The English language is lauded for its ability to convey complex ideas. Some of the worlds most famous writers have shared their stories in English. Its intricate structuring, vast vocabulary, and wide range of cognates and prefixes borrowed from other languages are just some of the facets that add flexibility and nuance to its ability to convey meaning. Some linguists still grapple with the language’s depth.
And we all struggle with its contradictions. We’ll never not.
That’s right. The double negative. It’s confounding, bizarre, almost comical. And at times, we can’t not use them. Similar to some laws of math, we ask how putting two negatives together equal a positive. I’ve always thought of it like this;
If I don’t have two capsules of kratom, and then I don’t have another two capsules of kratom, apparently, I have four kratom capsules. (If we are conjuring kratom from thin air, I’ll take some Bali, please.)
In other words, WTF?
Contradictions such as these dominate not only our language, but the world we live in. Its for this reason, we look at countries that don’t not have kratom.
Naming and Origins
One need only know the names of the strains of kratom to intuit its geographical domicile. Southeast Asia is the native habitat of kratom, though some lesser known as more averse strains have been found in the jungles of Africa (These hardy kratom plants are hardly worth farming.)
You’ve heard of the Dark Sumatran, a strain which is more of a marketing tool than an independent genetic mutation from Green Malaysian. Both are countries in the Southeastern Pacific. White Vietnam is another popular strain. But then you hear of strains like Maeng Da, and begin to wonder if the nomenclature is bound by geography.
As a number of countries and Pacific Islands have climates well suited to grow kratom, the name of the kratom is not necessarily indicative of its region of growth. It can indicate a country of origin, or in the case of Red Vein Bali, the port where it was historically shipped from. Some names are simply marketing tricks with no differentiation. Remember, there are only three recognized variations of kratom, with successive phenotypes having minimal differences; Green, Red, and White Vein.
The Cradle of Kratom
But for all the countries still associated with kratom, one could reasonably assume that the production is wide spread.
Indonesia is responsible for over 90% of the world’s kratom exports. It is an enormous asset to the Indoensian economy as industrial based farming – like for rubber trees – falls, and experienced agriculturists switch to cultivating kratom. Furthermore, kratom cultivation is environmentally sustainable, an issue of clandestine importance in the face of humanities eager destruction of our planets lungs.
Indonesia consists of more than 17,000 islands. Its shores dominate the landmass separating Australia and the Asian mainland. With fertile soils, abundant sun, and a climate most clement for the kratom trees preference, Indonesia has long produced much of the worlds finest kratom, with the province of West Kalimantan serving as the metaphorical heartland of the kratom industry.
But this may soon change.
In 2019, the Indonesian Minister of Health set forth a new regulation that allowed kratom farmers 5 years to transition into other crops before the plant was banned outright. The announcement caught much of the Indonesian government by surprise, and suggests a devastating financial hit for a significant population of Indonesian farmers. The booming demand for kratom worldwide has created immense wealth for a country not known for its financial development.
The American Kratom Association, regularly performing amazing feats on American shores, has gamely set forth a battle plan to engage with the Indonesian government and secure a line of export for kratom to America. This is no proletariat glad-handing picket line; it includes renowned doctors and Federal congressional veterans, like Utah’s former senator Matt Salmons.
Why would a country with nearly 100 million citizens lacking access to clean water suddenly find itself deeply concerned with a major source of income with a plant that is often compared with coffee?
The Beloved Leper – Why on Earth would Indonesia would ban Kratom?
Indonesian politics are deeply complex. Thousands of disparate islands have given rise to hundreds of linguistic dialects, distinct cultural phenomena, infantile democratic ideals struggling with traditional grifters lacking a strong central federalism, a uniqu – wait.
Grifters and a lack of oversight.
Starting to see why the Ministry of Health would go after kratom?
Corruption and Kratom
The Indonesian Ministry of Health is less worried about securing potable water for the worlds fourth most populous nation than it is attacking kratom as it is following the lead of the FDA’s newest attempt to monetize Americans health by attacking kratom so they can preserve their cash cow of opiates (kratom has risen as a life saving alternative to opiates, which means for the FDA, it’s a competitor that must be quashed if it can’t be monetized).
