Thailand To Legalize Kratom According To Justice Minister, Which Would Ensure A Healthy Supply Of Kratom Globally
Thailand is one of the primary places where Mitragyna Speciosa, aka Kratom, is indigenous, meaning it grows wild throughout the country since it originated in that region. However, the government of Thailand prohibited citizens from planting Mitragyna Speciosa in 1943, which was during the height of World War 2. This prohibition on planting and cultivating Kratom was not about Kratom being dangerous. The government of Thailand was actually trying to gain control of the Opium market, since Opium had become extremely expensive during World War 2, which caused a surge in Kratom use. This makes sense since war causes all sorts of pain and suffering, and citizens turned to painkillers to manage their pain and depression. Thailand banned Kratom since it was a threat to the Opium industry, and therefore a threat to their profits. In 1973 Thailand classified Kratom as a Category V narcotic, alongside Marijuana.
Fortunately, the legal landscape for Kratom in Thailand is now drastically changing. It began in late 2018, when Kratom was legalized for medicinal use in Thailand. This meant that Kratom could be cultivated, imported, and exported for medicinal purposes, but Kratom remained a Schedule V narcotic and illegal to use for recreational purposes.
Now Kratom is nearing full legalization in Thailand, with the Justice Minister, Somsak Thapsutin, vowing to remove Kratom from the list of narcotics as soon as possible, which would make it fully legal, like it is in most of the world.
The basis of the Justice Minister’s argument for legalization is that Kratom does not meet the World Health Organization’s (WHO) narcotics criteria, and indeed the United Nations does not classify Kratom as a narcotic. The 4 characteristics that a substance needs to have to be considered a narcotic, according to the WHO, are the substance must cause severe anxiety and diarrhea when discontinued, the substance must have no medical advantage, those who consume the substance must be emaciated, weak, and have no control over themselves, and finally the substance is detrimental for society.
The Justice Minister says “Kratom leaves do not match those characteristics. Those who use them can stop using it easily, and the leaves can be used as herb to relieve pain, fever, dysentery, or diarrhea. Also, it is better than morphine thirteen times in killing pain, and has few disadvantages.” Indeed, Kratom is not nearly as addictive as opioids derived from Opium, and causes relatively little physical withdrawal, since it is an atypical opioid and is not capable of recruiting beta-arrestin-2, as explained in a previous article on The Kratom Herald.
Also in general, Kratom users are typically quite functional, and the use of Kratom is actually beneficial to society rather than detrimental. As the Justice Minister says “I will proceed with this project as soon as possible because this will truly benefit society”. Indeed, Kratom can help people recover who have been previously addicted to drugs and alcohol, and also Kratom is likely a safer alternative for pain management than Morphine-like opioids, which all too often lead to serious addiction, withdrawal, and even overdose and death.
Aside from this news being quite beneficial for the citizens of Thailand, it will likely boost the economy of Thailand long term, and will ensure that the rest of the world has a reliable supply of Kratom, especially since Indonesia may ban Kratom in the next several years.
On a final note, one exciting aspect of this news is that new Kratom strains may be discovered in the jungles of Thailand and become available on the global market, and this has the potential to benefit scientists who are researching the medicinal uses of Kratom, as well as Kratom users worldwide.