New Website Launched for Kratom Comments

By Pat Anson, Editor

In a sign of their distrust of the federal government, kratom community activists have created their own website for supporters to submit comments to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration on the proposed classification of kratom as a controlled substance.

On October 12, the DEA formally withdrew its controversial plan to classify two of the active ingredients in kratom as a Schedule I substances, which would have made the sale and possession of the herb a felony.  Instead, the DEA said it would ask the Food and Drug Administration for a full medical and scientific evaluation of kratom, and solicit public comments on the issue at Regulations.gov

But issues arose almost immediately with the Regulations.gov website, where some kratom supporters said their comments weren’t accepted or the website was having technical difficulties.

Similar problems were reported when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention took comments at Regulations.gov on its opioid prescribing guidelines. In the end, over 4,000 comments on the guidelines were received, a record number.

This week the American Kratom Association (AKA) and the Botanical Education Alliance launched KratomComments.org to take comments from the public that will then be automatically submitted to Regulations.gov with an independent record of their submission. Software used by the website was created by The Soft Edge, Inc. (TSE) to avoid some of the pitfalls of Regulations.gov.

KratomComments.org is the best way of protecting the kratom community,” the AKA said in a statement. “No comments can be ‘lost’ due to glitches at Regulations.gov. That site has been down already and no one knows what was lost. KratomComments.org ensures that comments made will be independently stored and recorded.

“There is no track record whatsoever of submissions made through TSE platforms to Regulations.gov being rejected. To the contrary, the platform has been used to facilitate the successful submission of several hundred thousand comments.”

But not everyone is on board with a third party submitting comments to the government.

“If you use the American Kratom Association’s ‘kratomcomments.org’ you are risking your comment not being counted,” warns kratom supporter Levi Beers on his website. Beers said he was advised by the DEA to submit comments directly to Regulations.gov and not through a third party.

“People are so confused you’ve got people submitting comments through regulations.gov and kratomcomments.org, which is going to hurt this process,” Beers said.

Hundreds of Comments Submitted

So far, over 800 comments have been submitted to Regulations.gov. The vast majority are from people who say kratom – which comes from the leaves of a tree in Southeast Asia – has helped them manage symptoms of chronic pain, anxiety, depression or addiction.

“Kratom has allowed me to live a highly productive, healthy and enjoyable life after my personal journey through addiction,” wrote Troy Foos, a 51-year old man who said he was addicted to alcohol and opioid pain medication.

“My life, my marriage and my relationship with my kids is a thousand times better because of the 'helping hand' of this plant. Similar to how two cups of coffee get me rolling in the morning, it has allowed me to successfully navigate my addictions and live a healthy, highly effective life at work and at home.”

“As a person with chronic pain caused by fibromyalgia, having kratom as a non-addictive option has been great,” wrote Wyatt Gaylor.  “I can now take it when I'm having a bad day without the side effects associated with opiates.”

“Kratom definitely needs to be banned,” wrote an anonymous poster who left one of the few negative comments about kratom. “My son is currently in rehab for addiction to kratom. This is a very serious product which has caused very serious health issues in someone who is only 20 years old.” 

There is usually a discrepancy at Regulations.gov between the number of the comments received and the number posted. That’s because comments are not posted until the next business day. Others are under review by DEA because of personal information or inappropriate language. Comments will be accepted until December 1, 2016.

A First Time User Says Kratom Works

By Fred Kaeser, Guest Columnist

Like many of you, I have been following closely all of the kratom related articles here at PNN over the past month.

Prior to these articles, I had heard the name kratom several times in various readers' comments, but quite frankly I had no idea what kratom actually is. But all that has changed and it changed very quickly.

Truthfully, I was dumbstruck by the many comments praising the supposed wonderful pain reducing qualities of kratom. And when I read the results of PNN's kratom survey, I was convinced to explore as much information as I could about this leaf.

Admittedly, the kratom survey was very far from scientifically valid, but the results were astonishing to me. Virtually every one of the 6,000 or so respondents claimed this leaf to be a miracle worker. Not just for pain, but for various emotional and mental illnesses, and for opioid and even alcohol withdrawal. The more I read and researched the kratom leaf the more tempted I was to try it.

I have been in severe, daily pain close to ten years now. Those who have read my previous columns here at PNN, including my comments to others' articles, know that I am prescribed opioids for my pain. They also know that I am concerned about the various risks associated with my opioid use, and also know that I am a huge supporter of complementary and alternative pain therapies. 

