BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Although questions have arisen recently concerning the safety of kratom in its pill form, kratom usage it’s is quite common in areas of Southeast Asia. In fact, it has herbal roots.
Kratom comes from a tropical tree typically found in Thailand, Malaysia and Myanmar. The tree is in the same family as the coffee tree.
Mitragyna speciosa korth’s classification is as follows:
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Division: Magnoliophyta
- Class: Magnoliopsida
- Order: Gentianales
- Family: Rubiaceae
- Genus: Mitragyna
- Species: M. speciosa
In some areas of Southeast Asia, kratom is used as a substitute for opium when opium isn’t available.
That usage could be why the Thai government enacted guidelines making it illegal to plant the tree in 1943.
According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), kratom was placed in the same category of narcotics as marijuana by the Thai government in 1979.
Despite the restraints, kratom is still a popular drug of choice in Thailand, often used in a formula and consumed by militants to make them “more bold and fearless”, according to the DEA.
The DEA says there is no legitimate medical use for kratom in the United States, but kratom usage can lead to addiction.
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2014 WIAT-TV CBS42