Global Kratom Coalition pushes for regulation of the mood-alerting herb

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Matthew Lowe
Matthew Lowe, executive director, Global Kratom Coalition

The use of Kratom, an herb grown in Southeast Asia for centuries for its mood-altering effects, has exploded in popularity in the United States in the past fews years, particularly in Florida.

Kratom enthusiasts say it helps ease anxiety and depression and even helps with opioid addiction. But critics say it can be habit-forming and even addictive, and medical examiners say it was a contributing cause in hundreds of deaths in the past decade. But it is not regulated by the federal Food and Drug Administration, and while the Drug Enforcement Administration has listed kratom as a Drug and Chemical of Concern it has not exercised its authority to schedule kratom or its active compounds.

The Kratom market in the U.S. is like the wild, wild west and that needs to change, said Matthew Lowe, executive director of the Global Kratom Coalition, during an interview on WMNF WaveMakers with Janet and Tom.

“There is a lot of misinformation going around about Kratom, and that is on both the negative side and the positive side of things,” Lowe said. His group formed about six months ago. “We saw the need from a global perspective…to expand access and education.” That’s particularly true in the U.S., where the market is expanding rapidly without robust public education.

The coalition wants to ensure that manufacturers are producing safe products that are labeled accurately so consumers know what they are buying, and that consumers know how much Kratom is safe to use, Lowe said. That will take government regulation, he said, either on the federal or state level. About 10 states, including Florida, have laws regulating some aspect of the herb, he said.

Hear the entire conversation by clicking the link below, going to the WaveMakers archives or by searching for WMNF WaveMakers wherever you listen to podcasts.

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