I respect and am very appreciative of my opioid prescription. Without question, opioids reduce my level of pain and for that I am thankful. But I am also cognizant of the risks, especially the risk for developing a physical dependence to these medications, and consequently I am always trying to minimize just how often I must take my opioids.

FRED KAESER

FRED KAESER

So, it was easy for me to segue into trying something new to ameliorate my pain. And kratom seemed to fit the bill.

Even with the risk of a kratom ban, I was able to find an online purveyor who was still selling and who I had heard mentioned was a reliable vendor by many commenters on a number of kratom websites. I bought the Maeng Da strain as that seemed to be the best choice for me. I bought the type that is finely crushed and kind of flour-like in consistency. It wasn't too expensive.

Based upon what I had read, as a novice to the leaf, I started with slightly less than a teaspoon in the morning (about 2 grams). I dumped it into some water, swished it around, and chugged it. Some residue was left, so I added some more water, and down it went. Pretty bitter, gritty and crappy tasting. But, truth be told, it was not much worse than the powdered green vegetable supplement I take every day. Kind of like eating bitter, dried grass.

About 30 minutes later I was feeling some energy, an up-lift, and within fifteen minutes more my pain was reducing. I've been taking kratom for a bit more than a one week now and I have since reworked my dose to about 4 grams. This dose does the job for about 6 hours. My pain is still there but is dramatically reduced, and I feel an increase in energy as well. 

I've read about some of the risks associated with kratom, so I've resisted taking a second dose during the day. And after taking it for 3 days in a row I am now taking it every other day. If I was to do a second dose I would keep it to an additional 2 grams, but haven't gone there yet. 

My take is it works as well as an oxycodone 10mg. Kratom works as a wonderful compliment to the alternative pain therapies I utilize and I have not taken it on any day that I do my opioid medication. I am a little concerned about doing kratom every day, as there are stories about developing dependence.

I still have more to learn about kratom. But I definitely see it being as effective as the opioid medication I take. I have even been able to reduce that medication somewhat in just the time I've been using the kratom. I'll see how things progress and I will continue to research and learn more about this leaf.

I can see though that it does the job. I am tempted to give up the opioids and just do kratom, but I'm not there yet. I know what I'm dealing with when it comes to the opioids and I'm still too ignorant about kratom. 

If you have pain, you might want to give kratom a try. It's still early, but I am pretty impressed by what it is able to do.

Fred Kaeser, Ed.D, is the former Director of Health for the NYC Public Schools. He suffers from osteoarthritis, stenosis, spondylosis and other chronic spinal problems.

Fred taught at New York University and is the author of What Your Child Needs to Know About Sex (and When): A Straight Talking Guide for Parents.

Pain News Network invites other readers to share their stories with us.  Send them to:  editor@PainNewsNetwork.org.

The information in this column should not be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is for informational purposes only and represent the author’s opinions alone. It does not inherently express or reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of Pain News Network.

DEA Withdraws Plan to Ban Kratom

By Pat Anson, Editor

Facing opposition from the public and some members of Congress, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has withdrawn plans to classify two of the active ingredients in kratom as Schedule I controlled substances, a move that would have made the sale and possession of the herb a felony.

“DEA has received numerous comments from members of the public challenging the scheduling action and requesting that the agency consider those comments and accompanying information before taking further action,” the DEA said in a notice published in the Federal Register.

“DEA is therefore taking the following actions: DEA is withdrawing the August 31, 2016 notice of intent; and soliciting comments from the public regarding the scheduling of mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine under the Controlled Substances Act.” 

Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine are alkaloids in kratom that appear to act on opioid receptors in the brain. They are not approved for any medical use in the United States, even though millions of kratom consumers use the the herb to manage pain, anxiety, depression, addiction and other medical conditions.

The unprecedented decision to withdraw the scheduling of a controlled substance does not end the possibility that kratom will be banned. The DEA said it would re-evaluate its decision after the public comment period ends on December 1, 2016. The agency will also ask the Food and Drug Administration to expedite a full scientific and medical evaluation of kratom.

“DEA will consider all public comments received under the above procedures, as well as FDA’s scientific and medical evaluation and scheduling recommendation for these substances.  Once DEA has received and considered all of this information, DEA will decide whether to proceed with permanent scheduling of mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine , or both permanent and temporary scheduling of these substances,” the agency said in its announcement.

