Kratom has been used for centuries in traditional medicine, but its safety and effectiveness have been the subject of much debate. Some people use kratom to self-treat opioid addiction or to manage chronic pain. However, there is limited scientific research on the potential risks and benefits of using kratom, and it has not been approved for medical use by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but its users testify it has its benefits. (Related: Kratom State Legality Map and Legislation )
Mariah, who asked only to go by her first name, runs Big House of Glass and Vape smoke shop in Springfield. Her business sells Kratom and she uses the product herself for hip pain.
“People use it for pain. People use it so they don’t have to take prescription medications,” said Mariah.
Dr. Dawn Sollee is the Director of the Florida USVI Poison Information Center in Jacksonville. She said medical experts concerns around Kratom are less about Kratom itself and more about ensuring consumers are actually getting what they paid for.
“We really don’t know what’s in it,” said Sollee.
Sollee said a lack of regulations like labeling, dosing recommendations and quality control make Kratom a potentially risky choice for consumers.
“In 2018 there was a situation where Salmonella was in there and there were 41 states where it was impacted and 50 hospitalizations,” said Sollee.
New legislation filed for the upcoming Florida legislative session aims to ease those concerns. The bill would regulate products through the Department of Agriculture to ensure quality control and set 21 as the minimum age to purchase Kratom.
“I do think that anything we can do to try and make it safer for those that are getting exposed to it is a good thing,” said Sollee.
Dr. Sollee did warn while some use Kratom as an alternative way of kicking opioid addictions, Kratom itself carries a risk of addition that could result in withdrawal symptoms. Kratom overdose is also a possible risk. (Related: Kratom effects; Can You Overdose On Kratom?)