Some people may have never heard anything about kratom. It's a by-product of an ancient tree (Mitragyna speciosa) that's indigenous to Southeast Asia. Its leaves have psychotropic effects for users that, among other things, can lessen their pain.
Some hail its blessings as if it were a miracle drug. But there are plenty who see only the dark side of kratom and claim it killed their loved ones from overdoses every bit as deadly as legally-available opioid drugs.
It's that viewpoint that has caused Georgia legislators to turn their attention to the legalities surrounding the substance which currently is without federal restriction.
Can you get into legal trouble buying or using kratom?
At the moment, no. But that could all change in short order. Late last year, a Georgia House committee convened to study the pros and cons of kratom usage. People on both sides testified and offered other evidence to support their opinions. While no decision has been made, both sides appear to agree that some regulation will be necessary.
Even the users who enthusiastically tout its properties believe that it should be clearly labeled, with its purity and recommended dosage units readily available on the product sleeve.
Georgia law enforcement supports an outright ban on the substance that many claim its use allows them to cope with chronic pain and lead normal lives.
The federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that kratom is an "opioid" that has "similar addictive effects." The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) tracks all deaths in the state that are related to kratom usage.
If you are one of the many Georgia residents who has found relief and respite from pain by using kratom, it behooves you to pay close attention to its legal status, as that may change soon. Should it become illegal, possessing, buying and using it could open you up to potential drug charges.