CBD is facing increasing competition from Kratom, a drug that originated in Southeast Asia and has been used for centuries.
Kratom is a herbal drug that is either chewed, taken via a capsule or can be added to tea for users to drink. In small doses Kratom can behave as a stimulant but in higher doses the drug acts more akin to an opiate.
Associate professor Joseph Palamar of New York University Langone Medical Centre has estimated that 0.7% of the US population had used Kratom in the past year.
Kratom’s popularity continues to grow however. Users can take the drug as a replacement for anti-anxiety drug Xanax or the study drug Adderall. Other users have said that Kratom helps manage opiate withdrawal symptoms.
The USA is still recovering from the largest opioid crisis in history thanks to the frequent prescription of opiate related painkillers such as OxyContin. The drug has been accused of massive deaths throughout the nation from overuse and led many users onto Heroin. Kratom has become a possible withdrawal drug for this issue.
Long term issues related to Kratom use are still unknown, but research is ongoing. One positive is that withdrawal from the drug seems to be less severe than other opioids.
Regulation of Kratom remains blurry compared to CBD. In the US it is legal at the national level but a “drug of concern” for the Drug Enforcement Administration. Within Europe and the UK the drug is largely difficult to access.