The DEA kratom ban set to go in effect on Friday has been delayed. While the news is certainly a win for kratom advocates as well as users, the agency still plans to put the herbal supplement on the list of Schedule I drugs, joining others like heroin and LSD.

“What I can tell you is…we’re not going to do it tomorrow,” DEA spokesperson Russ Baer told Heavy. “I don’t have a date as to when we are going to do that final order publication in the federal registry.”


According to Baer, September 30 was chosen as the original date because the DEA is required to publish its “intent to schedule” a substance at least 30 days before the actual action takes place. The agency initially announced the plan to classify kratom as a Schedule I drug on August 31.


Kratom users relieved supplement will not be banned by DEA.

DEA spokesperson says kratom ban will not take effect on September 30. [Image by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]

Under the Controlled Substances Act, a Schedule I designation means a substance has no medical value and has a tendency to be abused. Just like heroin, it will be illegal to purchase and possess kratom once the DEA ban takes effect.

Kratom is derived from the leaves of a tree native to Southeast Asia. The plant is typically ground into a powder or brewed as tea. While the DEA decides a definite date to ban the herb, kratom can still be purchased online or at various health food stores.

The supplement is used by millions of Americans to treat anything from chronic pain to anxiety. Many kratom supporters believe it can solve the opioid overdose crisis now plaguing the nation because it has been shown to counter opioid withdrawal symptoms.

Acting on public outcry against the DEA kratom ban, over 50 U.S. lawmakers sent a letter to DEA administrator Chuck Rosenberg asking to delay outlawing the plant. Accusing the agency of making a “hasty decision,” the letter said banning kratom would essentially prevent researchers from studying any potential health benefits of the herbal supplement, including any possible treatments for people addicted to opioids.

“DEA’s Federal Register notice posted on August 31, 2016 proposes placing kratom in the most restrictive category-Schedule I-within 30 days. This significant regulatory action was done without any opportunity for public comment from researchers, consumers, and other stakeholders. This hasty decision could have serious effects on consumer access and choice of an internationally recognized herbal supplement.”

The kratom ban will essentially halt any further research of the plant. Many labs do not have the proper licensing to study a Schedule I drug and any samples in inventory will have to be destroyed. While getting approval to research a Schedule I drug study is possible, many labs will not take the time nor trouble to wade through the government’s bureaucracy to obtain the licensing.

“In the end, this is a disservice to science,” said Christopher McCurdy, chairman of Biomolecular Sciences at the University of Mississippi, who has been studying kratom for over 10 years. “I don’t think Schedule I is the right thing at this moment because we don’t have the science yet to speak to potential medical benefits — and we think there are medical benefits.”

The DEA ban on kratom could be reversed if scientists are able to prove the plant has medical benefits. McCurdy hopes the DEA changes its decision and puts the plant in a less restrictive category that allows research to continue. However, he remains skeptical the agency will do so.

“Once the DEA goes down these kinds of paths,” he said, “it’s hard to reverse their course.”


The government will put kratom suppliers out of business once ban takes effect.

The DEA kratom ban will put many suppliers of the product out of business. [Image by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]

Some think the DEA kratom ban is just the government’s way of protecting big business. Pharmaceutical companies see the natural herbal supplement as a major competitor to their much more profitable synthetic painkillers. A government ban of the substance will put just about every kratom supplier and vendor out of business.

The DEA kratom ban has been delayed, but the agency still plans to outlaw the plant in the near future. Once that happens, millions of responsible Americans who use the plant to treat pain, overcome anxiety, or kick an opioid habit will become felons practically overnight.

3 Responses

  1. The DEA are Bullies.

  2. I just learned about this herbal earlier this year. Haven’t had a chance to give it a try for chronic pain. I better do it quick or forget it. Its ALL about the $$$ and not what is BEST for us!

  3. The ban on KRATOM will not take affect on Sept.30.This is good news for the hundreds of thousands who find medicinal benefit from this safe,and non-addictive substance.Good news for the millions who find it a natural way to alleviate chronic pain,PTSD ,depression,anxiety,and insomnia.And good news for the many who in the midst of an opioid crises,find it a safe alternative to opioids,and helpful with withdrawals from opioids.The bad news is,as this article indicates,there are some who still desire to ban it at some point.I would encourage those who wish to ban it,to take the time to review the numerous information written by credible researchers as to its safety and benefits.I would also encourage them to review the tens of thousands of testimonies available to them from public opinion and input.I think in light of doing such they would realize it is not deserving of being banned,especially not to do so based upon misinformation and media hysteria.I think also that in light of doing so they would also discover that the benefits far outweigh any negatives.They may find that not only should a natural herb not be banned,but rather encouraged as a safe alternative for the many conditions I have described above.We may find that Mother Nature is far wiser than we,and provides us with medicines far safer than what we produce in laboratories.

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