By Jake Pesaruk / Filter

ative to Southeast Asia, kratom is a plant and herbal medicine with mild opioid and stimulant-like properties. It was held in high esteem as a traditional remedy for health ailments in Thailand, until its criminalization in 1943—the result of increased use following skyrocketing opium prices in the region and a scramble by the Thai government to control the opium market.

In May, the Thai government voted to remove kratom from the nation’s list of “narcotics,” making an unambiguous statement after 80 years of speculation on the plant’s role.

In a recently released report published in the International Journal of Drug Policy, researchers surveyed over 1,000 Thai citizens about their views on the plant’s decriminalization. The results showed a majority in favour of the removal of kratom’s criminalized status.

This rising acceptance of kratom stems from its history of being interwoven with Thai culture; past research has shown kratom’s consistent use amongst people in rural Thailand for centuries. Praised for its properties in herbal medicine, kratom has also been used to manage or end use of potent opioids. The result has been kratom advocates fighting for the plant’s place in Thai culture and across the globe.