If the DEA decides to schedule kratom permanently, the agency said it would publish a new notice in the Federal Register and allow for a second public comment period. Under the original emergency scheduling notice published on August 30, there was no public notice or comment period.

“We moved a mountain and now we’re parting the sea!!! Keep the pressure on; wait for commenting instructions please, we still have A LOT of work ahead of us,” wrote Susan Ash, founder of the American Kratom Association (AKA) in a note to supporters on Facebook.

“I think what this clearly shows is that there is no imminent public health threat or they wouldn’t be adding on a 6 week public comment process and putting it back on the FDA,” Ash told PNN.

She said her organization would resist any effort to classify kratom in a less restrictive category than Schedule I, which is how marijuana, LSD and heroin are classified. At present. there are no federal limits on kratom as a dietary supplement, although it is banned in a handful of states.

"We still believe it should not be scheduled in any way, shape or form. It's been consumed safely here for decades and worldwide for a millennium, so there's really no impetus to make it a controlled substance, period," said Ash.

In its initial attempt to ban kratom -- which comes from the leaves of a tree in Southeast Asia -- the DEA said the herb had “psychoactive effects” and was linked to dozens of overdose deaths.

In reaching that assessment, the agency relied primarily on the research and advice of the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Critics, however, say much of that research was deeply flawed and unreliable. For example, a recent CDC report claimed kratom was “an emerging public health threat” and cited two published research reports that “associated kratom exposure with psychosis, seizures, and deaths.”

Those two reports, however, make no mention of deaths caused by kratom. The CDC also relied on a newspaper article to help document one kratom-related death, even though it was actually caused by a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

"Nowhere does DEA rely on the scientific, epidemiological, and public health sources that normally undergird the assertion that a substance poses a high potential for abuse, let alone an imminent public health threat,” lawyers for the AKA said in a letter to DEA acting administrator Chuck Rosenberg.

To overturn the ban, the AKA enlisted the help of over 60 members of Congress, who signed letters urging the DEA to delay scheduling kratom and to solicit more public input. Over 142,000 kratom supporters also signed a White House petition asking the Obama administration to postpone the scheduling.

"I think the DEA was pressured so much by Congress, the public and by the media that they realized that they didn't really have the proof and the science to emergency schedule this," Ash said. "It put the DEA in a really difficult position and now the DEA is just trying to admit the fact that they don't have what they need to call this a public health threat."

In a survey of over 6,000 kratom consumers by Pain News Network and the AKA, nine out of ten said kratom was a “very effective” treatment for pain, depression, anxiety, insomnia, opioid addiction and alcoholism. Many also predicted that banning the herb would only lead to more drug abuse, addiction and death.

"The DEA missed the mark here and it would be a gross miscarriage of due process to simply tell millions of American consumers and the legal businesses that serve them that they are now felons,” said Travis Lowin of the Botanical Education Alliance in a statement before the DEA reversed its decision. 

“The DEA has a strict set of rules it is supposed to follow for an emergency scheduling of a drug and kratom meets none of those tests.  There are reasonable limits on the power of what government can do precisely to avoid situations like this where legal consumer conduct and legitimate free enterprise would otherwise be crushed overnight by indiscriminate use of the power of government."

Kratom Vendors File Lawsuit Against Feds

By Pat Anson, Editor

Four kava bar owners in South Florida – one of them a retired police officer – have filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice over its threated ban on kratom.

Named as co-defendants are Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Chuck Rosenberg, the acting administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The lawsuit, first reported by New Times Broward Palm Beach , was filed by Michael Dombrowksi, who owns the Tenaga Kava bar in Palm Beach Gardens.  Dombrowski says his business relies on kratom tea sales and he risked losing a million dollars in revenue if the DEA carried out plans to list two of the active ingredients in kratom  as Schedule I controlled substances.

“Plaintiff business relies primarily on kratom tea sales, as do 9 other kava and tea lounges where consumers purchase and rely upon kratom tea for a variety of claims from medicinal value to relaxation,” the lawsuit states. 

“Defendant will lose all of his investment in the creation of his business in 2015 including the bulk of his law enforcement retirement and the loss of his livelihood which he planned for his happy retirement.”

