Is Kratom A Controlled Substance?

Are you struggling to understand whether Kratom is a controlled substance? Well, we can completely relate to all the confusion you have. Since Kratom has a varying and kind of unpredictable legality status across various states of the USA, it is not uncommon to come across questions concerning its legality.

Mitragyna Speciosa, also known as Kratom, is a herb that has become immensely popular in the United States recently for its therapeutic properties. Available in the form of kratom powder and kratom capsules, the legal status of this herb is still not clear since the laws vary from state to state.


So, to make things pretty clear at your end about Kratom, this piece would help you understand is Kratom a controlled substance? What is the background behind its ban (in some countries)? Is Kratom a drug? And how it does not fit into a schedule-I category; we have got you covered, folks! 

So let’s get straight into this piece and explore whether Kratom is a controlled substance? 

Controlled Substances – What Are They?

Let’s learn more about Mitragyna Speciosa! 

It is essential to understand what controlled substances are before answering if Kratom is a controlled substance.

If we look into the definition of controlled substances according to the DOJ (Department of Justice), USA, here’s what we will find out:

“Drugs and other substances that are considered controlled substances under the Controlled Substances Act are divided into five schedules…[and] substances are placed in their respective schedules based on whether they have a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, their relative abuse potential, and the likelihood of causing dependence when abused.”

When a substance has to be categorized as a controlled substance under the Controlled Substance Act, it must go through various clinical trials that the U.S. government usually funds. So what exactly happens in these trials? The researchers extensively study the following:

  •  Are there active compounds in the substance?
  • What would be the efficacy of the substance?
  • What are the possible uses of the substance? 

 Apart from that, these clinical trials are also helpful when it comes to understanding

  • Whether a substance is addictive and causes dependence?
  • What would be the possible withdrawal symptoms? 

 After studying all these essential factors and weighing the pros and cons, the authorities can make a scheduling decision.

You must have come across various viewpoints about Kratom’s effects by the kratom community over Reddit. Still, the U.S. government has made this clear that the active compounds in Mitragyna Speciosa do not cause any harmful effects. 

Now let’s break down how this is possible! 

To study the active compounds of Kratom, the U.S. government never delivered a human-based clinical trial. Since the efficacy of Kratom’s alkaloids has not been studied yet, the U.S. government cannot purport the potential benefits of Kratom for our health regime.

It is also essential to understand that regulated compounds have to be studied in detail, specifically through clinical trials; otherwise, one cannot schedule them under the Control Substance Act. Let’s take an example of a Schedule – I opioid – Heroin.

All the active ingredients of heroin were analyzed and studied in detail following the clinical trials. The opioid withdrawal symptoms were present, and it had the potential for abuse, dependence, and addiction. All these clinical trials were government-funded and made scheduling heroin easier. 

What About Schedule IV And Schedule V Categories? 

When we hear “controlled substances,” we immediately make this viewpoint that the particular substance is “bad” or “harmful” But, do you know that all controlled substances are not unsafe considering the laws.

According to the Controlled Substance Act, the Schedule IV and Schedule V categories include drugs that are helpful when it comes to dealing with any medical condition, including various diseases and psychological issues.

And do you know one can get some of these drugs without any medical prescription? That’s how helpful the Schedule IV and V category turns out to be. 

 Now imagine, if the alkaloids of Kratom are scheduled into the IV and V category, the researchers can extensively study Kratom. The compounds that the government approves can be researched and analyzed to bring forth the potential benefits.

But, there comes another issue, when a substance is under the scheduling process, one cannot have open access to it. For this reason, the American Kratom Association, one of the most trusted advocates of Kratom, has always intended to go for legalization efforts that won’t affect the access of Kratom for the enthusiasts.

Is Mitragyna Speciosa A Drug? 

Before we jump to a conclusion, let us look at the definition of a drug as per FDA (Food and Drug Administration, the organization responsible for regulating drugs in the U.S. 

“Drugs are defined as articles intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease and as articles intended to affect the structure or any function of the body of man or animals.”

So, following this definition by FDA, it is crystal clear that Kratom does not fall in the category of drugs. Yet again, since the U.S. government has not issued any clinical trials to study Mitragyna Speciosa in detail, primarily how it interacts with our bodily functions and its structure, it is hard to categorize it.

We come across numerous user reports, which are primarily anecdotal evidence, but only through clinical trials can one suggest authentic reasoning. 

Now you must wonder if Kratom is not a drug (controlled substance) or what we should call it.

Can We Call Kratom A Dietary Supplement?

Let’s go back to 2016 when Kratom products made their way to the U.S., and the government issued an import alert.

According to the government-based definitions, Mitragyna Speciosa was termed as a dietary supplement, a botanical compound, under FFDC (Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act. Still, the overall observation about the U.S. government and its understanding of Kratom is somewhat unclear.

They did classify it as a dietary supplement, but still, there is a need for research. If you meet a fanatic kratom user, you will come across various benefits of Mitragyna Speciosa. Although it is classified as a dietary supplement, there is much more.

