Kratom Legality Safe For Now- WHO Recommends Against Critical Review

In October, the Kratom community hears news that shakes them. The World Health Organization was instituting a committee to review Kratom and its future as a supplement. For members of the Kratom community, a negative outcome could mean problematic new bans on the naturally occurring substance. Kratom legality was hanging in the balance.

But today, the committee’s final results become public. After their weeks of deliberation, their recommendation is that Kratom not be subject to critical review. This is great news! This means that WHO will not recommend that kratom should be illegal. That’s a good sign for kratom legality in the US.


Steps To This Outcome

A pre-review of Kratom and the elements that constitute it occurred during an October WHO meeting held in October. The body’s expert committee on drug dependence (ECDD) raised the conclusion that there was inadequate evidence to warrant a critical look into kratom. Save for one member, members of the committee were unanimous in their conclusion about Kratom’s constituents – mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine. The World Health Organization’s expert team made these recommendations. That the natural supplement and its composing compounds – 7-hydroxymitragynine and mitragynine stay under close surveillance by the WHO Secretariat. 

For members of the global Kratom community, this news signaled a huge victory. There has seemed to be relentless attempts to stifle the distribution, growing and possession of Kratom. The worst-case scenario feared was the U.N commission on Narcotic Drugs labelling Kratom internationally as a schedule 1 substance. This would compel the countries covered by the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances to ban the substance. Among these countries is the United States of America.

The Dangers of Kratom?

The World Health Organization opened its review into Kratom and its components based partly on a country-level report showing a potential for abuse, dependence and harm to the public health from 7-hydromitragynine, mitragynine according to a document published on the 18th of November. The document also made reference of a report from an international group showing fatalities linked with the use of Kratom.

Within its conclusive report, the committee said this. “Kratom can produce serious toxicity in people who use high doses, but the number of cases is probably low as a proportion of the total number of people who use kratom. Although mitragynine has been analytically confirmed in a number of deaths, almost all involve use of other substances, so the degree to which kratom use has been a contributory factor to fatalities is unclear.”

The Fight For Kratom

When news of WHO’s inquest into Kratom broke, tens of thousands of consumers sent messages to the FDA and WHO. They oppose any potential ban and also highlight its numerous benefits. When the committee made its announcement, the American Kratom Association hailed it as an “enormous validation of the comments you submitted and science we presented to the WHO ECDD.”

Speaking on the outcome was Mac Haddow, a senior fellow on public policy with AKA said “The AKA, and kratom consumers around the world, are extremely grateful for the extensive review and the overwhelming consensus by the ECDD that [there] was insufficient evidence to recommend kratom be subjected to a full critical review. There can be no doubt that kratom should not be scheduled and that it should be responsibly regulated to protect against dangerously adulterated kratom products.”

Irrespective, many are still wary about the full impact WHO’s recommendation could have on Kratom. “What exactly this will mean for kratom internationally and potential future reviews is unclear, but we can be certain that kratom’s enemies will try to bring it up again – Mac Haddow”. 

What we do know however that this verdict passed by the committee is a win for the Kratom community. For many, the plan is to take this momentum as a launch pad for an outright legalization of Kratom. Kratom legality still may be up in the air in some places, but this is a huge step forward.

Read our other blogs here to catch up on more kratom news!



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