Is Kratom Legal in South Africa?

Kratom is currently legal in South Africa. 

Kratom (Mitragnya speciosa) hasn’t captured the attention of South Africa’s legislatures yet. It wasn’t mentioned in the nation’s Drug and Drug Trafficking Act of 1992, nor were any of its ingredients. 

If and when the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) speak out on kratom, this may change. For now, though, kratom is legal and unregulated.  

Kratom Legality in South Africa & Elsewhere

Kratom is currently legal in South Africa, joining most of the U.S. and Canada. There hasn’t been much of a movement to ban it, either, at least not in South Africa.   

However, several other countries have banned this substance, including the U.K., Australia, Denmark, and Romania. Your best bet is to check local laws and stay updated about any changes.  

Laws in Kratom’s Native Countries

Kratom is indigenous to Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Thailand. 

Even there, kratom is controversial. For instance, Thailand banned people from planting kratom trees back in 1943, then outlawed the substance outright in 1979. This doesn’t appear to have been for the good of the people. Instead, it’s widely believed that the nation made kratom illegal so they could remain in control of the opium market. 

Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed, and kratom is once again legal in Thailand as of 2018.  

The next major problem for kratom looms ahead in 2024. That’s the year that Indonesia plans to put a kratom ban into effect. If they move forward with their anticipated ban, you’ll soon notice that kratom is much harder to find in other nations worldwide. 

Malaysia has also tried to ban kratom, but they haven’t had much success. The plant grows naturally there, which means that pretty much anyone can find and use it.  

Will the WHO’s Decision Affect Future Kratom Legislation?

Every year the WHO reviews new substances to check for their safety. If a substance seems unsafe, the WHO recommends it be added to the lists of controlled substances. This suggestion does not have to be made into law by any government, but many follow the WHO’s guidelines. 

The WHO found no reason to control kratom as it seems to pose no danger, but the organization will continue to study it. 

This is a win for all kratom users, and hopefully, governments, both local and worldwide, are paying attention.

Can I Buy Kratom in South Africa? 

Yes, you can buy kratom in South Africa. 

A simple search on Google turns up at least one retailer who sells kratom in Johannesburg. The odds are high that you’ll find it in several other locations as well. 

The good news is that this means you won’t need to turn to illicit sources or the black market. You should still be careful where you purchase it, though, as it’s well-known that smoke shops and head shops don’t carry the best kratom. You should find a reputable online source and stick with it.  

Why is Kratom Banned in Other Countries?

You could ask ten people why kratom is banned in some nations, and you’d probably get ten different answers. 

Some believe it’s to protect pharmaceutical companies. Others think it’s genuinely in the interest of public health. The truth is probably somewhere in between.  

We know that people have used kratom since at least the 19th century for various medicinal purposes. It’s also generally well-tolerated in most people, which means that legalizing and regulating it could raise a lot of money. 

Known Side Effects of Kratom 

Moderate users very rarely experience kratom’s side effects.  

If you use 12 grams or more of kratom daily, your odds of experiencing one or more of the following side effects go up.  

Some of the most common side effects include:  

  • Sedation 
  • Lethargy 
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea and/or vomiting 
  • Change in hormone profiles 
  • Long-term abuse could impair liver functions 

Some people have become addicted to kratom, although it’s quite rare [1]. Keeping doses low and taking breaks will most likely prevent this from happening.  

Kratom Use: A Quick History 

Opioid-based painkillers do have their place in the medical field. However, they’ve been vastly overprescribed and have ruined many peoples’ lives, creating something of a pandemic. 

As a result, some people started looking for an alternative to opioids. Kratom first caught the attention of the Western World in the early 1900s. By the 2000s, the sale of kratom had become a major business worldwide. 

People are attracted to kratom because it has opioid-like properties but without many of the nasty side effects. Kratom is unlikely to cause an overdose, and even the addiction is mild. In fact, it’s used to wean people off of opioids.  

Throughout Southeast Asia, kratom has been used as traditional medicine for centuries. It’s been used to treat fevers, insomnia, and diarrhea and is an important part of their social and religious ceremonies.

Kratom Deaths: Can Kratom be Fatal? 

If you use kratom responsibly, there doesn’t appear to be a risk of death. 

Mixing kratom with another substance (especially opioids) can make it become dangerous, however. 

Scientists who have looked into the probability of death have discovered that mixing kratom with other drugs can cause severe interactions. For example, mixing kratom with an opioid has caused several deaths [1]. 

What is the Correct Dosage for Kratom? 

Dosage varies since many things come into play. Even the effects you want will change the dose. For the greatest accuracy, try using a dosage calculator.

The suggested dosage generally falls between 2 g and 12 g.

Taking less than 2 grams is microdosing. Anyone who takes more than 12 grams is putting themselves at a heightened risk for side effects. 

Of course, each person’s body responds differently to kratom. It’s best to start at 2 grams and go up from there. 

How to Take Kratom Safely 

There are several ways to take kratom. Each method is safe; it just comes down to personal preference. For instance, you could take it in a capsule, use a kratom tincture, or brew the powder into a tea.  

When taking kratom, do NOT mix it with any other substance. Drinking alcohol with it can cause serious problems. It’s even wise to stay off of tobacco, too.

It’s especially important not to mix kratom with painkillers, as those can have an especially bad interaction. 

The best thing you can do is get kratom from a reputable online vendor. This dramatically lowers your risk of getting kratom that’s been adultered with another substance.  

Key Takeaway: Is Kratom Legal in South Africa? 

Kratom is legal in South Africa

South Africa doesn’t appear poised to take any legal action against kratom, either, but this could change. 

You’re currently able to visit South Africa and purchase kratom there. It is best not to fly with any kratom, though, as it could be banned in other countries you fly through. 

Kratom is generally well-tolerated and can be taken safely. Simply keep your dosage to 12 grams or less, and you’ll most likely avoid the negative side effects of this substance. 

References

  1. Galbis-Reig, D. (2016). A case report of kratom addiction and withdrawal. WMJ, 115(1), 49-52.