Kratom is a supplement derived from the tropical evergreen tree Mitragyna speciosa. It is native to Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, and other South Asian countries, where people have used the leaves as both a stimulant and sedative for decades, if not centuries. Some people also use kratom for treating chronic pain, digestive problems, and for help withdrawing from opioid addiction. One important thing to note about kratom is that it is unregulated in the United States, without enough clinical trials to prove or disprove effectiveness or safety.
What is kratom?
Kratom is a member of the coffee family. Its leaves are dried, crushed, and used to make tea or powdered supplements. You can find kratom leaves and powders in vape shops, online, and in some health food and supplement stores. According to WebMD, kratom can offer both health benefits and risks.
Benefits include pain relief, mood enhancement, alleviation of opioid withdrawal symptoms, and antidepressant properties. Risks include sweating, dizziness, hallucinations, and withdrawal symptoms after prolonged use. WebMD warns, “Because kratom has such potent ingredients, you should consult with your doctor before taking it or any other supplement.”
Is kratom an opioid?
Kratom is technically not an opioid. However, in a 2018 report, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) stated that kratom binds to the opioid receptors in the brain. In their study, they found that “kratom has a strong bind to mu-opioid receptors, comparable to scheduled opioid drugs.” They also urged patients attempting to use kratom for opioid withdrawal symptoms or chronic pain to seek help from a health care provider.
Is kratom legal in South Carolina?
Currently, kratom is not regulated or scheduled as a drug by the FDA. Certain states have regulations against kratom, but South Carolina is not one of them. This means you can buy it, possess it, or sell it within the state – but it is illegal in North Carolina if you are under the age of 18, so keep it within South Carolina or you can face penalties.
Can I get arrested for taking kratom and driving?
This can be a complicated area. You are not breaking the law for using kratom and driving. Kratom is not currently a controlled substance by the FDA, and is not subject to the same laws as alcohol or drugs. Additionally, kratom does not show up on drug tests (urine tests, mouth swabs, blood tests, etc.). So no, you probably won’t get a DUI in South Carolina for taking kratom and getting behind the wheel.
However, because kratom has different effects on different people, it is not a good idea to drive while using kratom just because you can. Kratom does have a sedative effect on some, and a mild intoxicative effect on others. If someone causes a car crash while under the effects of kratom, they could find themselves facing reckless driving or reckless endangerment charges.
At Holland Law, we provide strategic and effective counsel when you are facing criminal charges. We will work to minimize, reduce, or even have the charges against you dropped. Talk to us today. We provide experienced representation in the York, Lancaster, and Chester County communities. To schedule a consultation in either our Fort Mill office on Gold Hill Road, or in our Rock Hill office on Oakland Avenue, please call 803-219-2630 or contact us online.
Tom Holland previously served as the General Counsel for the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office, the City Solicitor for the City of Lancaster, and as a Special Assistant United States Attorney for the Sixth Circuit Solicitor’s Office. He is a single father, and through his own divorce gained valuable insight he now uses to provide Fort Mill and Rock Hill, SC families with the best representation. Learn more about Tom Holland.