-Understanding some of the legal and functional comparisons that some draw between the two
Ironically, the farther we as society grow from nature, the closer some of us feel to it. Almost like the relief we feel when we were lost in a store as kids, and we finally find mom. Usually we’re too cool to go in for the hug, but this time, it’s welcome.
Luckily, there are many plants that we’ve essentially domesticated, so even after we’ve destroyed much of nature, we can still extract some of her bounty in the last years of mankind. While marijuana has a remarkable history of dynamic genetics and coevolution with humans – the THC receptors in the brain are so oddly specific with how they fit with cannabis alone – kratom has seemed less geared towards serving humanity. And yet, both plants have a commensurate and comparable history with their tremendous utility, and in some cases, how they are perceived by culture and society.
Very different, very similar
In some ways I was hesitant to write this article, as I fear that a passing headline could make the conflation that we in the kratom community try very hard to avoid. Due to the stigma that still surrounds cannabis, I certainly don’t want to give that baggage to kratom by comparing the two unfairly. But given a fair assessment of both plants, it would be unfair to assign either plants shortcomings on the other. And it is certainly intellectually dishonest to stigmatize kratom based on its primary similarity with marijuana being its longstanding history of medicinal potential.
Such a misrepresentation, either made in vitriol or perceived in ignorance, is downright stupid. And we’ve seen the human cost of stigmatizing plants that, on the given spectrum of how nature can affect man, are incredibly benign.
Cannabis, with infinitely less death, harm, and grievous societal damage attributed to it than alcohol, is still somehow less acceptable in many areas of the Western world. Much of this can be attributed to American President Ronald Regan, and to textent, even further back to Nixon. They enacted “Law and Order” (sound familiar?) political platforms that went way overboard on drug prosecution. The open secret has always been, of course, that it was a political tool used to punish minorities, as poor minorities were more likely to use cannabis as an alm to their wretched existence in a racist, stratified America.
And, of course, it threatened the dominance of alcohol in American life. Ignore that alcohol was the direct cause for 3% of all American deaths between 2000 and 2017, a truly staggering fact. Alcohol has been too deeply entrenched, culturally and financially. Further theories abound, with varying labels of credibility; some state that the hemp industry was too great a threat to the established industrial America.
And so, for all these reasons and then some, marijuana was vilified, and countless lives have been ruined. Fathers have been taken from their families for carrying a joint in their pocket during lunch break. They are entered into the cycle of the prison system, where criminality is forced upon them, where the debts accrued from simply being in prison encourage extra legal means of procurement. Then children grow up without their fathers, wives without their husbands. As these cases are more likely to disproportionately affect minorities – particularly harsh prosecution of drug laws in the “Land of the Free” – many of whom are also financially and educationally disadvantaged, it perpetuates the destruction of families, neighborhoods, and encourages gentrification.
Let’s not forget the damage that was done for so long to the ailing and infirm, terminal or otherwise. Millions of Americans perceive they gain benefit from cannabis, some with more cause than others. We’ve seen the stories about children’s lives essentially being saved by having access to THC. This was laughed off only a few years ago, and the child was simply told “Good luck. Your country’s politicians would rather lock up black people than see you have a normal childhood.”
And while the simple act of transacting “Weed” is benign, the industry attached to it sometimes isn’t. And so add gang and gang violence – now eliminated in relation to cannabis in areas where it is legal, or at least medicinally available – to the growing toll of America’s misguided “War on Drugs”.
But as you’re seeing, this isn’t a war on substances.
It’s a war on the people who use them.
It’s a war of oppression for minorities; a bloody playground romp for gangs; a war against the family with imprisonment; a war against the ailing and sick who could benefit from the many promises of medicinal marijuana; a war against the American people for smoking a plant that can’t be overdosed on, doesn’t cause violent rampages, and is drastically less harmful with chronic use.
As the tide began to turn with public opinion in regards to cannabis, now we seen the same industrys and politicians and cultural elements that would have someone rotting in prison for life with a stupid grin on their face as they enjoy the recreational element of the plant.
Thank goodness the timing was convenient for them.
Because that’s what this has always been about, no?
The timing has been wrong for the last ~100 years in American history for cannabis use. No ordered logic dictated it; no seminal scientific discovery; no remarkable moral enlightenment. It was simply the power lusting spams of certain groups of white men who determined millions of lives should be ruined because they preferred to get drunk and pop pills.
And now Kratom?
The American public has seemed to learn a lesson of sorts, however. No longer are we keen to have politicians tell us what we can and can’t put into our bodies. No longer do we conjure up moral dilemmas for solitary, victimless agency.
This is why, in 2016, when the FDA was begging the DEA to ban kratom, the American public gave a swift and overwhelming backlash. It was a collective groan of, “Are you shitting us?”
Because we’ve seen this before.
Kratom is a benign plant that is more closely related to coffee than it is even the harmless cannabis plant – no, really. Kratom, a plant that human history has documented thousands of years of medicinal use for. Kratom, that plays a crucial role in certain cultures where it originates, and is currently being adopted by countless others for reasons far more dire than religious ceremonies.
But remember what we said about random white guys pulling life altering decisions out of their asses, either because their puny intellectual capabilities cause them to flail in fear at anything they don’t understand, or their clever deviousness would have them squash the competition?
And that’s the problem. We aren’t out of the woods yet. The FDA is attacking kratom – and all the good it can do – because it threatens their money train of opiates. They claim that kratom has caused a few dozen deaths in the last decade or so (it hasn’t). But they ignore that the opiates they so eagerly push on the American public cause tens of thousands of deaths a year.
Trying to win – like Cannabis has
Thankfully, there are the forces of good in play, and here some further parallels to cannabis emerge. The American Kratom Association is a relentless and effective advocate for the American kratom community. And if you listen to the community, Many lives have been saved.
The Kratom Consumer Protection Act follows the by-state approach cannabis took, as the American Kratom Association takes up laws in each state to protect kratom from the federal overreach of the FDA.
Because of the suffering of the cannabis community, kratom has been able to learn many lessons and take some shortcuts. The community has focused on all the good kratom has done and is doing, and its medicinal potential is rapidly being studied and revealed, leaving its opponents with very little to fight against. And in showing a community that encourages transparency, looks to educate, includes peoples from all walks of life and looks nothing like the alarmist FDA would have to think, the kratom community has already won in the battle for public opinion.
The powers that be actually defeated themselves, long ago. By demonizing cannabis and then revealing that it was all a cruel trick because, hey, the government could tax the hell out of it after all(!!!), the American public learned their lesson.
It’s that the “Land of the Free” really means something.
Peace and Love.
Nothing in this blog is intended as medical advice. Kratom does not cure any disease. Marijuana is not proven to cure any diseases. Some studies have shown that these substances may help alleviate some symptoms. Always consult with your doctor before making any decisions regarding your health or taking medication. Always follow your local laws. This blog is intended as a place to share ideas, conjecture, and anecdotal stories. It is not intended to be taken or used as medical advice in any way and readers should always conduct thorough research and consult with their doctor before putting anything in their bodies.