Have you ever asked yourself: is kratom legal for human consumption? If yes, you’re definitely not alone. For starters, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has made it difficult for manufacturers of kratom products to classify their products. Is kratom – the powdery substance obtained from the leaves of the mitragyna speciosa tree – grouped together with other dietary ingredients, is it a supplement, or is it something else entirely?
The legality of kratom is further brought into question when you look at some of the kratom products found on the market today. If you’ve used kratom before, you might have discovered some interesting labels on kratom packaging:
- “Not for human consumption.”
- “For research purposes only and comes with no directions on use.”
- “For soap making, incense, etc.”
After seeing labels like these, of course, you’d ask is kratom legal for human consumption. We don’t want to put anything into our bodies that isn’t good for us, especially when that product is traditionally advertised as one of many beneficial dietary ingredients found in nature.
But the real problem might not be this kind of packaging at all. In fact, it’s much safer to assume that the real problem lies with the Food and Drug Administration and its classification process.
What’s the FDA’s Problem?
No matter what kratom manufacturers put on their packaging, we all know the reality. Kratom users are taking kratom products, despite labels saying mitragyna speciosa-derived products like kratom powder or kratom capsules are “not for human consumption.”
The Food and Drug Administration is in charge of overseeing the market around dietary ingredients. As such, they are charged with two primary responsibilities, cited under the Dietary Supplement Health & Education Act of 1994, otherwise known as DSHEA.
- “Manufacturers and distributors of dietary supplements and dietary ingredients are prohibited from marketing products that are adulterated or misbranded. That means that these firms are responsible for evaluating the safety and labeling of their products before marketing to ensure that they meet all the requirements of DSHEA and FDA regulations.”
- “FDA is responsible for taking action against any adulterated or misbranded dietary supplement product after it reaches the market.”
Why DSHEA Matters
The second of these DSHEA responsibilities is more important in regards to kratom products. Why? Because the Food and Drug Administration has been fighting kratom products after they come to market. The FDA began seizing imported kratom in 2012, first labeling mitragyna speciosa-derived products as “dietary ingredients” or “dietary supplements” in 2016.
This labeling brought the legality of kratom into question. If the FDA seizes kratom products, even those labeled as dietary ingredients, is kratom legal for human consumption? No, you would think.
However, as is this case with any government problem, the answer isn’t so simple. According to DSHEA, as long as kratom manufacturers followed the Food and Drug Administration’s guidelines for packaging and marketing a dietary supplement, then kratom should be considered legal so long as it is unadulterated.
On the contrary: by seizing imported kratom, the FDA let manufacturers know that it wouldn’t allow kratom to abide by the same laws that benefited other dietary ingredients. No wonder we started seeing labels like “Not for human consumption.” Manufacturers were able to bypass strict FDA oversight and sell kratom to those in need by labeling their products as something else, not a dietary supplement or any FDA-regulated product at all.
So Where Do We Go From Here?
It’s long past time that the kratom industry and the FDA got along. Scientists have only just begun scratching the surface on mitragyna speciosa research. As such, we need to stop questioning the legality of kratom and regulate kratom products like other FDA-approved supplements.
How do we do this? Well, we believe it starts with the American Kratom Association (AKA), an organization working with state governments to pass the Kratom Consumer Protection Act (KCPA). This bill would not only protect kratom users but allow the kratom industry to operate within the guidelines of other approved markets, making it easier for the FDA to approve the legality of kratom going forward.
Requiring labels that say “not for human consumption” or “for incense use only” will only confuse both new, potential kratom users and government officials alike. We want to operate within the guidelines of the law, creating a safe, accountable, and effective kratom industry. We don’t want people to ask, is kratom legal for human consumption? We also don’t want to build an industry atop deceit and marketing loopholes, as this will only hinder the future legality of kratom altogether.
If you have any more questions or concerns, please reach out to our customer support team.