Listed as co-plaintiffs in the lawsuit are James Scianno of the Purple Lotus Kava Bar in Boynton Beach and Keith Engelhardt and Thomas Harrison of Kavasutra in West Palm Beach. 

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in West Palm Beach, seeks an emergency injunction to prevent the scheduling of kratom, along with punitive damages of $14 million.

The lawsuit was filed on September 30, the same day the DEA could have made the sale and possession of kratom a felony by putting it in the same class of controlled substances as heroin, LSD and marijuana.. The agency delayed the scheduling after a backlash from kratom consumers and some members of Congress, who urged the DEA to seek public comment on its ruling.

The DEA claims kratom, which comes from the leaves of a tree in Southeast Asia, has a high potential for abuse because of its “psychoactive effects” and that imported kratom products are “routinely misdeclared and falsely labelled.”

Kratom is usually sold as dried or crushed leaves, powder, capsules, and tablets. Some kava bars, like the ones in Florida, brew kratom leaves with kava root to make a strong tea. In 2013, a lawsuit was filed against the owners of the Purple Lotus bar for not disclosing that the tea contained kratom. The plaintiff in that suit – a recovering alcoholic -- claimed she became addicted to kratom tea.

Kratom supporters say the herb is no more addictive than caffeine and helps treat symptoms of chronic pain, anxiety, depression and addiction.

Critics Say Fed Kratom Research Flawed

By Pat Anson, Editor

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention relied on flawed and unreliable research – some of it based on a newspaper article -- to build a case against the herbal supplement kratom, according to lawyers hired by the American Kratom Association (AKA).

The DEA cited a CDC report claiming that “deaths have been attributed to kratom” when it announced plans for the emergency scheduling of two active ingredients in kratom as Schedule I controlled substances, a move that would make the sale and possession of the herb a felony. 

Kratom, which comes from the leaves of a tree that grows in Southeast Asia, is used by millions of Americans in teas and supplements to treat chronic pain, anxiety, depression, addiction and other medical problems.

“AKA takes very seriously DEA’s concern that approximately 30 reports of fatalities have been linked to consumers who had ingested or possessed a kratom product. However, a close examination of these reports shows that there are no instances in which kratom itself was determined to be responsible for the cause of death,” wrote lawyers David Fox and Lynn Mehler, in a letter to DEA acting administrator Chuck Rosenberg.

“There is good reason to question whether these reports indeed represent a valid or meaningful signal with respect to kratom. Close review of the totality of evidence points clearly in the other direction, namely, that kratom is well tolerated and relatively mild in its effects.”

Fox and Mehler are partners in the Los Angeles-based law firm of Hogan Lovells, which was hired by the AKA, an organization of kratom consumers that receives some of its funding from kratom vendors.

In their 35-page letter to Rosenberg, Fox and Mehler said much of the evidence used by DEA to justify the emergency scheduling was “fundamentally flawed” because it relies on reports that “are inadequate and unreliable.”

In the emergency scheduling notice published in the Federal Register, DEA cited a July 2016 report from the CDC that claimed kratom was “an emerging public health threat.” The CDC said kratom related calls to U.S. poison control centers rose from 26 calls in 2010 to 263 in 2015 – a total of 660 calls over a six year period.

Fox and Mehler said that pales in comparison to the number of calls to poison centers received about other common household items, including caffeine (23,303 calls in 6 years) and essential oils (66,300 calls).

The CDC report also cited two published research reports that “associated kratom exposure with psychosis, seizures, and deaths.”

“The CDC publication appears to have either misidentified its sources or been mistaken in its conclusions, as both sources reported no deaths from kratom,” wrote Fox and Mehler. “Likewise, the CDC report also stated that ‘deaths have been attributed to kratom in the United States,’ but it cited for that proposition a single report in a newspaper article. The newspaper article reported the suicide of a 22-year old male by self-inflicted gunshot wound.”

The assertion that CDC research is faulty is not a new one. Similar complaints were raised about the weak evidence used by CDC to justify its guidelines for opioid prescribing. Critics have also faulted the agency for “incomplete and biased” reports about the risks associated with opioid pain medication, and misleading reports about the number of deaths caused by prescription opioids.

“Nowhere does DEA rely on the scientific, epidemiological, and public health sources that normally undergird the assertion that a substance poses a high potential for abuse, let alone an imminent public health threat,” said Fox and Mehler. “The proposed use of the emergency scheduling provisions in this case is unprecedented, contrary to the law and public interest, violates fundamental principles of regulatory procedure, and implicates serious constitutional questions.”

