Thailand Legalizes Another Psychoactive Plant — Kratom
Following a historic decision of the Thai Senate in May, the plant Mitragyna speciosa, also known as kratom, was removed from the controlled narcotic list in Thailand’s Narcotics Act.
On the 24th of this month, when the new law comes into effect, Thais will be able to legally consume, possess, produce, import, and export kratom.
But what is kratom?
Kratom is an evergreen tree native to Thailand that has mild opioid and stimulant effects.
The plant has been a part of traditional Thai medicine for centuries, so the population is, in the majority, in favor of its decriminalization — a fact proved by various surveys.
Indeed, Thais use kratom for various ailments—from cough and cold to symptoms of diabetes and hypertension. But what this plant is mostly known for is its mood-enhancing effects, which makes it an alternative to opioids.
Because of this, a decline in opioid use is expected once kratom hits the shelves. Plus, when the new Narcotics Act comes into power, it will end existing convictions on these bases of kratom.
Up until now, kratom was only legal for medical purposes, reaching this status together with marijuana in 2018. In December 2020, the Thai Ministry of Public Health even allowed the use of cannabis in Thai cuisine, but sadly, this didn’t apply to kratom.
However, now that it is legal to use, maybe tourists will be able to order a plate of kratom-garnished omelets with their tempura-fried cannabis leaves.
But before this happens, there’s a pending draft of restrictive regulations that the Council of State will have to evaluate regarding kratom.
These will regulate the sale and use of kratom, as announced in June. Most likely, the production and distribution of this plant will require a license.
Whichever the case, the decriminalization of this plant, can bring Thailand back into the focus of tourists, whether they are seeking an alternative cannabis clinic or a kratom-induced euphoria.