The Indoensian government was well aware of their dominion on kratom exports, and even more so of the growing popularity of kratom in the Western world, particularly as its emergence becomes a necessity for Americans in the face of the crippling opiate epidemic. And by providing a generous negotiating window – er, I mean, a transitioning window – of 5 years, what better way to signal to the motivated wealth of the West that the continuity of the worlds kratom supply is up for bidding?
Maybe this is the cynic in me. But I see a fractal government prone to corruption that is well aware of two prolific factions – kratom farmers and Western consumers – who will pay handsomely to see this senseless revocation of kratom voided. Sure enough, the AKA sent a delegation as soon as the news broke. You can be sure that once the backroom manilla envelopes begin to thicken, the Indonesian officials in charge of this ideological toll-booth will suddenly be very keen to the facts of kratoms significant medicinal potential and magnitudinal shift away from the harm of opiates; facts that are of course currently obfuscated by their currently empty pockets from the economic boom from kratom, and their frustration that they haven’t gotten in on the action.
Kratom Elsewhere in the World
If Indonesia does indeed ban kratom on such whimsical platforms such as realpolitik or moral ideology – however misinformed and willfully ignorant it may be – then it does not necessarily spell doom for the industry. While prices would inevitably rise and some quality may temporarily suffer, the kratom supply would likely be able to adjust, as current models predict a surplus which outgrows its demand growth rate.
Vietnam is renowned for its harvests of kratom in the Fall season, after the Monsoon rains. Until 2018, the favorable cultivation factors were mitigated by the country’s ban on kratom. This law has long had exceptions, but in Vietnam, isn’t well enforced. The expansive jungles in which kratom occurs naturally in Vietnam makes enforcement a practice in futility.
Vietnams kratom law is somewhat similar to America’s earliest medical marijuana laws – some aged federal distinctions which classify kratom as illegal are outweighed by newer legislative actions which recognize the medicinal potential of kratom. Even with these allowances, Vietnam continues to relax its strict posturing, perhaps recognizing the market share being offered by Indonesia’s bullish approach.
Malaysia is another environment in which kratom is found in natural abundance. While illegal to cultivate and export, it is reportedly widely available and the ban is unevenly enforced. Many Malaysians report using it for ceremonial or medicinal purposes, which directly counters the Malaysian President’s cries for concern about “….Creative citizens changing the chemical makeup of Kratom.”
This bizarre statement is rife with comedy.
It kind of sounds like an indictment of drugs like heroin and pharmaceutical opiates. These substances are two of the three most common causes of overdose death in Malaysia. Meanwhile, Kratom is responsible for…*Checks notes*
Zero deaths reported in Malaysia.
This is what happens when your elected President is also the head of a zealot like anti-drug organizations with strong religious ties. His platform insists that he opposes substances ranging from caffeine to kratom – which could be considered cousins in comparison to his wild musings about kratom’s chemistry being changed. It doesn’t need to be changed. Malaysia’s citizens are already in need of a substance like kratom to aid in their extraction from a heroin and opiate epidemic, for which kratom has shown ample potential.
Even still, pressure mounts for the Malaysian government to formally legalize kratom, or at least remove strict legal posturing against it. This may open the door for exports, especially if the Indoensian ruling allows for a seizure of global market share in a booming industry.
Does it make any sense yet?
Look at the contradictions we’ve covered today.
Kratom – illegal where it is most abundant, widely used, and being pressured into banishment where it is most needed, like countries with growing death tolls for opiates.
Talk about a double negative. Er, make that triple.
But a positive yet remains. And that positive weighs more than all else.
Kratom, regardless of where its from or the nationality of its user, is being discussed. And in these discussions the seed grows, and grows, and grows.
Until soon, kratom is no longer a contradiction. Its what we use to help manage conditions.
And that’s an idea of such import, that its always going to be worth export.
Do not take anything in this blog as medical advice. Kratom does not cure any diseases. Kratom does not prevent any diseases. Always consult with your doctor before making decisions regarding your health. Always conduct thorough research and speak with your healthcare provider before making any decisions regarding your health. This blog is intended as a space for consideration of anecdotal reports, conjecture, a sharing of ideas. It should not be taken as medical expertise. Always follow your local laws regarding kratom.