Kratom, a psychotropic drug derived from the leaves of a tree originally native to Southeast Asia, is not scheduled as a controlled substance in the United States. However, some states have laws regulating its use because it can be misused. Internationally, kratom’s legal status as a drug varies from country to country, but it is commonly legal to buy, sell and grow the plant. 

Although kratom is currently a legal substance in Ohio and throughout the country, there are various safety concerns surrounding its use. If you or someone you love uses kratom, it’s important to be aware of its risks and pending changes in legality.

History of the Legality of Kratom

Kratom is currently legal at the federal level. However, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) considered designating it as a Schedule I drug in 2016, which would have banned it nationwide. Thanks to a campaign orchestrated by the American Kratom Organization that garnered 142,000 petition signatures and key support in Congress, the DEA backed off the consideration.

Even still, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has taken a more serious stance on kratom in the last few years. The FDA warns that kratom offers zero medical benefits and has the potential to be both addictive and deadly, like other opioids. The CDC recorded 152 deaths related to kratom between July 2016 and December 2017, and the U.S. government has not approved the substance for any uses. 

More recently, the FDA warned Klarity Kratom in June 2022 that claims made on its website, which marketed kratom as a treatment for opioid withdrawal and addiction, were in violation of federal laws. The company was given an opportunity to take corrective action or face additional consequences. 

At this time, there is no law in Ohio that bans kratom. However, given the recent controversy over the use and safety of kratom, there may be changes to the law. It is important to stay up-to-date with state and federal laws regarding the legal status of kratom. 

Is Kratom A Controlled Substance In Ohio?

Kratom is not listed as a controlled substance in Ohio, nor is it controlled at the Federal level. If Ohio House Bill 236 (currently pending) passes and is made law, it will explicitly prohibit the Ohio Pharmacy Board from regulating kratom as a controlled substance. The Ohio Pharmacy Board has previously voted to make kratom a Schedule I controlled substance. Ultimately, kratom was not scheduled because the American Kratom Association submitted a petition opposing the vote of the Pharmacy Board. 

Buying Kratom in Ohio

Kratom can be purchased at gas stations and smoke shops in Ohio. In many cases, the powder form is the only available version, as capsule forms and edibles have been seized by officials for being adulterated. Keep in mind that kratom is not FDA-approved for human consumption, so shop clerks cannot talk with you about the health benefits of kratom or give you advice about dosage. 

Another option for buying kratom in Ohio is to purchase the product from a website. Companies that market kratom as having medicinal purposes are in violation of federal law and are likely to be reprimanded by the FDA. However, some websites legally sell kratom powders with a disclaimer stating that the FDA has not approved kratom as a dietary supplement. 

The Kratom Consumer Protection Act: Kratom Regulation in Ohio 

There is pending legislation in Ohio that would regulate the processing and sale of kratom. Officially known as House Bill 236, the pending legislation is being called The Kratom Consumer Protection Act. While not currently law, the bill has passed in the House of Representatives and will move to the Senate.

If made law, House Bill 236 would prohibit people from processing kratom without a license. It would also require the director of agriculture to regulate the sale of kratom, and it would establish criminal penalties for violating regulations related to kratom. 

FDA Warnings About Kratom Use

Given the increased popularity of kratom, the FDA has recently issued warnings about the safety of the substance. The agency has stated that there are safety concerns surrounding kratom and that its use is not recommended. Further, the FDA reports that since kratom affects the brain’s opioid receptors, it comes with a risk of abuse, dependence and addiction. 

Get Help for Kratom Addiction in Ohio

If you or a loved one lives with a substance use disorder, The Recovery Village Columbus can help. We offer a full continuum of evidence-based care that can help you overcome substance abuse and begin the path toward lifelong recovery. Contact us today to speak with a representative who can explain how our individualized treatment programs help address addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders. 

Jonathan-Strum
Editor – Jonathan Strum
Jonathan Strum graduated from the University of Nebraska Omaha with a Bachelor's in Communication in 2017 and has been writing professionally ever since. Read more
Jenni-Jacobsen
Medically Reviewed By – Jenni Jacobsen, LSW
Dr. Jenni Jacobsen is a licensed social worker through the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker and Marriage and Family Therapist Board. She has over seven years working in the social work field, working with clients with addiction-related and mental health diagnoses. Read more
Sources

Drug Enforcement Administration. “Kratom.” April 2020. Accessed August 11, 2022.

Drug Enforcement Administration. “DEA Announces Intent to Schedule Kratom.” August 30, 2016. Accessed August 11, 2022.

Food and Drug Administration. “FDA and Kratom.” April 27, 2022. Accessed August 11, 2022.

O’Malley, Emily; et al. “Notes from the Field: Unintentional Drug[…]2016–December 2017.” Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, April 12, 2019. Accessed August 11, 2022.

Food and Drug Administration. “Warning Letter Klarity Kratom.” June 30, 2022. Accessed August 11, 2022.

Gaines, Jim. “Kratom: What is it and should it be regulated in Ohio?” Dayton Daily News, February 20, 2022. Accessed August 12, 2022.

The Ohio House of Representatives. “House Bill 236 – 134th General Assembly.” Accessed August 12, 2022.

Ohio Legislative Service Commission. “Bill Analysis.” February 8, 2022. Accessed August 12, 2022. American Kratom Association. “American Kratom Association Petitions Oh[…]n To Schedule Kratom.” PR Newswire, October 19, 2018. Accessed August 12, 2022.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.