Kratom, an herb seen by some as an alternative to opioid use when it comes to treating chronic pain, has seen its share of controversy in the past — in 2016, the DEA unsuccessfully attempted to classify it as a Schedule I drug along which would make it as illegal as heroin.
According to the FDA, a whole bunch of kratom powder was exposed to salmonella at some point in the supply chain, leaving multiple supplement manufacturers and distributors with oodles of Salmonella Kratom on their hands: Supplements originating from distributors in Houston, Portland, Las Vegas, and Colorado Springs have all tested positive for the disease, as have supplements coming from West Jordan, Utah and Cheyenne, Wyoming. After the Vegas-based distributor Triangle Pharmanaturals refused to comply with the FDA’s request that known proprietors of Salmonella Kratom voluntarily recall all of their kratom-containing products, the agency hit Triangle with a mandatory recall.
Meanwhile, a wave of people experiencing severe internal bleeding has been linked to the fact that they’d all smoked synthetic marijuana, a substance probably sold in your local head shop as K2, and that the substance’s manufacturers had been putting rat poison in their fake weed in order to skirt potential regulations against their product. Again, batches of legally legit synthetic marijuana was being treated with motherfucking rat poison. RAT. POISON. IN FRENCH, THE TERM WOULD BE MORT-AUX-RATS.
It’s ironic that these two grey-market substances now pose safety risks not just because of their actual effects — synthetic marijuana, for one, is generally less fun and more dangerous than the natural thing — but because, it seems, regulators weren’t actually checking them for basic safety stuff such as “not containing salmonella and/or rat poison” until people started being all like, “Hey, I got salmonella from this kratom supplement!” and, “I smoked some K2 that contained rat poison and now I am bleeding internally!”
And while we’re on the subject, here’s a thought: What if they just, like, made weed legal everywhere? That way, people experiencing chronic pain would be able to treat it with marijuana and marijuana-derived substances — treatments that both medical and anecdotal evidence suggest to be effective (and, presumably, salmonella-free). Meanwhile, people who sought a recreational high could just smoke actual weed without worrying about the legal implications and/or bleeding on their insides. Just saying.