World Health Organization gives kratom a pass

  •   Posted on: 2021-12-20
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  •   Views: 415

Pat Anson, Pain News Network, 

and PR Newswires


An advisory committee of the World Health Organization (WHO) voted overwhelmingly in early December to reject a “critical review” of kratom

  • The vote was 11-1 by the WHO”s Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD). 

  • It rejected the claims by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that kratom posed a serious health threat to the health and safety of consumers.

  • Kratom and its two active ingredients, mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, will be kept under WHO surveillance. Under international treaties, WHO is required to give an annual assessment of psychoactive substances and advise the United Nations on whether they pose a public health risk.

  • The ECDD said regular use of kratom can lead to dependence and mild withdrawal symptoms, but that serious adverse effects were rare. 

  • “Kratom is used for self-medication for a variety of disorders but there is limited evidence of abuse liability in humans,” the ECDD said. 

  • Although mitragynine has been found in some deaths, almost all involve use of other substances.

  • The FDA has tried for several years to make kratom a “controlled substance.” It has been met with an outcry from advocates and been rejected by lawmakers.

  • Kratom is legal and available in most states in the U.S.

  • “It is a great victory for kratom consumers, for science and for the truth,” said Mac Haddow, a lobbyist for the American Kratom Association (AKA). “Kratom should not be scheduled, and that it should be responsibly regulated to protect against dangerously adulterated kratom products."

  • The legal status of kratom in Southeast Asia is mixed. In August, Thailand decriminalized kratom, dropped thousands of pending criminal cases involving the drug, and freed 121 inmates convicted of kratom crimes. Hong Kong authorities recently banned kratom and seized a shipment of 2.5 tons of kratom powder that were enroute to Florida from Indonesia. Kratom use is banned domestically in Indonesia, but kratom farming is still permitted. Most kratom exports come from Indonesia, where it is considered an important cash crop.