The DEA has not publicly responded to the AKA letter. The agency could have classified kratom as a Schedule I controlled substance on September 30, but caved into political pressure from some members of Congress to leave the legal status of the herb unchanged for the time being. 

Under the DEA’s emergency scheduling order, no public notice or comment period was allowed. But according to Wisconsin Rep. Mark Pocan’s office, the agency will allow for a “modified comment process” about the scheduling of kratom, although that has not yet been confirmed by the agency.

Kratom activists believe the DEA will announce its decision soon.

“We’ve heard through the grapevine that as early as Tuesday, the DEA is going to be making an announcement about where they go from notice of intent to saying that they’re going to allow for a public comment process,” said Susan Ash, founder of AKA.

“Our concern is that it will be a very brief amount of time to be able to get enough comments from the scientific community, the medical community and the public at large to really have an impact on this decision. So the question is this just an attempt to save face by the DEA when they still have full intent of banning it? Or are they really going to be opening up a true comment process?”

In a survey of over 6,000 kratom consumers by Pain News Network and the American Kratom Association, over 95 percent said banning the herb would have a harmful effect on society. Many predicted it would lead to more addiction and illegal drug abuse.     

Kratom Helps Relieve My Neuropathy Pain

By Robert Dinse, Guest Columnist

I suffer from diabetic peripheral neuropathy.  I can best describe the pain as something akin to being doused in gasoline and then having a match tossed on me.  Pretty much everything from the neck down at times is involved in severe burning pain.

Over time I've been placed on a number of combinations of anti-depressants and anti-seizure medications with various degrees of effectiveness.
Presently I am on Lyrica and nortriptyline, an anti-depressant.  So far this seems to be the best compromise between sedation and pain.

I actually got slightly better pain control with amitriptyline, another anti-depressant, but nortriptyline helps my mood more and since Lyrica negatively impacts my mood but greatly reduces my pain, this seems to be the best compromise.

With this combination of drugs, my pain is reasonably controlled about six days of the week, but I have periods, usually lasting 3-6 hours, of breakthrough pain in which I'm on fire again.

Kratom provides relief during those times and it does so without getting me high, or noticeably affecting my mental state in any way.  This leaves me almost pain free and totally functional.

robert dinse

robert dinse

There are two other drugs I've found to be helpful for this breakthrough pain. The first is marijuana, which is legal in Washington State but leaves me pretty much non-functional. I cannot drive, nor effectively do my work on enough marijuana to give pain relief.  Marijuana also stimulates my appetite and as a diabetic I need to lose weight, not gain weight.

The other useful drug is tianeptine sodium, but for it to be effective I need about 140 mg, which is higher than the maximum recommended single dose. At that dosage I also build a rapid tolerance.  Not a problem if the pain flare up is short, but if it lasts more than two days, which on rare occasions it does, then tianeptine sodium becomes ineffective. 

Some people get withdrawal symptoms from tianeptine sodium. I am fortunate that I have not ever experienced that, but it's lack of effectiveness if I get a bad flare-up lasting more than two days is its chief drawback.

I do not seem to rapidly build tolerance to kratom, and I've yet to experience any loss of effectiveness.  It doesn't get me high.  I don't get withdrawal symptoms. For my needs it is ideal, yet the DEA wants to take this away.

I wish that doctors and DEA officials could experience neuropathic pain firsthand so they could understand the hell their fouled up policies are putting people through. We have tens of thousands of deaths every year due to alcohol and tobacco, and the 16 alleged kratom deaths in the last five years all involved a mixture of other drugs that were most likely responsible for those deaths.

It is very hard to overdose on kratom because you take too much and you puke it up.  I have experimentally determined the puke up threshold for me is about 12 capsules, and 10 capsules totally relieve my pain with no sense of intoxication or impairment.

I don't know how you could ask a pain reliever to be simultaneously anywhere near as effective or safe as kratom.  Too much aspirin and you bleed to death internally, too much Tylenol and you toast your liver, many other NSAIDS readily available over the counter are bad for your heart.

Problem is, as a natural product, it's not patentable and thus competes with other patentable but much more dangerous and less effective drugs.

Robert Dinse lives in Washington State with his family.

