In November 2010, the Transnational Institute (TNI) conducted a community-based study and review of the cultivation, trade and use of kratom.
The kratom tree is locally naturally occurring but has been declared illicit in Australia, Burma, Malaysia and Thailand because of the psychoactive properties of its leaves. A desk-based review was complemented by a series of interviews in Southern Thailand with kratom users and growers as well as key stakeholders from law enforcement, public health and local government officials.
Kratom use has been tolerated in Thailand for over 50 years. However, recent patterns of use among young people have pushed the government to clamp down on kratom use and cultivation, leading to an increasing number of arrests and eradication campaigns in Southern Thailand, much to the dismay of local communities. Although a general consensus points to the fact that eating kratom leaves is relatively harmless, an increasing number of stakeholders are concerned that the mix of boiled kratom tea with cough syrup, coca cola and ice (water) can lead to greater health and social harms.
The study conducted by TNI has found little evidence of harms related to either eating kratom or drinking the mix (also known as 4x100). More clinical research into the long term effects of 4x100 is urgently required. The report, due to be published early in 2011, will support efforts from the Thai Office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) to remove kratom from the Narcotics Acts, schedule 5.
For more information, please contact TNI at: e.jensema.org