Though marijuana is taking up the lion’s share of the spotlight when it comes to substance legalization, a hot debate rages on about a substance growing in popularity.

That substance is kratom (Mitragyna speciosa), a leafy plant that shares DNA with the coffee family.

Many believe it could aid in erasing the United States’ growing opioid crisis, which claims 115 lives each day, by acting as an alternative method of treatment.

But as debates continue, many ponder one question: is kratom legal, for the time being? Well, it’s a complicated question.

Join us as we explore why the murky legal status of this tiny green plant has many seeing red.

Kratom is nothing new. For years, anyone could pick it up in pill form at their local shady gas station.

So why all the hubbub now?

The opioid crisis has experts fearing for the safety of addicts across the globe. As a result, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), stepped in during the fall of 2016.

A month later, two key ingredients found in kratom, mitragynine, and 7-hydroxymitragynine, were placed on a schedule 1 watchlist.

This was a substantial move. It equated both ingredients with high-profile drugs like MDMA, marijuana, and even heroin.

A short time later, the administration withdrew its intent.

But this wasn’t the end of the story by a long shot. Soon it became a states issue, which only complicated matters.

Some states, like Georgia and Iowa, attempted to ban kratom but failed to pass legislation.

Meanwhile, there are plenty of states where kratom is legal — but only in its natural form.

Currently, kratom is outright illegal in four states:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Wisconsin
  • Indiana

As well as six cities and counties:

  • Union County, MS
  • Sarasota, FL
  • Denver, CO
  • Jerseyville, IL
  • Alton, IL
  • San Diego, CA

In 2018, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ramped up its efforts to stop the spread of kratom by declaring it an opioid and insisting that the herb is making the pre-existing crisis worse.

While kratom is legal in most states at the moment, it may not remain that way for long.

The Cases For and Against Kratom

With kratom’s legal status up in the air, it’s important to understand why so many are fighting for and against it.

In Favor

While there are many positive benefits of kratom use, the most significant is pain management.

Its effectiveness can be found in both powder format, like that found at Kratom Connection Powders, or pill form, which can be found at your local pharmacy.

Many believe there are positive benefits of using kratom for pain management, as it attaches to a user’s pain receptors, dulling pain.

This makes it a prime choice for aiding in the current opioid crisis. Currently, morphine is the most common painkiller given the patients.

However, it’s far from perfect as a pain-killing solution. It has the potential to slow a patient’s breath, for instance — something opioids do to an often fatal level. Kratom, though, has no such effect.


While many sing the praises of kratom, there is an equal number of detractors — the FDA being among the most powerful.

Experts are beginning to question the medicinal properties of kratom. They acknowledge that while the substance can, indeed, help with pain relief, it comes at a cost.

Kratom targets the same receptors as opioids. As a result, a patient already struggling with addiction is at risk for over-consumption.

While detractors want the substance banned, most don’t want it banned for good. Many understand the medicinal benefits and instead wish to see more research before kratom becomes a widely-used substance.

As you can see, answering the question ‘Is kratom legal?’ isn’t as simple as a basic yes or no. Kratom’s legal status is up in the air and is likely to remain so for the foreseeable future.

If you choose to use kratom, do so responsibly and educate yourself beforehand.

Check out our article outlining the specifics of kratom for more information so you can Get That Right.

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