDA Motives in Criminalizing Kratom
Despite the very rare case of kratom recreational use, the FDA tries to establish adequate regulatory standards in order to avoid the unexpected. While this seems to be a wise and good decision, the FDA’s true motives may be of different color.
Since August 30, 2016, when the FDA initially declared their plan to categorize kratom as a Schedule I prohibited substance, the FDA has been keeping a watch on it. The rationale behind it was the risk of addiction outweighs the potential medical benefits.
This addition would make kratom sale and possession a felony. This was interesting and fishy because at that time kratom has not been evaluated and its medical advantages have yet to be determined. So its inclusion on the banned substances list were without scientific basis.
The FDA’s Continued Effort in Banning Kratom
Since then and up until this article is live, the FDA has not approved kratom as a treatment for pain, opiate addiction, or any other medical ailment. Furthermore, the FDA or any country drug regulatory agency has not assessed it in a clinical setting or in clinical trials for therapeutic use.
Before any form of scheduling can be placed for kratom, it must undergo a nationally representative review. Researchers must determine the prevalence of kratom usage, as well as the drug’s usefulness in treating pain, OUD, and withdrawal.
The problem is, this is quite dilemmatic. Kratom distribution in Florida and most of other the US states is with little controls. Therefore, there is a notion that using it is harmless. As a result, there have been multiple incidents of people self-medicating without seeking medical advice. This could put a stumbling block in the way of kratom’s potential growth as a medicine and treatment.
People’s Reaction About Possible Kratom Ban in Florida
Although kratom is legal in Florida (with the exception of Sarasota county), one survey asked the people there about the possibility of kratom ban in the future.
It particularly asked what would the people in Florida do if kratom was no longer legally available in the US. The response was interesting because about half of the respondents said that they will try to get it illegally, and the other half will replace it with something else.
But one thing for sure, if the FDA regulated the kratom business, users in Florida and other states would be sure that the goods are exactly what they claim to be, free of fentanyl, heavy metals, and other contaminants.
Therefore, while the FDA works to implement proper regulatory standards, oversight, and communications to limit potential abuse, it may be in the public’s best interest to ensure continuing access to kratom, both in Florida and other states.”
The majority of the kratom research focuses on the plant’s pharmacology rather than the people who take it. For kratom users in Florida, the motive for taking kratom is to alleviate chronic pain and other ailments. They said it is better to take kratom than continuing their opioid prescription. However, without any regulation, many users take it without medical advice.
On the other hand, the recreational motive for using kratom in Florida was very minimal. Therefore, the FDA should not worry about its potential abuse. So, it is much better to regulate kratom than to ban it, because, just like the case in Thailand, a kratom ban would result in the creation of black market.