Should kratom be banned on a global scale? Published in the Federal Register on July 23, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is now seeking public comment to inform the U.S. position on how the plant should be scheduled under international statute.

Public comment will help inform the FDA’s position on kratom regulation ahead of an October meeting of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD), where international officials will discuss whether to recommend the substance be globally scheduled.

Kratom and its two active compounds—mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine—are in pre-review status, according to WHO. The pre-review process determines if there is sufficient evidence to bring the substance before the ECDD for a formal review; “findings at this stage should not determine whether the control status of a substance should be changed,” according to the WHO notification.

“Kratom Madness” is sweeping the world as the plant’s properties become widely known. But supporters believe that the plant is a beneficial natural alternative to opioids, with compounds that bind to opioid receptors, but with fewer risks than powerful opioids. The number of synthetic opioid deaths moved far beyond the total number of drug overdose death tolls from heroin, methamphetamine and other street

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