In spite of the significant therapeutic benefits of Kratom, the degree to which people are using it has for quite some time now been an issue of concern to public health officials in many countries. In several nations across the globe, health authorities have either banned the drug, have warned people not to use it, or have strict imposed strict conditions for its sale and usage.
But what is so bad about it that health authorities want to ban it or categorize it as a controlled substance? Below is an explanation why to give you the general context before we explain the specific Kratom laws in Canada.
So the reason why some governments want to ban Kratom is because it exhibits mind-altering effects just like heroin and morphine. To understand how Kratom causes mind-altering effects, we’ve got to understand the plant itself.
So what is Kratom?
Kratom is a plant that is native to Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, and other a few other Asian countries. The plant’s leaves have been chewed by the natives of these countries for centuries to boost energy or to provide pain relief. When the rest of the world discovered the plant through trade and the colonization of parts of South East Asia, researchers embarked on finding out what was so special about the plant.
Within a short period of time, it was discovered that Kratom leaves contain two special alkaloids known as mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine. Further research revealed that these chemicals bring about pain relief by working in the same way as morphine and heroin. However, it was also discovered that when taken in high doses, these two Kratom chemicals can also cause euphoria; the same feeling of intense pleasure that drug users chase when they abuse drugs such as heroin, morphine, oxycodone, and hydrocodone, and even crystal meth.
Why Kratom-induced euphoria made the drug a target for health officials
The fact that mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine can cause euphoria means that the drug can be abused. This led authorities investigating the drug’s potential for abuse and it was found that it is true that it can cause a dependence when used in high doses for long periods of time. It was also found that high doses of Kratom can lead to nausea, diarrhea, increased frequency of urination, loss of appetite, drowsiness, irritability, and even liver damage.
These findings led to departments of health around the world banning the drug or restricting its use. As of the time of publishing this article, four countries namely Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Australia have already banned the drug, which means it is illegal to possess it in those countries.
What has Canada done?
Fortunately, Canada is one of the many countries where reason has prevailed. However, the drug is restricted in its use in the country.
In Canada, the federal agency responsible for regulating health products is Health Canada. The organization has restricted the use of Kratom.
As of now, Kratom cannot be sold or marketed as a consumable health product. Anybody, who sells or advertises it as so can be prosecuted.
Health Canada cited many reasons including the potential for abuse and side effects for the restriction. However, the agency may have also recognized the therapeutic benefits and that is why it did not advocate for a total ban or classification of the herb as a controlled substance.
So the situation as it is of now is that suppliers of the herb can still sell it freely in Canada. They can sell it as an aromatic substance, as a research compound, as an ingredient, and as anything else, they want to sell it for. It is up to users to decide how to use it. Possession of the substance is not illegal and won’t get you arrested.
However, it is important to note that the agency recommends against its use, citing the same reasons they cited for its restriction in the country.
So that’s the legal situation right now.
Is Kratom illegal in Canada?
No, it is not. However, it cannot be sold as a consumable product. (Possession and consumption not illegal)
Why trust us
We have done the research. We have perused dozens of government websites including specific articles on the Health Canada website such as this one here. This particular article states clearly that Kratom products are not authorized for use as health products as we had indicated earlier in this article. It also states that the only legal way to sell medicines and other health products in the country is by getting authorization from the federal agency.
Why is authorization important and what does one need to do to get authorized to sell health products in Canada?
Health Canada was formed to protect the public from substandard, ineffective, or outright dangerous health products. To ensure that all products are safe, the body requires that any health product to be sold in the country must be subjected to a series of tests to ascertain quality and safety. For certain health products, a manufacturer/ supplier must also file some documents, conduct clinical tests and trials, get the right approvals from multiple government agencies, and so on. These requirements are usually too expensive for small suppliers/ drug manufacturers to meet. This is why no company has yet applied to be authorized as a Kratom product manufacturer or supplier in Canada.
What do these facts mean?
The facts we have stated above are clear: Canada does not yet have a Kratom-based health product. Therefore, it is illegal to sell a Kratom product in the country as a consumable health product. However, suppliers and vendors get around this legal bottleneck by labelled their Kratom products as “research products,” “Spirituality items,” or as “soap-making ingredients” yet they know full well that the majority of their buyers aren’t buying the powder for any of these purposes.
Buyers do not have any legal problems. They are free to buy Kratom. They are also free to possess Kratom and use it as they please.
Nevertheless, if your intention is to consume Kratom, please consult with a medical professional first. They will not recommend it to you but they could give you life-saving advice.