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Kratom leaves to be declassified as a narcotic

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PHOTO: Kraken Kratom

Kratom, the controversial leaf used both medicinally and recreationally in Thailand, is to be declassified as a narcotic. Justice Minister Somsak Thapsutin says his ministry will propose new narcotics laws that will exclude kratom leaves from illegal drugs lists.

Kratom is a tropical evergreen tree in the coffee family native to Southeast Asia. It’s common in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar and Papua New Guinea.

“To decide which plants or chemicals are narcotics, the government used the World Health Organisation framework which defines narcotics as having four characteristics.”

According to the WHO, to be considered a narcotic, a substance must cause effects on the user’s body when they stop using it. Effects often include anxiety, paranoia and dysentery. A narcotic must offer little or no medical value, and chronic use must cause health problems such as emaciation, weakness, nervousness or lack of self control. Finally, a narcotic substance must threaten a negative impact on society.

Kratom leaves don’t have these characteristics, Thapsutin claims in The Nation.

“Those who use them can easily stop, and the leaves can be used to relieve pain, fever, dysentery and diarrhea. Also, Kratom is thirteen times as effective as morphine in killing pain, and has few disadvantages,” he claimed.

(Justice Minister Somsak Thapsutin’s claims have not been verified by a peer-reviewed medical study)

Thai researchers have already studied kratom leaves together with Japanese researchers, and have even patented two strains in Japan and in the US.

SOURCE: The Nation

 

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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