Bowing to public pressure, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) said on Thursday it had delayed a decision on whether to classify the botanical substance kratom, which is available online in the United States as a dietary supplement, as a dangerous drug with no medicinal use.
The leaves of the kratom tree, native to Southeast Asia, can be used as a stimulant or sedative.
They are typically brewed into a tea, chewed, smoked or ingested in capsules for pain and anxiety, often as a substitute for opioids or heroin. The substance is also growing in popularity as recreational drug.
Case reports have associated kratom exposure with addiction, hallucinations, delusion, psychosis, seizures and death.
Some U.S. jurisdictions have passed, or are considering, legislation to make kratom-use a felony, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
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