DEA moves to ban kratom, frustrating both scientists and users

 Maybe you’ve never heard of kratom — a plant from Southeast Asia with large, green leaves that are dried, powdered and taken as a drug with mild, opioid-like effects.

Kratom has been used in Asia for generations — usually chewed or brewed into a tea — as a tonic, painkiller and an aid for people weaning themselves off opium. It can be bought in powder or capsule form at smoke shops across the country.

But dedicated kratom users might want to stock up. As soon as Friday, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) says it will classify kratom as a Schedule I substance, putting it in a class of drugs — along with heroin, peyote and marijuana — that, per U.S. government policy, have “no currently acceptable medical use.” The Schedule I designation will make kratom illegal to possess or sell and more heavily restricted than cocaine or oxycodone.

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