Southeast Asia’s Kratom Leaf Draws Controversy

Throughout the course of botanical history, there have been two distinct types of people: those who want to ingest plants for their medicinal and psychoactive properties, and those who want to make those plants illegal. Most recently, the debate has centered on the Southeast Asian leaf Kratom, a natural painkiller ingested to treat chronic illness. But the plant, which comes from a tropical evergreen tree, also has several recreational benefits.

In low doses Kratom can act as a stimulant. At high doses it can act as a sedative, similar to a narcotic. The substance, which many say is more “subtle” than marijuana, is banned by the military and is illegal in six states. In 2014, the FDA began seizing Kratom coming into the U.S., and in 2016 the DEA announced its intentions to regulate the plant, receiving protest from users. Still, many enjoy its effects, often mixing the soluble ground powder in chocolate milk shakes, grapefruit juice or tea, while others take it in pill form.

Read more about kratom over at Dope Magazine.