Mitragyna Speciosa should be studied and researched like other herbs and compounds. FDA needs to fund kratom-based research, conduct clinical trials, and provide an extensive science-baked conclusion. 

However, folks are using Mitragyna Speciosa; still, we have no research to look forward to when questions like these pop up in our minds.

  • Can I use Kratom to fight certain diseases or disorders? 
  • Can Kratom replace other medicinal drugs?
  • Does Kratom Help with drug dependence? 
  • What are the side effects of Mitragyna Speciosa?
  • Can Kratom control the symptoms associated with opioid withdrawal?
  • What are the alkaloids in Kratom, and how do they work?

Regrettably, we see evident hesitancy by the federal government when it comes to studying Kratom. Back in 2018, the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) tried to prohibit the use of Mitragyna Speciosa, but the scientific community’s reaction was strong and adverse.

Kratom advocates protested in enormous masses for its legal use at the federal level. We see various federal agencies putting forward bills that ultimately become a massive brawl for kratom users. 

What Is The Legal Status Of Kratom In The U.S.?

Kratom is legal in the U.S. at the federal level, but the laws vary at the state level. So if you are trying to know if Kratom is legal in my state, you have to go deeper into your state laws. Even if you are traveling with Kratom, you have to ensure that the country or state you are traveling to allows using Kratom. Otherwise, you cannot take Mitragyna along.

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The states where Kratom is illegal to use

Currently, Kratom is prohibited from use in six states and three counties in the USA.

  • Vermont
  • Indiana
  • Rhode Island
  • Arkansas
  • Alabama
  • Wisconsin

The U.S. counties that have banned Kratom

  • San Diego County, California
  • Franklin County, New Hampshire
  • Sarasota County, Florida

Sadly, by prohibiting the use of Kratom, these counties and states have lost access to this treasured herb. These states and counties have revealed that they have no interest in Mitragyna Speciosa and how the scientific community is trying to make efforts for its advocacy. 

Is Kratom A Controlled Substance (Reddit)

Reddit has a massive community of kratom lovers where you come across various discussions and suggestions. If you read about Kratom on Reddit, you will see numerous users discussing “Is Kratom is a controlled substance.” 

Here’s what one of the users suggests about this issue:

“According to AR 680-25 Chapter 4, “The DoD does not maintain a list of dietary supplements or supplement ingredients that are either “allowed” or “banned.” If the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) declared an ingredient or dietary supplement illegal, then DoD considers it banned or illegal as well.”

Go read it for yourself in army pubs.

The DEA also DOES NOT include Kratom on their controlled substance list. It is not a scheduled drug either.

The random drug tests in the Army do not test for Kratom. If you keep that shit to yourself and you’re not dumb with it, you’re fine.                                                             

“All the talk about banned substances by the DoD from some google search and website called OPSS is inconsistent with the actually updated manual, AR 680-25. Read actual manuals for real answers. “

Is Kratom a Controlled Substance (Quora)

On Quora, numerous users ask the question, “Is Kratom a drug” or “Is Kratom a controlled substance,” and look for relatable answers by the users. The kratom users share their personal experiences with Mitragyna Speciosa and whether it has the potential to cause dependence.

If you want to have a deeper insight about Kratom over Quora, you will get your hands on first-hand information that would help unfold the knots you may have about Mitragyna Speciosa. 

According to one of the users at Quora:

“Anything in excess can be dangerous, but it certainly seems to help me when consumed responsibly.

I take it every day as it helps me with:

  •       Mood regulation.
  •       Anxiety relief.
  •       Pain relief (joint pain, acid reflux pain).
  •       IBS relief (Seriously, this is one of my top reasons for consuming it. 

When taking a trip, I would plan it out based on where the bathrooms were. Now don’t even think about it.”

Final Thoughts

Kratom is not a controlled substance as per the federal laws of the U.S., but a few states have banned its use. If we look forward to the future of Kratom, it is hard to foresee a positive change since it is a highly misunderstood herb in the U.S.

Although we cannot say anything about the future of Kratom, it is high time to conduct clinical trials on Mitragyna Speciosa since it is immensely adding to the health and wellness of millions out there.

The ever-strong community of Mitragyna enthusiasts, especially the American Kratom Association, has a visible impact and is striving hard to push the bans globally by bringing forth awareness about this precious herb. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It Safe To Use Kratom?

Yes, Kratom is safe to use. Make sure you consult your health care practitioner before using Kratom and ask for the correct dose as per your requirements. 

Can You Go To Jail For Using Kratom? 

If you use Kratom, where it is not legal, State police can fine you or arrest you. 

Is Kratom Legal In My State? 

Kratom is illegal in a few of the U.S. states – 

  • Vermont
  • Indiana
  • Rhode Island
  • Arkansas
  • Alabama
  • Wisconsin

Can We Travel With Kratom? 


Yes, you can travel with Kratom if the country you plan to visit has not prohibited its use. However, it is essential to study the state laws before you travel with Kratom.  


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