Pain News Network invites other readers to share their stories with us.  Send them to:  editor@PainNewsNetwork.org

The information in this column should not be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is for informational purposes only and represents the author’s opinions alone. It does not inherently express or reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of Pain News Network.

Kratom Helps Me Feel Normal

By Brittany Jordan, Guest Columnist

I have used kratom safely, responsibly and successfully for the past 4 years to ease my social anxiety, depression and physical pain from bipolar disorder.

Many people do not realize that people with bipolar are more likely than the general population to experience certain types of physical pain. Adding chronic pain to a debilitating illness like bipolar disorder can make even the best of us feel hopeless. 

Fatigue, headaches and insomnia are a few of the other side effects of mental illness. When I say fatigue, I don’t mean the groggy feeling a cup of coffee will fix in the morning. I mean feeling tired down to the bone, tired to the point where it is difficult to even think about leaving the house.

Migraines became a daily battle that lead me into a cycle of isolation and depression that began to infringe on my personal and professional life. Weeks of insomnia also began to slowly take their toll.

I was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder at age 16 and spent the next few years playing the game of which doctor? What medication? What dosage?

There were so many side effects from the meds and the time that it took to find the right dose that it led me to a place of static dissonance that no amount of exercise, therapy or mindfulness could defeat. 

I felt completely out of touch with my own mind and the sense of control over my life diminished significantly. I slowly began to lose hope and spiraled into a 5 year long state of depression, using drugs and alcohol as a way to cope with my deteriorating mental state.

People with mood disorders tend to experience the world “loudly.” This is a kind of exaggerated perception that exists for both positive and negative emotions. 

During a manic episode, life is more colorful and vivid, and I become utterly in awe of a sunset or a beautiful tree. Even the good and stable things become larger than life. When I see the man I am going to marry, I am overwhelmed with emotion. Everything is all at once too much, too “loud.”

brittany jordan

brittany jordan

And when depression strikes, the “loudness” is just the same. A small setback becomes a complete catastrophe in my mind. Something as minor as being cut off while driving can enrage me to no end and stay with me more than it should.

Once I added kratom tea to my daily routine of running, yoga and meditation, I immediately noticed minimizing effects of cognitive dissonance, the absence of panic attacks and the impact of lowering my depressive obsession.

With kratom, I slowly began to turn around to more frequent and sustained times of calmness, clarity and pain relief. Being able to think clearly for the first time in over a decade allowed me the extra psychological and physical space to go to work and function again as a happy, healthy individual. Kratom became a supporting element of self-discipline that built resolve and a more solid sense of accomplishment. 

I am a daughter and soon-to-be wife. My family depends on my being well to take care of them and do my part. I can absolutely live my life while still battling this disorder, but it will be MUCH harder without kratom. The unfairness of being robbed of a benign, harmless plant with so many positive and effective properties is inhumane and unnecessary.

I have been clean and sober for 4 years and I never plan on going back to the life I had. I will survive and manage, but without kratom it will be in pain and with much distress. To be forced back into the guessing game of figuring out which medication may help, or trying something new with a whole host of side effects that may not work is daunting.  New treatments and doctor visits that I cannot afford.

There is no doubt in my mind that kratom is the best natural solution I have tried. I thank my lucky stars that I found it when I did.

Allowing the DEA to place kratom as a Schedule I drug is extreme, unfounded and overreaching. Scheduling it this way will prevent science from studying its effects. Kratom should be studied. The side effects and health risks should be understood. But how can we allow the DEA to ban something that is clearly helpful to thousands of people with bipolar, chronic pain, PTSD, depression and so much more?

Those of us with bipolar disorder have the same human and democratic rights as those without. We deserve options that work and help us keep it together. Life is harder for us than it is for others. We have to struggle to just achieve a baseline. How can anyone say that something that obviously works is an evil that should be put on Schedule I?

We are human beings who simply want our lives back, and this overreach of federal power feels like a boot stepping down on helpless ants. It is uncaring, unaware and unsympathetic to those of us who just want to feel normal. 

Brittany Jordan is from New Jersey. Brittan also made this YouTube video about her kratom experience.

Pain News Network invites other readers to share their stories with us.  Send them to:  editor@PainNewsNetwork.org

The information in this column should not be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is for informational purposes only and represents the author’s opinions alone. It does not inherently express or reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of Pain News Network.