Kratom is considered legal in most countries, including the United States. Proponents claim that the laws prohibiting the use of kratom are mostly based on prejudice and lack of understanding of the beneficial health effects of this plant.
As a stimulant, kratom has vastly improved the quality of life of countless of people cultivating it in Southeast Asia and those using it in the rest of the world. Kratom has improved their mental state and alleviated their stress. But with the laws banning this controversial plant, it is no longer legally available in some countries and U.S. states.
A couple of years ago, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) zoomed in on kratom and classified it as a substance of concern because its effects were not yet established at the time. Kratom has come a long way since then, and to date, there are no concrete evidence indicating that it has significantly deleterious effects such as those cited by authorities outlawing it. Most countries actually classify kratom as a food supplement.
As of October 2018, Kratom is illegal in these states and cities in the US:
- Rhode Island
- Washington D.C.
- San Diego (California)
- Jerseyville (Illinois)
- Sarasota County (Florida)
- Denver (Colorado) – banned for human consumption
As of May 2018, Kratom is legal in these states in the U.S:
Alaska, Arizona, California (except San Diego), Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida (except Sarasota County), Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois (for adults), Iowa, Kansas, Kentuck, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire (for 18+), New Jersey, New Mexico, New York (for 21+), North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming
Here’s a legal map showing the status of Kratom in the United States:
Green – legal
Red – illegal / banned
Yellow – amended to keep legal
Orange – pending / legislation proposed
Kratom’s International Legal Status
There are only a handful of countries where kratom is confirmed illegal. They include Australia, Denmark, Finland, Israel, Lithuania, Malaysia, Myanmar, Poland, Romania, South Korea, Thailand, and the United Kingdom. However, in spite of these countries outlawing kratom, often for politically motivated reasons, it is generally legal in most parts of the world. Its legal status is still unclear in Demark, Germany, Finland, Romania, and New Zealand.
Interestingly, kratom was banned from the country where it originated: Thailand. The first law prohibiting it was passed in August, 1943. This law made planting kratom illegal and ordered that the existing evergreen tress be cut down. However, this law was later deemed ineffective since kratom is indigenous to Thailand.
Today, Thai law classifies kratom in the same enforcement group as heroin and cocaine, and has similar penalties. An ounce of extract is punishable by death. But just like prohibition laws in other parts of the world, it only made black market prices soar. A related species known as Mitragyna javanica is frequently used as an alternative to circumvent the law, but it is not as effective.
Is There a Drug Test for Kratom?
There is no screening test because many people are still unaware of kratom and its herbal properties. Moreover, kratom is regarded as a medicinal herb which does not produce extreme neurological effects. It can be used in most countries without getting in trouble. To date, the standard drug screening test is not meant to detect the presence of kratom in the human body.
However, new testing protocols are currently being developed to specifically identify kratom because of anti-drug mania and the sheer lack of information. This led to a number of legality issues. Fortunately, such tests are seldom performed and are not likely to be conducted as routine drug screening for employees.
Can Kratom Show Up on Common Drug Tests?
No, kratom and its alkaloids will not show up on most drug tests. Employees and government officials are not specifically screened for kratom use.
Kratom does not have the same chemical structure as illegal narcotics that most drug tests are meant to detect. It is not similar to cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and marijuana. Moreover, kratom is not an opiate, although it can bind to the same cellular receptors that opioids interact with once it is ingested and enters the bloodstream. Kratom alkaloids exert a subtle effect on the central nervous system, so unsuspecting users often confuse them with opioids.
All-natural kratom does not have the harmful effect on cellular receptors that opiates do. Kratom intake does not lead to physical addiction or cause damaging long-term health effects that are typically observed with opiate addiction. As a matter of fact, some people use kratom to deal with opiate addiction, moderating the effects of opiate withdrawal by soothing the damaged receptors.
There may be some isolated reports of a drug test yielding a false positive result for opiates due to the use of kratom. However, these are rare instances, if they occur at all. The only test that can definitely indicate kratom use is a screening protocol designed specifically to detect Mitragynine and its metabolites in urine. It is extremely rare to encounter such a test.
Can A Drug Test for Kratom Yield A False Positive For Opiates?
By far the most common type of drug test is the urine drug screen (UDS) since it is accurate and fast. It can precisely detect the presence of illegal drugs and prescription medications like benzodiazepines, opioids, methamphetamines, marijuana, among others.
Some urine tests don’t detect all drugs, especially opioids, and therefore generate false positive results. These happen when the test result is positive for a drug that a person does not really use. In such case, the person involved must request another test known as the Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry. Urine tests can also return a false negative result, which occurs when the result is negative despite using a particular drug.
When a standard urine drug test is used, it is impossible to detect Mitragynine and kratom alkaloids to yield a false positive result. Such result is more likely to show up if the person tested took a medication or supplement before the test. This is precisely the reason why it is imperative to inform the person conducting the test if you are taking any medicine or supplement.
There have been reports of over-the-counter (OTC) drugs like Ibuprofen producing a false positive on screening tests. Some claim that even eating bread with poppy seeds can generate a positive result. But then again, kratom will not reveal opiate use on drug screening tests, either by blood or urine.
While this highlights how sensitive the test is, given that kratom is the only drug you took, it is highly unlikely to have a false positive result. A supplementary test will prove that no illegal substance was used.