Kratom has become a concern in Louisiana, with two dioceses banning it and two others considering bans amid fears of more addiction.
Here’s what kratom is and why it may alarm some people:
What is kratom?
Kratom is a plant native to Southeast Asia and is colloquially known as thang, kakuam, thom, ketum and biak, according to a 2020 fact sheet produced by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Administration.
What does it do?
According to the fact sheet, kratom leaves contain mitragynine and 7-hydroxymesragynine, chemicals that contribute to psychotic activity.
Some users say it reduces pain. Consumption of the leaves results in stimulant effects in low doses and sedative effects in high doses, as well as a range of psychotic symptoms. It can also make users dependent on the plant, the drug insert says.
How is it used?
People who use kratom typically consume the plant by taking a pill containing the substance, or by making a tea from the trunk or powdered leaves. The leaves can also be chewed or smoked.
What are its long-term effects?
The fact sheet says kratom use can cause addiction, with users reporting hallucinations, delusions and confusion. It has a long list of side effects, including nausea, itching, sweating, anorexia, insomnia, and seizures.
Is it legal?
The Louisiana legislature approved a bill in 2019 that would have made it illegal if the DEA regulated it. That hasn’t happened yet.
But the dioceses of Ascension and Rapides have banned the substance locally, and a state senator has urged the St. Tammany Parish Council to do the same. More recently, leaders of the Livingston diocese are considering banning kratom.
A North Shore senator is taking aim at kratom, an herbal supplement flagged as dangerous by two federal agencies, and wants to see…
After two Louisiana parishes banned kratom, Livingston leaders are now also considering whether to ban unregulated herbal extracts.