AUSTIN (KXAN) – The Texas legislature passed a bill to regulate the sale of kratom in the state with the goal of protecting consumers from unsafe products.
Kratom products are derived from the leaves of a tropical tree grown in the South Pacific. It has two psychoactive alkaloids – mitragynine and 7-hydroxymytragynine. To feel the effects, the leaves are chewed; dried and smoked; or powdered and put into capsules to be taken orally – how it is commonly sold in Texas.
Kratom has been used in Southeast Asia for hundreds to thousands of years. It is used to combat fatigue, in cultural ceremonies and to treat medical conditions, such as opioid use disorder.
Before now, kratom products in Texas were largely unregulated, meaning manufacturers could put dangerous additives in products or enhance compounds to unsafe levels with little consequence, said Mac Haddow, Senior Fellow on Public Policy for the American Kratom Association.
With the passage of the Texas Kratom Consumer Health and Safety Protection Act, “the manufacturer has to register their product. And when they do, they have to provide a certificate of analysis from an independent third-party laboratory that documents the product is compliant with the law,” he said. The third-party laboratory will only sign off on a manufacturer’s product if it is a pure kratom product, meaning there are no adulterants or synthesized alkaloids, Haddow continued.
Further, with the passage of this bill, manufacturers are required to label their products with consumption instructions so that people know how to safely ingest kratom.
“Those consumer protections ought to be something that is done at the federal level, which the FDA refuses to do because they want to ban kratom,” Haddow said.
The last time the FDA put anything out about kratom was in April 2022, when it warned consumers not to use kratom and said there were no FDA-approved uses for the substance.
“FDA is concerned that kratom, which affects the same opioid brain receptors as morphine, appears to have properties that expose users to the risks of addiction, abuse, and dependence,” The FDA said in a release last year.
“FDA is actively evaluating all available scientific information on this issue and continues to warn consumers not to use any products labeled as containing the botanical substance kratom or its psychoactive compounds, mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine,” it continued.
There are now 10 US states that have passed kratom consumer protection acts, and Haddow expects there to be up to four more by the end of the year, per the AKA. While there are five states with total bans, Haddow believes once legislators learn more about the substance, they’ll walk the bans back.
“When you have states like Texas that are taking the stand, I think it has a great influence on other states as well,” he said.
Lawmakers sent the Texas Kratom Consumer Health and Safety Protection Act to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk, and it will go into effect on Sept. 1. Haddow said when the legislation becomes law, some kratom products will have to be removed from the shelves.
“There are some kratom manufacturers in the country that don’t want to go through the good manufacturing practices and don’t want to test their products because it costs money,” he said. “I get calls all of the time from vendors saying, ‘You’re trying to put me out of business!’ And I say, ‘Yes, I am.’ If you’re not willing to test your products and be compliant – [by] not adulterating them and labeling them properly. If you’re not willing to do that, then get out of the business.”