The FDA issued a public health advisory concerning the risks associated with the use of kratom. The plant, which grows in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, is being turned into medical and recreational products that are increasingly being imported into the US. Kratom is used to treat serious medical conditions such as pain, anxiety and depression, and it is also used recreationally. The FDA likens it to opioids, in that it can be abused and lead to addiction.
There have been 36 deaths tied to the use of kratom, as well as serious side effects like seizures, liver damage and withdrawal symptoms. Kratom, which has been banned in 16 countries and 5 US states, has been labeled “unapproved” by the agency.